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Deja Vu

Posted by Charlie Hustle on May 25, 2007

79-76. Pistons win again. Didn’t this just happen on Monday?

It would seem unlikely that a game so eerily similar would result in the exact same fashion. Why is Detroit up 2-0 when they have yet to dominate a single statistical category? Coaching.

First of all, I want to cut Mike Brown a little slack. Can anyone reasonably tell me that the first 4 players on the court you would want on your team in the 4th quarter for this series aren’t named Rasheed, Rip, Chauncey, and Tayshaun? Given an opportunity for a “dagger” shot, is there anybody on Cleveland you EXPECT to make the shot consistently? I say no.

That being said, the reason such close games turn out in the favor of Detroit is coaching. Let’s look at some factors that can separate quality coaches from those with deer-in-headlights syndrome…

1. Halftime adjustments – In every sport, the team that can adjust during halftime wins. In both games, Cleveland had substantial leads at halftime. And in both games, they were erased before you could say Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Detroit combined has outscored Cleveland 43-27 in the 3rd quarter. Cleveland went from a run-and-gunning first half to a bleed-the-shot-clock second half for no good reason at all.

2. Know your strengths – Cleveland is simply not a great half-court offensive team. They scored 50 points in the first half by attacking the defense early and not letting them settle down. So how does Mike Brown adjust to poor half-court execution? He doesn’t play a single Point Guard the entire game. Read that again. 0 minutes for Eric Snow, the team’s only real facilitator and their most experienced playoff guard.

Look I know Eric Snow can’t throw it in the ocean to save his life, but if you think playing Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones passes for Point Guard play then you don’t watch basketball. The result? LeBron bringing up the ball most of the second half and consistently only running one play: Bron Bron Isolation. Hell Sasha Pavlovic was so fucking surprised to get the ball at the end of the game that he immediately double-dribbled.

3. Clock Managment – I partly blame the media for the Cavs’ cluster-fuck of a play to end the game. For 3 days “Bron Bron” was harped on for passing the ball in the clutch. Given the opportunity again, was there any conceivable way he wasn’t shooting that ball? I say no.

But for Pete’s sake. Everybody in the building knew that LeBron was taking the shot. Everybody knows he doesn’t trust his jumper right now – he takes everything to the hole, trying to muscle and jump over the Pistons. So what’s the stupidest thing you can do???

You call the play that everybody fucking knows is coming and leave yourself no time if it doesn’t work!

On the Detroit side, they got the ball with 32 seconds left. Gave it to Sheed and after 8 seconds past, he made the clutch 15-footer. 8 seconds. Get the shot you want. Take it.

In a game where you can’t muster enough offense to score more than 80 points, you should probably give yourself as many opportunities to win/tie the game as possible. Especially if you are a good offensive rebounding team.

The media will harp on the “foul” on LeBron at the end. That was inconsequential. Flip Saunders outcoached Mike Brown in the same exact game twice in a row.

As Yogi Berra would say, “It was Deja Vu all over again.”

… And for the record, I didn’t forget about Larry Hughes’ wide-open douche out from 7 feet with 6 seconds to go. I chose not to harp on it because the Cavs didn’t lose the game on that one play.

That being said, I hope all of you Larry Hughes fans enjoyed his 2 for 9, 4-point performance in 38 minutes tonight.

The fucking white guy that made the half-court shot at halftime has more touch on his jumper than Larry.

3 Responses to “Deja Vu”

  1. Condo said

    Nobody on the Cavs has a jump shot, the 7’2 center Zydrunas Ilgasukas has the best jump shot on the team sadly. Say what you want, everyone in the universe knew LeBron was taking the shot and he did what he had to do I think. There wasn’t another guy on that floor for Cleveland who was going to make the shot, may as well go to the hoop and do what he did and usually worst case scenario, you’ll get the foul call. I’m a little surprised he didn’t get the call considering Rip pretty much did everything but hump LeBron into submission. But what’s done is done, Cleveland got outplayed again in the second half for the reason you said, not staying aggressive. Hopefully the Cavs will realize and fix this, but at this point in time, the Pistons are in their head and I don’t think they stand a chance to make this go any longer than 5 games now.

  2. netsophobia said

    Mike Brown’s defensive capabilities is what’s saving him from the axe.

  3. Charlie Hustle said

    What the Cavs really have to consider is how this team is any different than last year’s that couldn’t beat Detroit.

    It’s simply a bad matchup to put a bunch of role players around one superstar VS a stingy half-court defensive team with 6-7 guys who can hit open jumpers.

    On a fundamental level, the Cavs aren’t prepared to beat a team like Detroit – a hungry, veteran team that raises its level 10X in the 4th quarter… instead of playing worse late in the game like the Cavs.

    That’s not to say that LeBron and Co. can’t make a series out of this. Like I said in the article, Detroit hasn’t dominated a single statistical category and they are up 2-0.

    It all comes down to Mike Brown coming up with creative ways to keep offensive flow in the 2nd half. Isolating LeBron didn’t work last year and it isn’t working now. All that results is when he finally does pass the ball, no one is prepared to make a legitimate offensive move.

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