Wanted to start you off with a funny… as usual… provided by Odenized.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way… its time for more
Chatting With The Enemy
(dun dun DUNNNNN!)
If you missed it the first time around, Rick from the all-things-Cleveland blog WaitingForNextYear.com, and I, have started what will be a series long conversation. Here’s the conversation that began right after game 1.
Red’s Army– So LeBron and Paul Pierce/Ray Allen EACH went 2-18 with 10 turnovers. Which of those scares you more?
WFNY– Well, as a Cavalier fan Pierce and Allen going 2-18 doesn’t scare me at all…
If you are asking which is likely to happen again, I’d say neither. Pierce sat out a lot of the first half with the fouls, and I don’t know what was going on with Allen. Every time Ray took a shot in the second half I expected the thing to drop. He wasn’t wide open, but I wouldn’t call the defense on him stiff to be certain.
That wasn’t LeBron. We’re still not sure who that was. Someone suggested a ’sulk game’ because of the MVP voting, but that kind of thing usually inspires LeBron. I couldn’t believe all the turnovers, or the shots that literally went in the cylinder and came back out. Unbelievable. The sad thing is that when you have a chance to steal one on the road you have to do it.
Did game one do anything to dispel the belief that the Cavaliers are LeBron and a bunch of nobodies?
Red’s Army– I knew that Big Z was no slouch… and you can’t argue with 22 and 12. I’m fully aware that you’ve got some good players on that team. But I’m going to say no here… because when it came down to taking the last shots… you went to a guy who was 2 of 16 at the time. There was no thought of “Ok… LeBron’s cold… so you be the decoy… let’s find Z on the blocks.”
So no… it’s not LeBron and a bunch of nobodies. And I know LBJ will occasionally dish it off at the end… But the ball will always be in LeBron’s hands at the end of the game… and then he’ll decide what to do with it.
Let me ask you this… do you guys hate Mike Brown? And while we’re on the subject of coaches… what’s your take on Doc Rivers?
WFNY– I don’t feel qualified to answer that question for the Cleveland community to be certain, but no I don’t hate Mike Brown. He got this team to play defense. That was something that Paul Silas could never do here. If Mike Brown could hire some sort of offensive coordinator I would love for him to stay on as the head coach, and continue to run the defense. But he just doesn’t know how to best utilize the talent he has on the offensive end. It’s kind of like we know he isn’t a championship caliber coach, but there have been enough teams win titles despite the coach, and so we believe it’s possible for it to happen here too.
Think of it this way, If the Celtics held another opponent to 30% shooting for the game, how many do they win by? 20? 25? With the way the Cavs play defense they are in every game. Yes, they rely waaayyyy to much on LeBron to win games all by himself at the end. But you know what? The Cavs had more come from behind wins then anyone else this season. Wasn’t even that close.
What do I think of Doc Rivers? Truthfully, I have no idea. I haven’t watched his teams on a consistent basis. He must be pretty good at what he does…last year the Celtics front office wanted him to lose and he did, this year they wanted him to win and he did. (Note sarcasm.)
Reading some of the Celtics sites the last few days, I’ve noticed a theme. A lot of Boston fans and bloggers are buying into some kind of conspiracy theory about Stern ordering the refs to make the series go 7 games. You don’t really believe this do you?
Red’s Army– The beauty of conspiracy theories is their plausibility.
Do I REALLY believe that Stern wanted the series to go 7 and ordered the refs to favor the Hawks at home? Deep down… no. But I was singing that tune after game 6. There were some REALLY questionable calls in that game. I’ll always believe they were looking for a reason to foul Pierce out of that game based on that last foul of his. I don’t know if he said something to someone to piss that person off or what… but I KNOW they were watching him.
I’m not going to dwell on that. The Hawks went to the line more often because they were more aggressive. What’s done is done… it’s time to focus on the Cavs.
We here in Boston will put our bench up against anyone else in the league…. but Barkley said the Cavs bench is better. Do you guys really believe that?
WFNY– Perhaps my last question has set a dangerous precedent…
I don’t recall ever saying that the Cavaliers have a better bench. But let’s take a look at it. The Cavaliers bring Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, Joe Smith and Devin Brown off the bench regularly right now. (Fact is they were bringing Wally Szczerbiak off the bench until the playoffs started, now I guess we have to put Sasha Pavlovic in there. Plus Damon Jones is sitting there collecting dust. After last season, Varejao and Gibson were the pieces everyone wanted in trade talks with the Cavs. I believe Gibson would start for a third of the teams in the league. Andy was a sixth man of the year candidate last season, but injuries have slowed him this year. Joe Smith did start, and would start for other teams as well. So looking at it that way, yeah the Cavs have some depth. Especially in the front court with 4 legit players in Z, Wallace, Andy and Joe Smith. Devin Brown was great for us this year, but for some reason got in Brown’s doghouse and can’t get in the game.
You have Posey, who’s a good defender, but not a great offensive threat, much like Varejao. Sam Cassell who provides veteran leadership and some shooting. Glen Davis usually is more effective than he was in game one, and then you have Allen and Powe. If you went with Hollinger’s numbers the Celtics are better by about 4.5 per. I don’t see that as a significant edge, especially if you’re not going to use them, like Allen, Brown, Davis or even Powe.
What areas need the most improvement for game 2, and who is the pressure on to win this one?
Red’s Army– I think there is always pressure on the home team to defend their home court… but I think the 2-18 night LeBron had puts some pressure on him, at least, to rebound and play well in Game 2.
But the Celtics are 0-3 on the road so far this postseason. That does add some pressure on this team to win game 2. But I also believe that “pressure” is usually media-driven…. until an elimination game. The Celtics were the best road team in the NBA… so that 0-3 is more of an Atlanta issue than a road issue. They know they can win on the road.
I think the C’s main area of improvement is obvious: take better care of the ball. As wild as this is to say… if the C’s played like this against Atlanta… they’d have lost by double digits. Cleveland missed a lot of opportunities off turnovers in game 1. So I think the key for both teams is in the turnover column. The Celtics need to cut them down… and the Cavs need to turn them into points. The Celtics offense was also a bit stagnant. They made some dumb mistakes and there was a lot of standing around out there. Maybe that was a product of playing such tough D… but then that means both coaches need to figure out how to make the right substitutions to get the offense going.
I’ll throw that same question about pressure and improvement right back at ya… and also… is there anyone on the Celtics that, after game 1, you now realize is better than you thought?
WFNY– The Cavaliers need to attack the basket more. If that means posting up then do it, if it means finding an open lane then do it. The perimeter shots will not be there if the Celtics aren’t worried about the inside game. Even Zydrunas’ points came from outside the paint mostly.
Rebounding is supposed to be our advantage, so we need to limit Boston’s second chance shots, and create more of our own. When we get the ball down low, or get an offensive rebound we need to go up with authority. I can’t remember the last Cavs game I saw that didn’t include a half dozen dunks, and not just from LeBron. I thought the Cavs did an excellent job of anticipating passes and getting a hand on the ball. If you want to win on the road, you have to score on turnovers, and the Cavs didn’t do that.
Is there someone on the Celtics that is better than I thought after game 1? Garnett? I don’t really think so, I actually had a higher opinion of Perkins than he showed in game one. We saw what Rondo was capable of in the regular season, so that wasn’t a big surprise. I was more shocked that Cassell played as many minutes as he did, and I thought that West and Gibson could handle him better.
We’ll talk to you after game 2, hopefully when the series is tied 1-1!