Friday, January 9, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

Quick reactions from a great night of basketball:

1. I'm sorry for going a little off topic with thought number one but this has to be said: If the FCC doesn't have someone from ESPN arrested tonight in connection with the decision to broadcast closeups of Doris Burke in HD, then they are officially sanctioning broadcast obscenity. My dear god! I've seen reptiles with better faces.

2. In case you've been living in a bomb shelter for the last few months, allow me to fill you in on something: Lebron James has widened the offensive gap between himself and the rest of the basketball playing planet. Oh yeah, and just for fun, he's become one of the top 10 defenders in the world as well. It has been well documented that Boston lacks the intimidation factor that many other defending champions have had over the years. As an opposing fan, you respect their abilities but they don't really scare you per se. On the other hand, if I were rooting for Boston, Lebron James would absolutely terrify me. I mean I wouldn't sleep at night thinking about having to face Lebron 6.0 in the playoffs. If you asked me to describe his dominance right now to someone who had never seen him play, the only adjective I could think of would be "Tigeresque."

3. If Boston has the 1 seed and they meet the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, it's probably 50-50 as to who wins. If the Cavs have the home court, i'd say its 70-30 Cavs. I just don't see this team losing 4 games at home in a playoff series. In addition, if the Cavs have the home court, it probably means Boston will have to slug it out with Orlando in the Eastern Conference Semis. If that's the case then I REALLY like our chances. Don't underestimate the importance of the route to the conference finals. Remember in 2007, the Cavs got Detroit after the Pistons had played a tough 6 game series with Chicago. With a very thin and not getting any younger Boston team, being forced to go through two elite teams to get out of the East would be an extremely tall order. The Cavs have a tough month ahead of them and it is imperative that they at least stay within striking distance of the best record in the East. I know right now it seems like they might run away with the one seed but Boston will right the ship and the Cavs will, at some point, hit a skid themselves.

4. Right now, aside from having the basketball equivalent of the atomic bomb in their arsenal, the Cavs have two huge advantages over Boston: 1) their bench is infinitely better, and 2) Lebron's versatility allows them to give a lot of different lineup looks. Who would've ever thought that having a guy who is the best player in the league at four different positions would be such an advantage?

5. Garnett is a fantastic player and an absolutely HUGE liability for Boston going forward. If things start going south for the Celtics in a playoff series, I would expect Garnett to be the first one to completely lose his cool in a very Rasheed-like way. For all the credit he gets for his intensity, he could single-handedly sink Boston's ship if adequately provoked. And if this scenario plays out, I would expect Anderson Varejao to be prominently involved. You could say I'm a little excited for the Playoffs.

6. In the next month, Mike Brown needs to earn his paycheck by keeping this team hungry. They will be coming down from an emotional high after playing well in a game they had probably been looking forward to for months. They could very easily fall back into the lazy apathetic basketball that we've seen glimpses of over the last couple of weeks. This is a crucial time for this team. They absolutely must keep the pressure on Boston and Orlando to maintain the torrid pace.

7. If his team makes a big move before the deadline, my head might explode. If you added the right guy to the mix, and I haven't yet formed an opinion as to who that might be, it might be lights out for the rest of the East. I'll stop short of bringing the West into it until I see how these Cavs match up with LA.

8. If they haven't already done so, the Cavs should probably make sure Z starts traveling with a body man just in case Dan Fegan decides he likes the Cavs' current starting lineup.

9. Great crowd tonight. I hate it when fans resort to cliche' chants like "Overrated" and "Boston sucks" but it's hard to find fault with the noise level and intensity on display in the Q tonight. There is a reason that Cavs are unbeaten at home. They win with defense. Defense is all about effort. Great crowds inspire great efforts. You see the connection.

10. If you haven't noticed, Lebron has become a real live version of Bill Brasky. Every single television analyst can't wait to tell us how big he is and all of them come up with different numbers. On any given night, Lebron can range from 6'6 250 to 6'9 285.

11. Get excited for the rest of the regular season. Seeding is going to be EVERYTHING this year. That means that for the first time in as long as I can remember, the Cavs are going to be playing extremely meaningful games all winter. As a fan, what more can you ask for? (Image from Plain Dealer)

6 comments:

crymeacuyahogariverblog.blogspot.com said...

Time to start worrying about Orlando. Dismantled a very good Atlanta team. They could easily wind up with the 1 seed if we falter.

Art Brosef said...

EASILY get the one seed?

Its the cavs to lose and i love their chances.

Orlando doesnt worry me. They are a couple years away........

crymeacuyahogariverblog.blogspot.com said...

Agree that it is the Cavs to lose. I just think everyone is focusing exclusively on Boston as our biggest threat when they should be looking at Orlando.

Dwight Howard dominates the paint. He makes it very difficult to score inside.

Boston is old and playing like it. Orlando is young and talented and playing like want respect. The title is ours to lose, but we can't overlook Orlando.

Art Brosef said...

Agreed

Orlando is talented, but not there yet...

When Howard learns to play he will be a joke. But until then.....

....Cavs need to capitalize.

Cavs are legit.

Alvaro Espinoza said...

These are my own thoughts about the game:

1) It was incredibly impressive at how dominated the Cavs were without Z, their third scoring threat.

2) In that regard, Ben Wallace looked energized by the game. Making a teardrop basket for the first points of the game - you had to know that was a good sign.

3) After the Cavs made a series of baskets to start the game, I just had a feeling Lebron would be the first to miss.

4) I think there is no way we can let Andy walk after the season. He has taken the criticisms that he's not an offensive threat, and much to my surprise, he's turning that into a falsehood. Andy is the future big man of this team.

5) To echo Biff's sentiments and something Bill Simmons brought up a year ago, Andy is going to get decked one of these days. We all know Andy is a flopper. But, he also is an obvious irritant to the other team. He seems to draw at least one big offensive foul a day, and he just gets under other players skin. Everyone thought he could the Cavs' Rodman - and he is, in terms of driving opposing players mad. Plus, I really think Andy enjoys playing with Lebron and his value is maximized in our system.

5)Hickson looks like our best draft pick since Lebron. Better potential than Boobie even. I trust him when he's in the game. And while the drop off from Ben Wallace to J.J. is noticeable - it's not devastatingly large.

6) Wally is completely expendable. I like having an Ohio guy back on the team. But what Wally is bringing to the team right now, it's very replaceable. I respect how Wally is playing the game at this moment - you can see him putting his heart and soul into every play, but the Cavs need to be doing everything possible to put together the best team to take home the ring. A John Salmons or Gerald Wallace might make more sense - AS LONG AS THE TEAM IS BEHIND THE MOVE. If Wally is boys with everyone, and the will be backlash from trading him - don't do it.

7) If Lebron truly cares about winning championships - I don't know how he can think about leaving this team, unless he wants the challenge of bring up another team from the ground to a championship level. No one, not the Celtics, Lakers or Magic, will be able to beat the Cavs when everything is firing correctly.

8) Lebron has gone from being a weak defender, to being talked about as the possible defender of the year in the NBA. Watching Lebron is like having your birthday every single day. It's amazing.

9) I've been a big fan of the last few throwback jerseys this team has rolled out lately. I suppose this is just another example of this team hitting on all cylinders.

10) At this point, if the Cavs don't end up with the number one seed, I'll be sorely disappointed.

crymeacuyahogariverblog.blogspot.com said...

Hickson is very talented. Great fit for the team. One problem that I notice is that he gets a little lost on defense sometimes and is out of position allowing for easy buckets. When he figures it out there is no stopping his defense with his incredible power and blocking ability.

That said, I think one of the trade rumors out there was Wally and Hickson for Salmons and Brad Miller. Maybe some other pieces or picks were involved, but I think those were the major pieces. Depending on the length of contracts, I think we have to take that if it's truly available.

Andy's flops and his angry looks to the officials after every play is getting worse. Officials may start just assuming its a flop. He should still do it, just not as often.

I'm pretty sure if the Cavs and Lakers both play to the best of their abilities, the Lakers win that game. The Cavs are just really good at keeping teams from playing to the best of their abilities.