1. I actually attended the game tonight, my first at home this season. You would think that since I now live about a 5 minute walk from the Q, attending games would be a no-brainer. Well, a funny thing has happened as I've grown older: My tolerance for all the hassles of attending major sporting events has been greatly diminished. The horrible music, the atrocious entertainment, the lines at the bathroom, the absurd concession prices, the uncomfortable seats . . . it was one thing when the alternative was sitting at home and watching the game on a grainy pixelated tube. But now, with gigantic HD plasmas and LCDs and DVRs . . . you can make a very compelling case for staying home. Still, my buddy DC has great seats in the lower bowl and even for someone who has attended his fair shair of NBA games, there is something special about being that close to NBA players. The same can be said for guys in the NFL but even that's not quite the same. NBA players are just a different species.
2. As for the game, the Cavs did their now common sleepwalk through the first half taking bad jumper after bad jumper. It was amazing, given the way that they played, that they were only down two at the break. Then, in the second half, as soon as they started taking the ball to the hoop, the game changed dramatically. Brandon Roy did a nice job hitting free throws down the stretch to force the game into OT but I felt fairly comfortable, once the Cavs got the lead, that they weren't going to lose it.
3. I like the way Delonte took the ball inside a couple of times in the second half. I can't stress enough how much the Cavs need him ready to go for the playoffs. It's an old NBA cliche' but it only takes a few easy buckets to get a shooter's outside stroke going again.
4. The Blazers, even without Batum and Aldridge, are a very good young NBA team. We were talking during the second half about the fact that if the Blazers had taken Durant instead of Oden, the NBA might have to shut down operations in the next couple of years because the Blazers would be OWNING everyone including the Cavs. A top 3 of Durant, Roy, and Aldridge plus an owner who could afford to pay all three? That, my friends, would've been game, set, and match. Luckily, they took Oden and the rest is history. I know people like to point out the fact that this is still technically his rookie season and he's still young BUT . . . I can't say I would be too excited if I were a Blazers fan about a skinny, timid 7 footer, with no offensive game, a fragile psyche, and a microfracture procedure under his belt. Oden could very well be a 17-12 guy some day but I wouldn't be the farm on it.
5. It's been a while since I've said this and I know some of you think I'm too hard on Lebron so let me just say this: My god, he is breathtaking. The ease with which he was getting to the hole down the stretch was just amazing. How does one guy just slice through an entire defense that knows exactly what he's going to do? Ridiculous. If that's playoff Lebron, and history would indicate that it is, then I feel pretty good about our chances of getting out of the East.
6. Nice adjustment by Mike Brown to go small and Bring in Sasha in the 4th quarter to contain Travis Outlaw, who had developed quite the hot hand. Normally, I like to see Andy on the floor late in the game but sitting him tonight was the correct move.
7. I had no idea that the Cavs were on the verge of setting the record for fewest turnovers until I was told after the game. Obviously, you don't notice a turnover unless it happens.
8. Looking at the schedules, the Cavs play better teams down the stretch than the Lakers but LA has almost all of theirs on the road. I would say if the Cavs lose 3 or fewer games the rest of the way, they'll get the top overall seed. With games against Boston, San Antonio, and at Orlando just to name a few, that's going to be a tall order. The Cavs will almost definitely lose at least one more game against a sub-500 team so limiting the remaining losses to 3 is going to be a tall order.
That's it for now. Happy Friday everyone!
You've got to be shitting me ESPN. Against my better judgment, I just went to the worldwide leader's NBA page to read the daily dime. I was actually somewhat pleased at the "Beast of the East" headline for the article. I should've known better. Inside, I was treated to a nice sloppy Tim Leger/Celtics BJ featuring a host of completely insane comments. Allow me to post some of my favorites:
With all their injuries, the Celtics have no rhythm right now and the Magic
need to figure out a way to steadily feed Dwight Howard at crunch
Those are the two biggest reasons I don't think that Boston or Orlando can catch Cleveland. Cleveland is 4.5 games in front of Boston and five games ahead of Orlando, and with the exception of Ben Wallace, the Cavaliers are the one team that is not dealing with injuries.
. . .
It is more important for the Cavaliers to have home court than it is for Boston . . . The Celtics won big games on the road last season so they are confident they can do it again.
. . .
[The Celtics] are the most complete team in the league and they have more options offensively than the Cavaliers or Magic.
. . .
The Celtics are mentally tough.
. . .
I think Paul Pierce needs to get a mention [for MVP].
And really? The Celtics don't need home court because they've already shown their ability to win on the road? Are you sure it was the Celtics that won on the road last postseason, Tim? Are you sure it's wasn't, I don't know, NOTHING?
So let me get this straight: The reason that Boston can't catch the Cavs right now is because of injuries? Now that's interesting. You see, I thought the reason was that the Cavs never fucking lose and have already played 95% of their tough road games. Silly me. I can totally see your point though Tim. With a healthy Garnett, I could definitely see Boston jumping the Cavs in the seeding. The selection committee would certainly take into account the way Boston played after Garnett's return.
The Celtics have more options offensively than the Cavs or Magic? That must be why they've established such a strong offensive identity. It's a good thing they're not just a sloppy offensive team with a great defense.
The Celtics are mentally tough? Are you sure about this? When did this new information come to light? You've been holding out on us the entire time! You should really alert the rest of the gang at ESPN as to this fact so that they can incorporate it into their regular schtick.
Paul Pierce for MVP? Are we talking about Celtics MVP because I think Ray Allen would disagree with that statement. I know you can't be talking about league MVP because statistically, that type of argument would be ridiculous right? I mean Lebron averages 8 more points a game and his team is 4.5 games ahead in the standings. Wade has single-handedly made the Heat dangerous. Certainly, you're not proposing that someone should actually vote for Pierce for MVP are you?
ESPN, seriously, your NBA coverage has become a joke. How can you let people write this stuff! It's one thing to take a controversial position. It's quite another to make statements that are so asinine that no reasonable person could believe them (like that Paul Pierce deserves MVP consideration). Get a life ESPN. And while you're at it, could you do some research for me? You see, I've been sitting around all morning wondering whether Kevin Garnett is intense. That fact was strangly omitted from the dime this morning and so I'm now questioning whether everything I've read about him prior to today was just unsubstantiated rumor. Can you get back to me on this?
I really wish the playoffs were here because I can't wait for the Cavs to shove it right up ESPN and Barkley's ass.