1. In full disclosure, I only really watched the last quarter of the game as I was out and about in Cleveland taking in the St. Patrick's day festivities. With that being said, I think I pretty much got the gist of things: The Cavs tried to limit the damage caused by Howard down low and ended up getting scorched by Orlando's bigger perimeter players. At the same time, our beloved Cavs, now reincarnated as a pure jump shooting team, hit enough shots and got enough stops and friendly whistles down the stretch to pull it out. Not exactly the way I'd want to win but a win nonetheless.
2. Orlando is a huge problem for us because they have the best frontcourt player in the league and a ton of tall guys that can stroke it from the outside. That's not to say that the Cavs couldn't beat them in a seven game series, but I would absolutely rather play the Celtics. That's right Jon Barry, I said I would rather play the Celtics. Your idiotic Daily Dime notwithstanding Jon, I would rather play the Celtics. I encourage all of you to go read his Daily Dime column on ESPN this morning and go tell him what an idiot he is. Right Jon, the most "mentally tough" team in the Eastern Conference is the same one that couldn't stand upright away from home last year in the playoffs. Why is it that the "experts" over at ESPN only mention the Cavs as a contender with flaws? When LA shits the bed at home to a crappy Philly team, it's because they're realizing that they don't need home court in the playoffs and the Sixers are really playing tough. When Boston folds down the stretch, it's because of Garnett. When Cleveland keeps winning, it doesn't matter because they don't have a "legitimate third option" and they can't win without Ben Wallace. Great analysis this morning fellas.
3. I said it in a comment earlier this week: I'm not alarmed about the Cavs right now but I'm definitely concerned. This team can't jump shoot their way to a title. Lebron has to be attacking the rim all night and when teams take him away, Mo and Delonte need to be penetrating and Z needs to be getting the ball down low. Honestly, I'm more concerned with the offense right now than I am the defense. A few matchup problems aside (Guys like Yao and Howard), the Cavs can turn the screws on anyone defensively when they want to, especially at home. But, if they continue to develop an identity as a jump shooting team, it will be hard to break out of it in May and June.
4. Everyone talks about Ben Wallace being a huge difference maker but from where I stand, the biggest difference between the current version of the Cavs and the one that was mauling everyone earlier in the year is Delonte West. He doesn't look like he's ever been fully healthy since he came back from the wrist injury. Before he got hurt, his shooting was fantastic and he was attacking the basket with regularity. Now, he just disappears on the court for long periods of time. I know with his psychological issues, there is a lot that can be going on at any given time that can impact his play but this team desperately needs him to return to his early-season form.
5. Like I said, I missed three quarters of this game and I can see from the box that Lebron played out of his head. That being said, the deep three he hit at the end of the game made me want to vomit. I know, I know, I'm Mr. negativity but come on: You're comfortable with Lebron taking ridiculously deep 3's when we're down at the end of games? Me either. Yes, I know he made it and that's what great players do but I just hope that in his head, he knows that such a shot would never be acceptable with the season on the line. Sure, he tried the dribble drive and kick in the few possessions before that and guys were missing the open shots but it still didn't justify what he did. I'll take the win and not say any more about it but please, someone out there just assure me that Lebron understands that he can't take these shots in the playoffs.
6. LA lost and the Cavs now have the best record in the league. Will they hold on to it? I'd say it's 50/50. The Cavs aren't playing that well right now and still have plenty of tough games ahead. They need to treat every one of them like a playoff game because as much as this team can win on their road, their best bet to win a title is an 08 Celtics type playoff course where they win everything at home and try to steal a couple of games on the road.
Ok, that's it for this morning. I honestly don't even know how to feel right now. We have the best record in the NBA but I felt much better about this team two months ago. I need some reassurance people. What do all of you have to say?