And ever since I heard that Game 1 vs. Boston was slated to tip-off this Saturday should both Boston and Cleveland close their series’ out yesterday evening, I was having a tough time being concerned with Game 5 as well for that matter. Turns out, so were the Cavs. They played sluggish most of the night, and while they pushed the lead out to margins of 7 and 9 during the second half and you thought that eventual knock out punch was coming, it never did. The Bulls hung around. Derrick Rose – who just might be the best PG in the Association next year – scored 31, Luol Deng netted 26, and Mr. 20-20 Joakim Noah, his line read 8-9-7. Oh, that 7 for Noah, that was 7 TO’s…from a center…have a great summer boss. But while the Cavs held Hinrich to 12, and no other Bull scored in double figures, they didn’t help themselves offensively in a lot respects.
For one, it looked like the Cavaliers thought the Wizards called trade-backs in the 3rd quarter, and after scoring 20 in the first half, Antawn Jamison couldn’t seem to get a pass thrown his way until the closing minutes of that quarter. Jamison’s a pro though, and I don’t expect a JR Smith twitter blast for the accidental freezing of his hot hand during that period last night. He kept grinding, and finished with 25 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Which brings me to my key for the Cavaliers heading into the Boston series and beyond: if Antawn Jamison shoots over 50% and scores over 20 points per night, the Cavs win, and they advance. If he shoots under 50% and scores less than 20 – like he did in game three – the Cavs could be in trouble.
And they’re also going to be in trouble if Mo Williams all of the sudden reverts back to Maurice just when it looked sure he’d enable Kyle to drop a letter at the close of this series. We’ll here from Kyle on that prior to game one I’m sure, but the verdict won’t be good if Williams continues to shoot 2 of 13 from the field for 7 points. We need you now buddy, and I’d say through 5 games you played a solid enough series. Build on that Mo, and just relax, and play your game against Boston…you’ll be fine.
As far as LeBron, on our Wine and Gold podcast, I made mention that I was rooting for a line that read 10 points 18 assists and 14 rebounds for the King last night. That would have given him an average of a triple double for the series of 30-10-10. Crazy to think how close he got to that, and its also crazy to think that he was a little dinged up along the way. He finished with a line that instead read 19-10-9 last night…so that’s 4 rebounds and 9 assists shy of averaging a triple double for the series, while posting a ppg mark of thirty. All I can say is keep it up man, and put some ice on that elbow…we’re looking forward to those video game James type performances starting Saturday.
On this past series overall, well it was kind of a weird one really. I’m glad its over. I’m glad I don’t have to hear and watch Joakim Noah interviews, I’m glad the Chicago fans will have to wait until next year to resume they’re creative chants about Cleveland, and I’m glad that the playoff energy and buzz is going to consume Cleveland on Saturday night against Boston once again for real. I’m glad Delonte broke out some last night, because in addition to the aforementioned three, he’s gonna be key starting on Saturday as well. And I’ll be real glad when the Cavs exact revenge for their seven game series loss of two years ago, in this same second round of the playoffs. So bring on the Celtics, let’s get this thing going.
Check back later for more on the Cavs – Celtics…