An Eye Toward Game 2

May 18th, 2008 was an awful day.  It started with promise of an upset, it resulted in an epic battle between a great player and a great team and when the dust settled Lebron James stood at the podium and found 150 different ways to say we needed to get better in just a 5 minute press conference.  Danny Ferry took the words to heart and struck a deal that brought Mo Williams to town.  As it’s played out that move took us from tier 2 to a title contender over the last few years.  Then the Magic came to town.  Mo went from “the piece” to “the goat” in two weeks.  I have to respect how his confidence has never waivered and luckily for the Cavs because it took Texas-sized stones to go up and punch that ball in Paul Pierce’s face for the first dunk of his tenure here.  And it without a doubt resurrected the Cavs from a playoff series nightmare (losing game 1 at home.)  They say each game in a playoff series takes on a life of its own.  Mo put his stamp on game 1 and obviously Lebron did as well.  Heres a few thoughts on what may transpire in Game 2:

Doc Rivers scheme…..I think we’ll see Boston adjust to Mike Brown’s adjustment.  If we come out again and put Anthony Parker on Rondo I think we’ll see Boston run a lot of pick n roll with Rondo and Ray Allen to get the matchup back that they want.  It would certainly make sense.  In Mo’s defense, keeping Rondo out of the paint has become a league wide problem.  But Mo had a heck of a time and for a half Rondo was the best player on the court.

The Enforcer…..It was a welcome sight to see the Diesel step back into his enforcer role again.  It made me think back to that Xmas Day game vs the Lakers when he was sprawling Kobe out on the floor twice a quarter.  In fact Mo put Rondo on the floor once or twice as well.  The Cavs bread and butter has always been defense but this year more specifically it was interior defense.  Shaq is a giant reason to settle for a 12 footer in the 4th quarter as opposed to going strong to the hoop.  I thought we needed to see that last series to send a message to Derrick Rose.  I guess that’s what a little bad blood will do for your psyche.

Garnett v Jamison…..At one point in the 2nd quarter I couldn’t help but think we had to get someone else on Garnett.  But looking back in the box score it took 20 shots for KG to get his 18 points.  Including a 1-5 performance in the 4th quarter so I think Jamison did a solid enough job.  He’s going to need to keep it up too because that seems to be a matchup Boston likes.  KG put up 20 shots in Game 1, tying for the most he’s put up all season.  Hopefully this doesn’t take too much away from his offensive game.  We need him to take more than 6 shots himself.  A few times it did look like KG forced him into some bad looks.  I get the feeling that if there is going to be a brawl in this series it will start with these two.

Lebron…..We only took 12 threes Saturday and Lebron took 6 of them.  This is a low amount of attempts compared to what we’ve seen recently.  Obviously Doc Rivers is trying to chase us off the line and I noticed that early in the game they were fine to let Pierce man up LBJ on his own.  It didn’t bite them because Lebron missed some bunnies and was a bit tentative due to the elbow.  It should be interesting to see how Rivers handles this once Lebron gets 3-4 hoops in a row.  As long as Lebron stays aggressive the drive and kick will be there and our shooters will have plenty of wide open looks from long range.

JJ…..I wanted Z back as much as anyone but if he’s not hitting from 18 ft at this point in his career he’s not helping us.  I wish I was wrong but I fear I’m not.  At one point he was back-pedaling straight backwards as Rondo was charging at him in the paint.  That was his show on the pick n roll.  The bottom line is that there’s no substitute for god given athleticism and JJ has it.  He has to get minutes.  Plain and simple.  Originally I thought JJ was helpless if he wasn’t on the floor with Lebron but he’s developed some chemistry with Delonte.  They showed that a few times against Boston in the regular season. It’s nice to have two guys on the court that can attack the rim while Lebron rests.

We’ll see how it all plays out in game 2.  My guess is that the Cavs will come out a little stronger but it will be close the whole 1st half.  In the third quarter we’ll open up some breathing room and someone like Twan, Mo or West will catch fire in the 4th quarter and blow the game wide open.  My prediction, Cavs 109-Boston 92.

 

 

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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