It is finally Playoff time. Its time to “Rise Up” or whatever else the Cavaliers decide to put on those free t-shirts this year (apparently the new slogan is “All Together”)! This season has been enjoyable (except for the last 4 games, which will be addressed at the end of this post), but the whole time is has been anti-climactic as we have all been waiting for the Playoffs to arrive. Last season we truly enjoyed the Cavaliers dominance in the regular season, winning 66 games, including 39 at home. Then we watched it all go down the drain as we lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Magic. This year we all understood that while the #1 overall seed was important, it was not the main goal of winning the Championship. This team and city have been single minded all year waiting for mid-April and the real season to begin. Well it is here. And looking ahead to the playoffs, we have a very experienced team.
The following is a list of our playoff roster and their career playoff games, playoff appearances and the furthest they have reached in the playoffs coming into this year:
Shaquille O’Neal: 203 games, 15 appearances, Won Four NBA Championships
Zydrunas Ilgauskas: 64 games, 5 appearances, Lost in the NBA Finals
LeBron James: 60 games, 4 appearances, Lost in the NBA Finals
Anderson Varejao: 60 games, 4 appearances, Lost in the NBA Finals
Daniel Gibson: 45 games, 3 appearances, Lost in the NBA Finals
Delonte West: 34 games, 3 appearances, Lost in the Conference Finals
Antawn Jamison: 31 games, 5 appearances, Lost in the Conference Semifinals
Leon Powe: 25 games, 2 appearances, Won an NBA Championship
Mo Williams: 19 games, 2 appearances, Lost in the Conference Finals
Anthony Parker: 11 games, 2 appearances, Lost in the First Round
Jamario Moon: 8 games, 2 appearances, Lost in the First Round
Danny Green: 0 games
J.J. Hickson: 0 games
Sebastian Telfair: 0 games
Jawad Williams: 0 games
That is a combined 560 games, 47 appearances, 5 NBA Championships and 6 players who have NBA Finals experience. That is a big advantage, as these guys have been there and done that. The only two players with little experience who will get significant minutes are Anthony Parker and J.J. Hickson. Hickson was in street clothes with a back injury during last seasons playoff run, and Parker has never been on an NBA team this good. Parker does have Euroleague Playoff experience though, winning three championships including one Euroleague Finals MVP in 2004. There are two players that this playoff run will heavily rely on, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal. They have both proven time and time again that they will thrive in the higher pressure of the Playoffs. LeBron single-handedly led an upset of the #1 seed Detroit Pistons in 2007 (including that memorable 48 point performance in game 5 at Detroit) and averaged 35.3 points last season during the playoffs when no one else on the team was stepping up to lend him a hand. Shaquille O’Neal is a 3 time NBA Finals MVP, which speaks volumes on its own. Both of these players have outstanding career averages in the regular season, and both exceed their regular season numbers in the playoffs:
Career Regular Season: 27.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.0 apg
Career Playoffs: 29.4 ppg (+1.6), 8.3 rpg (+1.3), 7.3 apg (+0.3)
Career Regular Season: 24.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.6 apg
Career Playoffs: 25.2 ppg (+1.1), 12.1 rpg (+1.1), 2.8 apg (+0.2)
An interesting statistic is that while both players are increasing their scoring, they are also increasing their assists per game as well. LeBron will allow his teammates to do their thing and be involved, but come crunch time, he will do what he has to do for us to win the game. Shaquille O’Neal, from the day he arrived in Cleveland, has been saying that he is here for the playoffs and he will be ready and in shape (“get a ring for the King” has been his motto). This will be a big key, as he will be asked to log more minutes in these games which are played at a much slower pace, and where each possession is very important. It has been reported that he has lost 20 pounds while he has been down with the thumb injury, this will help immensely. It will take a bit for him to get into game shape, and hopefully he can do it in the first round, as the Boston Celtics are the #4 seed and should be waiting for us in the second round.
Its time to sit back and enjoy as the real season has begun. Hopefully in two months we will all be partying on Euclid Avenue!!!!
Cavs Statistical History:
This week we wrap up the season with a look at milestone statistics put up by Cavalier players this season:
LeBron James led the Cavaliers in:
Minutes Played (2,966)
Minutes per Game (39.0) – Tied for 9th Best in Cavalier history
FG Made (768) – 8th Best in Cavalier History
FG Attempted (1,528) – 10th Best in Cavalier History
3FG Attempted (387) – 5th Best in Cavalier History
FT Made (593) – 3rd Best in Cavalier History
FT Attempted (773) – 2nd Best in Cavalier History
Assists (651) – 7th Best in Cavalier History
Assists per Game (8.57) – 5th Best in Cavalier History
Steals per Game (1.64)
Points (2,258) – 3rd Best in Cavalier History
Points per Game (29.7) – 3rd Best in Cavalier History
Mo Williams led the Cavaliers in:
3FG Made (159) – 3rd Best in Cavalier History
FT Percentage (.894) – 7th Best in Cavalier History
Shaquille O’Neal led the Cavaliers in:
Blocks per Game (1.17)
Anderson Varejao led the Cavaliers in:
FG Percentage (.572)*
Rebounds per Game (7.61)
Daniel Gibson led the Cavaliers in:
3FG Percentage (.477) – 3rd Best in Cavalier History
J.J. Hickson and Anthony Parker led the Cavaliers in:
Games Played (81)
Additionally, the following players were not team leaders but still put up a top-10 season in Cavalier History:
LeBron James (129 3FG Made) 10th Best in Cavalier History
J.J. Hickson (.554 FG Percentage) 4th Best in Cavalier History *
Mo Williams (371 3FG Attempted) Tied for 9th Best in Cavalier History
*Note Anderson Varejao did not have the required 500 FG Attempts to Qualify for the Top Ten list, but his 467 Attempts qualify him for the team lead.
The following is a list of active players currently ranked in the Top Ten in Cavaliers Career History:
Points per Game: 1. LeBron James (27.8), 9. Mo Williams (16.9)
Assists per Game: 5. LeBron James (6.95)
Points: 1. LeBron James (15,251), 2. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (10,616)
Rebounds: 1. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (5,904), 4. LeBron James (3,861), 10. Anderson Varejao (2,595)
Assists: 2. LeBron James (3,810)
Steals per Game: 3. LeBron James (1.74)
Blocks per Game: 5. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (1.65)
Games Played: 1. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (771), 7. LeBron James (548)
Steals: 1. LeBron James (955)
Blocks: 1. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (1,269), 4. LeBron James (482), 10. Anderson Varejao
Minutes Played: 1. LeBron James (22,109), 2. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (21,824)
Field Goal Percentage: 6. Anderson Varejao (.518)
Three Point Percentage: 2. Mo Williams (.432), 3. Daniel Gibson (.424), 5. Anthony Parker (.414)
Field Goals Made: 1. LeBron James (5,415), 4. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (4,045)
Field Goals Attempted: 1. LeBron James (11,403), 4. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (8,523)
Three Pointers Made: 2. LeBron James (771), 6. Daniel Gibson (349), 8. Mo Williams
Three Pointers Attempted: 1. LeBron James (2,344), 7. Daniel Gibson (724), 9. Mo Williams (791)
Free Throws Made: 1. LeBron James (3,650), 3. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (2,495)
Free Throws Attempted: 1. LeBron James (4,917), 3. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (3,197)
Coaching Wins: 3. Mike Brown (272)
Coaching Win Percentage: 1. Mike Brown (.663)
Games Coached: 4. Mike Brown (410)
The Cavaliers have won 127 games over the last two seasons. This is by far the team record (old record was 111). This is also tied for the 9th best two season stretch in NBA History:
1. 141 Chicago Bulls (1995-96 & 1996-97) *2 Championships
2. 131 Chicago Bulls (1996-97 & 1997-98) *2 Championships
3. 130 Boston Celtics (1984-85 & 1985-86) *1 Championship
130 Philadelphia 76ers (1966-67 & 1967-68) *1 Championship
5. 129 Los Angeles Lakers (1971-72 & 1972-73) *1Championship
129 Milwaukee Bucks (1970-71 & 1971-72) *1 Championship
7. 128 Boston Celtics (2007-08 & 2008-09) *1 Championship
128 Chicago Bulls (1990-91 & 1991-92) * 2 Championships
9. 127 Cleveland Cavaliers (2008-09 & 2009-10) *0 Championships
127 Dallas Mavericks (2005-06 & 2006-07) *0 Championships
127 Los Angeles Lakers (1986-87 & 1987-88) *2 Championships
127 Los Angeles Lakers (1985-86 & 1986-87) *1 Championship
127 Philadelphia 76ers (1982-83 & 1983-84) *1 Championship
As you can see in the list above, all of these teams except for the 2005-06 & 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks won at least one championship in these two year spans. The Cavaliers fate in the 2009-10 season has yet to be determined, so they can either join the Mavericks on the no championship list, or they can join the other 11 teams with at least one championship. Let’s hope they join the latter!
LeBron James finished 2nd in the NBA in Points Scored for the 6th consecutive time. He has never led the league despite leading the NBA in Points per Game in 2007-08 (30.0).
This will be the first time in LeBron James’s career that he has not played 3,000 minutes in the regular season, finishing with a career low 2,966 minutes.
Mo Williams has made 342 three pointers over the last two seasons. That is by far the best two season total in Cavalier History. The previous best was 267 from Wesley Person over the 1997-98 & 1998-99 seasons.
LeBron James joined Oscar Robertson (7 times) and Tiny Archibald (1 time) as the only players in NBA history to average at least 29 points and 8.5 assists per game in a season.
LeBron James is one of 40 players in NBA History with over 3,800 assists and over 3,800 rebounds. Additionally, with his per game averages in Rebounds and Assists both at 7.0, LeBron joins Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only three players in NBA History with those averages.
Since LeBron James has joined the league in 2003-04, he has played in 548 out of a possible 574 games. The 548 games played ranks 5th over that span in the NBA. The only players to appear in more games over this span are Andre Miller, Derek Fisher, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki. Samuel Dalembert is tied with James for 5th place with 548.
LeBron James (finished 2nd)
Final: 76 games, 2258 points, 29.71 PPG (0.00 PPG change)
Last week: Did not play in any games
Previous: 76 games, 2258 points, 29.71 PPG
Kevin Durant (finished 1st)
Current: 82 games, 2472 points, 30.15 PPG (+0.20 PPG change)
Last Week: 4 games, 136 points, 34.0 PPG
Previous: 78 games, 2336 points, 29.95 PPG
Durant ended the season with 314 points over his last 9 games (34.9 ppg), to move his average from 29.56 to 30.15 and easily beat LeBron.
My rant regarding the way we ended the Season:
I would like to take some time this week to get some things off my chest regarding the past few games where we have rested players and lost 4 in a row. First off, I would like to make sure that the Indiana Pacers know that they did not beat the Cavaliers. They beat our JV team. I was watching the game (yes I actually watched this game) and the Pacers were celebrating and carrying on like they were the NY Jets upsetting the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Hello Pacers, we did not play LeBron, Shaq, Mo and Antawn. You did not beat us. Second, I fell very strongly that a four game losing streak is never a good thing. I do not like teams coming into the Q and winning. The Q is our house and although I am a huge Nike honk, I will use the Under Armor motto of “we must protect this house”. We have a huge advantage at home and we need to keep it. We do not want the likes of Orlando or the Lakers thinking they can come into the Q and beat us. Third, although I do not think the Bulls will beat us in a seven game series, they are a much better team than the Raptors, and we had a chance to basically eliminate them from the playoffs but chose not to play LeBron and we lost to them. This could come back to haunt us. The Bulls were expected to roll over and play dead for the Celtics last year and they ended up giving them all they could handle for an epic seven game series. This series had lasting effect for the Celtics as they were worn out and lost to the Magic in the next round. The Bulls also have an elite point guard in Derrick Rose who will give us problems. We (and when I say we, I mean Mo Williams) have had problems with quick and aggressive point guards all season. Rose will not be an easy man to defend and he is the type of player who can single handedly rise to the occasion and win a game or two by himself. The Raptors do not have this type of player or point guard. Fourth, the Cavaliers owe it to the fans and city of Cleveland to not rest their guys at home. The Cavaliers fans have faithfully sold out every game this year and are on a 70+ game sellout streak. We deserve to at least see a cameo appearance by LeBron and the rest of the healthy guys. I could care less if some fans in Atlanta are mad because they didn’t get to see LeBron play, but the fans of Cleveland deserve this.
That is all for now. I fully expect all my sour grapes from the end of the season to be erased as the Cavs march forward in the playoffs. Like I said before, when we are all partying on Euclid Avenue later this summer, no one will remember this four game losing streak!!