Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Game 3 Notes

-Playing the Empire’s theme from Star Wars when the Spurs were introduced? Brilliant. You could tell some of the Spurs were having trouble keeping a straight face… Matt Bonner just broke up laughing.

-The Cavs tried to be classy with the benching of Larry Hughes, instead it came off as disingenuous. By claiming that the lineup change was due entirely to Hughes’ decision, they forced it to make it seem like his foot was worse than it was. Now he can’t play, he’s stuck in a suit. I think all parties would have been happier if the Cavs had been up front about the necessary lineup change, they could have utilized Hughes for a few minutes here and there, which he is definitely good for.

-Other than the fact that Gibson is actually starting, the biggest defensive change for the Cavs is that Gibson seems to be going over screens while guarding Parker. Now, traditioanlly, you go over screens on jump shooters and under on players looking to penetrate, going under usually gives a better angle to cut off the dribble. However, the Cavs are looking to trap off the pick and roll, and by sending Gibson over the screens they allow the trap to come more quickly. However, they are also making Gibson work harder, and setting themselves up for a couple of hand-check calls.

-Its midway into the first and the Cavs are doing a much better job on the glass, especially on the offensive end. This is the one area where they have the advantage over San Antonio and if they can keep it up they have a chance to win. Offensive rebounds give the Cavs extra possessions, every rebound represents another chance to get a good shot. Because the Spurs are so great at forcing teams into missed shots, the Cavs need all the chances they can get. The ability to get offensive rebounds is always important for the Cavs, its all the more important against a team like the Spurs

-If Tony Parker wins Finals MVP, are we going to be subjected to a David Stern speech about how this truly signifies the international, global nature of the NBA? Ten bucks says we will be. At least its better than his various verbal hand jobs to Michael Jordan during the 1997-1998 season.

-This game is playing right into the Cavs’s hands. A forty point half for both teams? What more could they ask for? Unfortunately, the Spurs might just be the best slow tempo team in the league (it just happens that they can play fast too). Still, the Cavs are outplaying San Antonio on both ends, the Spurs need to get it together because the Cavs are more than capable of stealing this game away from them.

-Bruce Bowen makes for a good interview. Its too bad he gets such a bad rep for his style of play. But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all great on-ball defenders utilize tricks and play ‘dirty’ sometimes. Jordan did it, Kobe does it, I do it… the list goes on.

-Wow, I didn't update once in the second half, I was just that riveted. Truth be told, other than the finish, which was fun, this was pretty crappy basketball. The Cavs played fairly well at times, but their offense is just so stagnant you wouldn’t notices. Meanwhile the Spurs didn’t help out the game’s aesthetic quality by playing down to the level of competition. I’d rather watch one team play well in a blow out than this, does anyone not agree?

-Terrible no-call at the end there. It didn’t exactly cost the Cavs the game, but there’s a possibility it might have (Van Gundy says James would have gotten the continuation but I just can’t imagine that). People are going to be talking about this for days, and it will only take away from the Spurs’ eventual victory.

-Can we just forgo handing out MVP? After a game like this who deserves it?

-Props to the Cavs front line tonight for the job the did on Duncan and on help defense in general. Bigger props to Sasha Pavlovich for his amazing job on Manu tonight. If the Cavs have a future, it will be through his development as the Pippen to Lebron’s Jordan (and to Varejao’s Horace Grant). Mark my words, if this team is contending in 4 years its because these two international players have lived up to their talent.

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