A full week without a real post, I apologize. A number of bullets about the Cavs/Pistons series, and later this weekend I’m going to want to discuss the sudden surge of interest in the San Antonio Spurs:
-Lebron James is good, very very good. Scoring 29 out of his team's last 30 points , 48 total, was no mean feat and he should be acknowledged for the offensive weapon that he is. Furthermore, he has completely undermined what I wrote about him after game 2 (“is Bron Bron playing offense like a super talented version of Eddie Jones?”). The level of difficulty on those types of shots were exactly the type of shots I accused him of not being able to convert. The ability is there, the domination is there, and I truly believe this young man has shifted into another gear during this series.
-People need to stop bashing Mike Brown as a crappy coach. 75% of coaching is not the adjustments you make in the game but the preparations you make before it. Mike Brown has a superstar who has the tools to be a good defender but often lapses and a largely immobile starting center, yet he has crafted a defensive juggernaut. He reminds me Jeff Van Gundy’s work with the Knicks in the early Alan Houston era, where he kept the Knicks defensively dominant as a team with a lineup that consisted of poor individual defenders. Mike Brown has demonstrated a immense strength in getting his team on the same page defensively, instilling the discipline needed for the team to take the Pistons machine off their offensive game. Is he poor at planning his timeouts? Yes. But this team is here largely because of the creative ways he has used his lineup. This is a team of role players, players who are good at one or two things. Brown has played to this identity, creating a team that is very good at two things (offensive rebounding and defense) and poor at everything else. Give Brown credit, he is about to take a mediocre squad to the NBA finals.
-Is Cleveland wins on Saturday, can we call it a 6 game sweep? Cleveland has outplayed Detroit in every single game, including games 1 and 2. That said, I cannot fathom Detroit not getting their game together somehow, they are too good to go out like this.
-Prince does not have the quickness to stay with Lebron. When James decided to stop taking jumpers and penetrate, Prince was going to need help. There were sequences where the Pistons went to either a zone or a hard double team at the top of the circle. Yet on the biggest play of the night, they opted for single coverage, and for some reason pulled away the help defense. Why? Flip Saunders is the opposite of Mike Brown. While Brown has created a strong man-to-man team out of spare parts, Saunders inherited one of the most talented collection of man-to-man defenders in the league and over two years has made them a team that needs a zone or a double to thrive. THEN, to compound the problem, he opts not to double when it is needed? I said this last year, and I will say it again now, Saunders is a terrible playoff coach. With the T-Wolves it took the intensity of Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell to get that team out of the first round, and he is about to lose to an inferior team yet again. He does not spark the Pistons the way that Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle did earlier in the decade. For the second year in a row the Pistons are fighting, there are divisions between coaching staff and roster, and the head coach is doing nothing to quell it. Win or lose, Saunders needs to be fired.
-I'd still take a healthy Wade over a healthy Lebron... as of right now, ask me again next spring.
-One last point. I’ve been bloggin for a bit over a month now. I’d love some feedback. If you are reading this, post a comment or two, lets get some discussions going!
EDIT: Took most of the afternoon, but I found someone who shares my feelings about Flip Saunders (http://mgoblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/flip-saunders-is-idiot.html). And while I'm pleading for people to offer comment, allow me to also ask someone, anyone, to teach this computer illiterate how to post a link. Thanks.