East Rutherford, NJ -- It was inevitable that the Nets Big 3 would get things going together in this series with the Cavs, and they certainly did so in the Game 3 victory. Nobody thought this series was going to be a sweep either way. While I still think it will be tough for the Nets to sustain that level of play to win four of five games, this could very much go either way.
--There are a couple of things not trending well for the Cavs. First off, they are not passing the ball nearly as well as they were in the Washington series. As a result, they are getting few good shots and making fewer shots. The Nets have a lot to do with this, but all Jersey is doing is following the book of forcing the ball out of LeBron James' hands and letting the lessor players decide the game. The Cavs are shooting just 42 percent in this series.
--Secondly, the Cavs' defense is allowing a lot of open shots and very high percentages, 50 percent in the last two games. They are just freely allowing Jason Kidd to shot from the outside. I realize that giving him space is the smart play because you don't want him driving, but how many wide open 3s will be allowed when he's making 75 percent of them? Richard Jefferson is also shooting 52 percent in the series. Much of that is Kidd getting him the ball in position, there's no doubt he's a master at it. He's a true Hall of Famer. But, as the Cavs will point out, he's not a Hall of Fame shooter.
--All that said, I believe a lot of things have been going in the Nets favor over the last several games on offense. They are making a lot of shots. Perhaps the Cavs can survive that if LeBron is into the game and the Cavs are getting extra possessions with offensive rebounds. But that didn't happen in Game 3 because the Cavs and LeBron played passive.
--I asked Mike Brown about the defense at practice today. Usually he sees defensive flaws when they aren't there. Today he said he was OK with the effort and said the team has to live with Kidd and Jefferson getting those shots. So I guess you shouldn't expect any changes.
--Had I been live blogging yesterday's game, I would've told you the Cavs were in great position at the half, when they had a 26-12 edge in points in the paint. The teams ended up tied in that category and the Cavs had a grand total of 2 in the fourth quarter. You know how much I hate the jump shot and that's all the Cavs took in the fourth, which that stat shows. Also the Nets 56 percent shooting in the second half illustrated how more willing they were to get better shots.
--At practice today at John Jay College in New York, there was a banner off a small balcony that read: "The Doghouse." Apparently that's what the home of the Bloodhounds (it's a criminal justice school, get it?) is called. One reporter, who shall not be named, asked if that was where Damon Jones would be practicing. It was funny, but honestly I don't see Damon as being in Brown's doghouse, he was a victim of the Cavs going in another direction. Same for Donyell Marshall, who is still grumpy about losing much of his playing time. I asked Donyell about whether he'd play tomorrow (because he's got a sprained left ankle) and he and Scot Pollard both laughed. Pollard then said: "It has very little to do with his ankle." While the Cavs in general have almost no problems in the locker room, there's no doubt there's an under current of angry veterans upset about playing time. They know enough not to make major waves, but Donyell and others get their digs in every now and then. It won't happen publicly, but expect Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble to ask Danny Ferry for trades in the offseason. As for Pollard, even if he doesn't retire he probably won't be back. Then again, having veterans who believe they are capable and aren't playing is a common thread across all sports.
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