The Cavs didn't play very well today and still won. On the other hand, the Nets didn't play very well and nearly stole a road game less than two days after they won their previous series. The Cavs did a good job limiting Vince Carter and he didn't shoot well but had a good all-around game. On the other hand, the Nets did a pretty good job on LeBron James, who didn't shoot well but had a good all-around game. The Cavs played excellent overall defense, denying the middle and forcing lots of low percentage shots. And, ahem, so did the Nets.
My point is the Cavs and Nets are alike in many ways. Which, I think, is going to make this serious very competitive and tightly played. Even if America may just be bored waiting for the Suns-Spurs games to start.
--After the game in the locker room the players were talking about how they've won nine games in a row now. That is the longest streak of the season. More interesting, the Cavs have not lost a game in four weeks, since April 8 in Detroit. They've been building and playing with confidence for some time and it shows. Also, they've executed in late-game situations on both ends of the court. It was somewhat overlooked in the Wizards series just how well the Cavs executed in the fourth quarters. They did it again today.
--The Cavs benefited from the officials letting the teams play. Getting to the foul line is a big part of the Nets game because they want to drive so much. LeBron didn't get to the line much, either, but he didn't attack as often as Carter. The Nets are going to make it hard on LeBron at every turn, but he could do a better job of forcing the issue than he did at times. He played well overall, but he went 21 minutes without scoring at one point.
--The most important thing that happened for Sasha Pavlovic today, other than hitting his first two shots, was staying out of early foul trouble. He had to be shut down in the first quarter in three games against the Wizards and it broke his rhythm. You could see him gaining confidence as the game went on and it set him up for a great defensive finish.
--The Nets are better equipped to handle Zydrunas Ilgauskas than the Wizards because they have three seven footers. But they don't seem to have much of an answer for the versatility of Drew Gooden. He could be very valuable for the Cavs in this series.
--Now, where the Nets have an advantage is with Bostjan Nachbar. He's quite a find for Jersey and he's playing very well right now. When the Nets go small with him, he's tough to keep track of and he made more jumpers from the weakside today than the Wizards did in the whole previous series, it seems.
--I don't want to make any assumptions or tell tales outside school, but during the postgame press conference I think LeBron may've been grandstanding just a bit. He wrapped his head in a towel and was constantly coughing and sniffing and the media was lapping it up. OK, he's sick, that is obvious, but he wasn't coughing and sniffing so much once the cameras were off in the locker room, that's all I'll say. He is, the most recent Sprite commercial notwithstanding, an actor, too.
--In a playful mood after the game, Gooden was complaining that people always think if he played at Kansas with Scot Pollard and that no one remembers he was in the same class as Kirk Hinrich. By the way, Gooden calls him Curt to this day because that's what he thought his name was for the first few weeks of school. Anyway, maybe it's because after he shaved his head he started looking older. With Drew's current 1980s kick, I considered asking him about his memories playing with Danny Manning, but I let it go.