Before tonight's, well considering I'm getting to this at 2 a.m., last night's game, I told a handful of people I thought the Nets would win Game 2. I heard some of the things the Nets said they planned to improve on -- especially their offensive ball movement -- and thought they might have a chance to get the Cavs. Actually, it was the inverse, the Nets did a lot right and still couldn't overcome the Cavs in Game 2.
--The Nets' ball movement was excellent, they really beat the Cavs rotations a bunch and it got them open shots. Open shots that they made. I know everyone, especially the New York media, will make such a big deal about Vince Carter's struggles. But Carter distributed very well, he had seven assists, and his teammates were awesome at times. At one point in the third quarter, Mikki Moore, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson were a combined 16-of-18 shooting and most of those were jumpers. I mean, wow, man.
--Of course, this was totally overcome by the Cavs offensive rebounding. While I thought too much was made of the offensive rebounding differential (20-9) in Game 1 -- both teams were virtually tied in second-chance points -- it was almost doubly effective than numbers (19-3) showed the in Game 2. The Cavs got 20 more shots, which everyone will point out. However, the Cavs also took eight more free throws (shots don't count in stats when a player is fouled) and committed eight fewer turnovers. So that overall possession differential is gargantuan. In fact, it was amazing the Nets only lost by 10. It shows just how well they played. Do you know how hard it is to shoot 52 percent in an NBA game and only score 92 points? Well, it's hard.
--LeBron James was great and he's been great for almost every game in these playoffs. I'm not writing any more about it now, other than to say the chemistry in the fourth quarter on offense has been huge. The movement away from the ball has dramatically improved.
--Sasha Pavlovic's best defensive job has been when Carter has attempted to drive to the baseline. The way the Cavs play, he will always have help when Carter goes to the middle. Sasha has been just quick enough to cut Carter off numerous times, especially tonight. Which is why Carter ended up taking so many jumpers from the baseline tonight. By the way, the next 72 hours hold the potential for Sasha hitting rock star status.
--Larry Hughes is shooting 40 percent in the six playoff games. All roads...
--A few years back Buster Olney, now with ESPN but then of the New York Times, kept track of how many bats Yankees closer Mariano Rivera broke during a season. I thought that was super cool (in a nerdy beat writer sort of way), so every year I've been on the Cavs beat I tried to keep my own obscure stat. This year I tracked Anderson Varejao's charges taken (78 in the regular season, two so far in the playoffs) because it's not an official stat. If I were to cover the Nets, though, I think I would keep track of the amount of games when Carter goes to a limp. So far in this series it's 2.
--Want to know what was the Cavs' the biggest offensive rebound of the night? When Sasha tracked down his missed 3-pointer with 50 seconds left. He took that 3 with like 16 seconds on the shot clock and the Cavs up 7. Not so big for the team as for Sasha himself. Mike Brown might've ordered lashes.
--Tonight was the first night I thought the atmosphere at the Q reached last year's levels. It was very loud in the second half.
Time for bed, three off days now to digest more...
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