Phoenix -- So I'm on my way to dinner on Wednesday night and I was listening to the Mike D'Antoni Show on a local radio station here. One guy called asked "If you were coaching against the Suns, how would you stop them?" The coach thought for a second and said "I don't know if you can." I think he might be right, they're pretty good. The Cavs have done a pretty good job of late in ignoring the other team and playing their way, but tonight will be the ultimate test. Win or lose, pay attention to whether the Cavs get seduced by the way the Suns play. It will be telling about their development and just how good there defense we've all been raving about is for real or not.
--I know this road trip is brutal and supposedly the West is so dominant, but, sorry, it isn't what it used to be. After the Suns game, four of the games are against teams under .500 and the only winning team, the Nuggets, are currently one game over and will be without Carmelo Anthony. It won't be easy, the last four games are in five days, but if the Cavs are legit they should win a majority of those games. Again, we'll see.
--Donyell Marshall isn't really pleased his playing time has been cut, but right now Drew Gooden and Anderson Varejao are playing pretty well. So far, all those big men have kept their composure as the playing time has ebbed and flowed, this is the first time Marshall's felt the rotation strain.
--It was interesting Mike Brown used David Wesley for the first time in weeks in Sacramento. It seems he trying to find ways to keep Wesley in it mentally. Recently you could tell he was struggling to stay focused, often just joking around before, during and after games.
--The trade market is heating up, but right now I see the Cavs staying on the sidelines for a bit. They like the chemistry of the team and they don't really have an spare assets that are movable. That trade exception worth $2.1 million may be of most value but it may not reach maturity until the trading deadline. Certainly teams in the East will look to make moves to give them an edge among all the parity and perhaps that will add pressure to the Cavs.
--It was too bad Michael Redd messed up his knee when he threw down a meaningless dunk against the Cavs last week with a few seconds to go. It's never good when you suffer such an injury in a meaningless moment (Ask Ted Ginn and Tony Allen). It's the second guy who I've seen get hurt against the Cavs in such manner. The Kings' Francisco Garcia sprained his ankle when he jumped up to get a ball that got stuck on the back of the rim during a game in Cleveland last year.
--Last week in Boston, some young guys who apparently work at TD Banknorth Garden ended up on the subway platform with me after the game. The had gotten into the Cavs locker room after the team had left and taken a pizza and several items including a sweaty headband and used socks. They thought they were LeBron's, which they weren't because he tossed his headband into the crowd after the game and he wore black socks that night and these guys were swinging white socks, but who am I to them they were Hank Egan's. But I digress. Anyway, these guys were headed to New Hampshire and were desperate for a lighter, back in their car they had something they wanted to smoke, ahem. They were openly winning to trade the pizza for a lighter but only some middle-aged guys across the tracks had one. So, on the count of 3, they threw the pizza across and the guy tossed the lighter. Everybody had a hearty laugh, especially me. Those guys probably were going to wish they'd kept that pizza about an hour later if you know what I mean.