There was supposed to be a party at the Q tonight, instead it was a funeral. Although it is easy to say the Cavs laid an egg, the Nets were terrific. That's why it was a blowout, the combination. In the second quarter it was a miracle the Cavs were within four points for most of the time the way the game was trending. I thought it would benefit them to get through the storm, in fact it was just the opposite, the dam broke in the third when the Nets got hotter and the Cavs got worse.
All of it is part of the larger issue, which is that the roster isn't there yet and neither is the scheme and neither is the intensity. That sort of pesky stuff always seems to show up under pressure, eh?
--The Nets didn't play this game any differently than any other time in the series, they just executed at a much, much higher level than the Cavs. While not exactly the same in technique, both teams are using the same defensive principles. The idea is to double team the star and force the ball from his hands. Obviously with Jason Kidd the Nets ball movement will be better. But their spacing tonight compared to the Cavs was so contrasting it was funny. Genuine laughter. The Nets ran pick-and-rolls with Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Mikki Moore and because of the spacing and the quickness issues. You know what it reminded me of? I mean the way the Cavs were playing the picks was different, but it was just like the Greeks undressing the Americans with a high pick-and-roll in last year's World Championships in Japan. Instead of Theodoros Papaloukas and Sofoklis Schortsanitis spinning Kirk Hinrich and Elton Brand dizzy, it was Kidd and Moore doing it to Eric Snow and Z. Mike Brown was just as slow to make adjustments as Coach K.
--The Cavs shot 33 percent on Wednesday and they're shooting 40 percent in the series (all roads?). The Nets deserve credit for having a good game plan and working their tails off to get it done. If I were Mike Brown, I think I might bring out some tapes of the Wizards series when the ball movement was good when LeBron had the ball. Not sure where that went.
--Larry Hughes likes to shoot, he always has, he always will. He's never been a good shooter, never has and never will. This is why he's not a point guard. But he's also not the guy you want taking up spot up jumpers on the back side in the best of times. That is not his game and he knows this, so he must stop being put in a position to take those shots. Against the Wizards, Sasha Pavlovic often set up on the backside and it ought to be him or Daniel Gibson over there. When he takes those shots, the Nets high-five each other, even when he makes them.
--I suspect that, based on the crowd reaction, there will be some of you who were angry at the officiating. I felt it was quite fair and balanced. The Cavs are not going to get calls going into the paint 1-on-3, no one ought to. The only moment that I thought was questionable was Bob Delaney calling the flagrant on Pavlovic's foul on Moore. He was reaching for the ball. But the Nets should've gotten some calls in the fourth quarter they didn't get.
--As for the fourth, I don't care what the stats said, that the Nets scored six points and went 1-of-15 or whatever. The Cavs were so bad on offense, seriously there were some completely scatterbrained possessions in there, the Net did not have to score. Literally. The Nets scored six points in the quarter and were only outscored by seven. Do you realize they could've dribbled the ball out and taken a 24-second violation on every possessions and still won easily? That quarter meant nothing.
--Game 6 will be a bear for the Cavs. It seems pretty easy to determine how these games are going to go by now. The game will be decided by how well the Nets shoot. They move the ball to get open jumpers from guys not named Vince Carter. If those guys make them, the Cavs are in trouble. If not, they have a great chance to win. What will happen Friday when Kidd gets his open looks? Your guess is as good as mine.
--Even though it is 3:30 a.m. now, I could not stay up to watch the Jazz-Warriors series last night. A pity. Let me ask you this, do you suppose the NBA kept moving those Warriors games later and later was because they didn't want any kids to be up to see how they play?