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All those tattoos prepared him for this

By admin Published: May 31, 2007

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- So I was wrong guessing Larry Hughes was taking a handful of Advil and limping around out there for Game 5.  I asked him about the foot this morning at shootaround at the lovely Palace of Auburn Hills and he told me he's getting injections of Cortisone and Novocaine so he can limp out there and he's planning on doing it again tonight.

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This thing just got serious

By admin Published: May 30, 2007

When the Eastern Conference Finals started last week I was in the managed expectations and perspective business.  No matter what happened to the Cavs, it would benefit them, I said.  Even in a conversation I had with general manager Danny Ferry a day after Game 2 and he was still down from the near miss, I was telling him what he already knew, that the early troubles would build the foundation for success in the future.  He agreed through gritted teeth, but quickly pointed out he still felt his team could win this now.  I was not sure it would be this immediate.  What's happening now is still benefiting them a great deal, but now it surely seems they've got a real good chance to win this series.

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LeBron will always have this one

By admin Published: May 28, 2007

No matter what happens for the rest of this conference final series, and the possibilities are endless in either direction, there were some memories made in the Cavs win in Game 3.  You can count on seeing LeBron James' dunk over Rasheed Wallace in the fourth quarter for years, I mean years.  This was the kind of performance needed from LeBron and will be needed again and again.  Whether or not he can or will do it yet to be seen, it seemed like he and the Cavs just simply made a lot of shots.  At least he showed he can win a game at these stakes, which at this juncture in time, was the most important thing for him to do.

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Doing things the hard way

By admin Published: May 25, 2007

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- The difference between the Cavs and the Pistons in this series so far is very thin.  But there's no doubt Detroit has more moxie.  They play with more poise and confidence and they are a more complete team and it shows up in the final score.  For the Cavs, they are just a very tough team to beat.  That would not have changed had the Cavs won Game 2, beating Detroit four times in seven games is just as daunting as beating them four in five in all honesty.

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The Cavs win the lottery, sort of

By admin Published: May 23, 2007

This is a day late, my focus being on the conference finals and all, but it's still worth pointing out.  The Cavs made out pretty fairly after the draft lottery last night in Jersey.  First off, the Bulls (via the Knicks) did not move up.  Had they landed Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, obviously, they very well may have become huge championship threats next season.  At No. 9, they are probably outside the zone where they can land an immediate impact player.  That was probably the facet of the lottery the Cavs organization was keeping the closest eye on.

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Class is in session

By admin Published: May 22, 2007

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- The details were different, but the Cavs' 79-76 loss Monday at the Palace has been played so many times before.  Yes, the LeBron James' shot/pass decision on the last play will get the most attention.  It will here, too, in a moment.  But frankly, holding the Pistons to 79 points has to be enough to win.  If it's not, then you're not going to beat them.  The Cavs' offense is not equipped, which has been the case for months now, and it will continue to be obvious under pressure.  The defense and rebounding can only carry so much burden.  You saw the breaking point in Game 1.

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There will be pain. Now what about gain?

By admin Published: May 21, 2007

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- You need to prepare your living room.  Move the valuable glass stuff, put the remote on a short leash so it can't hit the screen, send the dogs and cats out of the room.  If you're a Cavs fan, the Pistons are going to make you yell and steam about your team.  Take it like an educated fan.

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Moving onward and upward

By admin Published: May 19, 2007

East Rutherford, NJ -- A few minutes after the game tonight, which was probably only the Cavs biggest win in 15 years, a felt a hand on my shoulder in the interview room.  It was Dan Gilbert.  He leaned down and whispered in my ear:

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This is why you shouldn't gamble

By admin Published: May 17, 2007

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.

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Defending and Offending

By admin Published: May 15, 2007

East Rutherford, NJ -- In theory, the Cavs-Nets affair became a series when the Nets beat the Cavs in Game 3.  In reality, this became a playoff series tonight in the third quarter when Mikki Moore dropped Sasha Pavlovic on a drive to the basket.  It was a seminal moment, when the Cavs got angry and matched the Nets' intensity.  It made the difference in their Game 4 victory.

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A trendy Game 3 review

By admin Published: May 13, 2007

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.

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All-NBA First Team: messed up

By admin Published: May 11, 2007

This was dispatched to me on April 14 by the NBA office as part of my All-NBA team vote:

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The wins keep on coming

By admin Published: May 9, 2007

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.

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The start of a gritty series

By admin Published: May 6, 2007

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.

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Cavs gut one out, 81-77

By admin Published: May 6, 2007

--Make no mistake, the Cavs won this game with defense.  This is a Mike Brown special.  The Cavs held the Nets to 6-of-19 shooting in the fourth quarter and 37 percent for the game.  Vince Carter was just 7-of-23, Jason Kidd was 2-of-11
--Much credit goes to LeBron James for the drive with 19 seconds left.  The Cavs ran a high screen with Larry Hughes and James attacked.  This is the way to play and when a player like him can make such a huge difference in the game, he did not settle.  Plus it was a good call by Brown as well.
--LeBron then made a big-time defensive play with the block on Bostjan Nachbar that basically ended the Nets chances.
--Sasha Pavlovic was truly the X-factor in this game.  In the first half it was his offense, down the stretch he did a great job on defense.  He really held his own and of course had the massive block shot on Kidd that was an emotional play and save two huge points.
--Drew Gooden's energy play was big throughout the second half.  His influence on the playoff games has been greater than I would've guess two weeks ago.  He had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

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Rough and tough, tied at 59-59 after 3

By admin Published: May 6, 2007

--The Nets aren't doing anything special, but LeBron hasn't been a major factor.  They are bringing help but LeBron hasn't deep posted or driven much at all.  You can double him 25 feet from the hoop without feeling much pain defensively.  He went 21 minutes of court time between baskets.  He's gotten to the line just once, right at the end of the quarter, which is stunning.  The goal wouldn't be to have LeBron force action, if there are plays that set up his teammates.  But he's not being the offensive force he could be and it's hurting the cause.
--On the other hand, Vince Carter is just 7-of-19 and the Nets are shooting just 39 percent.  The star that gets it going may indeed lead his team to victory.
--Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden's hot shooting days appear to be over, they are a combined 8-of-21.  Much of this is because the Nets are keeping close contact, but some of it is just missing shots.  Also, the Cavs have had no success running side pick-and-rolls with James and Ilgauskas.  The Cavs had just six points in the paint in the third quarter and they are shooting just 38 percent for the game.  In addition, the Cavs have just four bench points.
--The Cavs are picking up lots of offense rebounds but kicking them out instead of going up many times.  They have a significant edge in rebounds, but the Nets have just as many second-chance points.
--Jason Kidd is just 1-of-8 shooting, Richard Jefferson had just nine points.  Both positives for the Cavs.

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Halftime, Cavs by 2

By admin Published: May 6, 2007

--The game is being played at the Cavs pace with the score 43-41, the Nets can win a game like this but would prefer to run a little more.  Still both teams have things to be happy and upset about.
--The Nets are playing the same style the Wizards did last series, doubling or tripling LeBron James and he's giving it up.  Right now it is Sasha Pavlovic and Larry Hughes who are taking advantage because the Nets are helping with guards in the zone.  The Wizards helped with bigs, which is why Ilgauskas and Gooden were always open.  Of course making Sasha and Hughes beat you is a prudent play over the long haul.  LeBron didn't score in the second quarter, which the Nets are probably very pleased about.
--After committing just three turnovers in the first quarter, the Nets gave it away seven times in the second, which got the Cavs out and running more.  The Cavs scored 11 points off those TOs, it is why they are leading.
--Early in the quarter you see how fast Vince Carter can change a game.  He made three in a row and it kicked off a 13-2 run.  In the first half he was 6-of-15 for 15 points.  This is acceptable, the Cavs will live with that.  It also benefits that the officials are letting them play so Carter has only gotten to the line once.  More important for the Cavs, Richard Jefferson scored just five points on three shots.  He is the guy that must be held down from the Cavs perspective.
--LeBron James only went to the basket in the half court once and he got an offensive foul.  As a team the Cavs got to foul line just twice, which isn't their game.  Also, Z and Drew were not factors in the second quarter.  What the Cavs are happy about is they are shooting just 38 percent yet are ahead in the game.  This is because the Nets are shooting just 42 percent and are 2-of-10 on 3-pointers.  The Nets will make some treys.  Now, will the Cavs run better offense and improve that percentage.

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One quarter down, Cavs up 23-20

By admin Published: May 6, 2007

--After Mikki Moore scored three quick baskets, Mike Brown switched Zydrunas Ilgauskas to him instead of Drew Gooden.  Still, it appears Gooden was following a game plan by double-teaming Vince Carter and Jason Kidd off pick-and-rolls when Moore got free when Gooden didn't get back.  Z has also come across to double on Carter in the post a little bit.
--It is obvious the Cavs are going to help on the "big 3" outside and live with entry passes into the weaker interior Nets scorers.  Those guys are going to get easy baskets from time to time.
--The Nets are switching back and forth between zone and man-to-man, which the Cavs are still trying to figure out.  When they go zone, LeBron has been trying to throw passes to cutters in the lane.  LeBron has not yet posted Richard Jefferson up yet, perhaps that is coming.
--Sasha Pavlovic has two early turnovers and has been burned by Carter already.  However, his driving hoop and that 3-pointer probably did a world of good for his confidence.  He's just going to struggle at times, but he makes up for it by getting going offensively.
--The Cavs didn't shoot all that well in the first quarter, just 41 percent.  But by denying drives with their pick and roll coverage and help, the Nets took a boatload of jumpers and only shot 39 percent.  Vince Carter was just 2-of-7 shooting because he's settled for jumpers mostly.  He'll make those when he gets hot, but that's what the Cavs want.
--LeBron had six rebounds in the quarter, but the teams were mostly even.  This is an area the Cavs need to win.  Carter and Kidd both had four each.  Pavlovic and Larry Hughes had zero.  That trend can't continue.

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Second round begins

By admin Published: May 6, 2007

Here live at the Q, where there is a very late arriving crowd.  A couple of notes to pass along before this game starts.

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Scouting the Nets

By admin Published: May 4, 2007

Finally it is known for sure the Cavs will get the New Jersey Nets in the second round.  Although Game 6 tonight was much tighter than I thought.  The Raptors died hard. 

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The other series is dragging, eh

By admin Published: May 2, 2007

Toronto -- So I busted tail up here to T.O. after the Cavs took care of business in the lower 48 to watch what I thought was going to be a closeout game last night between the Raptors and Nets.  Turned out the Raps weren't quite yet ready to go, and they barely held off the Nets.  That actually helps the Cavs in the short run, now whomever they play will probably have just one day to travel and get some sort of preparation for the Cavs.  If the Nets win Friday it will probably be a Sunday afternoon game in Cleveland, which means Jersey won't even get a shootaround in Cleveland to get comfortable.

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Don't take it for granted

By admin Published: May 1, 2007

Washington -- It may have seemed routine and, all things considered, easy for the Cavs to dispatch the Wizards in four games.  There was franchise history made tonight.  The Cavs had never swept a series, they'd never even won back-to-back road playoff games before.  This is just the second time in franchise history the Cavs have won at least one playoff series in back-to-back years.  In other words, Cavs fans, this doesn't happen very often.  Might be a good idea to enjoy it for a minute or two.

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