Friday, April 20, 2007

Game 1

As mentioned previously, the Cavaliers open up the postseason at home this Sunday. Gametime is 1230pm against the Washington Wizards.

Last year in the first round, the Cavs knocked off the Wizards in 6 games. It was a classic series, with LeBron James and Gilbert Arenas going toe-to-toe in each game. Diehard fans of both teams will not soon forget the Game 6 drama.

Leading by one point, Arenas was fouled with 15 seconds left in overtime. As Arenas stepped to the free throw line, LeBron walked past him and said "If you miss both of these, you-know-who's making the game winner." Arenas missed them both, and LeBron completed the psyche-out by whipping a perfect pass to Damon Jones, who ended Washington's season with a 3-pointer.

But this series will be nowhere nearly as dramatic. The Wizards are without Arenas and Caron Butler....and frankly, even when the pair was active, Washington wasn't as impressive as last year.

The last time Washington won a game against a team that made the playoffs, it was March 6th. Nearly two full months ago. Since that win over Toronto, the Wizards have gone 7-16. Obviously, all 7 wins are against the NBAs weakest teams.

The Cavaliers must come out and play their best, regardless of the opponent and their obvious weaknesses. And I believe that the key to this series will be Sasha Pavlovic.

Since December, Sasha's been improving at a steady pace. Here's his average points per game;

December - 1.8 ppg
January - 6.6 ppg
February - 11.2 ppg
March - 12.2 ppg
April - 13.6 ppg

It should be noted that as the year grew, so did the amount of minutes Sasha saw on the floor. But as his minutes go up, so do his productivity. Give the guy 35 minutes, he'll give you 20 points.

Clearly, the Cavaliers will go as LeBron goes. But Pavs will be tremendously important to their success, and the deeper we get into the playoffs, the more we will need to rely on him.

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