Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sasha saves the game!

I make no secret of the fact that I'm a fan of Sasha Pavlovic. He's a big key to our success, but he hasn't had a great run in the playoffs. None of that matters today.

With less than 2 minutes to play, Sasha had the ball stolen away and perennial superstar Jason Kidd headed towards the basket without a Cavalier in front of him. Sasha trailed closely behind and played the ball perfectly, rising above the rim and blocking Kidd's shot milliseconds after it left his hand. An easy layup that would have brought the Nets to within two points was swatted out of bounds, and New Jersey turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.

That 2-point denial was what it took to win the game. Instead of flinging desperation threes at the buzzer, New Jersey could have gone for a 10-foot jump shot as the seconds ticked away.

Sasha will be the storyline in the paper tomorrow, but I've also got to point out one more important item;

The Cavaliers won today because they swept Washington.

Yes, you read that right. A six-day rest period was all the difference, especially because Jersey was playing on 36 hours rest.

The Nets went 4-16 over the first 9 minutes of the 4th quarter. Tired legs gave way to a fresh squad wearing wine and gold. Vince Carter couldn't hit his late shots (7-23 on the day), and Richard Jefferson didn't take enough shots at all.

The Cavs had the hustle in them to race down rebounds all day (three players had double-digit rebounds), and the Nets were just plain tired.

And on a day when the Cavaliers had their worst shooting performance of the playoffs, the fresh legs gave them offensive rebounds, which led to second-chance points.

Ironically, we wouldn't have won this game without the six days rest. We wouldn't have had the 6 days rest if we hadn't played an injury-plagued Washington in the first round. And we wouldn't have played Washington in the first round if it hadn't been for New Jersey knocking off Chicago on the final game of the regular season.

Is that what they call the circle of life?

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

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