Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's all about adjustments

OK, so that was ugly in Game 1. We had ourselves a back-and-forth battle going on for a while, but the Spurs experience (and overall greatness) took over the game in a 6-10 minute span and put enough distance between the teams to win the game.

San Antonio opened up the game on fire, making several great plays in a row, but the Cavaliers stayed with them, almost play for play. We had ourselves a game, it looked like, but we needed to control our defense better. We did, and we went into halftime only down by five.

The Spurs did the same thing opening up the second half, but this time, we didn't match their effort. They pulled away and by the time we went on our own run, there wasn't enough time left on the clock.

That's the nice way of putting it.

What I saw Thursday night was a Cavaliers team play their worst game in a long time.....and they only lost by 9 points.

- LeBron missed his first 8 shots and ended up 25% from the floor.
- Z scored only 2 points, was a no-show on the glass, and missed 7 of his 8 FG attempts.
- Drew Gooden was awful on defense, leaving his post numerous times and allowing easy inside baskets.
- Sasha Pavlovic tried to do things out of his range. Driving inside and trying wild shots against this team will not fly.
- Larry Hughes tried so hard to play defense that he forgot about his offense. If we're going to have that, we should put Eric Snow in the starting lineup. Snow's defense is incredible, and if we're leaving the offense on the backburner, why not Snow?

With all this from their starting five, you would expect to lose to the Spurs by more than nine....but this is why I'm hopeful. We played bad, and we were within striking range in the end.

I'm optimistic about the Cavaliers chances, but they have GOT to make several key adjustments for Game 2, or this series could get away from us before we even see the comforts of Quicken Loans Arena.

I know we will do better in Game 2, especially LeBron. Take a look at Game 1 play this year for LBJ;

Against Washington - James tweaked his ankle and scored "only" 23 points, mostly in the second half as Cleveland pulled away late.
Against New Jersey - James shot only 8-21 from the floor.
Against Detroit - James scored only 10 points, shooting 5-15 from the floor.
Against San Antonio - James scores only 14 points on 25% shooting.

Arguably, James had his four worst games of the playoffs in the opening game of each round. And he always seems to shine after he's seen what the opponent has to offer.

James averages 17 points per game in Game 1
James averages 28 points per game in every other game.

More "improvements after Game 1" to look at;

Against Washington, the Cavs scored 97 points in Game 1. It was their lowest point total of the series.
Against New Jersey, the Cavs scored 81 points in Game 1. Only in the abhorrent Game 5 did they score lower.
Against Detroit, the Cavs scored 76 points in Game 1. It was their lowest point total of the series.

I'm optimistic, but I'm realistic. The Cavs did better after Game 1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs because they made adjustments going into Game 2. They have to do it again, or we'll only be raising 1 banner next year, for the Eastern Championship.

No comments: