Saturday, May 06, 2006

Friday Recap (May 5, 2006)

CAVS/WIZARDS (Game 6): Cavs 114-Wizards 113 (OT)

- Well, another offensive showcase for Lebron & Arenas that came down to the wire once again. This game was decided by whose supporting cast would outplay the others, and the Cavs got just a little bit more of a push from their second fiddles. Congrats, to the Cavs on their series victory, their reward: getting pounded by the Pistons in the next round.

- Although, the Wizards still were not very impressive overall defensively (Cavs shot 50.6%), they did a very good job implementing Ed Jordon's gameplan of doubling Lebron constantly to get the ball out of his hands. It was the right thing to do. The rest of the Cavs just responded well by moving the ball particularly well, getting some good quality looks at the rim all game.

- I thought the key for the Cavs to win, was how well their supporting cast performed--they did just enough for the second game in a row. Marshall was just huge with big shots & rebounds (28 pts., 11/15, 8 rbs.), Flip Murray added 21 points and Varejao brought the hustle with 10 boards. The Cavs' bench brought the funk last night with 57 pts. & 22 rbs, not to mention the biggest basket of the game, by Damon Jones. Lebron really needs this consistent support to carryover into the next round.

- Although an exciting back-in forth game, there was a lot of sketchy plays at the end of the game. First off, Flip has to close out harder on Arenas' long-bomb 3--he broke down like he was worried that Gil was going to drive by him; Flip you guys were up by 3, recognize. Just before that, Hughes left Arenas to double Butler (who had picked up his dribble), leaving Gil wide open cutting toward the basket. Lucky for him a goal-tending by Varejao was not called. Ironically, this is the second time in the series that Hughes made a major late-game blunder leaving Arenas wide open to go double unnecessarily: he did it at the end of Game 3, lucky for him Gil missed the shot. Also at the start of the overtime period, Washington failed to double Lebron immediately and he drove right at the basket twice for two scores. Ed Jordan quickly rectified the situation and the Wizards were quite determined to double Lebron the rest of the game.

SPURS/KINGS (Game 6)- Spurs 105-Kings 83

- The Kings came out again aggressive; looking to take control of the action in the painted area. They hung tough with the defending champs for the 1st half. But the wheels came off in the 3rd quarter and the Spurs never looked back, cruising to a decisive victory.

- The 3rd quarter was the tipping point of the game where the Spurs showcased their superiority. Bowen got hot from deep (4-5 from 3pt.) and Parker was uncharacteristicly hitting shots on the perimeter to go with his slashing (31 pts). It did not help that The Kings piled up a lot of turnovers in the quarter leading to 20 TOs overall.

- The Spurs shored up their defensive failings that bothered them in Games 2-4--the Kings shot 41.2% in Game 6. They did not allow the Kings to manhandle them in the interior, like in Game 2-4; the help defense got back to vintage Spurs. Although, something to be a little concerned with--the Kings outscored the Spurs 40-34 in the paint.

- The Kings definitely surprised me with their overall effort in the series after a thorough demolition in Game 1. After that game I thought Sacto was headed for a quick exit. They really turned up the intensity in Game 2 on defense and on offense by attacking the paint (something that I did not expect from an Adelman-coached team). This series easily could have been 3-1 in Sacto's favor if Bibby stays glued to Brent Barry. Bonzi was the best player on the floor in this series--he just owned the paint offensively & on the boards. He is definitely making Geoff Petrie's off-season decisions tougher after having a mediocre regular season.


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