Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunday Recap (May 21)

PISTONS/CAVS (Game 7): Pistons 79-Cavs 61

- The Pistons finally finished off a series that turned out a lot more arduous than anyone could have imagined. The final game followed the same script from the rest of the series--a slow-paced, defensive old-school East Conference battle. The Pistons just mustered a little bit more offensive success late in the 3rd quarter and carried it over into the 4th.

- Detroit's defense continued its great play by making the Cleveland offense struggle to find any easy looks. The Pistons were downright stifling in the 2nd half by holding the Cavs to a total of 23 points (they held the Cavs to 30.8% for the whole game). After Lebron kept the Cavs afloat in the 1st half with 21 points, the Pistons got the ball out of his hands early in possessions and totally cut down any driving lanes for him (Lebron only scored 6 points in the 2nd half). On the other hand, the Pistons' offense for the most part of three quarters was none too pretty. They could not get any rhythm going once again until late in the 3rd quarter and carried it over somewhat into the 4th. Up until 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd, the Pistons only managed 49 points, then they pieced some possessions together and ended up outscoring the Cavs 30-15 the rest of the game. Hunter provided a key spark to this mini-run at the end of the 3rd. Prince again seemed to be the only Piston that brought some consistensy for the entire game. For the second game in a row, the Pistons kept the Cavs closer than they should have been by missing free throws--18/32 from the line. The offensive struggles in this series for Detroit really are a big concern going into the Conf. Finals.

- The Cavs' defense can't be faulted in Game 7, they held the Pistons to 42.6% and only allowed them to score 79 points; you can't ask much more from them. They just could not find any answer in the 2nd half when the Pistons forced the ball out of Lebron's hands. The Cavs desparately needed their role players to rise to the occasion in Game 7, and Hughes was basically the only guy who took any pressure off James (Cavs not named Lebron shot 9/41). Hughes was the only Cav to score in double figures besides Bron--Larry had 10 pts., 6 rebs, 5 assts., & he moved the ball well in the 1st half with Lebron. In the 3rd quarter, the Cavs were downright awful offensively--they had no idea what to run in the half-court with the Pistons taking away Bron. I thought Coach Brown needed to run Bron off some screens to get some sort of movement going and get the ball back into Bron's hands after Det. would double him early in possessions.

- Although, the Cavs have to feel totally satisfied with the way they went above & beyond what was expected of them vs. Detroit. Their defensive performance kept them in this series, something I did not expect to say at the start of this series. Their offense was not too pretty for most of the series, but I think that can be rectified with a few tweaks in the off-season. The main part they need is a point guard who can shoot and defend somewhat--they thought they solved that problem last year with Damon Jones, but they realized he only does two things well and that's it--shoot & promote himself. Now if they only could combine Snow & Jones, the Cavs would have the perfect point guard to put with Lebron. It would not hurt them to acquire some back-up shooters as well.