Cavs Hit Jumpers, Win
East Conf Finals (Game 4): Cavs 88, Pistons 82
- The key to victory was the Cavs just shot the ball well. 49% overall, simple as that. The Cavs, including Bron, hit their open looks from the perimeter, basically what the Pistons are willing to give up. Many people will point to Bron being more aggressive taking the ball to the hole as the key, but all his buckets in the 2nd half came off of jumpers, besides one vicious slam on Sheed's head. Bron's jumpshot was on the mark tonite, and he hit a bunch off-balance & up against the shot clock. And when he was trapped in the 2nd half, his passes either directly led or eventually led to open looks, which his teammates buried tonite (Bron had 32, 9 rebs & 9 assts).
- Coach Brown made some adjustments in Game 3 that we suggested in our Game 2 recap. First off, Brown had 2 shooters in the game with Bron at the same time more often tonight. Mentioned the importance of this before because the Pistons D will not be giving up the lane easily. Another thing we pleaded for since the series preview & Brown finally figured out was Gibson saw major minutes in place of Hughes & was left in the game down the stretch. We thought Brown made a big mistake taking Gibson out of the game in the 4th in Game 2, because he spreads the floor much better than Hughes. Gibson hit a big 3pt off a Bron skip pass in the 4th & finished with 9 pts. Gibson has shown in this series that he's not a defensive liability (has active hands), and Pistons could not take advantage of him in the post. We also wanted to see Bron on the post more, and we saw Brown go this route more often.
- The Cavs got the rest of the support staff to hit their shots as well. Pavlovic was 5/8 for 13 pts, Big Z was 7/14 for 16, & Gooden was 5/11 for 12. And all those guys hit some big open looks in the 2nd half that opened up off all the attention Bron drew. The Cavs shot 6/13 from 3pt.
- Did not think the Pistons' defense was that bad in Game 3. Thought they did a good job denying the lane to Bron & forcing him into jumpshots, many late in the shot clock. It's just today Bron & his teammates found the range on their shots. One issue that is a little alarming is Det. still had problems taking care of the ball--15 TOs, after 18 in Game 2 & 16 in Game 1. What's troubling is the Pistons were the best team at keeping TOs down in the reg. season, and something they've done well the last few years. The biggest culprit for these TOs is Billups, who continues to have problems getting into any rhythm in this series. Chauncey had 5 TOs in Game 3 to go along with 5 in Game 2 & 7 in Game 1. Surprising since Billups is one of the best PGs at keeping TOs to a minimum.
- One positive sign for the Pistons was Tay Prince finally found the range on his shot after struggling mightily in the first 2 games--Tay was 6/13 for 13 pts some off of tip-ins (4 off. boards). Looking ahead to Game 4, the Pistons have to cutdown on their turnovers. The Pistons turning the ball over at an uncharacteristic clip is an underrated factor in why the Cavs have been close in every game. The Cavs have to continue to hit their perimeter looks like this again for the rest of the series, especially Bron because the driving lanes ain't gonna be there with any consistency.