Cavs Tie Series With Strong 4th
East Conf. Finals (Game 4): Cavs 91, Pistons 87
- After another ragged 3rd quarter, it appeared that the Cavs could blow another halftime lead. But Bron & Co. soldiered up in the 4th quarter, rekindled their collective shooting touch, and held off the veteran-laden Pistons to tie the series at 2-2. Bron led the way once again, but he was aided admirably by his boy wonder partner, Dan Gibson. Gibson continued his strong play by almost single-handedly keeping the Cavs alive in the 3rd (scored 9 of the Cavs' 3rd quarter pts.).
- Been pushing for more Gibson thru-out the series, and with Hughes limping around, it made Coach Brown's decision easy. Gibson has been making his mark by stretching the defense, but tonite the Pistons were denying his outside looks. So Gibson did his damage off the dribble tonite. The rookie plays with a ton of confidence, and it led to a few tough pull-ups in the lane. And he topped it off, by driving the paint & drawing fouls at a high clip--Dan was 12/12 from the foul line to finish with 21 pts. Gooden was often left open and he responded with a handful of jumpers, especially a few big ones in the 4th. Deadeye Drew was 8/14 for a 19 & 8 night.
- Bron overcame a poor 3rd quarter by rediscovering his shooting stroke in the 4th & had 13 of his 25 in the quarter. Hit 3 big jumpers, including a tough step-back long 2-pointer with 3 mins. left. Though he was 8/19 overall, his jumper was on the mark when it mattered the most. Again when he was forced to give the ball up in the 4th, his teammates hit the open shot (mostly Gooden in this case).
- What's been overlooked about this series, is how good the Cavs' defense has played (Actually both teams have done a great job with their defense). The Cavs have only allowed Det. 81.8 ppg on 43.4% for the series. In Game 4, Detroit shot just 41% from the floor & 3/17 from 3pt. Rip was the only starter over 40%, and he only shot 9/21. McDyess gave the Pistons a huge lift in the 2nd half doing a little bit of everything: hit jumpers, some great passes, offensive boards, active defense, and one nifty up/under move for a dunk. Dice finished with 12 (5/9), 5 (3 off), 3 assts, & 2 blks.
- The Pistons kept their turnovers in check (13), but Chauncey still had issues individually with 5 TOs. He had 3 in the 4th, one with a 1:30 left that was costly, also made a questionable decision to pull-up for an off-balance 3pt. in transition with :45 secs left. Just some shaky decisions by the usually unflappable Billups in this game, not to mention this whole series--Chauncey is averaging 5.5 TOpg for this series. Just consider Chauncey only averaged 2 TOpg for the reg. season and averages 2 TOpg for his career (2.3 for playoff career). Billups did have 23 pts for the game, but he did most of his damage in the 1st half, and only scored 5 pts in the 2nd half--his last FG came 3 mins into the 3rd. He was 6/16 overall with only 2 assists after only 3 assts in Game 3.
- Going forward, Billups has to find a way to get his groove back. Thought his strong start today would solve his problems, but he seemed to peter out in the 2nd half for whatever reason. Think Flip needs to try the straight zone a little more, the Cavs went thru some major dry spells vs. Nets' zone. Also, the more McDyess, the better. The Cavs could run some more high pick/rolls with Bron & Big Z, also with Varejao because he slips well. Another thing we pushed for thru-out is more post-ups for Bron. They did it a few times, liked it when they cleared a side & let Bron work.