Saturday, May 23, 2009

Game 2: Stan VG Has a Great 47:59

Whew, we are spent after the epic Game 2 of the Cavs-Magic series, after the epic four straight games which have begun these Conference Finals.

We thought that Stan Van Gundy did an exceptional job of exploiting matchups throughout the 4th quarter. At one point, we looked up and said something to the effect of "What in the Tyrone Hill?" when we saw Courtney Lee handling the ball in a pick-and-roll. Then - aha! - Orlando caught the Cavs in a switch and all of a sudden Delonte West was on Rashard Lewis, and Shard took him down in the post (we can't even fathom how scary LeBron will be if he ever starts taking people down on the low blocks) and it all made sense. Rashard calmly shot over Delonte and also opened up looks for others after drawing help defenders. Then, even the rookie Lee himself stepped up with buckets. And of course, the Magic also put the ball in Hedo's hands to great effect once again. It was just a methodical, expert display of execution under the direction of SVG. But...

On Tuesday, George Karl was pilloried for lining up 6-2 Anthony Carter to inbound the ball with the length of 6-10 Lamar Odom flailing in his face.

Somewhat amazingly, just three days later, Mike Brown called upon 6-1 Mo Williams to make the inbound pass with :01 left, but Stan had 6-10 Rashard playing rather passively off the ball for some reason.

That's OK if there are six or seven seconds left, when he could go help, but with just :01 on the clock, it seemed like there were two and only two options for deploying Lewis: 1) Right up in Mo's face, waving his arms a la Odom v AC to close off the passing lanes, or 2) Doubling LeBron, to at least force him much further away from the basket, at a more difficult angle.

We have no idea why Rashard was in no man's land, and thought it was a pretty huge blunder on an otherwise brilliant night by Stan, a night when he proved why he easily should have won the Coach of the Year award, no matter what happened in the final second (and they even defended that shot pretty well, no matter where Rashard was or what Reggie Miller thinks).

OK, we need to get some sleep, hydrate and get ready for the Game 3s. Can't wait.

11 Comments:

At 8:14 AM, Blogger John said...

I think he wanted Lewis between Williams and the basket to make the lob more difficult. He should have been closer to the sideline, though.

Who should have thrown the inbounds? Maybe Pavlovich? Lebron is really the only tall Cav who passes well.

 
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous John Park Williams said...

The thing is, with Dwight Howard on the team (self-proclaimed Superman) there should not have been any threat of a lob. Therefore, Rashard should have shielded the pass away from the perimeter and towards the basket.

Also, Turkoglu should have overplayed Lebron forcing him to the basket where Dwight Howard would be waiting.

In the end though, it was just a great shot.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Matt Aquiline said...

No, they should not have forced Lebron to the lane/basket. The correct play was to make him shoot a fall-away contested 3-pointer. Did you see his jumpers last night? Off. They played the percentages. The only way to make the shot better would be if they somehow made him shoot it even farther away.

The Magic shouldn't be beating up SvG or anyone else. They should be ecstatic. They stole a game from a team that was next to invincible on its home floor this season.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger M. Haubs said...

I may not have been at peak clarity in the 1 a.m. postgame post, so let me try to add this: either both Karl and SVG should be getting killed for the last-second plays or neither should, b/c it was opposite ends of the same exact play.

After WCF G1, the tone was "Geez, George, how could you send a small guy out to pass, b/c it's so obvious and easy to guard him with a 6-10 guy???"

So it should have been equally obvious that, when Mo came out to pass, SVG should have forced his hand by putting the 6-10 guy on him to either disrupt the pass or force a TO and make them go with Wally or Sasha or something (I'm not sure if CLE had any left).

I completely stand by the point that Rashard was poorly deployed. He was useless - he was not doing anything to defend the lob (should have doubled LBJ to do that) or the three-point line. Honestly, considering there was :01 left, it was like Cleveland was playing 5-on-4 given where he was standing.

And I thought that both Rashard and Stan had outstanding games overall.

 
At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Brandi Bennett said...

Actually, the other question here is whether Rashard Lewis executed the play that was drawn up.

But there were two options: Put Lewis on the ball hard or double LeBron. Given that Williams, the only Cav other than LeBron that would scare me as a shooter in this situation, was inbounding the ball and that he was not a risk for receiving a quick pass back (because the inbounder is generally the second most dangerous person in an out of bounds situation), Lewis should have been hard doubled on LeBron.

It's inexcusable that the best player on the opposing team even touched the ball in that situation.

Interesting question: Did the Magic have a timeout left at that point? I might have burned one after seeing how the Cavs lined up on that out of bounds play to get Lewis on LeBron.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger John said...

Assuming Popcorn Machine is correct, Wallace and Varejao were in the game. Pavlovich ran all the way to half court, and his defender followed him. So there were only two Cavs players that needed to be guarded - West and Lebron. Failing to double Lebron in that situation is a really bad choice.

If Pavlovich's man (Pietrus?) doubles Lebron and and Lewis moves closer to the sideline the Magic's chance of winning seems much greater, although who's to say Lebron doesn't score anyway.

 
At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Drew said...

I think it is too obvious what all the sports people and media want last nights game with Orlando and Cleveland had some of the worst refing I have seen since they caught a ref taking bribes. I listen to the commentators go from how great Cleveland is to the Magic Train and now all you hear is James this and James that I think Orlando going to Cleveland and had two games is the bigger story If you get good refs to make calls both ways Orlando wins that game and goes up 2-0
Thats how I see it and maybe as commentators they should be a little less byest

Drew

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger John said...

Whoops. Varejao and Wallace weren't in the game. If they were, the Cavs would have had six players! It was Ilgauskas. They still should have doubled.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Jef said...

It is so easy to criticize with 20-20 hindsight, and it's baffling how much everyone is doing it every time a team loses a game (which, coincidentally, happens every time a game is played). Sometimes a brilliant play, like LeBron's last night, just wins a game--it doesn't mean the other team screwed up. This is also why I don't like the fact that Van Gundy often blames himself, as if he's trying to preempt others from blaming him first. I really don't think there was much blame to go around here, and while in retrospect SvG might have orchestrated the defense differently, that's always the case when you end up losing. I think that in the moment, considering how LeBron was shooting last night, SvG's strategy was fine.

 
At 12:24 PM, Anonymous DKH said...

Agreed with Jef. When you see the result, it's easy to say they should have defended it this or that way. But LeBron is good at giving the passer a window (watch him cut into the lane sometimes and how he turns and holds his hands open -- he is hugely available to the passer). If the Magic do something different, LeBron doesn't do the same thing either. Impossible to tell; just have to live with the great shot.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Totally agree. Rashard should've been doubling Lebron. But the next question becomes, what was Mo Williams doing inbounding the ball? That disqualified him as a shooter given that there's only 1 second remaining. In the end Mo made the perfect pass, so it worked...

 

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