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.