I know I said I was going to talk about the Finals later (and I will just scroll it down) but let me pause for a second and do some outside thinking. Now I will be the first to tell you that the Cleveland Cavaliers are still baffling me. Since the inception of this blog I have stated that they are simply not fun to watch at all. I did not understand how they were good then and called them overrated. Things were just not computing in my head. They didn’t do anything particularly well, they have one player and no coach.
But here they are in the NBA Finals.
And this is how I think they have made it. A lethal combination of good defense, good teamwork and chemistry and luck.
Now I know I have given Mike Brown every bit of well-deserved criticism for his complete lack of knowledge or intelligence on the offensive end of the court. However I have failed to give him credit where credit is due; he is a tremendous defensive mind. That cannot be taken away from him. Sure I will always think he was dumb for not doubling Antawn Jamison in the first round, but that is one of those things I’ll just have to learn to let go. The Cavs have been overmatched and overpowered on paper in the last two series. But it has been their defense that has kept them in every game they have played in. The defense that caused Vince Carter to settle, Jefferson to disappear and Jason Kidd to have a couple unlikely turnovers. The same defense that caused the Pistons to lose all semblance of poise and composure and turn the ball over time and time again in clutch situations.
This is something that I just thought about…no one on this team complains. They have no ego problems and everyone has bought in. It is the LeBron show with a bunch of role players…who are playing their roles perfectly. In these playoffs, Brown has finally learned the value of Daniel Gibson and luckily he did or else they would not have gotten this far. Give the Cavs credit, their guys know their roles and when they are able to stay in that comfort are strangely effective.
Luck cannot be denied. I know this is going to sound like hating or not giving them their due…but the luck they have experienced cannot be denied. They almost choked the #2 seed but New Jersey and a then possessed Vince Carter beat the Bulls on the last night of the season to keep them up there. They faced a demolished and depleted Washington team. I honestly wonder if Cleveland could have beaten them had Caron not gotten hurt. Then they face the team with three players. Then they face the Pistons who all of a sudden after playing so well to demolish a superior Bulls team, self-destructs at the most odd time, like they had never been in a situation like this before.
Over my cereal this morning a thought popped in my head. This Cleveland Cavaliers team reminds me of the ’02 Anaheim Angels team…they won the World Series.
That scares me.
San Antonio vs. Cleveland: In pretty much every prediction I have written about how possessed the San Antonio Spurs are. How they are on a mission. How the Spurs are a completely different team with a healthy Duncan and with a returned passion. Now they are in the Finals facing a team that scares me solely based on the fact that I do understand how they are here. Cleveland has done a good job of throwing some doubt in my head, to make me wonder exactly what is going to happen in this one.
Unfortunately they have not done a good enough job. There is no chance in hell the San Antonio Spurs lose this series to the Cleveland Cavaliers. None. Look at the teams that the Spurs have defeated to get here. An underrated and hot Denver team (who stole Game 1 in SA may I add), the Phoenix Suns (the best offensive team in the league) and Utah (I don’t have anything nice to say about them but they are pretty dang good). They have faced and overcome every style there was. Denver played uptempo and half-court with Carmelo and AI and two post defenders in Camby and Nene….and still got smacked. Phoenix played a high tempo with a bunch of scorers…and still got smacked. Utah had Deron Williams who was outplaying anyone on that court, a post option in Carlos Boozer…and got smacked. Cleveland simply does not have enough firepower to beat the Spurs. There is no way they have enough to get the job done. Look at all the Western Conference foes that San Antonio faces and there is a common theme…they had more than one guy. Cleveland has one guy. Plus they have never been to the NBA Finals while the Spurs are always in the hunt to get the trophy. I will say it again, there is no one who can guard Tim Duncan. Ilgauskas is too slow, Gooden is too dumb and Varejao is too floppy. The Spurs are too much of a well-oiled machine for the Cavs to overcome.
Sure Cleveland won the season series 2-0. But look at the box scores of those games…San Antonio got no production from its bench in the first game and no production from anyone not named Tim Duncan or Tony Parker in the second. The Finals are a completely different beast than a regular season game, a beast that the Spurs have slayed. I don’t know how there is a human being who can actually think that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to beat the San Antonio Spurs four times in seven games. Cleveland’s secret aka Gibson is out. He isn’t going to be getting wide open looks, having defenders fly by him so he can attack the rim and get to the line. Larry Hughes is playing on one foot. Gooden and Ilgauskas are not going to step up and be that second option…so who is the second option going to be?? Can LeBron overpower Bruce Bowen? Can LeBron pull a D-Wade? I don’t think so. San Antonio is too saavy to let a one-man team beat them. And Greg Popovich is way too good of a coach to let the Spurs lose this series. Mike Brown isn’t going to be contorting his face and looking down at Flip Saunders and feeling good about himself cause there is an idiot on the other end to. He is going to see Pop. He knows how good Pop is he was an assistant to him. So congrats Cleveland, enjoy this while it lasts because you may never get back. San Antonio in 5