Section 109: Victory Is Not Always Sweet
April 20, 2010
© 2010 Daniel Goldberg
After the Cavs won game 2 against the Bulls, my brother sent me a message that summed up the victory: “That was scary and ugly.” There was so much that was wrong with how Cleveland played, it cast a shadow over the tremendous games by LeBron James and Jamario Moon. Here’s a partial list:
- The open door the Cavs provided for Deng, Rose and others in the lane. The Bulls attacked the basket by heading fearlessly down the middle of the Cavs’ defense and often were rewarded with an easy deuce or three-point play.
- The lack of response to the Bulls fast break. This is one of the Bulls’ prime offensive weapons, and the Cavs didn’t get back into any organized defense to stop it. At one point I thought the Cavs should burn a couple fouls and knock down a ballhandler on the break, just to stop the Chicago momentum on offense.
- The lack of minutes for J.J. Hickson. Shaq and Z were getting outworked by Chicago’s smaller, quicker front line. When those two were not in the Cleveland’s lineup this spring, the Cavs went with a smaller, quicker guy with hops at center. He did a good job, what was his name? Oh yeah, J.J. Hickson. Mike Brown could only find a few seconds of court time for him last night? Andy and J.J. on the court at the same time could have changed the pace of the game.
- Mo Williams on Derrick Rose. This is one player (of many) Mo has no effect on whatsoever at the defensive end. To shut down Rose, the Cavs need to pin Delonte West or Jamario Moon to his jersey. Rose reminds me so much of Dwayne Wade, I wonder why people think Chicago is going to go after Wade in free agency.
- No offensive plan for zone defense. Zone is the only chance many teams, Chicago included, have to stop LeBron. So why do the Cavs offensive sets always stall and waste clock when opponents throw the zone at them? Brown and his staff need to come up with some reliable zone-breaker plays. It’s no problem when LeBron and Jamario sink a barrage of three-pointers. This strategy works great when the treys are falling in, but let’s be realistic here — even the best shooting teams can’t bank on this every game. Not to mention one of our best three-point shooters, Daniel Gibson, can’t get off the bench. Or that our other high-percentage three-point shooter, Anthony Parker, has been in a five-month shooting slump.
- Too much Anthony Parker. I think Parker seems like a great guy, a good team player. As a good team player, he shouldn’t have any problem going to the bench. Local sportswriters always complement his defense, but he’s getting burned constantly by younger, faster guards. I commented earlier in the season that AP is a good defender if his man is stationary on the outside and Parker gets set in front of him. But what usually happens is the opposition runs AP’s man through screens and double-screens and Parker gets picked off and loses his player. Or he simply gets lost in a weave through the lane and is arm’s length behind the guy he’s supposed to be guarding.
I was amazed to find Terry Pluto complementing Parker’s scoring along with Moon and James in his notes on last night’s game. I was there, and I saw Parker hit two three-pointers in the first quarter, then miss two WIDE OPEN treys. He wrapped up the half by making a third three with about two minutes left in the second quarter. That was not only the last shot he made, it was the last attempt. Our starting shooting guard did not attempt a single shot in the second half. I think the Cavs would do just as well starting Jamario Moon at two guard. Even if he doesn’t score, he’ll give the team a massive upgrade in rebounding and defense.
Here’s to another victory on Thursday, but I hope it’s not a scary and ugly one. I hope it’s smooth, coordinated and decisive win.