The Cavs just ran into a barrage yesterday. It was like someone sent a blind kid walking into another kid who was doing the windmill of fists. Detroit got any shot they wanted, and then they made damn near every one of them.
I actually didn’t feel like the Pistons were that good defensively. They gave up some easy baskets, and Cleveland was able to shoot an okay percentage. But their easy buckets were way fewer and far between than the Pistons easy buckets.
If they want to have a chance in this series, Cleveland’s going to have to pick up their defensive intesity, and they’re going to have to shoot lights out. I think LeBron’s probably going to get his points. But Flip Murray and Larry Hughes aren’t going to be left wide open for jumpers, like they were against the Wizards. The Pistons didn’t double LeBron a whole lot today… they let him do his thing, and he made some tough shots. He’ll do that. But I don’t think they’re going to let anyone else do a lot of damage.
As for the Pistons and what they need to do to win the series… well, trying hard should just about cover it. They have a tendency to have minor lapses in focus, where things can happen like Milwaukee taking a game from them. But I don’t see Cleveland being a much bigger threat to Detroit than the Bucks were.
In the West, the Mavs and the Spurs played a pretty spectacular game, considering that San Antone had just 36 hours rest, and the Mavs had to shake the rust after a long layoff. The story of his one was Bruce Bowen sweating Dirk Nowitzki all game long. Prepare to hear Charles Barkley say that Dirk has to take Bowen down to the post about 7,102 times in the next few days. Almost as many times as he said that Kobe averaged 44 against the Suns in the regular seasons, and the Suns mauled the Lakers in those games.
This is what Dirk and the Mavs have to overcome if they want to be champions. The challenge is right there in front of them, and it is clear: Dirk Nowitzki has to find a way to be just as effective against Bruce Bowen as he was against Shane Battier and Pau Gasol. The Mavericks are a good team, but they’re not good enough to beat a great team like the Spurs if they can’t count on their superstar to give them what he gives them.
That’s just the way it has to be. 20 points from Dirk isn’t enough. It’s up to Avery Johnson to find a way to get Bowen off of Dirk, or, preferably, for Dirk to find a way to deal with it. Take him to the block, post him up, shoot over him, and inbetween shots, don’t be a skirtbag. If he gets physical, get physical back. Pick your spots, throw your own elbows, jab his ribs, go Reggie Evans on him if you have to. The league won’t do a thing about it.
Also… you may have noticed a little word verification thingie when you leave comments. For some reason, I was bombarded with spam this weekend, and hopefully, this stems it a little bit. I hope it’s not too much of a pain in the ass…