Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When did the Magic get good?

I am utterly confused by what I am seeing in these conference finals. Actually let me rephrase that. I am confused by what is going on in the Cavs-Magic conference finals. The Lakers- Nuggets series is going pretty much as you would expect. They are two fairly evenly matched teams. and the Nuggets match up incredibly well with the Lakers. For anyone who thought it would be an easy road to the Finals for Kobe and Lebron, think again.

I'm still trying to figure out whether it is the Magic playing well, or the Cavs playing poorly that has resulted in a 3-1 series lead for Orlando. From what I saw of the Magic against a severely depleted Celtics team, I thought this series would've been over by now. To the Magic credit, they match up with the Cavs really well, and have withstood some epic performances from Lebron to take command of this series. They are doing what they do best, which is shoot a ton of threes, and have Dwight Howard command the offensive glass. Howard has played 100 times better this series than last, which I think is more a credit to Kendrick Perkins and Big Baby Davis, than it is to Howard(biased much?) The whole thing is kind of depressing to me. I keep thinking if the Celtics had Garnett and Powe we could've taken out the Cavs after all. Oh well, no use in playing the "what if" game.

I will admit, I haven't watched this Cavs series as much as I would have liked. I was at Dewey Beach, so I only saw bits and pieces of games 2 and 3. Although Lebron has been magnificent this series, he choked the game away last night. He turned the ball over 7 times and missed some huge free throws. I think what gets missed sometimes, is that for all of Lebron's greatness, he still turns the ball over a lot in the 4th quarter, and is not that clutch of a free throw shooter. Plus he gets a ton of calls at the end of games because he is such a superstar. I think it is clear that though Lebron is the best player in the NBA, most teams would still rather have Kobe take the last shot. I know Lebron hit that crazy game winner in game 2, but the turnovers in game 4 were absolutely inexcusable.

Everyone keeps blaming the Cavs supporting cast for the reason they are losing, and in some ways that is true. But I tend to think it is more the Cavs poor defense and poor coaching that has contributed to this surprising result. How can you let Orlando shoot open three after open three, especially Pietrus who has killed teams all playoffs with the corner three point shot. Also, if you want others to play better, run some plays for them! Everything they are doing is basically give the ball to Lebron and clear out. How about run some plays for Mo Williams or Delonte West.

Since the beginning of game 7 of the Celtics series the Magic are playing great basketball. What makes them so dangerous is their ability to stretch the floor with their outstanding three point shooters. What other team in the league can say they have two guys that are 6"10 and can hit the three.

I am going to comment more on the Lakers/Nuggets series in my next blog entry. I am rooting for the Nuggets, if for the simple fact that I would love to see the " Birdman" win a title. Talk about overcoming adversity. Anyway, thanks again for reading and enjoy your night!

1 comment:

  1. great point on cleveland's defense and orlando stretching the floor being the reasons cleveland ain't winning and not lebron's teammates not stepping up. the effort is there on cleveland's end, but Orlando just matches up well against Cleveland and forces them to play defense differently. it doesn't mean they are a better overall team (think golden state vs dallas 2 years ago... dallas was a better team against 28 other teams but the warriors just because of match ups). Their defense doesn't rely on a lot of double teams in the post, but they are forced to do that against orlando b/c ben wallace and big z can't guard dwight 1 on 1. In fact, ben wallace is useless vs orlando because howard is one of the few players that he can't guard 1 on 1 (even at his declining play) and he doesn't need to be guarded on offense. varejo and joe smith are good interior defenders and rebounders, but this is a moot point as they are being forced to guard rashard lewis at the three point line- most teams don't have power forwards who would take varejo away from the basket 95% of the time. so with varejo/smith having to run inside to double dwight and then run outside to catch rashard lewis, someone is going to be open. most teams cleveland plays against allows them to play their nature defense. sure, mo williams and big z aren't playing up to par on offense, but thats not why this team is losing... its bad defensive match ups. there is a reason cleveland is 3-8 vs orlando the past 2 seasons. and in reality, this series is much more even then the 3-1 score, game 3 is the only game that really couldn't have gone either way. good post.