Not surprisingly, the Cavaliers have taken a quick two-nothing lead against the decimated Washington Wizards in a series that has none of the drama and excitement of last year's matchup of the same teams. The Wizards are playing scrappy basketball, and the Cavs are winning in spite of the 50% effort they are putting up.
This is no complaint. The Cavs are going to be thankful for these easy games once the real postseason begins: in the second round against the Nets, I predict. To get to the invitable eastern conference matchup against the Pistons, the Cavs and especially Mike Brown are going to have to realize some obvious truths:
1) Eric Snow can't play. The "reliable" Snow made a horrible turnover in the final minute of game two, allowing the Wizards to get within three points when the game had been all but locked up. His typical stat line reads something like 0-1-1 every night. His defense is way overrated, but his offense is a real Cavs killer, more potent than any opposing team's defense. Get Daniel Gibson some minutes instead, or Damon Jones even.
2) Cavs big men can play. I have said all along that Zydrunas Ilgauskas has plenty left in the tank. He is not quick (but maybe quicker than Snow), and not a great defender, but when healthy, he is this team's second most consistant scorer. He is the league's elite offensive rebouder, and the Cav's best midrange jumpshooter. He has also developed an effective, if ugly as hell, hookshoot. He's good for a block or two a night also, compensating somewhat for his lack of speed.
I dream of the day that someone figures out that Drew Gooden needs plays run for him. He is a skilled offensive player whose defense intensifies when he gets a few touches. Case in point: game two, when he absolutely dominated the second quarter of play and basically sealed the game for the Cavs. Why waste such a dynamic, athletic player?
3) McBone Inc. has long been a Sasha Pavlovic supporter. Look at this kid: he's nearly the same size as LeBron, and has explosive talent that rivals any other Cavaliers not named James. He is streaky yes, but has proved a reliable defender, a skilled shooter, a slasher who moves well without the ball, and an adept passer. This guy, in spite of prior defensive shortcomings, should have been getting big-time minutes for the past three years. Instead he has rotted on the Cavs bench until now, when he is suddenly good enough to be starting in the playoffs. Play him.
If the Cavs fail to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, Mike Brown must be tarred and feathered. Or fired.
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