Cavs/Pistons Game 1 Recap
LeBron &c shut down the Pistons and cruise to an easy victory as predicted.
So much for being the underdog. The Cavs are definitely the top dog in the East tonight. LeBron’s Gatorade shot from mid-court doesn’t bode well for the Pistons who’re being led to the slaughter. Bron’s glistening in a haze of sweat and the home crowd is in a frenzy. He’s got spring in his step and his teammates are feeding off his energy. Z’s back-cutting and catching the Piston’s gazing at Bron’s navel. The Cavs are working that to perfection time and again. The Piston’s aren’t gonna make it but they’re trying to hold their own against contributions from all round by the Cavs finish the half shooting over 60 percent. The Pistons are still hanging around though with some stellar play from Stuckey who’s lightening quick off the dribble and has a step on Williams and Gibson who can’t stop him from penetrating but Stuckey’s having trouble finishing over the outstretched arms of Cavs coming over to help and pressuring the shot. I like Stuckey’s confidence and control and his style reminds me of Lindsey Hunter but he looks like 50 Cent.
Second half and news travels fast: the Bulls have knocked the defending champs in their own abode. At this point I’m feeling anything is possible since Stuckey’s back at it again striking from the perimeter like Mr. Big Stuff only he isn’t looking for the step-back three off the pick-and-fades as was Billups forte. Stuckey, and no one else on the Pistons for that matter, can get on track and they aren’t even putting any pressure on LeBron who’s obviously “gotta lotta mo.” Where’s Rick Mahorn and the Worm when you need some muscle and intimidation?
The “One Goal” banners in the rafters are a peculiar add to the Cavs’ strategy but actions speak louder than jingoistic words. LeBron and Mo Williams are kicking the Pistons’ collective asses inside and out but the “bad (as in bad not bad meaning good) boys” are hanging around hitting half their field-goals.
The Cavs are getting huge contribution from their bench off Joe Smith’s double-digit scoring. He could be what Powe is to Boston if he keeps bringing the lunchpail to work.
The “Where Anything Can Happen” campaign looks kinda cool in a monochomatic laser beam way but they’d be cooler if the highlights were from the current games, especially Bron’s shot from half court which I could watch over and over. Weren’t there commercials like that before?
What’re the mechanicals on Kid Cudi’s “Day and Night” because Quicken Loans Arena isn’t the only place it’s bubbling. Will Bynum comes off the bench and starts to bubble himself . I like the way he steps up and takes initiative when Stuckey needs a breather. Like Rodney he also stops up on the break and knocks the jumper down seemingly with ease and without hesitation. The Piston guards have a lot of confidence and ability which I figure is a good sign even though it’s toward the end of the third and the Pistons are starting to fade. The fact that they can penetrate at will and break Cleveland’s defense down is a good sign but the Cavs shut it down when Bron is in. The only reason the Piston’s are remotely close is because there’s really no one stepping up off the bench while Bron is out. What should be a double digit game is below single digits at the end of the third but the Piston’s body language is broken. When Hamilton takes a spill the only Piston who goes over to help him up is Bynum. They have none of the pregame and gametime rituals that characterize the Cavs who seem to get a lot out of the camraderie of that sorta thing.
(Mo Williams’ rare blown free throw off an illegal defense call further convinces me announcers are playing Jedi mind tricks the way they jinx things before they actually happen.)
In the fourth Sheed’s still of no consequence (he’s only nailed one three from the top of the key) and his words about coming alive in the playoffs sounds more like wishful thinking to me. They’re starting to crack. Bron and Williams start to go to work driving the nail in the coffin and it looks like the Pistons are gonna go out with a whimper when Rip loses his cool and throws Mo Williams to the ground with a few minutes left to go. Williams or any of the other Cavs don’t even jump bad they’re so confident and in control.
What the hell was I talking about in the preview a day ago?!? Walter Herrmann is a joke; the way LeBron executes a shake and fade with his back to the basket and nails the baseline out-of-bounds leaner over the Argentinian. Daniel Gibson’s circus shot falling out of bounds nearly at half court makes it even more ridiculous. Booby’s not even a fctor like he was the past couple of years now that Mo Williams is in control. Jason Maxiell’s gorilla putback down the lane only underscores how futile the situation is for the Pistons. I think I see it in Sheed’s eyes when he sits down for the night. The Pistons can forget about getting the upperhand in Cleveland. There’s not gonna be a bailout at Quicken Loans Arena this year. Yep, the Pistons are gonna go out with a whimper. They’re so predictable they’re boring and ultimately uncompetitive. If they even win one in Detroit I’ll be mildly surprised. But judging from tonight they’re about to be history by the end of next week.
Even though I’ve had years to prepare myself for the eventuality the look in Sheed and Prince’s eyes convinces me the end of an era is truly here. But still I’m sad because this might be the last season I see Wallace in Motown and it’s got me feeling kinda blue. At the same time it reminds me of the last time the Pistons won back to back championships. They owned Jordan, Pippin &c until Jordan expanded his game and upped the ante. The Bad Boys were unable to stop the juggernaught and saw the writing on the wall before it was too late to begin rebuilding from the ground. Looks like that time is near.
The way the Cavs looked tonight against an inferior opponent they could take the Celtics in a drawn out series. Their win is even more impressive than Chicago’s because they stayed in control from the opening tip. I’d like to see them against Chicago because the Bulls are inspiring enough to make me a believer. They’re definitely not a fluke. They’ve got what it takes to challenge the hierarchy of the East whether it’s in Cleveland or Orlando. But first they gotta get by the Celtics not to mention the Hawks or the Heat. Rose’s play for the Bulls today restored my confidence that the East is gonna be as exciting as the West even with Garnett in street clothes because they look just as hungry as the Cavs who’re starvin’ like Marvin Hagler. I wish I were covering that series…
In my eyes, the Cavs are still my bet to take the title in the East off the strength of their commanding performance against the Pistons. The only thing that could change my mind is if they take a day off in Detroit next week. But they seem mature enough as a squad to avoid that because LeBron James is on a mission and looks more focused to me than anyone else. His shoulder look strong enough to carry the rest of the team should they falter but it doesn’t look like it’s gonna come to that until much later down the road in the form of stiffer more capable competition. Atlanta or Orlando could pose a serious threat to them down the line. But I’m jumping the gun. Boston is by no means done yet. Like the Carpenters, they’ve only just begun.