Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Preview: Bulls at Cavaliers, April 19th

Monday, April 19th, 2010

What the Bulls need to do to win:

-Keep LeBron James frustrated. LeBron got his points in game one, but had a hard time finding consistent success in half-court situations and never settled into a passing groove. If LeBron’s on his game, the Bulls might not have enough talent to keep up with Cleveland.

-Pray the threes don’t fall. The Bulls did a good job collapsing the paint, but left the Cavs’ shooters open beyond the arc. The Cavs missed most of their looks in game one. The Bulls have to hope that trend continues.

-Do a better job containing Mo Williams. When Williams can’t get anything going off the dribble, the Cavs become much easier to stop. In game 1, he was able to get to the spots he wanted to get to.

-Get Derrick Rose to the line. Rose had to work for every one of his points in game one. He needs some easy baskets in game two if the Bulls want to have any chance of putting up points.

-Attack the Cavs off the dribble. It’s not a perfect plan, but the Bulls have to at least try to make Cleveland’s bigs move their feet instead of settling for deep twos.

-Get Luol Deng going. Not sure how, but it’s hard to win with your best wing going 5-15 from the floor.

What Cleveland Needs to do to win:

-Keep playing defense. The Cavs had a dominating defensive effort in game one. If they can keep that up, they’re in great shape.

-Get LeBron James going, especially in the half-court. Not the hardest thing to do in the world, but something to focus on.

-Use Shaq inside early. The Bulls can’t stop him without fouling. That could mean lots of time in the bonus.

-Make threes, as discussed above.

-Get something out of the two-guard spot. Delonte and AP both need to step up their efforts on the offensive end.

-Don’t let up. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 40-point lead. You do not want to take ANY chance of the Bulls stealing home-court. The Cavs say they’re hungrier than ever before. They should show it by leaving no doubt if they get up big.

-Don’t let Noah get you out of your game. This isn’t a time for vendettas, cheap fouls, and harmful techs. The Cavs have bigger goals than the Bulls in mind this post-season. Let it go and play the game.

-Use Mo to free up LeBron. The Bulls defend LeBron well in ISO situations. They can’t stop Mo off the dribble. Use Mo’s penetration to get LeBron some catches on the move and easy baskets. Wouldn’t mind seeing the playoff debut of the Decoy pick-and-roll/Kraken tonight. (Darn you, Shaqken. I had a good Kraken thing going.)

Recommended Reading:

Bulls By the Horns

Notes:

I may be doing some Daily Dime Live tonight, but I’ll also be contributing to the live-blog at Cleveland.com. I’ll definitely be there pre-game, post-game, and maybe during halftime, with some DDL sprinkled in during commercial break. See you there.

Preview: Bulls at Cavaliers, April 17th

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Series Score:

0-0

Relevant Statistics:

Pace: Chicago 95.5 (12th) vs. Cleveland 93.5 (25th)

Offensive Efficiency: Chicago 100.8 (28th) vs. Cleveland 108.8 (4th)

Defensive Efficiency: Chicago 102.6 (10th) vs. Cleveland 101.5 (7th)

Notes:

Chicago’s problem is that they can’t score. The only way they have to get the ball to the basket is by having Derrick rose drive, and they don’t have any real three-point threats or a post presence. Because of this, their offense is built around 16-23 foot jumpers; no team takes more shots from that range than the Bulls do. Since those are the least efficient shots in basketball, it’s not a great mystery why Chicago sucks at offense.

Shaq comes back into the starting lineup today. We’ll see how that goes. I worry that the Bulls might have an easier time getting the mid-range shots they like with Shaq sagging into the paint all night, but the shots the Bulls like are bad shots.

Chicago’s only real chance in this series is to frustrate LeBron James and have Derrick Rose absolutely go off. Mo Williams isn’t much of a defender, and the Bulls’ rotations have given LeBron in the past. At the end of the day, though, LeBron is on a completely different level than Rose, and he’s rested and ready to show that.

Cavs can’t get caught up in trying to work Shaq in until they get a VERY healthy lead going. The first round might seem like it’s going to be a party, but the Cavs are four losses away from going home. If they remember that, they should be fine.

Elias Notes:

Some additional notes, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:
How important is this game for Chicago?  The Cavaliers are 7-0 in best-of-seven series in which they won the first game.  Only one other franchise has won as many best-of-seven series as the Cavs without losing one after taking a 1-0 lead: Portland (8-0).

The Cavaliers finished the season with 20 more wins than the Bulls (61 to 41).  In the history of the NBA playoffs, there have been 25 best-of-seven series that have featured opposing teams that were separated by 20-or-more wins in the standings.  The team with the fewer wins won only of those series (Golden State vs. Dallas in 2007).

The Cavaliers ended the regular-season with a four-game losing streak.  In the history of the NBA, only one team has won the league title in a season that ended with a losing streak of at least four games: New York in 1969-70 (ended season with a four-game losing streak).

The Bulls have defeated the Cavaliers in each of the five post-season series that the teams have played.  Only one other current team has played as many as five series against an opponent without losing one: Lakers vs. Denver (5-0).

LeBron James averaged 29.7 points, 8.6 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game during the 2009-2010 regular season.  Only two other players in NBA history have averaged 25 points, eight assists and seven rebounds per game in the same season: Oscar Robertson (six times from 1960-61 through 1965-66) and Michael Jordan (1988-89).

James led the Cavaliers in total points, assists, steals and blocked shots this season, marking the second consecutive season he has led his team in each of those categories.  No other player has led his team in points, assists, steals and blocked shots in the same season more than once.

The Bulls made the playoffs despite suffering through a 10-game losing streak during the regular season (February 27 through March 19).  Since the NBA instituted the current playoff format in 1983-84, only four other teams have reached the postseason despite having a double-digit losing streak during the regular-season: Portland in 1985-86 (12 straight), Sacramento in 1995-96 (11 straight), Phoenix in 1996-97 (13 straight) and Toronto in 2001-02 (13 straight).

Mike Brown has recorded 272 regular-season wins in his first five seasons in the NBA.  Only five other head coaches in NBA history have registered as many wins as Brown in their first five seasons in the league: Phil Jackson (295), Pat Riley (286), K.C. Jones (280), Billy Cunningham (279) and Larry Costello (272).

Brown has a 16-4 (.800) career record in first-round playoff games as a head coach.  That is the highest career winning percentage in first-round playoff games for any head coach since the current playoff format was instituted in 1983-84 (minimum: 15 games).

Shaquille O’Neal has appeared in 203 playoff games in his career.  That is more than the combined total of the players on the rosters of two 2010 playoff teams: Portland (157) and Oklahoma City (91).

Chicago was 5-10 (.333) on the road against teams that finished the season with a .600-or-better winning percentage this season.  That winning percentage was much higher than the league’s winning percentage in those games (.250).

Recommended Reading:

Bulls By The Horns

Alright, guys. Just under a half hour until the 2010 Playoffs. Get excited, get happy, get terrified. See you after the game.

Preview: Magic at Cavaliers, April 11th

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

LeBron and the rest of the starters likely won’t play for the Cavs. It’s a possible ECF preview, except it’s not. Expect the Magic to take the game, and expect the Cavs to make sure the Magic don’t get the satisfaction of beating the “real” Cavalier team. Open thread.

Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers, April 9th

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Just a few notes:

-Yep, the Cavs appear to have learned their lesson from Jamison’s (apparently minor) injury last night. Your starters tonight are

West/Parker/Moon/Hickson/Powe, according to George Thomas.

-Mo, LeBron, Antawn, and Boobie will all be inactive.

-You know what this means for Cavs: The Blog. Telfair watch is on. Also looking for Powe to do beastly things and for Danny Green to have a bounce-back game.

-The B-team still might beat the Pacers, especially at home. They are terrible.

Preview: Raptors at Cavaliers, April 6th

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Relevant Statistics:

Pace: Toronto 95.5 (12th) vs. Cleveland 93.3 (25th)

Offensive Efficiency: Toronto 108.4 (6th) vs. Cleveland 109.1 (2nd)

Defensive Efficiency: Toronto 109.8 (30th) vs. Cleveland 101.0 (8th)

Notes:

-Looks like LeBron and Varejao are going to play, but Delonte will sit with back spasms. I like resting Delonte; he hasn’t looked like himself in the past two games. Also, Boobie should play!

-This game is very important for the Raptors, who are clinging to the final playoff spot in the East. This game means nothing at all to the Cavs. I’d like to see them take care of business so that they can stay sharp. Also, I’d rather see the Bulls than the Raptors in the playoffs, personally.

-Chris Bosh will test Andy in his first game back. That much we know.

-Alright, open thread. See you after the game.

Preview: Hawks at Cavaliers, April 2nd

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Relevant Statistics:

Pace: Atlanta 92.7 (27th) vs. Cleveland 93.3 (25th)

Offensive Efficiency: Atlanta 109.0 (4th) vs. Cleveland 109.1 (2nd)

Defensive Efficiency: Atlanta 104.1 (15th) vs. Cleveland 100.9 (8th)

Notes:

Josh Smith/Al Horford going up against the Cavs without Shaq or Varejao is a scary notion.

Beating the Hawks is all about winning the possession battle. They succeed by getting offensive rebounds and not turning it over.

Late in the game, I actually feel better about LeBron being able to control Joe Johnson than I do about any Cav being able to control Jamaal Crawford.

Recommended Reading:

Hoopinion

Preview: Bucks at Cavaliers, March 31st

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

My time is short. Cavs looking to avenge their LeBron-less loss. Stop the Bogut/Jennings pick-and-roll. Make Jennings beat you by taking it at the basket. Watch the LeBron-LRMAM matchup. Read Bucksketball and Brew Hoop. Open thread.

Preview: Kings at Cavaliers, March 28th

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Relevant Statistics:

Pace: Sacramento 96.7 (6th) vs. Cleveland 93.2 (25th)

Offensive Efficiency: Sacramento 102.2 (21st) vs. Cleveland 109.3 (2nd)

Defensive Efficiency: Sacramento 106.8 (21st) vs. Cleveland 101.0 (8th)

Notes:

-No Hawes, Tyreke, Garcia, or Brockman for the Kings. Andy won’t be playing for the Cavs.

-Not having Andy will make things tougher than people realize, but this should be a fairly hitch-free homecoming for Z.

-Open Thread. Chime in about the game and the Z reception/ovation here.

Recommended Reading:

Sactown Royalty

Cowbell Kingdom

Preview: Cavaliers at Spurs, March 26th

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Relevant Statistics:

Pace: Cavs 93.2 (25th) vs. Spurs 93.8 (23rd)

Offensive Efficiency: Cavs 109.4 (2nd) vs. Spurs 107.1 (9th)

Defensive Efficiency: Cavs 100.9 (7th) vs. Spurs 102.3 (9th)

Notes:

-I don’t think Tony Parker plays in this one, which is a break for the Cavs. When he plays, I get 2007 flashbacks.

-Duncan’s coming off a 2-11 game; he didn’t get to be known as one of the most consistent superstars ever by stringing together bad performances.

-Spurs are a big team — we’ll see if Z can help in his 2nd game back.

-The Cavs found out the last time they played the Spurs that Manu is now more likely to beat you with threes than he is slashing. Let’s see if they can stay up in his grill.

Recommended Reading:

48 Minutes of Hell

Preview: Cavaliers at Hornets, March 24th

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Quick Notes:

-Hornets are scary. They gave the Cavs a real test last time, Chris Paul is back, and the Cavs are on the road. Far from an easy game.

-Keep Marcus Thornton out of the transition game.

-This should be the game Z returns. Get excited.

-Your recommended reading is Hornets 24/7 and At The Hive. See you after the game.