Overview: With The Cavs having no answer for Dwight Howard or consistent flow on the offensive end, they were blown out in Game 6. The Season is over.
I started writing about basketball in November of 2007. I started my first blog in June of 2008. This blog was started in January of 2009. These are the hardest words I have ever had to write as a basketball writer.
This was our year. We won the most games. We had the best player. Orlando and Boston both had major injuries. You don’t get many years in the NBA. This was one of ours. And we lost. It still hasn’t sunk in for me yet, but it’s just so painful. The Cavs won’t get many more chances like this.
So, what happened? Nobody thought we would lose this series. Nobody. Here are my thoughts, in order, although there’s really not much I can say right now.
Game 1 was our Waterloo. It was. We knew coming into the playoffs that our advantage was that we wouldn’t have to win a big game on the road so long as we stayed strong at home. We didn’t. LeBron had an incredible game. We could’ve won. We should’ve won. James gets an and-1 on Howard. Varejao bites on a down-fake and gives up a three. James gets doubled on the drive, gives it to Mo, swings it to Delonte, no basket. That’s a sequence that will play in my head over and over and over and over and over again for at least a year. Game 4 was winnable, too. But really, it’s the loss at home that was the cause of the Cavs’ demise. That’s the one to remember.
A thought branching off of that: this team was good enough to win a championship. Absolutely. They couldv’e beat this team. Rashard Lewis misses one end-of game three, it’s headed to Cleveland for game 7. Rashard misses two end-of game threes, Cleveland wins. LeBron had the game-ender too, but I see that as more of an averted choke than a steal of a 50-50 game, but maybe I’m just a homer. In any case, you can’t afford to give a team this good two 50-50 games. Period.
This was a tough matchup for this team. All the talk will be about what else the Cavs could’ve done offensively, with LeBron accounting for nearly half the offense and all, but the problem was the Cavs’ defense getting cracked. The Cavs had nobody to defend Dwight Howard, and that opened up this insane perimeter game. Everyone was ready to make the extra pass and the open shot, and that’s just ridiculously hard to defend when you have one guy who demands two defenders.
And the Cavs couldn’t answer on their end. They’ve got one trancendent player, one 80th percentile scorer, one solid scorer, and grinders in the frontcourt. There was nobody other than LeBron ready to take the game, take the responsibility, be the man, make the defense react to them.
As for this game, LeBron looked human. Dwight didn’t. He was so big, so strong, so fast. Even when the Cavs tried to double, he was into his move so quickly. He couldn’t be stopped. One good rotation from the Cavs and it was an open three. Four good rotations and there was still the extra pass and a good shot. This team simply cannot be defended without a post stopper. And the way this Cavs team is set up, they can’t out-score people.
I don’t have much more to say, right now. This should be a magnum opus, but I don’t have one in me. We should’ve won. We were supposed to win. We didn’t. We couldn’t handle this team. They’re a great team, and play beautiful basketball. They cracked our defense, and our offense wasn’t good enough under pressure. Few are.
I’ll have many off-season posts that deal with this, but for now I’m just out of gas. What a season. 66 wins, 8-0 in their first 8 playoff games, one of the greatest seasons ever, an MVP, so much attention for the first time. There’s at least one more go-round with LeBron and Co., and all signs point to many more. But you get so few years. So few.
I don’t know what else to say. I want answers. I want vindication. I want validation. I want a smoke. I even want to see my ex again. I’m going to get none of those things. There will be lots of things said about this team. The trick is to not listen to them. This is a great player. This was a great team. They did great things. They brought so much joy. The memories they made will last forever.
Last of all, I want to thank you guys. In one of the all-time phyrric victories, we crossed 100,000 total visitors today. That’s amazing. A 20-year old little kid getting that many people caring about what he says. You guys have been the best readers on the planet, and I appreciate it more than you know. Stick around for the off-season, and get ready for next year. It’ll be great. Until next season, guys. Peace.