Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cavs vs. Nets

You can go here for my extended thoughts on the series, but here are a few brief thoughts:

1. It would really help the Cavs if they could win the first two at home. The Nets are playing well enough that the Cavs probably don't want to go down the road of surrendering homecourt advantage and giving New Jersey a chance to take the series lead in their house.

2. Mike Brown values defense over offense, which is why Larry Hughes and Eric Snow never get the hook even when they're chipping paint off the rim with their shots. With that in mind, now is the time for Hughes and Snow to earn their sizeable paychecks at the defensive end by clamping down on Jason Kidd.
Kidd had a monster series against the Raptors and the Nets still barely won. If Hughes and Snow can do the jobs that Brown has them on the floor to do, the Cavs could clinch this series with a game or two to spare.

3. You think LeBron is going to be jacked up for this series? His boy Jay-Z is going to be watching courtside, along with his tasty-looking girlfriend Beyonce. If the Nets really wanted to demotivate LeBron, they'd force their world-famous minority owner to watch the series from home.

4. Mike Brown vs. Lawrence Frank. Al Roker vs. Doogie Howser. Has there ever been a less-intimidating coaching matchup in the history of the NBA playoffs?

5. The Cavs have Game 7 at home if they need it. It's a huge safety net, especially if they have trouble closing out games in New Jersey. And I never assume that the Cavs can close out games on the road. I've been burned too many times. They have to prove it to me.

6. If you're dying to know my prediction and don't want to scroll all the way back up and click on the link above, you're really lazy. You're also in luck, because I'll give it here:

Cavs in seven. It's a conservative prediction and I know we're all hoping the Cavs don't make us sweat through a deciding game. Or get pushed to the brink of elimination at any point. Cleveland is a deeper, bigger team that should own this series under the basket, and that should get them the win before we start sweating over an early exit. But the Nets are red hot shooting from the perimeter right now, and that could counteract Cleveland's inside game.

Bottom line: If the Nets cool off from the outside, they are in trouble. If they continue to smoke it from the outside, they can stay in this series. Cleveland's defense will play a huge role one way or the other.

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