[A note from Matt: Before the start of the second round, we had The Cavalier from YAYsports! explain to our readers just what his beloved Cavs would need to do to upset the Pistons, and Ian and I likewise explained to his readers what the Pistons needed to do to continue on their path to the Finals. With the series now relegated to a "best of three," we thought we'd revisit our original posts. The following is another guest post from The Cavalier, who outlines three keys for his Cavs to follow in their effort to complete the upset bid.]
Obviously, I'm looking at the series in a completely different light. One of the DBBers took me to task in my comments section for now thinking of this as more than a learning experience, when my initial thoughts on the series were that winning was impossible and I was satisfied.
Here's the thing - I'm still completely satisfied.
It's still a learning experience.
The difference is Lebron has shortened the learning curve, as he's prone to do. Your own Mitch Albom said it - the Cavaliers are playing with the house's money. All the pressure is on Detroit. In no way am I saying they can't handle it, either. Just saying that's the way it is, and with the way LeBron James does things, it's possible he skips the "lose to the Pistons" phase of his career altogether. Possible, not probable.
To clear up my other thoughts on your team I've been yelled at for, all I've been trying to say is that they should quite simply shut up. Everyone was happy to give them Game 3 as a complacency loss. Then Game 4 the exact same thing happened, and your guys were saying the exact same thing about being complacent again.
I call foul on that. Even if it were true (which I don't think it is anymore), the fact would have to be that "complacency" is a weakness of your team, same as some teams have "bad outside shooting". You don't get to use it as a crutch every single time you lose. You got beat, Chaunce. You too, Sheed. Deal with it like Rip does - come out and score 30 the next game.
Anyway - three ways the Cavaliers can win.
1) Keep the tempo slow. I'm torn on this, honestly. The style doesn't play to our team's or LeBron's offensive strengths, but it's the only way we can handle Detroit defensively. Our transition defense has been awful all year, and if they run on us, we'll give up 800 of those slap-at-the-ball three point plays. Additionally, the Pistons have abandoned any sort of inside game, except for the occasional Prince jump hook. Make them beat you on jumpers in a halfcourt set. Skate or die. That makes no sense, but I like it there.
2) Drive, pound, penetrate, post, go, go, go inside. Over and over and over. Post LeBron. Post Z (for once, please). Penetrate, which LeBron has been able to do more and more as the series has gone on. This is basic basketball, but while Detroit can win shooting jumpers, we cannot. With Sheed hobbled, they're also vulnerable in there. If LeBron's driving, Marshall and/or Jones is open for three, or Varejao is popping open in strange fashion somewhere underneath. Again, this is retarded to have to mention, but it's the basic things that the Cavs forget sometimes.
3) Keep playing that Detroit-style defense. Where it came from, I don't know, but the way they're closing out on the perimeter, chasing everything, and playing with manic intensity is what Mike Brown has been looking for all year. For whatever reason, they chose now to "get it". Varejao is a huge part of this, and even LeBron is doing it. And he's talking about doing it. He understands he has to now. Like I said - the learning curve and crap.
That's it - pretty simple. I really think this is going seven games - LeBron hasn't gotten off yet, but you know he will. He's still due that "one that LeBron will get for them" everyone allowed us before the series started. So yeah - simple.
[Thanks again to The Cavalier for contributing. Look for our keys for a Detroit victory posted on YAYsports! later today.]