Forget the 4th quarter. Mike Brown will address it, more than likely by waiting longer to rest his starters if this type of situation arises again in the playoffs. When your biggest problem was the bench losing focus and blowing a huge lead, you have no problems.
The Cavs took it straight to the Pistons early on, and the Pistons couldn’t respond. The big adjustment for the Pistons was to try and rotate who guards LeBron, and throw some double teams his way. Consider that strategy worthless.
Next they pulled the PG and went with a big line-up. About three possessions later the Cavs solved that look as well. The result was a frustrated Detroit team that looked quite disinterested by the time the first half ended. The Cavs held Detroit to 32 points in the first two frames. There were technical fouls on Kwame Brown and Amir Johnson. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Rasheed wasn’t involved in either of those plays. Then again, you have to show a little emotion in order to get a tech. Sheed certainly didn’t do that in this one.
The Cavs dominated the boards throughout, and got all the loose balls and hustle plays through the first three quarters. One play that sticks out was a very long three-point attempt by Mo Williams – one that wasn’t exactly a smart shot. However, Joe Smith scoops up the offensive board, wraps a pass around a defender in to the arms of Delonte West, and he gets the hard-earned two points.
LeBron led the way as usual, finishing with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists. Granted, we would have preferred had James got to rest for the entire fourth quarter, but we’re willing to give and take. Also consider that at least a handful of pinpoint passes by James resulted in Pistons fouls under the hoop. While this hurt his personal assist total, it was a large factor in the 43-16 free throw attempt differential.
Mo and Delonte shot the ball well, with most of Delonte’s 20 points coming from drives to the hoop. Mo Williams looked exponentially more comfortable in this one after shaking off the proverbial butterflies out of the gate.
Aside from that 4th quarter, the only real negative was Ben Wallace’s knee, which tightened up and limited him to 8 minutes and no floor time in the second half.
Some food for thought: The Pistons shot over 50 percent from the floor through much of Game 1 and finished with 84 points, losing by 18. The Cavs shot an awful 42 percent from the floor in Game 2 and won by 12 thanks to lock-down defense through the majority of the contest.
The Boston/Chicago series is going six games minimum. The Orlando/Philly series could be longer than expected. The Hawks looked really good the other night, but expect Wade to make a series out of that one as well. The point is this, there will be time for rest. It is important for the Cavs to weather the storm Friday night, and put themselves in a position to win in the fourth quarter. I think that if the Cavs can win that one, the will of the Pistons will be gone.