Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cavs-Pistons Scouting Report After Game 1

I'm notorious for starting these things and not finishing, so please don't be shocked if there is no Game 2-7 recap. But for once, I watched an entire play-off game (yeah!) so I can give you a decent scouting take on the series. First, for no good reason at all, a video of a Cleveland reporter being scratched by an unhappy kitty.

And some good blogs that will be much more regular in their series coverage include,,, and

That said, let's talk about Cleveland's pain:

Eric Snowwon't be the Billups-stopper this year that he was last year. Flip Saunders and staff realized that Snow is strong enough to handle Billups in a way that few point guards can. So they added a Billups/Prince pick-and-roll play. Because the Cavaliers switch, this would leave 6'5" Snow on 6'9" Prince and definitely give the Pistons an advantage.

Drew Gooden has serious problems handling Rasheed Wallace on either end of the floor. I don't know how they can hide him, though, as Marshall isn't getting many minutes either.

Donyell Marshall may be the most important player in this series. Against Detroit's 3-2 zone, Marshall's corner 3's are a perfect fit.

Lebron James realized this on the final play, and also realized that (1) the refs hadn't been calling fouls all game, (2) Rasheed already had 7 blocks for the game and (3) his shot hadn't been falling all game. However, Lebron and the Cavs have to realize that Lebron won't get good looks from the corners of the court. They need to get him isolated up top or posted up down low.

Zydrunas Ilguskas is a good jump-shooter; I loved how he was obviously trying to put extra arc on the last shot, knowing that he was tired and needed more strength. Sadly, it was still short. However, his shooting only served to emphasize Cleveland's lack of a low post option. When your best low post option is an Anderson Varejeo hook, the type I use on the have problems.

High posts by the Cavs feed into Detroit's hands, unless they are set up with cross-court passes. Then that 3-2 won't be able to adjust in time.

The Pistons big men were clearly trying to bully and body Anderson Varejeo as soon as he got into the game. The refs were surprisingly aware of this and gave him the calls. It was a lucky break for a young player to get so much respect, and freed Anderson to put on a strong 13 point performance off the bench.

The speed of Sasha Pavlovic and Larry Hughes is good enough to outweigh their lack of strength. This is the series where the Pistons will miss Ben Wallace. If the Cavs can put Donyell and Z on the floor at the same time and force Rasheed out of the middle, the Pistons have no shotblocker. Although the Cavs may have lost the game, I like the confidence boost this game gives to two guys who at times have lacked it.

As for victorious Detroit:
Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups looked scared. There's no nice way to sugarcoat it. Tayshaun fell down at least 3 times when trying to drive to the hole and went 1-13 from the field. Chauncey was completely befuddled by the Cleveland double-teams and dribbled the ball off his foot a time or two. Seven turnovers! However, as always, when the Pistons need to put a team away, the Chauncey Three struck again. It should be trademarked; he does it every time. Still, Detroit is thin at the guards, and Cleveland actually has more options off the bench than Detroit for the "1" and "2" spots.

Rip Hamilton is a beast. He looked like he was doing a basketball drill; no more than 2 dribbles, and then shoot or pass.

Chris Webber, Dale Davis, and Antonio McDyess are all as elderly as I thought. The vaunted Detroit front court has name cachet, but most of it is based on 1990's All-Star appearances. Still, for not being able to jump, Chris Webber is a snake in the pivot.

Rasheed Wallace has just as much to prove as Zydrunas, as Rasheed's mouth woke up Cleveland last year. It's not surprising both came out with big games.


  1. nice follow up MCB. Thanks for the love on my end too... starting one of these things up, and trying not to look stupid while doing it is kinda difficult. any tips you can provide would great

  2. Awww....boney that was such a sweet little love letter. Nice work MCB, keep it up!

  3. Jack Cobra, the sad thing was that it worked. I immediately sent him my closely guarded blogging secrets (#1: Use pretty pictures. #2: Make fun of bloggers better than you. j/k)., which he no doubt will use to crush my blog. Fell for it again!