Monday, June 4, 2007

Coaching Postscript, Cavs-Pistons

I can't believe the Detroit Pistons double-teamed LBJ so much in Game 6, when he clearly left it all on the floor in Game 5. The Pistons actually should have stuck with single coverage on Lebron. I felt that too many of Flip's moves were those of a man protecting his job. Sure it looks good to double-team Lebron after Game 5's performance, and the talking heads were calling for that sort of thing. But it was the wrong move. I've actually started to wonder, though, if Flip playing his starters into the ground in Game 5 wasn't an intentional move of genius. Usually, if you're the veteran team, I would think that you would want to draw out the series, thinking that you have more practice in winning games when they matter. However, I think Flip knew that the Pistons could not afford a Game 7, even if experience and home-court should play in their favor.

Everyone keeps bashing the Cavs line-up, and I agree the starting five is weak. But what's great is that at nearly every position, there's a young and old player to balance each other out. Z and Anderson. Drew and Donyell. Eric and Daniel. The Sasha/Larry/Damon/Lebron mix as well. That's an underrated strength for a team to have, and it wore the Pistons down. If Mike Brown sticks with the hottest hand(s) for playing time in the Finals rather than resorting to veterans, this team could beat the Spurs. Also, Mike Brown's offense may be a mess, but would you look at that D?! No shot-blocker, little press (I'd love to see the Cavs take a page from the Bulls and press in the frontcourt with those big guards), and their best "name" defender may be the oft-injured Larry Hughes. The act may seem to be smoke and mirrors, but it's executed at a level that would impress Hollywood, Vegas, and Broadway.

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