NBA Roundtable

Game Time: Miami vs Cleveland

In Game Log / Recap on November 12, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Good test for the Miami Heat tonight. The Cavs aren’t in great shape, or even very good shape, at the moment but they are playing at a good level. The Heat have been in excellent form lately and have been playing very good basketball so they’re a bit ahead of the Cavs at the moment. That said, I think the Heat are playing above themselves, and the Cavs are under-performing, so tonight will be a good “see where we are game” for both sides.

I’m expecting a very close game, eminently winnable for either team, with Wade + LeBron going off for huge nights. Pretty much canceling each other out. Whichever player gets more of a hot hand from their supporting cast will end up being the victor.

Miami matches up better with Cleveland than most title contenders due to the Cavs over-reliance on LeBron James. It allows their defense to be more effectual.

Starting lineups

  • Cleveland Cavaliers — Mo Williams + Anthony Parker + LeBron James + JJ Hickson + Shaquille O’Neal
  • Miami Heat — Mario Chalmers + Dwyane Wade + Quentin Richardson + Michael Beasley + Jermaine O’Neal

First Quarter

  • Delonte West is inactive again tonight. He’s at the arena.
  • Cleveland jump out to a 7-2 lead after 90 seconds.
  • Nice pass by Wade to setup Jermaine O’Neal off the pick and roll, Jermaine to the hoop, Hickson comes over and blocks the shot but gets a lot of body too, foul. Jermaine makes his FTs.
  • Quentin Richardson lost 25-30lbs … that means he was above 260lbs.
  • Oh my, lovely pass by LeBron to a trailing Shaq who was roaming down the paint but not picked up after trailing in transition. Shaq’s third basket
  • Dwyane Wade looks fantastic physically. Healthier than ever. Spry, quick, explosive both in speed and elevation.
  • Wade with a good finish off the dribble drive following the timeout.

Cleveland leads 11-6 after three minutes

  • Lob pass by James to Shaquille on the opposite side of the rim from the left corner, Shaq can’t put it down, Hickson retrieves the loose ball
  • Miami in transition … James races back and creates a turnover, upcourt, to Hickson, basket.
  • Oh, wow, Wade just killed Anthony Parker’s attempted layup. Like an older brother slamming his younger brother into the wall as he tries to hit a layup on a garden hoop.
  • Wade with a beautiful side step and finish in the paint. Shaq couldn’t follow that.
  • Nice movement off the ball from Wade. Jermaine had the ball in the low post, left block, Wade was on the left wing, faked a cut through the middle, then stepped back and went around Jermaine, hand off, short shot, miss … James in transition, to the rim, fouled, hits two FTs.

Cleveland lead 15-8 after five minutes

  • Excellent pass by Chalmers off the dribble penetration to Jermaine O’Neal for the wide open dunk after getting by the help defender (Shaq).
  • Wade on the high pick and roll, attacks Shaq, draws a foul. Makes both FTs.
  • Jermaine O’Neal draws a charge on Parker’s dribble penetration. Nice help D. Nice pass from Parker too to setup a dunk but the foul ruled that out.
  • Beasley pops up from the left post to the left elbow off the pick and roll action from the top of the key and drains the jump shot. Varejao was helping out on Jermaine who was rolling to the rim, why Beasley got open.
  • Quentin Richardson tried to take a charge on Shaquille O’Neal but his foot was on the circle line. Ouch! Shaq splits a pair.
  • Haslem offensive rebound off of Chalmers’ miss, hits the 13 footer along the baseline.
  • James blows by Haslem out on the left wing, to the rim, help defender comes over, James shoots over him, misses … offensive rebound, back to James, fouled. FTs, hits them.

Cleveland lead 18-16 with under five minutes to play in the first quarter

  • Anthony Parker steal, out on the right wing, breakaway, Haslem gets back, excellent contest, Parker goes up weak as normal on layup attempts, missed shot … fastbreak the other way, Beasley to the rim, fouled. Hits his FTs.
  • Q checks out. Gets an ice bag for the hit he took trying to draw that charge on Shaq.
  • James posting up 15 feet out on the right. Defensive three seconds. James hits another FT. Sideline inbounds, James top of the key, drives hard, to the rim, dunks, no Jermaine comes over and alters the shot, miss. Great D … Wade in transition, Varejao standing in the paint, Wade goes right at him, over him, dunks on Varejao! Wow! Wade gets the and-one too.
  • Wade is hanging about 10-12 feet off of Jamario Moon defensively. Looking to help actively off the ball and bother Cleveland with his help D. Trying to force Moon to shoot from the perimeter too.
  • James gets back to the line and ties the game at 21.
  • Varejao outlet pass, Wade tried to steal it after the rebound, Beasley tries to steal the outlet, both fail, Miami short handed, LeBron James races up midcourt, bounce pass to Big Z for the easy dunk, Jermaine comes over and rejects it, Cavs get it back, fouled. Big Z hits his FTs.
  • Cavs lead 23-21 with three minutes to play
  • Jermaine O’Neal on the offensive glass, pulls down the rebound, throws it back out. Chalmers draws a foul, splits a pair at the stripe.
  • Wright and Anthony check into the game.
  • Nice lob pass from James to Moon, alley oop dunk! Cleveland’s first field goal in 6 minutes.
  • Pick and pop, Beasley hits another 17 footer.
  • Varejao fakes his way by Beasley as MB jumps at his shot fake, drives by, finger roll.
  • Wade with a pretty crossover + dribble penetration to the rim, fouled again.
  • James replies with FT(s) of his own.

Cleveland lead 28-26 with 1:20 left to play

  • LeBron James is 0-5 from the field but he has 8 points on 8-9 shooting from the line … James snakes by on the pick and roll on the left wing, right to the rim, fouled, hits the and one.
  • Arroyo in the game, working on Gibson, over to Wade on the right wing, Wade gets the step, drive and kick to Wright in the left corner, Wright drains the triple.
  • Drive and kick to Big Z for the 19 footer at the top of the key, miss.
  • Loose ball foul on Varejao. Anthony takes some FTs.
  • LeBron James pick and roll with Big Z, the paint is wide open, no help, James races down the paint and throws it down!
  • Wade dribbles down the clock, takes the three pointer from the top of the key and hits it … wow!
  • Oh my, James flies up court, hits a three pointer from the top of the key, a running three!

Second Quarter

Cleveland lead 36-33

  • Cook has come on. He has sat out the last five games with an injury. Are the Heat better off without Cook? I’m not a big fan of his. I thought he had too large of a role last season. With Wright back healthy and hitting jump shots, I think they’re better off with Wright.
  • Arroyo bags back to back jump shots off the pick and roll.
  • Mo Williams turns it over on an out of control drive to the hoop.
  • Cook left wide open at the top of the key after Cleveland was caught scrambling on the pick roll out of the left corner. Cook misses the shot. He’ll hit that if Cleveland keeps giving it to him.
  • Mo Williams out of control on another drive, baseline drive, turnover. Nice rotation by Jermaine. Tech on Williams for his reaction.
  • Excellent recovery and shot contest by Arroyo there, Williams misses.
  • Big Z misses a baseline J from 18 feet, over the back foul on Varejao on the rebound.

Tie game 41-41 after five minutes

  • LeBron James runs down the rebound, down the right wing, draws the defense, bounce pass to Moon, slam dunk! Excellent fastbreak.
  • Shaq posting up Jermaine O’Neal, defended well, right-handed jump hook from a poor angle along the baseline, miss. Good defense.
  • Jermaine O’Neal rips down the rebound. Timeout Miami.

Great stat — 1st quarter combines for 68 points with LeBron + Wade on the floor versus 14 points in five minutes in the second quarter with James + Wade sitting.

  • Jermaine O’neal tries to shoot over the top of Shaq, misses, late foul call on Shaq. Jermaine makes his FTs.
  • Mo Williams knocks down a three pointer on the left wing.
  • Wade wheeling and deeling off the high pick and roll with Shaq again, drive and kick, Chalmers drives, steps out of bounds. Turnover.
  • Pick and roll between Shaq and Mo on the left wing, Mo dribbles over and knocks down the triple.
  • Jermaine gets a lay in inside.

Cleveland leads 49-45 with four minutes remaining

  • Shaq posts up again, draws a foul, takes FTs. Shaq is just 14-32 from the FT line this season.
  • Wade high pick and roll with Jermaine again, Parker gets lost trying to get around the screen, leaves Wade open for the three, decent recovery and decent contest, missed three pointer.
  • Richardson picks up his third foul. He’ll sit again.
  • Mo Williams splits the pick and roll defense (Beasley), drive and kick after drawing the defense, Wade deflects teh ball out of bounds.
  • Travel, turnover, after the inbounds pass. Good defense by Haslem to deny LeBron the ball. Hickson would get a shot clock violation anyway, didn’t realize how little time was on the clock.
  • Haslem hits an 18 foot J from the top of the key
  • Shaquille O’Neal posts up Jermaine on the left post, muscles way middle, draws a foul.

Cleveland leads 52-48 with 2:30 left in the first half

  • Shaq heads back to the line afer Wade is whistled for a reach in foul. Shaq hits one of them FTs.
  • Hickson gets FTs, makes both. Cavs up seven points now.
  • Michael Beasley has his foot on the line for that 23 foot jumper from the left wing, hits it!
  • High screen and roll, Williams and Shaq, left wing, goes left, Jermaine sticks with him, drive and kick, Wade picks it off, breakaway, layup, soft foul. Three point play. Nope, missed FT, Beasley rebound, slam dunk.
  • LeBron unhappy with Hickson’s soft foul. Has a word. Then let’s it go. Good talk.
  • Ilgauskas loses the ball in the paint, bobbles to James, slam dunk. James has 17 points and 5 assists.
  • Wade slithers through the paint, acrobatic pass in the paint, layup? Turnover … fastbreak the other way, Moon to James, slam dunk.
  • Timeout Miami
  • Wade draws a foul and hits one of two FTs.
  • James dribbles upcourt, high pick and roll, with Z, drives right, kicks it to the right wing, WIlliams drains a three pointer.
  • Wade dribbles down the clock, final shot of the quarter, high screen and roll with Jermaine, Wright cuts from the right corner to the rim, alley oop dunk!


Halftime

Cleveland leads 62-57

Some Team Stats

  • Cleveland up 19-17 on the backboards.
  • Both teams have 9 assists. Cavs 9 on 19 baskets, Miami 9 on 20 baskets.
  • Cleveland are 19-39 from the floor for 48.7% FG%, 4-7 from three, and 20-24 from the FT line.
  • Miami are 20-39 from the field for a 51.3% FG%, 2-8 from downtown, and 15-21 from the line.
  • Cleveland leads 7-5 in combined blocks + steals.
  • Both teams have 7 turnovers. Miami have 12 points off those turnovers, Cleveland 14.
  • Cavs ahead 11-5 in fastbreak points.
  • Cleveland have 18 fouls against them versus 13 for Miami.

Some Individual Stats

  • Jermaine O’Neal leads Miami with 5 rebounds in 16 minutes. Haslem has 3 in 10 minutes. Beasley has only 3 in 16 minutes. Q-Rich has only 1 in 9 minutes. Chalmers has 0 rebounds. Cook, Anthony, Wright and Arroyo have combined for 2 rebounds in 36 minutes off the bench.
  • Dwyane Wade has 16 points on 4-11 shooting plus 7-10 FTs along with 3 rebounds and 4 assists plus 1 block. 3 turnovers though.
  • Quentin Richardson is the only Heat player in foul trouble. Oh, Haslem too, sorry.
  • Jermaine also has 12 points and 2 blocks to go with his 5 rebounds. Beasley has 10 points. Arroyo, Haslem and Wright have 5-6 points apiece. Nobody else is involved scoring wise for Miami.
  • LeBron James has 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists along with 1 steal and 1 block. He is 5-12 from the floor and 9-10 from the line. 5-7 from the field since missing his first five shots.
  • No Cavs player has more than 3 rebounds but seven players have 2-3 rebounds and two more have 1 rebound.
  • No Cavs player has more than one assist except LeBron.
  • Mo Williams has 13 points. Shaq has 11. Moon 6. Nobody else has more than one basket.

Fun game so far.

Third Quarter

Cleveland ahead 62-57

  • Wade drive and kick out to Jermaine O’Neal, missed 17 footer off the left elbow.
  • Jermaine fronting Shaq on the left post, slows the entry pass, finally gets the ball low, Jermaine behind, jump hook, misses.
  • Chalmers with a nice steal on Mo Williams’ drive and kick off the pick and roll. Beasley went with Mo, Chalmers shot the passing lane and stole the ball.
  • Hickson showing the quick first step, blows by Beasley on the baseline, quick pass along the baseline, Shaq dunk.
  • Wade drives hard left, Parker there, Wade throws his head into his chest. I thought Parker was there, refs disagree. Fourth foul on Parker. This is where they miss Delonte West. Moon checks in.

Cleveland leads 64-62 after two minutes

  • Mo Williams wastes the whole shot clock dribbling, Shaq comes out and sets a pick on the left wing, Mo hits another three pointer off a pick and roll on that left wing. Bailed himself out there. We’ve seen that shot a lot over the past two games.
  • Beasley misses on the drive, Jermaine keeps it alive, snares it, composes himself, goes up, left handed finish plus the foul. Hits the FT.
  • Shaquille O’Neal posts up left post, goes middle, right handed jump hook, Jermaine goes up for the block, Shaq misses. Foul. Tough call. Shaq hits one of two.
  • Hickson gets lost off the ball defensively, Beasley cuts baseline as Chalmers drives, alley oop, slam dunk!
  • LeBron James drops a three pointer over Q-Rich on the right wing
  • Wade uses the pick, goes right at O’Neal, floater, misses.
  • Jermaine O’Neal faces up Shaq, beats him with the first step, but Shaq is so big that he remains in the play, great blocked shot … nope foul, on the arm as well as the ball. No call. Turnover.
  • James misses from the left sideline
  • Beasley has Shaq on him in transition, he faces up from three, drains it. Beasley has 15 points now.
  • Shaq low post, Beasley drops down, out to Hickson 18 feet out on the baseline, hits it!
  • Wade’s pass picked off, Hickson ahead of the pack, Beasley chases him, Hickson uses his body strength to hold Beasley off, layup.
  • Beasley faces up on the right wing, 17 footer, Hickson gets a piece of it … fastbreak, Mo Williams down the left wing, across the middle of the floor, right wing, everyone goes away from Mo thinking he’s about to pull out, right baseline 19 footer, hits it!
  • Timeout Miami

Cleveland leads 77-70 at the midway point in the third quarter

  • Dwyane Wade knocks down a jump shot out on the left wing
  • Nice one two between Shaq and Mo out of the left post to left corner, Williams hits a triple.
  • Wade dumps it off to Beasley off the drive as Beasley cuts across the rim, 8 footer, misses it.
  • Nice pass to Hickson under the rim, no look pass from LeBron, dunk attempt blocked by Beasley at the rim. Great defensive play from Beasley.
  • Beasley cleans up in the paint. Nice contested rebound pulled away from Hickson + Moon.
  • wade drives on the fastbreak, takes it to Shaq, goes right at Shaq, gets the foul and hits the shot. Shaq’s fourth foul, Varejao checks in. Wade misses his FT.
  • Miami’s defense is getting very active right now. Good quickness from their bigs.
  • Beasley gets lost on a pick and roll as I say that, Hickson cuts to the rim, Mo Williams finds him, layup.

Cavs lead 85-80 after Haslem hits a FT with 2:30 left in the quarter

  • Lob pass from Ilgauskas to Hickson, high low pass, slam dunk!
  • Wade brings it up, Arroyo at the point, Wade high pick and roll, drives left, to the rim, runner, misses it.
  • Oh, wow, nice block from Anthony up top as he comes over from the weakside, rejects Gibson’s running layup on the break
  • James posts up Richardson, doubled, cross court pass to Gibson, three pointer, good look, misses it.
  • Wade left wing, goes baseline, loks for the reverse, hacked. Wade has struggled, by his normal standards, from the line tonight.
  • Classic Moon foul, shot clock about to expire, Wade dribbles in, head fake, Moon bites, jumps into him and gets the foul. That’s Wade’s 19th FT. He’s now 13-18 from the line, make that 14-19. He’s picking it up again after a rough middle patch (5-5 to start) from the line.
  • Gibson knocks down a three pointer. Arroyo was lost there.
  • Wade high screen and roll, over to Haslem on the right elbow, drives left, flips up a runner in the lane, misses
  • LeBron dribbles out the clock, over to Gibson, three pointer right wing, misses … rebound Richardson, he dribbles upcourt in a jog, takes a three pointer from 43 feet, rims out.


Fourth Quarter

Cleveland leads 92-84

  • JJ Hickson bags another jumper. He’s having a very good second half. He has 17 points now, 13 of which have come here in the second half.
  • Double Wade, over to Arroyo late in the shot clock, three pointer, miss.
  • Cleveland’s defense cranks down again, forces a shot clock violation as Big Z strips Haslem who was trying to create a shot off the dribble.
  • Mo Williams off the pick and pop, drive into the middle of the paint, draws the defense, hands off to Hickson, fouled on the layup. Foul on Haslem, #4 foul. Hickson hits one of his FTs. Offensive rebound Cavs.
  • Mo Williams on the pick and pop on the left wing, drives baseline, pull up from 15 feet, high bounce and misses.
  • Moon pulls down the rebound … nice ball movement from Cleveland, ball swung around the perimeter to Parker in the right corner, miss.
  • Miami hasn’t scored in four minutes

Cleveland leads 95-84 with 9 minutes left in the game

  • Dwyane Wade checks back in. Miami needs his playmaking + scoring ability. Needs … they’re downright desperate for it.
  • Dwyane Wade draws a lot of attention, swings it over to the right wing, drive and kick to the left baseline from Chalmers to Haslem, 18 footer, hits it.
  • Mo Williams drops a runner in the lane. He has 23 points and has hit 5 triples.
  • Beasley on the left wing, drives right, hits the layup. Tough shot.
  • Mo Williams pick and roll with Hickson top of the key, drives left, goes down the paint, Moon cuts from the right corner to the side of the rim, Mo finds him, layup.
  • Moon forces Beasley baseline and blocks his running layup attempt out of bounds off Beasley. Turnover.

Cleveland leads 99-88 with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter. The Cavs are close to finishing this game off.

  • Miami is low on energy/intensity + belief
  • Parker misses a two foot shot in the paint, nice contest from Jermaine O’Neal, after a nice spin move to create the shot
  • LeBron James is on the floor now. Hickson is the center, LeBron the PF. Moon, Parker and Mo are the perimeter trio.
  • Beasley picks off LeBron’s pass … upcourt, Wade pops off a three pointer, hits it! 8 point game. Wade walked into that three pointer, no contest from Parker.
  • Timeout Mike Brown. He’s unhappy with those two plays.

Cleveland leads 99-91 with seven minutes to play

  • James drives on Haslem, Haslem riding on his hip, James traveled before the foul but whatever. Sideline ball, James faces up 18 feet out on the left wing, clearout, drives right, into the paint, reach in foul. James hits two at the line — his first FTs of the second half — Cavs back up 10.
  • Beasley out on the left wing, fakes left, drives right, leaves Hickson in his dust, goes up high for the stuff, Shaq comes over late, goes up for the block, foul. Shaq’s fifth. Beasley hits his FTs. Only five rebounds for Beasley tonight.
  • Clearout for LeBron on the right wing, James shoulder fake right, one dribble left, pull up J from 22 feet, miss … Hickson fights for the offensive rebound, hit out by Hickson, Miami ball. Nope, refs didn’t see it. Jump ball, fair enough. Hickson wins the jump against Chalmers but he fails to get it to a Cavs player, loose ball, Chalmers retrieves it.
  • Beasley misses a 18 footer left wing, kept alive by Chalmers, out to Wade, Wade dribbles into a three, hits it!

Five point game — 101-96 Cavs with 5:40 to play

  • Miami’s defense is doing an excellent job keeping the ball out in front of them … Mo Williams pulls it out, blows by Chalmers, hits the floater from 8 feet.
  • Quentin Richardson misses a perimeter jump shot from the right wing. He’s 0-2 tonight.
  • Wade rejects Hickson’s dunk in the paint, turnover, break, Wade stops and pops from three on the left wing, misses it.
  • LeBron clearout on the left wing, drives left, baseline, LeBron kicks it out, throws it between two players, out of bounds, turnover.
  • Varejao checks in for Hickson. Big Z is in also. Along with the starters on the perimeter.
  • Wade wide open from 12 feet, decides to attack the rim, reverse layup, soft contact, foul, misses shot. Fifth foul on Z. Wade hits one FT.

Cleveland leads 103-97 with four minutes left in the game.

  • Wade with the wrap around pass on the acrobatic drive, stolen by James … foul by Chalmers in the backcourt trying to get the ball back.
  • LeBron and Q getting physical … to James at the top of the key, Parker’s man sags off him, James finds him in the right corner, three pointer on the way, miss.
  • Wade blows by his man (shot fake left wing, goes by Parker), into the paint, hits the floater over Ilgauskas.
  • James clearout right wing, pulls up from three, hits it! Big shot!
  • Timeout
  • Q-Rich miss fires on a pass along the baseline, turnover.

Cleveland leads 106-99 with 2:30 left to play

  • James top of the key, crossing over, Richardson falls asleep, James blows by him, down the paint, to the rim, Jermaine goes up and takes a hard blow. James hits one of two at the line. He is 12-14 from the line.
  • Wade pick and roll on the left wing, steps into a 19 footer, misses.
  • James pick and pop with Mo Williams, left wing, goes right, down the middle, draws another foul. On Q-Rich. James back on the line, hits two. Five on Richardson.

Cleveland up 109-99 with 1:47 left in the game

That should do it. Very good win for the Cavs tonight.

Some Stats

  • Dwyane Wade finished with 36 points on 9-17 shooting from the field, 2-5 from three, and 15-21 from the FT line. Wade also had four turnovers. Plus five dimes, four boards and two blocks.
  • LeBron James had 34 points on 8-20 shooting from the field, 2-4 from downtown, and 16-18 from the stripe. Against two turnovers. Also had seven assists, four rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block.

Other stats

  • Cavs led 15-7 on fastbreak points
  • Cavs won 42-34 for points in the paint
  • Heat edged the rebounding battle 37-36 + turnovers battle 10-11.
  • Miami had only 13 assists on 35 field goals. The Cavs had 16 on 36 baskets.
  • Cavs shot (eFG%) 54% while the Heat hit for 50.8% of their shots. Cleveland was also an additional 3-3 from the FT line.

Some notable individuals

  • Mo Williams — 25 points on 10-15 shooting
  • JJ Hickson — 18 points but only 4 rebounds in 31 minutes
  • Shaq — 14 points and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes. Also 3 assists.
  • Jamario Moon — 8 points and 6 boards in 31 minutes
  • Michael Beasley — 24 points on 9-17 shooting but only 6 boards in 38 minutes.
  • Jermaine O’Neal — 15 points on 5-11 shooting plus 5-5 from the line. O’Neal also added 9 rebounds and 2 blocks (felt like more).
  • Chalmers — 8 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds.
  • Haslem — 9 and 8 in 20 minutes off the bench.

Thoughts on the Game

Doubting the Miami Heat

  • I’ve watched the Heat play three times now since the season started. I begun the season doubting Miami (mainly due to Beasley/Jermaine) but they’re winning me over with each performance. I’m not fully on board yet … I still think they’re over-performing … but they’re looking better than I initially expected.
  • I’ll have a short note on Jermaine’s efficiency tomorrow. It’s odd. After seeing how Jermaine played last year, and the poor start he had in preseason, I entered the season doubting Jermaine’s overall play. I’ve always felt that he was capable of playing at a good level again but questioned his mental approach to the game. If Jermaine can keep up his high level of play, or at least sustain a large portion of it, then Miami is a 45+ win team.
  • Miami’s overall team defense has been spectacular. If they can keep that up, and Jermaine stays right, then Miami is somewhere in the 50 win bracket talent wise.
  • Michael Beasley still has moments defensively where he makes you want to pull your hair out … but overall he looks vastly improved over last season on that end of the floor. His lack of rebounding is irritating me to high heaven … but at least there is some much needed defensive progress.

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • JJ Hickson is a nice addition to that starting lineup. I’d like to see the Cavs use Varejao as their backup center and primary backup big man from now on, playing around 30-35 minutes a night. Then use LeBron James as the club’s fourth big in the rotation while having Darnell Jackson as the Cavs’ fifth big.
  • In other words, I think it’s best for the Cavs to dump Big Z out of the rotation … and consequently put him on the trade market and acquire the best wing player possible for his expiring contract. Preferably someone who is a good scoring option to ease the Cavs reliance on LeBron.
  • Those LeBron James isolations for 6-8 minutes near the end of games are hard to watch. Effective, well fairly effective, but hard to stomach. It’s like the whole team hides in a shell when times are tough.
    • Mike Brown should be using the early part of the season to build his team’s confidence in pressure situations. Over-relying on James this early in the season will only have a negative effective at season’s end.
  • It’s painful watching Anthony Parker try to finish around the rim. Particularly on fastbreaks.
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  1. Not sold on JO keeping this up. His knee is permanently injured – it will not take much to slow him down again. But the new brace looks better.

    Cleveland looked much better. But AP is getting old and it shows. Maybe the Cavs added too much age and experience this summer!

    AV should play more, Shaq should play shorter shifts (more & shorter). And it is time to trade Big Z.

  2. Dave,

    IMO, Jermaine O’Neal sustained an injury of some sort to his right knee in the 4th quarter of last night’s game.

    From the time that it happened, Miami stopped believing that they could win the game.

    Although J-Neal never chose to sub out during the 4th quarter, he was totally ineffective in the later stages of the contest and was one of the primary reasons the Heat lost last night.

    Personally, I did not like what I saw from this Miami team over the course of the final 6 minutes last night.

    Unless there are changes coming to the rotation that they used last night, the best the Heat can hope for this year is to finish somewhere in the 5th-8th spots in the EC … provided D-Wade remains healthy.

    ——————————————-

    Cleveland, on the other hand … has righted the ship by:

    1. Virtually eliminating the Shaq + Z front-combo from its regular rotation [checkmark];

    2. Inserting Hickson into the starting line-up [checkmark]; and,

    3. Beginning to use Jamario Moon properly, as a highly serviceable low-cost wing player.

    Once they can incorporate Danny Green into their line-up, the Cavs will be back on course to finish this season as one of the Top Dawgs in the EC.

  3. I’m still not sold on the Heat. They’re playing very well right now but I don’t think they can keep this up throughout the season.

    They’re looking very good, a near-lock, for a playoff spot though … which I wasn’t convinced they were beginning the season. So, I do feel some of the improvement will last the long haul. Just not as much as we’re witnessing right now.

  4. Dave,

    re: J-O’Neal’s injury

    FYI.

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