Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday 06/03 A.M. (Very) Quickie: Cavs!

Congrats to LeBron and the Cavs, who did the improbable and surged back from an 0-2 series deficit to win four straight games to vanquish the Pistons for the NBA Eastern Conference title.

Usually, I'm a big fan of the "title or bust" mentality: That if a team doesn't win the league championship, the secondary prizes of conference or division titles is hardly notable. Except in the cases where expectations are smashed in such a distinctive way, as they have been here.

The Cavs have achieved their title. I heard one analyst questioning whether Cleveland was celebrating too soon, with a Finals meeting against the dynastic Spurs still to come. Too soon? Hardly.

LeBron is 22, and he has just carried his team to the NBA Finals, the greatest milestone yet in his brief yet brilliant career. (Watch for an avalanche of comparisons between how quickly -- and relatively easily -- LeBron dispatched Detroit out of his way as compared to Michael Jordan's Bulls.)

Obviously, an NBA title would eclipse what the Cavs have just done. But even if they don't beat the Spurs, the Cavs have advanced another step forward in the LeBron Era, the hugest step yet. The fans can -- and should -- be satisfied with where they are now. Please: Enjoy it.

Meanwhile, for the Pistons, a second straight season without a conference championship could be the final signal of the end of the team's reign. The rest of the conference has obviously caught up. Chauncey Billups is a free agent. Can a team built around Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince be a conference heavyweight?

Meanwhile, add Daniel Gibson to the short list (Deron Williams) of players in these NBA Playoffs who have vaulted their status and stock. Who had "31 points" in the office pool for the series-clinching Game 6? Considering Gibson was a second-round pick deemed fit as neither a point guard or a shooting guard, he has to make GMs reconsider their appraisals.

The biggest winner in the NBA Finals? ABC and ESPN, which gets to pit the otherwise unlikeable dynasty team of the decade against the league's most marketable individual star. That sure beats the Spurs-Pistons dud it looked like it was going to be a week ago.

-- D.S.

23 comments:

Keith said...

There was a pretty good hockey game on last night, too.

Just sayin'.

Seth said...

Boozer was a second round pick and he was the Jazz best player. Manu was a seconder rounder. Bowen was undrafted. Gibson and Varejao were both second rounders. Also of note, Hughes, Gooden and Marshall were all lottery picks.

Matt T said...

After last night, I think Cleveland may have a chance.

LeBron didn't have to dominate and they won handily. I know the Spurs are the best team but the Pistons were supposed to be the second best.

Geoff said...

Glad Gibson already gets superstar treatment from the refs. Got almost as many free throw attempts as all 5 Piston starters combined. Absurd.

ryan from boston,ma said...

I was hoping the NBA finals would be a dud.Only reason,is to get it off ABC/ESPN soon and then move it back to NBC or CBS in a few more years.

Andrew said...

spurs in 6.

and only because its 2-3-2 (otherwise, 5)

Matt said...

i love it when a pistons fan complains about foul calls. look at lebrons drive at the end of BOTH game 2 and 5. hamilton was all over LBJ at the end of 2 and Maxiel fould lebron at the end of 5. Gibson got to the line because he was aggressive and too fast for the stones.

i was in downtown cleveland last night(not at the game, at a bar called The Clevelander) and it was simply out of control. After the game Ontario street (where the Q is) and it was basically shut down for an hour. you had 20k people from the cavs game. 40k from the tribe and another 25 k in the downtown area. in 24 and it was one of the best sports moments in my life.
Cavs in 6..we match up well with the spurs and the emergence of gibson makes me believe it any more
GO CAVALIERS!!!

rafael said...

Gibson got free throws because he went to the basket. Detroit kept shifting to him too late, thus they fouled.

Still, I think Spurs in 5. LeBron and Gibson are two good pieces. They need more depth to beat SA

Geoff said...

When a team plays as physical as the Cavs and also shoots 19 more free throws, something is wrong. Whatever. Poor officiating is basically the theme of the entire season anyway.

Spurs in 4 or 5. Just no way the Cavs beat them.

Matt said...

the cavs have no way to beat the spurs like they had no way of beating the pistons right?

the cavs defense is largely underrated guys...and if gooden can show up every night...
cavs in 6

Joey said...

Just remember, the Cavs were 2-0 vs the Spurs this season. I'm not sure if they can win it or not, but I like their chances. One thing I do know is that they will not get swept. One thing that could really play in their favor is the 2-3-2 format. If they can win 1 of the first 2 and then go home for 3 straight they could just win the thing.

CycleDan said...

You have to say, there has never been a player pre-NBA hyped as much as LeBron. There was no way he could live up to the hype - yet he did. Wow.

Ottawa showed some sack to come back from 3-2 and make the series 2-1. If they went down 3-0, it was defacto over.

I set my own personal best today. I rode my bike 105 miles today and we averaged 20.5 mph. We got slowed down by a couple of flats but a fun but tiring ride otherwise.

Nick said...

So is Daniel Gibson for real, or will he be forgotten in a few months?

Jen said...

The Cavs have depth...they have go-to guys to step up the D, and get shots they need.

Don't forget...Mike Brown and Danny Ferry were a part of the Spurs' organization just a few years ago. They know what has to be done.

No one gave the Cavs a chance in this ECF series, so it's no surprise that they are not getting a chance in the Finals either. I can see them winning it in 6, but I am a Cleveland fan, so....

matt~ I bet it was INSANE downtown last night! It's pretty exciting around here!

GO CAVS!

Jen said...

cycledan~ Great job on the ride today!

larry burns said...

@seth.

yes but the player both teams are built around were first overall picks.

duncan james.

CoCo said...

I know no one gave the Cavs much of a chance against Detroit, but Detroit is not San Antonio. The only real advantage the Pistons had over the Cavs was experience. I can't think of an area where San Antonio doesn't have the advantage. Mike Brown couldn't even out coach Flip Saunders. Can you imagine what Pop is going to do to him. This will be a great learning experience for the Cavs though. Spurs in 5

mattie said...

Off-topic, but Dan's head is going to explode with this story, LOL...

Sources: Donovan wants out of Magic deal

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

matt -

There's nothing to be done about it now; nobody's taking the wins away, so you can stop pretending you didn't see what you saw. Your response to geoff's topical comment about Gibson was a complete non sequitur, and it's about time somebody mentioned the officiating disparities.

I think it's perfectly reasonable for Pistons fans to complain about foul calls, when Detroit loses a 2OT game after missing their 6th man for 46 minutes due to a foul that wouldn't have even been a flagrant if committed by, for instance, Drew Gooden.

And if you plan on getting any honest person on your side, I wouldn't bring up LeBron-based foul calls. Apparently he can't commit them, because he straight-up mugged Rip under the basket for no foul (and Bill Simmons wonders why the Pistons never attacked with the guy LeBron was guarding), and it's almost impossible to defend him cleanly when he can just tuck the ball like a fullback and charge in from the stripe without worrying about traveling calls.

And maybe I'm confused, but if you're referring to the Maxiell play that I think you're talking about, you're actually insane. JMax stepped right out of the King's way because he knew there was nothing good coming out of trying to defend him on a potential game-winner. Should have let LeBron lower his shoulder and flopped like that clown/girl/futballer Varejao.

And when it comes to foul calls, the defining moment has to be when McDyess got called for blocking when he was planted and his hands were down at his sides. One ref got it right, but apparently the guy who answers right to D. Stern knew the marching orders better and straightened him right out.

Now, remember, the series is over and the Cavs are in. No, Detroit probably didn't earn anything close to a win last night, giving Boobie all those open looks.

But don't insult us by lying about what you saw. That shit infuriates me.


geoff - Hopefully the 'Stones will pick up some superstar talent and find a more "watchable" style of basketball to play, so they can get some calls next year when it matters. Who do you think needs to be packaged with R. Wallace to get some Kobe around here?

Joey said...

Don't be bitter Pistons fans, LeBron dominated you and proved that your run is over. It was a nice run, but the problem is the further your team got away from Larry Brown, the worse they got. Wallace was a great pickup when you got him, but that team fell apart as the series went on and had a lot of internal feuding.

Also, don't ever complain about fouls on LeBron, he get hacked more than anyone this side of Shaq without actually getting a foul called. The reason the Cavs were at the FT line more was that they were the aggressors.

Mikepcfl said...

I cant believe people are rooting for the Cavs to win the title. If the city of Cleveland somehow wins a major sports title the world will end and hell will freeze over! just joking Cleveland.

chitown italian said...

What a great day today is. I have another reason to hate UF. Do you think Spurrier talked to Donovan before or after he committed to Orlando?

rafael said...

actually, i made a point of watching and counting to see how many travels LeBron got away with...and I really only came up with a couple, and none of those were when he was driving from the top of the key.
Varejao flops on occasion, but he doesn't flop even close to half the time. He is good at putting himself in position to get hit hard.
I'm surprised, still, that McDyess got tossed for that foul on Varejao...Don't know about it being close to a flagrant 2, but it was an intentional foul.