Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Playoff Newbies Like The Cavs Keep It Humble -- And I Like That

It's nice when the Pistons play these playoff neophytes like the Bucks and Cavaliers, because their players and coaches know their places. There'll be plenty of time for the bluster of the Nets or the Heat or the Spurs or Mavericks or Suns another day.

But for now we have the Cleveland Cavaliers, and quotes like this:

"I think their experience will overcome our youth right now."

"They're already a doggone good team, so we can't make it any easier for them."

"We have to play 48 minutes, or else we're not going to beat the Detroit Pistons."

"I thought our guys did a good job in the second half, but that's not good enough against this team."

And so on.

Enjoy this humility from the opposition while you can, because after this, it's going to get a lot more trashy.

The Cavaliers obliged on the court, too, bowing to the Pistons, 97-91 -- a score that was close only because the Pistons let their minds wander before they regained their interest. It was amusing how the TNT announcing team of Matt Devlin and Mike "The Czar" Fratello got themselves worked up into a lather when the Cavs drew within five points with under 90 seconds remaining. Like the Pistons were going to let the game get away.

I like Cavs' coach Mike Brown. He didn't try to pull the wool over the ink-stained wretches' eyes afterward by pinning false hope on his team's comeback in the second half. None of this, "I think we can take a lot from this" blather.

"I like some of the things we did in the second half," Brown said with the proper amount of humbleness and respect, "but that's just not good enough. We have to be the aggressor in this series. They're too good to allow them to take the game to us."

The Cavs may yet win a game, and it'll probably be Game 3, frankly. By the way, I checked the schedule and I believe Game 3 will be played July 17 (okay, it's Saturday, but STILL...). That's usually the one game the team that loses a series 4-1 wins. They feed off their home crowd's energy, they play above their abilities, and they snatch one. Then in Game 4, the favorite gets serious and closes the door. In Game 5, they turn the deadbolt.

Pistons coach Flip Saunders blamed the Cavs' comeback on playing his starters too much, leaving them tired in the fourth quarter. I like Saunders, too, because he has already learned how to talk like a moderately arrogant prohibitive favorite. He speaks of "playing not the Bucks but ourselves," and how last night's mini-drama was "my fault. I took a calculated risk and what you saw was a bunch of tired starters in the fourth quarter."

Nothing about what the Cavs did. I like that. Don't give your opponent anything they can use to feel good about themselves. That's what the OTHER coach's job is.

So by the time we reconvene for Game 3, it'll be the weekend, so I'll say this before you leave:

Have a great week!

As for you, Mike Brown, keep chowing on that humble pie. There's plenty in the oven.

1 comment:

Big Al said...

As you said, it was obvious that the Pistons were not going to lose, no matter what the Cavs did, despite the schreeching from TNT. I totally agree with you in regard to the TNT announce team. The Czar and his lackey were doing everything in their power to ratchet up the nonexistent drama.

"The Cavs get a couple of stops, make a couple of threes, get the lead to 10, and THEY ARE BACK IN THE GAME!"

I doubt the Czar actually believed what he was saying...