Perhaps it’s ridiculous to post my first ever recap in reaction to a loss to Orlando, a team I despise, and during our first three game losing streak since W. was president, but I’ve got to do it. I’m fuming, and I’m tired of seeing us walk down the court whenever Orlando has some momentum.
Where is our transition offense? Is all this because we caused a karmic earthquake and traded Z? Where’s the sense of urgency?
True, we’re up by a few games in the Eastern Conference. We’re learning how to play together. We’re getting Mo back, and now we’ve got to work Jamison in, and everybody is looking for what their role is on the team. I guess, in conclusion, we’re back at the beginning of the season.
Jamison responded with some measured aggression in the 3rd quarter, probably causing J.J.’s heart to break. If Antawn doesn’t get into foul trouble, or if we’re in Cleveland and Howard gets called for that charge in the 4th quarter, this game goes down to the buzzer. But he did get the foul called, and the only reason Orlando was able to gain the momentum it did was because we started to double team Howard. Once we do that, well, I think every Cavs fan knows Orlando’s offense after that. Swing…swing…drive a little…swing, swing, knock down a three.
I don’t care who is guarding Howard, they need to do it alone. And if they’re beat, they need to foul him…hard. As much as I enjoy Van Gundy’s commentating, he’s clearly dissecting Orlando’s problems a helluva lot more than Cleveland. To help his brother? Possibly. And how he got on Vince Carter’s case for the ENTIRE 4th quarter reeked, to me, of some kind of agenda for lighting a fire under Carter’s ass for the rest of the season, which is exactly what SVG wants. Anyway, he was right about fouling hard, even if he was meaning Orlando foul Shaq.
The Cavs are in a rare position where they can overpower and disrupt Howard. Make him not have fun. That’s the goal. If he gets sour, then he’ll stop playing with the carefree attitude that makes Orlando so dangerous. They thrive on lightness, rhythm, pace. The Cavs, when the playoffs come, will need Shaq, Varejao, Powe, and Z (please God come back Z…), to hammer him inside. And they need to do it without ANY help. That’s 24 possible fouls.
FOR THE FUTURE…
I hope Brown will use this starting lineup for a while: Lebron, Jamison, Shaq, Mo, and Hickson. Perhaps this seems a little bizarre and forward-heavy, but in order to beat the top 3 teams (Orlando, Boston, L.A.) in the league, we’re going to have to match up with them size-wise. I want to keep Parker in the starting line-up, because he is a coach’s player, but he wouldn’t be boxing out a big man on rebounds, and Hickson, despite his brain farts, is a very ambitious rebounder and a talented leaper.
It will be up to Mo and Lebron to create tempo, and this is the most important part for the Cavs. They must, must, must, capitalize off misses and run the floor. Once we made the mistake of doubling Howard in the 4th quarter today, we lost all rhythm and walked up the court and ran set offenses that Orlando will just eat up.
I’ll end on this, and I promise, in the future, my recaps will be more organized. I just had to get these thoughts down.
Maybe Lebron doesn’t need to play point guard, but he needs to work together with Mo and speed up the offense. He’s not doing that right now. As with every single Cavs player right now, they are confused with their roles. Lebron has a choice right now, and he knows all this: Tell Mo you’ll run the offense and turn Mo more into a Ray Allen run off screens kind of player, or…well, there is no other or. I believe this needs to happen. This is the last evolution of Lebron’s game. He needs to become a true point-forward. He needs to keep the tempo going, because it slowed to a halt in the 4th quarter.