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Rick Senger
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Posted: 27 May 2015 at 5:19am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Only ten players have made five straight NBA Finals and eight of them are from the Celtics dynasty of the 60s.  LeBron is the first since Bill Russell nearly 50 years ago.  James Jones joins him technically, though he didn't play in the 2011 Finals and obviously holds a diminished role.  Congrats to LeBron, who in my book will move way up the winners' list if he can pull off the upset versus (presumably) GS.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 28 May 2015 at 10:52am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Conventional wisdom has long been that it typically takes years for new coaches (and their teams) to reach the Finals.  There are exceptions, of course:  Westhead and Riley both won titles as rookies.  Still, this is the first time two rookie NBA coaches have made the finals in their first season.  Blatt was initially negotiating to be Kerr's assistant coach when he got the call from Cleveland.  Then again, Kerr was reportedly negotiating to be the head coach of the Knicks but wisely waited for GS.  What a difference a year makes.


Edited by Rick Senger on 28 May 2015 at 10:54am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 03 June 2015 at 11:59am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Golden State's going to be their biggest challenge by far, but maybe the Cavs can drag them down to earth and make it really competitive.  I wasn't sure they'd get past the Bulls after losing Love, but there's a lot of depth here; much more of a capital-T Team than LeBron had during his previous time in Cleveland.
*****
Agree that the supporting cast for the Cavs is underrated.  Mosgov is rough around the edges but he rebounds well, makes few mistakes and is a solid rim protector / inside presence.  Shumpert is an excellent lockdown defender.  J.R. Smith creates his own offense and when his shot is on, he can win games by raining down unstoppable threes.  Thompson is rebounding like a monster, particularly on offense.  They've gotten surprisingly strong and timely play from Dellavedova lately.  James Jones is also capable of hitting threes.  Even Brendan Haywood had some good sub minutes last week.  On the other hand, Mike Miller and Shawn Marion, who I thought could be key, are barely getting in the games.  Despite no Verajao or Love and a hobbled Irving, Cleveland's defense has been the best in the post season.  Maybe that's not surprising; Love is not a rim protector but Mosgov is one of the best in the playoffs and he's getting bigger minutes now.  Also, Cleve's competition was Boston (13th), the Bulls (14th) and an undermanned Atlanta team (11th), so they didn't face the best offenses.

The big questions for me: is Irving healthy again?  He's a similar player to MVP Curry but he's got to have that explosive pop to be able to keep up.  So far, nobody in the playoffs has been able to contain Curry.
Cleveland was able to stop depleted Atlanta's three point parade but GS is healthier and better and more deadly.  If GS hits its long range shots, I don't see how Cleveland can defend them because they'll have to stop collapsing the middle like they did vs. Atlanta and go out to the line and contest which allows GS to pick them apart and swing it to the open man. 

LBJ will get his points and probably some triple doubles but he's got to keep his shots down and rely on teammates to contribute.  If the Cavs' supporting cast plays well, this could be a competitive series.  I fear that GS is just a lot better offensively and defensively than the Cavs have seen and Cleveland / LeBron / Irving will have to play just about perfectly to win it whereas GS just has to not fall apart.  Finals start tomorrow night 9p est.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 June 2015 at 6:50am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Most of the Cavs played really well and they had a real chance to steal it so it's such a disheartening loss, particularly with Irving's injury.  Blatt had no business playing him 43 or 44 minutes on that knee despite his excellent performance.  LBJ was spectacular but he's got to distribute more.   GS took the early punches and played like GS... someone said Curry is 13 for 14 on those left corner playoff threes; somebody's got to D-up on those!
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 05 June 2015 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Aaaaaand Kyrie's done for the year. 

While realistically, I realize that the Warriors are a really dominant team and that the 100%-strength Cavs of mid-April would have had a tough time with them, I'm not writing them off just yet.  They've still go LeBron James, they've got talent that can bust out some incredible play when you least expect it, and now it's a team that people have completely written off, so no one's expecting much of anything from them other than to try and play three more games without injury.  The pressure's off, and that could only help at this point.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 05 June 2015 at 5:04pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

".. someone said Curry is 13 for 14 on those left corner playoff threes; somebody's got to D-up on those!"

...

Yeah ,I seen that graphic during the game, I know it's the shortest
3 point distance on the floor but geez that's incredible !
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 05 June 2015 at 7:05pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

It's almost like a glitch in a video game, isn't it?  Every time you put Curry in that spot, he automatically gets three points.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 06 June 2015 at 1:57am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Much love for LBJ but I think it's Golden State's series to lose at this point.  Wouldn't at all be surprised to see them win in 5.  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 June 2015 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Someone made an interesting point about the razor thin margin of victory.  Forget that all Cleve needed to win was one extra free throw (they went an uncharacteristic 13 for 19, LeBron 6 for 10).  If either LeBron's late shot in regulation or the Shumpert followup finds the bottom of the net, not only do the Cavs win but Irving DOESN'T fracture his knee (which happened early in the OT, which wouldn't have been played) and the Cavs are up 1-0 with Irving still playing.  Totally different series.
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 June 2015 at 12:26am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I almost had ten heart attacks during the fourth quarter, and another twenty during overtime.  The Cavs take a must-win game, and it's all evened up heading back to Cleveland.  I don't know if I can survive this series.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 08 June 2015 at 5:04am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

GO CAVS!!!!!!!!!!
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 08 June 2015 at 7:10am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

That was some finish... so back and forth!  The refs blew no less than two blatant foul calls that should have given LeBron and the Cavs free throws and the win towards the end but Dellevedova played an amazing 4th qtr / OT (all 9 of his points plus great pesky defense of Curry) and Curry was off just enough to offset a mostly stellar night by Thompson, who cooled down just in time.  J.R. Smith committed three dumb fouls late.  Mosgov was like a bull in a china shop but those post-up moves were fun and he picked up the Cavs.   Still, this was LBJ's night with that monster triple double and his relentless attack mode.  Other than not upsetting the applecart, I don't understand why GS continues to start Barnes over Iguodala when Iggy is clearly better at defending James. 

It wasn't pretty, but you gotta love 2 OTs in the first 2 games.  On paper this should be a blowout, but I have a feeling if LBJ showed up with four parking lot attendants as teammates, he'd still somehow make a game of it. 


Edited by Rick Senger on 08 June 2015 at 7:38am
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