Roughly ten months ago, I wrote a column before the NBA Finals. It was called “3 Reasons Why the Cavs Will Win (And 3 Reasons Why We’ll Lose)” and I started it by stating my belief that the Cavs would win the series in six games.
That’s why I tend to shy away from predictions with my teams, particularly when I’m all emotional after stomping the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Consider it a lesson learned.
Still, with just four regular season games left and the Cavs holding a tenuous two-game lead on the fourth spot, I figured I’d take another stab at this whole “3 Reasons Why” article.
(Scott’s Disclaimer: I take absolutely no responsibility for anything that happens to the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise in the impending NBA postseason. Unless they win it all. Thanks.)
Three Reasons Why the Cavs Will Win This Postseason:
3. Experience – Every key player in the rotation has at least some postseason experience. Ben Wallace and Devin Brown have rings. Most of the key guys—LeBron, Boobie, Andy, Z and DJ—played together as a unit in the last two postseason runs.
The coaching staff also got their feet wet and learned what it takes to overcome adversity—an 0-2 deficit in the EC Finals—and reach the championship.
2. Home Court Advantage – The Cavs are 26-13 at home this season. If the playoffs were to start today, the Cavs would face the Wizards, who won both match ups at the Q this year and went 3-0 against them (including playoffs) last year in the Q.
The Cavs also defeated potential second round opponent Boston twice at home this season. The Cavs are 11-2 at home against EC teams in the postseason the past two years.
1. LeBron – This really requires no explanation.
And now, the three reasons why I don’t think the Cavs will win this postseason:
3. Coaching – Mike Brown can’t manage a rotation.
Damon Jones actually plays well and gets almost entirely yanked for Boobie, who has struggled in his return. Sasha not only played, but was in the starting rotation, well after he proved his ineffectiveness.
And not only has the team not improved on the offensive end, their defense has gotten worse.
Often times, Brown has the same expression on his face that I would have if I was trying to solve a nuclear physics equation. But other than all of that, I have the utmost confidence in our coaching staff heading into the postseason.
(Look at that picture above! Look at it! That's the face of a guy who's breaking a now 44-year old championship drought in the city of Cleveland?! Really?! And the best part is, he has that expression on his face about 84 percent of the time, too.)
2. Health – Boobie’s still not at 100 percent. Wallace will probably never return to 100 percent. And now LeBron is starting to wear down near the end of the season and is complaining of back pain.
1. Improvement in the East – Following the NBA Finals I wrote the following: “I want to know if the Bulls will get better, if the Heat will get younger, if the Pistons will…well, not repeat their implosion of this year. I want to know if the Wizards will get healthy, if the Nets will remain intact, if the Magic and Raptors will keep improving.”
Clearly, I missed on the Bulls statement, but other than that, not too shabby, huh? (The lesson, I guess, is that if you make ENOUGH predictions, you’re bound to get some right.)
Anyway, the East is markedly better this season than last, with the Celtics, Pistons, Magic and even the Sixers all vastly improved.
The Cavs right now, in my opinion, are no better or worse than last year, even with all the trades.
Yes, we made it through the first two rounds last season essentially playing two high school JV teams, but steamrolling the Pistons in the final four games of the EC Finals validated the Cavs’ place on top the East.
Really, the only area in which the Cavs have improved this year is in the individual play of LeBron. He has been flat-out ridiculous, and having the opportunity to watch him on a nightly basis is a blessing for Cavs fans.
No, he won’t finish in the top-two in MVP voting this year, but without him the Cavs are as worthless of a team as the Miami Heat. They would probably get banished to the D-League or fold as a franchise, and I don’t know think Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant could carry this supporting cast the way LeBron does. (No wonder his back hurts him so much.)
If you want a postseason prediction from me, don’t hold your breath because you’re not getting one. However, no other team in the league has LeBron James, so our odds aren’t that bad.
(Of course, no other team in the league has Mike Brown, either…)