2010 NBA Playoffs: Has the Cavaliers' Focus on the Post Game Doomed Them?
For a team that claims not to run plays for their post positions, the Cavaliers are doing an awful lot of scoring in the post.
Everyone knew the addition of Antawn Jamison would mean the Cavaliers would be doing more scoring in the post. Jamison has been a 20-point, eight-rebound guy for his entire career.
Nobody thought in the midst of getting everyone accustomed to the new play, the Cavaliers have transformed to a post scoring team.
Take last night’s game in San Antonio, for example. The Cavaliers lost 102-97, and LeBron James, Jamison, and J.J. Hickson combined for 71 of the 97 Cavalier points.
Eight points from Z—Zydrunas Ilgauskas—and Andy Varejao makes it a total of 79 of 97 points from players in the post. The guards scored a dismal 18 points in 82 minutes of playing time.
I understand that the Cavaliers have won 14 of their last 16 games, own the best record in the NBA, and will probably have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
But they owned all of that last year.
This team needed to get better performance from the guards in order to succeed and advance further than it did in the playoffs last season. I am sorry, but that hasn't been improved.
All of this focus on integrating Jamison into the system, working Hickson into the starting lineup in place of Shaq, and preparing the team for more post play has left the trio of Anthony Parker, Mo Williams, and Delonte West seemingly in the dark.
The proof could be seen in their shooting performances against the Spurs on Friday night, which ended in a 6-of-16 night from the field.
These three guys are not getting enough looks during the games, which could prove deadly in the post-season—yet again.
Thinking of the teams that lie ahead in the playoffs, I fear another disappearing act from Williams, West losing his head and forgetting how to play the game, or Anthony Parker not getting enough shots to get his rhythm down.
Don't believe me? Look at the series against Orlando last year. The lack of scoring from the guards was the biggest difference in the series.
You can argue that we didn’t have Shaq to stop Dwight Howard or Jamison to put his length in Rashard Lewis’ face.
But the fact is, when your guards can’t score more than a combined eight points in a game, you will not win in the postseason.
I fear the emergence of the post game will doom the Cavaliers in the playoffs. If they do not allow their shooters to get a rhythm going soon, and if we want to “Win a Ring for the King,” he had better take notice, too.
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