Sunday, June 3, 2007

And just like that, I like LeBron :)

I'd like to mention that among my mess of predictions back in the day, I had the Suns and Cavs in the finals, with the Cavs winning their ECF in six games..

(And if not for those Suns suspensions I might've gotten it all right!)

That game 5 performance by LeBron James is, as a lot of people have mentioned, absolutely amazing. He basically scores every Cleveland point from the last part of regulation all the way through two overtimes, leading his team to the series-changing win.

Game 6 is something that won't be talked about as much but may say the most about that Cleveland team. They basically had little offensive production from LeBron until the third quarter, and yet they were right with the Pistons for most of the game (make that leading the Pistons).. And while everyone (myself included) feel that LeBron's supporting cast is barely good and certainly not great, they still showed enough to handle a fairly strong Pistons team, sans a godly LBJ performance.

Gary (who I have almost daily NBA conversations with, even though he thought Emeka Okafor was a better pick than Dwight Howard) feels that the difference maker for the Cavs ("x-factor") is none other than Larry Hughes. He feels that Hughes is the reason that Billups was essentially shut down all series, and that it has potential ramifications since San Antonio gets so much of its offense from Parker (and to a lesser extent Ginobili).

I don't necessarily feel that way, but I do think that the Cavs have a solid chance against the Spurs if only because San Antonio has a tendency to stagnate on the offensive end. In the Phoenix series, for instance, despite the fact that the Suns didn't really stop Duncan, the games never really got out of hand. You'd see the Spurs "controlling" both ends of the floor via excellent defense and a seemingly unstoppable Duncan.... and yet the San Antonio lead would be something like 6 or 7 points.

The issue is perhaps that while Duncan is a dominating post presence, he is not a dominant scorer.. In large part due to his shortcomings at the line. This is a guy that will annihilate anyone under single coverage, and makes the right pass when he is doubled.. But if he is fouled he shoots an abysmal percentage from the line.. Opponents can then use this as a means of cooling him down when he gets going.

Every analyst considers San Antonio the prohibitive favorite in the upcoming Finals, and with good reason. They're a more talented and experienced team collectively, have the more dominant post presence, and have home-court advantage.

But then people felt that way about the Mavericks last year.. and it's not too difficult to see LeBron doing what Wade did back then.. In fact it almost seems a certainty after his Game 5 performance.

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