What a huge win for the Cavs--and for the city of Cleveland. That trophy presentation, while a bit ostentatious, was a sight to see. The Cavs really grew up in this series--I think the New Jersey series lit a fire under them, and everything finally clicked defensively throughout the last four games of the Detroit series.
The Finals this year are gravy--I expect we'll take a game or two off the Spurs. But it will be a fabulous learning experience. I think the Pistons will be back, but not nearly as strong (no longer the team to beat in the East), and that the Cavs may be able to put together a string of Finals appearances. Who knows, maybe we can win one.
A few thoughts before I go to bed and dream of a title in Cleveland (while also telling myself not to get my hopes up, after watching the Tribe in '95 and '97.)
1.) Tonight showed just how deadly the Cavs can be on a night when we have another legitimate perimeter scorer. Boobie Gibson made me forget about Michael Redd over the past few days. I think he and LeBron can be a great tandem for years to come. LeBron didn't have the jumper tonight, but his presence on the floor opened up lanes and shots for everyone else.
2.) Sasha Pavlovic needs to learn how to pass at the end of a drive--he keeps taking great drives from the top of the key, but when you're starting from that far out someone is going to plant on you and draw the charge. I think this kid is going to be a really good Cavalier--he's got a pretty good outside shot that's getting better, he's stepping it up on defense, and he's deceptively athletic. But he's got to learn to harness that athleticism and make the pass when necessary.
3.) Larry Hughes is a warrior. He played his heart out tonight--some beautiful jump shots and some nice penetration into the lane.
4.) During the second quarter, I believe I got so frustrated that I said out loud: "If Damon Jones takes one more three pointer early in the shot clock, I will scream." We were babysitting a 2-year old, so I'm glad Damon wised up. He actually did a decent job in the third and fourth quarter stretching the floor but not taking too many wild three's. He also had one great pump fake-then-drive in the fourth quarter.
5.) Rasheed Wallace needs to grow up. The two fouls he was complaining about were legit (the latter more than the former). To get yourself ejected with almost 7 minutes left in the game, to put your own temper above your teammates, and to say some of the things it looked like he was saying to the ref . . . come on. You're a grown man.
6.) How sweet was it to see LeBron hug Z after the game? What a huge win for Z--so many years of frustration and injury early in his career, but he never hung it up. Instead, he kept battling to get back on the court and good things eventually came into place.
That's all for now. Stay tuned in the coming days for my Cavs-Spurs series preview.