In order to get ready for game six, it's instructive to look at game five.
If you want to blast the Cavs for giving up big leads, they deserve equal credit for building big leads.
No Cavs fan wants to see a large lead erode, but that is the nature of pro basketball. Ebbs and flows are part of the game, and the Magic are a team that can stack massive piles of points together in a short time span. Turns out, the Cavs can do so as well.
We outscored Orlando 32-10 in the first 8 minutes. They outscored us by 30 (!) in the next 22 minutes. And we outscored them by 18 the rest of the way. If you want to whine about losing the lead, give this team the credit it deserves for going on significant runs of their own.
I love Barkley, but I have no idea what he was talking about.
The gameplan in the fourth quarter, according to Barkley, was to give it to LeBron at the top of the key and have him just improvise. That's easy to assume if you're only paying cursory attention, but there was one significant change -- nay, one significant adjustment at work here -- many of the possessions began with LeBron catching the ball with his back to the basket. For those of us who have been thirsting for such a scenario, we finally got it. And it paid off.
It's true that the offense moves much less and works more slowly in such a scenario, but three points about that: 1) It allows LeBron to back down smaller guards and get easier shots. 2) It obviously frees up other guards for wide open shots, which is hardly a problem. 3) I'm reasonably convinced it allows LeBron to rest. Seriously. He's not getting minutes off now, and he's understandably whipped. When he catches the ball at the top of the key or on the block, it's a moment to catch his breath. On one play, he caught the ball at the top of the circle, waited 13 seconds, and drained a jumper. Good result, bad possession, right? It's not ideal, granted, but if LeBron decides he's going to take a jumper, why not hold it, collect a breath, and shoot when he's settled? Guy needs to manufacture some kind of breather, and this offense doesn't seem to be nearly as grinding as Barkley makes it out to be.
The TNT gang is also wrong about the need to foul Dwight Howard more often.
Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller went on and on about the need to hammer Howard every time he catches the ball. They are apparently unaware of the whole "six fouls and you're out" thing. It's new, of course.
Really, Z and Varejao both fouled out, and Andy has had 2 fouls in the first quarter in the past three games. If we adopt their plan, we'd lose our two best big men by the third quarter. The other option would be to play the weaker big men more often. I'd suggest getting Joe Smith more minutes, but he's so svelte that I'm not sure he could hammer Howard hard enough to stop him.
(Note: I'm not suggesting that we not foul Howard at all; I'm suggesting the the D against him has been appropriate the past several games).
As others have said: Varejao's flops aren't selling.
Andy played a nice game, but the days of multiple charges are seemingly over. And I can't blame the refs. I love Andy's hustle, but if I were a fan of an opposing team, he would drive me nuts. Can't cry wolf that often. But I think he gets this, and is adjusting.
Joe Smith should see a few more minutes.
Is he in the doghouse or something?