Last night's game being the closest we've had to a blowout at all in the Conference Finals, I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said. However, I wish to submit to you a list of things that should not and cannot continue to happen if our Horsemen of the Basketball Apocalypse are to ride on into the Finals.
- Mo Williams, Delonte West and Z continue to miss open looks: While no one here is stupid enough to argue that LeBron is a one-man team, we're all well aware that shot creation from people not named James is not our strong suit. It's all about drive and kick, and we've done a fine job of that so far in this series. Problem is, our shooters aren't knocking anything down. As far as I'm concerned, however, the game plan is working. As long as we keep getting guys open looks, good things will start happening. If Mo, Delonte and Z hit their averages, we're up 3-0 having won by 15 each game.
- Dwight Howard continues to do his best Mark Price impression from the free throw line: No way this is sustainable. If Orlando beats us by virtue of DH's free throw shooting, then so be it. But it's not going to happen.
- LeBron James doing his best Shaq impression at the line: LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. After last night's performance, no doubt he's at the gym practicing FT's for hours today. He knows that regardless of the team around him, he's got the biggest burden to carry, and The King is not one to take that sort of thing lightly.
- Our defense continues to fail to get fourth-quarter stops: This has been the key to the series so far, really. Our defensive scheme has completely broken down in the fourth, allowing the Disney Darlings' already deadly shooters to get open looks which, of course, spell doom. Adjustments need to be made and rotations reconsidered. These guys can kill us even when we're playing good defense, so we can't settle for non-existent D. Let Howard get his. Do whatever is necessary to take their assassins off their game.
The Cavs continue to play as if they're the underdogs in the series: I don't care if we're down 2-1. We are the best team in the NBA, without question. And we need to start playing that way. We come to battle every night led by the Coach of the Year and the league MVP. No one can stop us, and that's a truth we collectively have to believe in. No more chucking up ill-advised jumpers early in the shot clock like nervous school children in a pickup game. No more LeBron dribbling for 20 seconds while looking like a deer in the headlights. No more collapsing around a third-tier backup center and leaving shooters wide open. Amway Arena was quieter than Walt Disney's tomb for most of last night. We need to take advantage of it. And can we really be scared of a team called the Magic? In their majestic blue pinstriped uniforms adorned with delightful stars? Nonsense.
This is our series, and this is our year. On Tuesday, we will come out and go face to face with these things that should not be. By defeating our own lingering demons, we clear a path to certain victory... and our Horsemen will ride on.