Monday, April 27

Can we get a real opponent?

Well, that was easy.

The Cavaliers emphatically put an end to the Detroit Pistons' 2008-09 campaign, as well as their run of six straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances, by earning a 4-0 series sweep with a 99-78 win on Sunday. The Cavs won every game in this series by double-digits, a feat achieved only once previously in NBA history. The Pistons were a clearly overmatched team, but give the Cavaliers credit for taking care of business and getting the series over with quickly. The Wine and Gold now enjoy up to a week's worth of rest before tackling the winner of the Atlanta-Miami series, currently led 2-1 by the Heat.

There's not much I can say to make Game 4 seem even vaguely interesting, especially in light of the fine game played by Orlando and Philadelphia later in the day and the double-overtime instant-classic between the Bulls and Celtics that preceded it. Hell, I took a nap during the entire fourth quarter. Let's have a few game notes anyway:

- LeBron finished off a historically good series (though one that will be overlooked because of the non-competitive nature of the games) with a 36/13/8 line (including 16/17 at the line and a +10, lowest among Cav starters), close to his series average of greater than 30/10/7. This guy is ridiculous.

- The guards showed up this time; after miserable Game 3s, West and Williams combined for 36 points on 14-24 shooting, 9 assists and a +55 rating.

- Boobie Gibson was the only Cav in the minus column, at -6.

- The game featured more excellent Cavalier defense, holding the Pistons to a low percentage (39.7% including 1-10 on threes) and outrebounding them 41-30. All series the Cavaliers denied the paint area to the Pistons, whose big men were total nonfactors, limiting Detroit to low-percentage shots and keeping them off the foul line. The Pistons went 48-58 from the line in this series. LeBron by himself was 47-59.

- I can't believe they made Michael Curry do an interview late in Game 4. Leave the poor guy alone! The sideline chick asked him something dumb like "how much of what you said to the guys was emotional and how much was tactical?" What's he going to do, break it down into percentages? He rightly ignored the question and gave some stock answer about playing hard, but wow they should never have had that conversation.

- Lots of big minuses on the Piston ledger, including Wallace (-14), Stuckey (-17), Hamilton (-19), and Maxiell (-20). No surprises there. Are you bored yet?

So, we move to the second round, as expected, but not until the close of the Hawks-Heat series. Neither poses a legitimate threat to Cleveland, so let's hope it goes the full seven games so the winner is worn out when they come to visit the Q. Go Cavs!

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