Spanish Marshmallow

The Denver Nuggets: Basketbawful reader AK Dave has been saying for a while that these Nuggets reminded him of the 2004 Detroit Pistons, while I have contended that, other than Chauncey Billups, there are few similarities...beginning with the fact that this Denver team has no Tayshaun Prince-like player to put on Kobe for defensive purposes. And boy was that ever the case last night. Denver squandered a golden opportunity to steal Game 1 in L.A. despite leading for most of the game, having a large edge in free throw attempts (gotta love road cookin'), and Carmelo Anthony going nova for 39 points on only 20 shots. And it was mainly due to the fact that nobody on Denver could slow down Kobe Bryant. Without Shane Battier or Ron Artest (or even Andrei Kirlienko and Ronnie Brewer) to semi-contain him, Kobe looked like a guy who'd just been released from prison, scoring 40 points on 28 shots to go with 4 assists and 6 rebounds. Kobe also did it at the defensive end, as he helped hold Denver's shooting guard duo of Dahntay Jones and JR Smith to only 9 combined points. [Edit: You can also credit Jerry West for hyping Kobe up with all that "LeBron has surpassed him" talk. -Basketbawful]

To be fair to AK Dave, I'd told him that I thought the Lakers' size was going to bother Denver, but Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum only combined for 26 total points, while Nene, Neck Lips and the Birdman combined for 37 points. The Lakers' size did help with blocked shots and rebounds, however, as the Lakers outboarded Denver 46-37 and blocked 9 shots to Denver's 8. [Edit: Don't forget about the 17-7 edge on the offensive glass. -Basketbawful] But make no mistake, this is a game the Nuggets should have won, and really needed to win, since you don't know if they're going to get another opportunity like this on the road in this series. On one hand the Nuggets probably shouldn't expect Kobe to get 40 again (it was only the ninth time he'd done so in the postseason). On the other hand, him taking 28 shots and scoring upwards of 30 seems to be de rigeur for him in these playoffs; while the relative no-show by the rest of his team is not.

Here's a little bonus discussion of who to blame for last night's loss, courtesy of some bad animation:

Denver's bench: One of Denver's strengths is that it's supposed to have a fair amount of depth, but that depth certainly wasn't on display last night, as the Nuggets' bench was outscored by L.A.'s subs 27-16...and that was with Lamar Odom being the only Laker sub to score more than 5 points (and even Odom only had 7). Denver got zero points from Linas Kleiza and Anthony Carter, and when your team only goes nine deep and one of the starters finishes with only 1 point, you can't have two of the four subs get goose eggs. Not if you want to win. It also doesn't help if your backup PG has his inbounds pass stolen when the team is down two points with only 30 seconds to go.

JR Smith: It could almost be said that as goes Smith in these playoffs, so go the Nuggets, as Smith had scored 18 or more points in 5 of the 10 games Denver had played in the playoffs this year prior to last night's game, and he'd only scored less than 14 twice. Well, whether the Lakers just had him scouted well and defended him great or whether he just picked the wrong time to forget what a basketball was, it all added up to the same. Smith notched his worst scoring output of the playoffs with only 8 points on 7 shots, to go with 3 turnovers and 5 fouls. When you add in his role in "defending" Kobe (see above), it was a pretty poor night all around for the Nuggets' 6th Man. Denver wasn't alone in having some players who played especially poor though...

Andrew Bynum: The man who was supposed to be The Difference Maker for this year's Laker team continued his march of futility throughout the playoffs, this time with 6 points, 6 boards and 5 fouls in only 16 minutes of daylight. Here's a tip, big guy: when you're fighting for playing time, the best thing you can do is not collect a foul every three minutes. It doesn't matter if you're Michael Jordan, if you rack up fouls like Greg Oden with a blindfold on, you just aren't gonna be on the court for very long. I'm just sayin'.

Kobe Bryant: Kobe picked up another technical (his 5th of the playoffs -- two more and he'll get a one-game suspension) for slamming the ball off the floor and into the stands while complaining about a call he didn't get (replays showed the non-call was probably correct). Maybe he figured slamming the ball was less offensive than hiking his shorts up to his armpits. Who knows. [Edit: And seriously, I'm sick of Kobe reacting as shown below after EVERY call. -Basketbawful]

more bitching

Blake Griffin: The Other L.A. Team won the NBA Draft Lottery last night, which means that nobody had a worse night than presumed #1 pick in this year's draft: Blake Griffin. Sorry Blake, allow us here at Basketbawful to tell you that unfortunately everything you've heard about the Clippers is true. After all, they proved all year that they were who we thought they were; though apparently that paid off last night with the extra lottery balls that frequently bounce the way of the worst organization in pro sports. Said Griffin: "Maybe I can fill a gap that they've had or been missing." Well Blake, when it comes to gaps in the Clipper organization, this photo says it all:

Lacktion report: From Lacktivity King Christopher: "DJ Mbenga commenced the third round of the postseason by opening up a brand new copy of WiiFit and working out a grand total of 22 seconds for a mid-game Mario."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Goddamnit enver. This was your game.

When are teams going to learn, when playing a Phil Jackson team, don't leave that shooting bastard on the 3 point line to bury daggers in your team. Bawful made a great argument somewhere about how the role players on Jordan's teams were largely responsible for the Bulls playoff successes. I'll let him link it, because he's nerdy like that, but it happened again. When Derek Fisher hit that three I about threw my baby at the television. True story. But you don't know where I live so you can't call Child Protective Services on me. Muhuhwahwahahahahaha.

Blogger Cortez said...
"And it was mainly due to the fact that nobody on Denver could slow down Kobe Bryant."

What?!?!? You forgot about D. Jones.

...he's a stopper!

All jokes aside, even though they won, the Lakers don't look like a championship caliber team right now.

I like Kobe Bryant's desire to be a defensive ace but he better wise up and clear of Anthony and tell Ariza to step up to the challenge. Bryant's down there getting bullied.

Blogger Victor said...
IS the box score wrong or did Billups only get 32 minutes this game? He's one of the team's 2 most important players and he plays 32 minutes in a close playoff game with no fouls? He averaged 35 minutes a game during the regular season. Makes no damn sense.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think it's tough to say whether the Lakers look like a championship caliber team right now actually. I mean, they really didn't play very well yesterday, at either end of the floor; and yet in spite of that they did end up beating a Denver team which has been red hot lately, and they came from behind to do it. Down the stretch the Lakers made the plays and Denver did not, and usually that's what separates champions from challengers.

That said, IMO the Lakers have been way too reliant on just Kobe in these playoffs (whether that's the team's plan or Kobe's selfishness, I'll leave that up to you to decide). Kobe has routinely been taking upwards of 25 shots per game (his FGA are up about 2 per game from what they were in the regular season), and I think that's to the detriment of the Lakers. While he has turned in a couple performances like he had last night, he's also had that 5-24 game he had in Game 3 of the first round and the 11-27 game he had in Game 6 of the last round.

The Lakers are going to need other people to step up if they're going to beat Denver; and they're especially going to need more production from their bigs than they got last night. I'll give credit to Kobe for recognizing that the Nuggets were packing it in against Gasol, Odom and Bynum and exploiting what Denver was offering, but you can bet that the Nuggets will have a different look in Game 2. If Kobe tries to carry the Lakers like this the whole way, then I agree, I don't think they're gonna win it all.

Blogger Unknown said...
I think Cortez is right in that Kobe was getting abused by Melo, but Ariza wasn't having much luck. And the play of the game, that steal by Ariza was set up mainly by the fact that it was drawn up for Melo, and Kobe had him sealed.

Blogger Bcstein said...
No mention of Denver's FT shooting, or Chauncey specifically? He missed as many FTs in the first half as he had missed in the first two rounds combined while Enver as a team shot 66% from the line. If they shoot 75% as a team, they probably win that game.

Anonymous stockton said...
What? No WoTN for Denver FT accuracy? They made the same amount of FT's the Lakers shot in total! In a 2 point game that's a biiiiig factor.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
reuben - I tried to temper my compliments for Kobe a bit for fear of coming off too homerish, but the job Kobe did on the defensive end yesterday was really pretty remarkable. Yes, he was pushed around a lot on the offensive glass by Carmelo (who is bigger and stronger and probably should be able to bully Kobe), but if you really want to see how good Kobe was at defending Melo, just look at how few shot attempts Melo got when Kobe was defending him, especially ones that didn't come on putbacks. Kobe's ball denial on Melo was as good in the 4th quarter as his smothering defense was on Billups in the first half.

BTW, you have to give Phil (and probably Kobe too) a lot of credit for coming out with Kobe on Billups, rather than having him do his usual roaming D that he plays when matched up against an offensively challenged player like Dahntay Jones. It was probably a big gamble, risking whether Kobe would have enough energy on offense at the end after chasing Billups around like that, but it paid off. An interesting development late in the game was Phil's use of Ariza on Billups. Phil has used Ariza on small players like that before (on Tony Parker and Allen Iverson) with great success, so that may be something we'll see more of. Denver having either Jones or Carter out there gives the Lakers the luxury of using Derek Fisher to guard one of those guys without much worry about being burned.

Bcstein - You're right, I probably should have put something in there about all the missed free throws by Denver. In a game you lose by only two points, it's pretty easy to point to the dozen missed FTs as a big reason why.

Blogger Unknown said...
Well, I don't totally agree with Wild Yams saying Kobe had such a great game like a beast out of the cage... uh... Let me correct my words, I completely disagree with that statement.
If not because the 8 free throws he had at the end of the game, pretty much started with the stupid foul committed by K Martin, 13-28 shooting wasn't all that impressive. Taking away all his free throws, Kobe had a just fine 40-point game. And didn't he miss a shot under a minute that would gave Lakers the lead?
On the other end, the real beast was Carmelo Anthony, the guy was 14-20, offensive rebounds, pull backs, and he did a fairly good job guarding Kobe. Who was guarding Anthony most of game? The guy you claimed did a great defense work. Kobe was consistantly out-played by Anthony down the low-post. And in addition to bawful's comments on Kobe's whining after every call, he also grumbled after giving up offense rebounds to Anthony by looking and yakking to the ref, like "how can you allow this kind of embarrassment happend to me?"

About the last series, I wasn't even close to be a Rocket fan, but watching them to play their hearts out, play like a real team, no matter how many times they were knocked down to the floor, they just got up and continue to play. Well, Kobe, on the other hand, the best moment would be 'elbow-knee-elbow'+ing Shane Battier without being caught. Did the lakers win that series because of Kobe? Wasn't he the only person who shot under .50? 4-14 in the last game? This Lakers team is not about Kobe Bryant anymore, well, his elbow might still be the best, but he is not the best any more.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
"My Clippers are preparing themselves, as we speak, to ruin Blake Griffin's hopes and dreams by drafting him.

Do names like Olowakandi and Manning ring a bell? If he isn't injured then he will bust."

A quote from myself for your thoughts, just bumping it up from the other.

Anyway, to continue on that thought, the Clippers last few two draft picks are actually still playing, which is good. I'm not saying they are both great, but this team could get better.

First things first, fire Mike Dunleavy. That might solve every problem. That is, if the evil wizard's vortex of suck is transported by a wormhole away from Baron Davis/Zach Randolph/ the entire front office/all of the fans/whoever else you want to name

Anonymous AK Dave said...
LA shouldn't break their arm patting themselves on the back for that win at home, and one 40-point game from Bryant (comprised largely of contested jumpers) doesn't win a series.

Denver should come out hungry next game, and I think they showed that they are capable of winning in LA. Looks like this should be a good series!

And for as little as D. Jones played Kobe, I think he did as well of a job as anyone else could have done. Kobe is going to get his on most nights- even if the mighty Tayshaun Prince is on him. Cortez, you yourself have said that Kobe is just somebody who you can't guard on most nights. He was hitting jumpers last night, which opens up his drive and makes him neigh-invincible.

Still, he's becoming the premier whiner in the NBA. I heard Marc Jackson say at least a half dozen times last night "Kobe Bryant is UPSET at the referees!" If his name was "Rasheed Wallace" his ass would have been tossed in the 2nd quarter of that game for jawing at the refs and everyone else.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
About Blake Griffin and the lottery:

Look, the Clippers are who we think they are. Is there anybody out there who would put it past them to fuck up even this, the biggest no-brainer of a draft in NBA history?

I think the Clips might take Rubio.

Why you ask? Because they're the goddamned Clippers. And because Dunleavy Probably thinks that Ricky Rubio could be the next Shaun Livingston!

By the way, Ricky Rubio wins the contest for "Guy who doesn't need a nickname because his real name already sounds like a wrestler name". Couldn't you see some roided out crazy MF in a speedo and a mask dancing around the ring named "Ricky Rubio"?? I think the designers for NES Pro Wrestling must have considered that name, but ultimately went with "Starman" instead...

Blogger stephanie g said...
Why was Anthony Carter tasked with throwing in a crucial inbound pass anyway? And why didn't he use their time out? And why don't I have a flying pony?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Hillsolo - I'm gonna have to disagree with you. Kobe was guarding Billups in the first half when Melo did most of his damage, and it was Ariza who got gobbled up there defensively, not Kobe. As I said above, Kobe got killed on the offensive glass by Melo, but Kobe played great ball denial defense on him in the 4th quarter. Look at the shots and scores Melo had in the 4th quarter: he had two scores on putbacks off of offensive rebounds, he had one dunk off a double team on Nene who threw him an alley-oop, and he got to the free throw line on two other possessions while posting up (on one other post up he had his shot rejected by Odom). That means that really Denver just went to him four times in the 4th quarter and Melo got almost as many points off of putbacks in the 4th as he did within the offense. So Kobe did do a good job of denying Melo the ball, but Melo is significantly bigger than Kobe so it's not too surprising that Melo could push him around down low. You say Melo was "the real beast", and he was, no denying that; but the question you should be asking yourself is how come a guy who was shooting like that only had 20 shots for the game. Think about it.

Also, how can you just brush off Kobe's free throws at the end of the game like that? Those didn't come on intentional fouls, they were Kobe working to get to the rim to try to get a basket or draw contact, and if he hadn't hit those free throws then the Lakers probably would have lost. Those FTs were as clutch as they come, and you have to be pretty biased to dismiss them like that. Judging by your last paragraph, that's probably the case though.

AK Dave - If the Lakers are patting themselves on the back for last night's win, it's a huge mistake on their part. As a Laker fan I'm not walking around with my chest all puffed out thinking this series is over. Far from it. The Lakers are going to have to play better overall just to protect their home court, and they are going to have to play near their ceiling to win any games in Denver. I don't think Kobe can put together 3 more games like last night in this series, which means the Lakers are going to have to get more production from someone else, especially Gasol. At the same time, I don't think Carmelo is gonna go off anywhere near what he did last night again either.

I really can't wait to see what adjustments the Nuggets make, because I still can't figure out who the best guy on that team is to be tasked with guarding Kobe. Last year Karl put Kenyon Martin on him for much of the series (though it didn't work), so I wouldn't be surprised to see it again. Dahntay Jones, Anthony Carter and JR Smith are all too small to guard Kobe, because he'll just back them down in the post all game long. Maybe Karl will put Melo on Kobe, though that risks foul trouble for Melo, and it also might mean his offense could suffer if he's expending himself that much on defense. If the Nuggets do put K-Mart on Kobe, that'll loosen things up a lot inside. The matchups and adjustments are really going to be interesting to watch in this series.

I think we all agree that we're tired of Kobe's complaining (and have been for years, really). Maybe some good will come from those technicals though, and it'll cut down on his whining. I remember last year Kobe had a lot of Ts during the regular season and had to go the last couple months of the season with only one or two to spare, and he really reigned in his complaining a lot as a result. Hopefully he'll just shut up and play from now on, cause the whining is getting really, really old.

Anonymous plonden said...
@Buck Nasty - Actually Eric Gordon is a really good pick by the Clippers from last season. That dude carried a couple of my fantasy teams last season. He really proved that he belonged in the league.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...and they are going to have to play near their ceiling to win any games in Denver."

As someone who just want's to see a well executed game I would be happy if they can simply get out of the basement.

"I don't think Kobe can put together 3 more games like last night in this series,"

Sure he can, look who's guarding him. In fact, I agree with the other poster who said Bryant's game wasn't all that impressive.

"...which means the Lakers are going to have to get more production from someone else, especially Gasol."

We can only hope...

"I think we all agree that we're tired of Kobe's complaining"

It's not just Bryant. they are all doing it at the same frequency. Bryant just attracts people's attention more.

I'm tired of everyone on the court complaining about calls. I swear that a lot of the time hey are making shit up anyway.

Martin was complaining about the foul he committed toward the end as if he did nothing at all. the look of disbelief was ridiculous. Nene had Gasol in an affectionate bear hug and had the nerve to complain when they called a foul (albeit, a late call!).

Blogger Will said...
Kobe deserves a worst-of for his rapping abilities. This song makes me laugh whenever I hear it

Blogger Andrei said...
Nowitzki update:

Looks like he's a baby's daddy for the crazy woman. Let the photoshop merging of their two faces begin.

Anonymous AK Dave said...


NOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo... ........... .......... (splat!)Great Hermes' Winged Sandals! The gods must truly loathe Dirk Diggler! What a cruel fate to have cursed him with! Hark! This is even worse than Prometheus getting his liver eaten by that giant vulture on that rock he is chained to for all eternity!

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Stop Stop Stop!! It keeps getting better!

From the comments section on ESPN's story:

"It looks like Dirk went hard to the hole one too many times. Should have passed to Howard. "


Blogger starang said...
Kobe is a homosexual. Not that that is bad just means he likes to recieve butt sex. If you like recieving butt sex, then thats cool...its just not what I'm about.

Kobe is gonna be Kobe. He will continue to complain like a baby, the only difference is the T's will stop. The League WILL NOT have Kobe suspended in the conference finals. Consider it a STERN button.

Which is fine...if that is how Stern want to run this joke of a league, then do it. What drives me crazy is the inconsistancy. If were someone other than Kobe, the T's would keep coming, and the suspension would happen.

But not with Kobe.

Blogger starang said...
Another comment.

How many times in these playoffs do we have to be reminded of Birdman's suspension for substance abuse?

Everytime the the poor bastard (who I am really starting to enjoy watching) checks in, we get the whole explanation.

Here is my 2 cents: Everyone that watches basketball already knows his story, so stop telling it. And everyone who doesn't know his story by now, doesn't need to know and probably doesn't care, so stop telling it.

They don't bring up Kobe's butt-raping incident every time the game starts or he checks in, do they? No, they don't. So stop smearing Birdman.

Anonymous zzz said...
anybody saw delonte wests "semi-worst-possession-ever"? dribbling, nearly turning it over against anthony johnson, dribbling again, nearly getting stealed by no-neck again and ending launching a sitting three pointer at the buzzer, which fails to touch the rim.

btw, this cle - orl game is a joke.put lebron in a magic jersey and he shouts 35 free trhows on the night

Anonymous poptarted said...
So, regular season head to head records do count for something after all.

Guess Vegas needs to rethink this one.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Keep the bad animation coming. "Or lack thereof" :P

Anonymous DKH said...

Saw that possession and totally agree. It's getting up there toward the Zach Randolph pantheon of bad possessions. But with West, at least he's normally smart about managing the ball, unlike Randolph.

Also agreed on the reffing. With respect to LeBron James, I think those are just "Lebron rules," though. However, there were some other calls that had me awfully pissed. I'm sure we'll discuss it tomorrow so I won't waste my time here.


To my knowledge, Vegas chooses its odds so that it gets the number of bets on each side that it wants. This should be linked to the truth, but if the gambling population isn't close to the truth, then the Vegas line won't be either.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right about the NBA overdoing the Chris Andersen story. We get a recap of his life every time he checks into the game- but I don't think it's smearing him, or embarrassing to him at all. He overcame adversity and made it back to play at a very high level. It's a feel-good story if anything IMO.

Being addicted to a substance, while certainly not a noble act, is nothing at all like committing a violent crime such as murder or rape. It's nothing to really be ashamed of, as long as you clean up and make amends to the extent that you are able.

Clearly, Andersen has done that, and I'm really happy for the guy. I happen to know some people who are addicted to substances, and I wish to god they could pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get their old job back and be successful like the Birdman did.

So, yeah, it's getting old to hear the same people say the same thing about the same person every single damn game... but it's not smearing him, and it'll go away soon. Next season nobody will talk about it.

However, Dirk's kid will be a story for many years to come...

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
"They give you a urine test when you walk in and they give you a T.B. test," she said. "And the lady was like, 'Oh, so when are you due?' I was like, 'I don't know when the court date is due.' She was like, 'Uh, no, you're pregnant.'"

This is too beautiful. Like life unfolding like a perfect movie. A blooming blossom of shadenfreude.

On a brighter note, you all realize how much ass this will get Dirk, right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I need to eat crow and admit that I REALLY didn't think that Orlando had that win in them.

Of course, if the final score is with both teams in the 100s, I don't think that favors Cleveland.

Kenny Smith called LeBron a"copycat killer," ie that with Kobe and Melo getting huge numbers, LeBron would have to get his. Spot on. But I think that may have hurt the Cavs. I thought LeBron had figured out something by watching Kobe over the years: on average, big numbers from the star can make it LESS likely for your team to win. Not always, of course, but I think it may have this time.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Free throw fail leads to both to two losses for the Cavs and Denver. I knew that the jinx was on when everyone was asking questions like: "Can the Magic even come within ten points?"

Answer: Yes, they are a professional basketball team and are in the Easter Conf. Finals, they can play the f***ing game! ***holes always have to jinx the one seed.

W.V. - Whanc. Teehee.

Anonymous RT said...
Does anyone else think that this Cleveland loss was actually good for them, in a get-it-out-of-the-way kind of deal? Kinda like how the Patriots won 17 straight only to lose the big game?

I probably jinxed the Cavs now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
lets all jinx the cavs as much as possible...

effin lebrons - they were a volleyball squad before 2003

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I have to disagree with anonymous about Lebron only trying to score because Melo and Kobe did it too. In his defense, his teammates were kinda cold.

He had four early assists 7 minutes into the game. If he was looking to score starting early when they were in no danger seems to be a good way to go.

It's not like he was mediocre but shooting in volume, 20/30 was the second best shooting percentage on his team, with the first being varejao, who almost exclusively shot layups (4 of his 6 makes came off of Lebron feeds).

Though I have to say, Williams, West, and Big Z had some pretty questionable shot selection. I can't recall what the circumstances were, but looking at the shot chart, most of their misses came from areas where they are below their own averages in shooting (the two guards shooting a bunch of <45 degrees 3 pointers and around the free throw line area, and big Z shooting 20+ footers from everywhere except the top of the key). That could easy alter Lebron's assist numbers (which was already at 8 anyway).

Big numbers coming from a star equating to less of a chance for you to win isn't really that causal when the star is shooting well. They generally come from the opposing team trying to shut down everyone else and forcing one guy to try and beat them (Pistons not doubling Shaq in 2004), or the star being forced to rise to the occasion when their teammates weren't shooting well.

I sorta gag at the media's mancrush with Lebron, and I look forward to instances where Lebron shows some kinks in the armor. Still have to be objective about it though, and this was not one of them.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Frankly I'm surprised so few people are really giving the Magic a shot in this series. IMO Cleveland has a lot to prove when it comes to actually beating quality teams. After all, Orlando won both games against the Crabs handily at home this year (the second game by 29 about 6 weeks ago), and Cleveland went 0-5 against LA, Boston and Orlando on the road this year. No one's denying that the Crabs are a great team, but they did have their troubles against the league's best this year, and really got their record by just taking care of business at home and against the teams they should have beaten (something you can't say about the Lakers, Boston and Orlando). I think Cleveland could be in trouble in this series, especially now that they don't have the home court. Their two losses in Orlando this year were by a combined 40 points. We'll see if they can steal one there now.

Blogger Unknown said...
Topic is a couple of days old, but:

Can the Kings get a Worst mention for losing the lottery when they had the greatest chance of winning? I know the lottery is all luck, but shouldn't they have sent someone besides Chris Webber to represent them? I mean the guy does have a huge rep of choking in the big time, fairly or unfairly. He should have called a timeout at least (or maybe not).

Anonymous DKH said...

I know a lot of people are commenting on the Cavs' 29-point loss to Orlando, but I think people are reading too much into it. It was essentially a meaningless game for the Cavs, the Cavs were on the second night of a back-to-back, and their plane arrived at some unreasonable hour. I don't see that game as representative of the outcome the Cavs can expect in Orlando.

There are some things that were true in that game that seem to be true in this series. For instance, LeBron James's reticence to drive to the hoop instead of holding the ball forever and jacking up long 2 pointers. He hit a lot of those last night, but he also missed some that lead to Magic run-outs and transition points. Hard to know how much was due to cramping or coaching breakdown or what have you. Hopefully some adjustments are made.