Monday, May 21, 2007

Pistons Barely Sneak Away With Game 1 Win

East Conf. Finals (Game 1)-- Pistons (1) vs. Cavs (2):
Pistons 79, Cavs 76


- Pistons really escaped with a win in a game where they really could not string much consistently together on the offensive end. And the Cavs have to be kicking themselves that they let a great opportunity at a road win slip away. A game where both defenses dictated the action, and this type of grind-out affair is what you should expect for the rest of the series. Some people have mentioned that the first team to 90 pts win, maybe we should change it to first team to 82 pts.

-I'm sure there will be some idle chatter that Bron should have taken the last shot & he should have looked more for his shot in Game 1. But that palaver (just had to use it, thanks Mr. Stern) is just from watching the game on a casual level. There is a pretty good explanation for Bron's game if you care to look deep enough, and it has to do with the Piston defensive gameplan. Could have Bron been a little bit more aggressive looking for his shot? Sure, a little bit, but can't really fault him much considering the Pistons had multiple guys waiting for him anytime he initiated a move toward the rim. Bron usually made the right decision and found his open teammates; he had 9 assists, could've had 5-6 more if the rest of the Cavs weren't off the mark so much. And on the last play I felt he made the right play, Sheed was rotating over to possibly snuff his shot, and it left a wide-open 3pt. for a 3pt. specialist in Donyell. Can't ask for a better look.

- Rip was the only reason the Pistons were close in the 1st half with his deft mid-range shooting. He was the only Piston who had any type of consistency in the 1st half--Rip was 7/11, while the rest of Det. was 8/27 in the 1st half. And when the Cavs started to send extra guys at Rip coming off his curls, he found open teammates (7 assts), did it with Sheed a few times (Rip finished with 24 & 7). Sheed hit few big jumpers of his own down the stretch to round out another superb all-around game for him--15 (7/13), 12 rebs, & 7 blks.

- Chauncey had somewhat of a rough night. The Cavs were hedging hard on screen & rolls with Billups which seemed to keep him off-balance all game, & was a factor in him uncharacteristicly throwing the ball away too much--7 TOs for a guy who takes care of the ball all well as any PG. But still kept his Big Shot rep intact by hitting 2 big 3pts. in the 4th.

- The Pistons didn't play as much straight zone as I thought they would, but really did not need it since they were still able to bottle up Bron's driving lanes. The other Cavs were given ample open looks but could not find the mark--Det. held the Cavs to 37% overall. Sheed continued to be a major deterrent in the lane, and only Tim Duncan has probably been a better defender than Sheed this post-season.

- We knew the Cavs could do damage on the offensive glass, and their off.rebound assault allowed them to stick in the game while missing a ton of shots. Cavs grabbed 18 off. rebs for a 38% Off. Reb. Pct., which is real good. Big Z was the biggest culprit of this damage with 7 off. rebs, including a sequence where I believe he got 3 in a row; Varejao had 5 himself.

- Varejao was instant energy the moment he stepped off the bench & he continued to be a nuisance the whole game. He even threw a few nice little hooks on offense to pair with his 8 rebs for 13 pts. BIg Z was the main offensive weapon for the Cavs in Game 1. He did a little of everything: hits some big face-up jumpers, had a couple post-ups, and had a handful tip-ins. We mentioned the terror he was on the off. glass above, but he was just as big hitting some big perimeter jumpers in the 2nd half usually off of doubles on Bron (Though Big Z could not connect on a 15-footer that would have tied the game with :20 secs left).

- Thought the Cavs' defense was pretty good in Game 1, and their rotations were very good for the most part. They frustrated Billups with their pick/roll coverage, never letting him get into a comfortable groove all game. Though they overhelped on some plays in the 4th, and one time it eventually led to Billups being wide open on the right side for a 3pt.

- Pistons have to try to find a way to keep Big Z & the rest of the Cavs off the offensive glass. Obviously for the Cavs, Bron's support staff has to start knocking down their open looks with more consistently. This starts to happen, then possibly Bron can look for his shot more often. Cavs shot 1/10 from 3pt. and when you do this, you just encourage Det. to clog driving lanes. The Cavs have to start hittng from outside soon to have a shot at this series.

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