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Cavs Cavs Archive More Random Thoughts On Game Four
Written by Rich Swerbinsky

Rich Swerbinsky
Improbably, the Cavs have fought their way back into this series against the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA Championship. In a follow up to his column last night, Swerb provides some additional thoughts on last nights defensive performance, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and what the Cavs need to do to steal game five in Detroit.

 Some additional thoughts on last nights big win ...

~All year I've talked about how several players on the Cavs have the potential to be great defenders, yet seemed to not be able to keep their focus for long enough stretches to be truly effective. A lineup of Snow, Hughes, LBJ, Donyell, and Varejao has the potential to be a pretty good defensive five the rest of the way as well as next year. Another year of Brown teaching defense and his system will only help.

~As lost, lethargic, and unimaginitive as the Cavs offense looks at times, last night was a sight for sweet eyes to those that truly enjoy defensive basketball. In twenty five years of watching this team, last night was the most dominant defensive performance I've ever seen. The effort level was so high, so sustained.

~Brown should keep Hughes, Z, and Drew as starters. You hope that the team starts quick so that you can go the first ten minutes with the regular starting group, because Donyell, Varejao, and potentially Flip need to be logging serious minutes once they pull off the warmups for the first time. The Cavaliers are at their best with Snow, LBJ, Donyell, Varejao, and Flip/Hughes (offense/defense) on the floor, and this group will continue to be the guys on the floor in the fourth quarter.

~The people trying to justify TEN STRAIGHT NO SHOWS for Z as being due to "bad matchups" aren't thinking clearly in my view. Here's a newsflash - this is the playoffs. And the Wizards and Pistons are teams we will likely continue to face in future years. He's not going to have to deal with Ben Wallace in future years? People talking up Brenda Haywood, who Z has abused over his career, as a "tough matchup"? Come on. Thats a joke.

The regular season is essentially meaningless. The Cavs could have won the four seed this year with Coco The Monkey in the pivot with #23 going for 31, 7, and 7 each night. The playoffs have a way of truly exposing players for what they are, and thats what happened with Z.

Again, I love Z as a person. Hes been one of the greatest Cavaliers in history. But to sit here and think that this guy will provide anything more in future playoff series than he has so far this year is lunacy. And if he's not going to give you anything in the playoffs, he's worthless to me, and those minutes next year should be going to someone who could potentially be an asset in a series like this next year.

I could give two #@*%'s about him posting 22 and 12 against the Raptors, or him "helping us win the 4 seed". Z is washed up, and needs to be moved at all costs this off-season. His eroding post up game, and slow feet and passiveness on defense are a hindrance to this team, and does not mesh with the style of ball they want to play and play best.

~Now we've got to find a way to win one in Detroit, where we have been beaten senseless time and time again over the course of the last two years.  The Cavs need to find a away to equal their sense of urgency and defensive intensity from game four, which will be very difficult to do on the road in what is sure to be an incredibly hostile environment.  This Piston team has been at it's best with it's backs to the wall, and lost just four games at home all season ... two of them in overtime.

~You can't discount the LeBron Factor though.  If the Cavs can just find a way to scratch and claw, and keep it within 4-5 points going into the final 4-5 minutes, we know what #23 is capable of, and we saw it late in game three.

~Wednesday night.  7 PM.  I can't wait.

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