Monday, May 11, 2009

Live Blog: Cavs-Hawks game 4

Well the man's got me down today...after working about 11.5 hours straight I realized that I had hours more work to do at home. And of course I had already missed a lot of Game 4 of the Cavs-Hawks series, so thought I might as well make it home, turn on the TiVo, turn off Twitter, and waste some time doing what I've thought about but never done before.

So with great apologies to Bill Simmons...the less funny, less wordy, and no stat-guy-back-up-having....LIVE BLOG!

Pre-game: Marv points out that LeBron still has the oppportunity to take the team playoff lead in assists and steals, virtually leading in every category.

I'm always surprised the road team lets LeBron do the chalk-throwing ritual. Shocked one of the opposing teammates doesn't put him on his ass for doing that on their floor. Speaking of chalk throw...I don't really get this Nike ad...what are they trying to say? That LeBron is excited? And likes Chinese food? And Kobe is too cool for school?

Q1 11:33. Delonte airball, Varajao hustle rebound, Mo hits a jumper and gives his bench an amused look. Bad then good start. Next time down the floor LeBron travels! Is this the ref trying to stretch out the season?

Q1 10:02. 40-foot lob pass for a layup from Delonte to LeBron! Followed immediately up by a "too easy" 2-on-zero fast break for a LeBron dunk! The kind of start that makes Hawks fans think about beating traffic.

Q1 8:40. Delonte with a steal and a fast break dunk (with a man on him!) Looks like playground basketball for the Cavs so far.

Today on, Gregg Doyle opined that the Cavaliers couldn't win the championship due to their lousy frontcourt. The entire article can be summed up greatly by SamVox: "Once someone argues that LeBron has a bad supporting cast, I tune them out. It means they haven't watched the Cavs much this year." Exactly. So there's no "Scottie Pippen" or "Horace Grant." Anyone who has watched the Cavaliers with any regularity knows how freaking good the supporting cast is for LeBron this year. Anyone who says it's a one man team is totally ignorant. Anyway we've seen stats this year that shows the Cavs struggled mostly in the games Z missed.

Q1 6:07. The Czar chart shows that the key is to "Get ball out of LeBron's hands." That's just not enough. It has to be accompanied greatly by "Hope the rest of the team can't shoot worth a damn," because that's the only chance the Hawks (or maybe anyone) has. And "Don't look ahead." I don't think that's going to be the Cavs problem.

Q1 5:27. LeBron loses the ball out of bounds...2 seconds to shoot....and they can't convert on the inbounds alley oop. They're trying to hammer nails into the coffin in the first quarter. Blocks, steals, and dunks. But the Hawks are hanging tight.

By the way I'm not sure what would have gotten Delonte the idea that a tattoo on his neck would help him look better.

Q1 3:34. Josh Smith has 10 of the first 16 by the Hawks. Can they keep this up? And what did I miss that Sacha is wearing a face mask? I've said for years he should wear one all the time, but apparently female fans disagree. Uh oh. Z walking (gingerly) to the locker room.

Q1 2:30. LeBron gets doubled up high. Not what we've seen a lot. But it turns into a wide open missed three by Joe Smith.

Q1 1:35. Sacha with a no look pass turnover. Next time, look, my man. Turns out he has a broken nose that I missed at some point. You catch a lot more of the game watching at home alone than you do at a noisy bar full of Blackhawks fans.

End of Q1. Cavs down by seven. Shots aren't falling for the Cavs, after a hot start the game got a little sloppy. "In every Hawks playoff game, the team with the lead at the end of the first quarter has gone on to win." You know what else? The team with Joe Smith has gone on to win, also. Something's gotta give.

Miller Lite has a can with a "taste protector lid." I didn't know people found the "metal can taste" of a beer offensive. I sure don't. Time to crack a Bud Light here.

BTW I'm with Bill Simmons. I hate in-game interviews with coaches and managers. Totally unnatural. What executive thought fans would like this?

Q2 11:23. Wally Szerbiak dives and saves a loose ball with a quick timeout. And gets a ton of high fives for it. After the timeout, Delonte West with a three at the shot clock buzzer. He can get hot and the Hawks need to watch him. Yes, there are other Cavaliers besides LeBron James.

Q2 10:20. The Hawks are outscoring the Cavs by far at the line. A big difference so far. Delonte hits a jumper for points 7 and 8. Like I said...

Q2 9:22. LeBron just came back from the locker room. Maybe they had a big southern-cooked pregame meal?

Q2 7:20. Wally with the pump fake, drive, and DUNK! How about that. Cavs were +9 with LeBron on the bench.

Q2 6:38. Flip Murray. Nice drive and score on LeBron. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Flip. Although don't miss him thanks to Mo!

Q2 6:25. LeBron splits his first free throws of the game. That's a key to the game, right there.

Q2 5:00. Wally gets T'd up and Mike Fratello thinks the Hawks crowd is waking up. Cavs up 29-28 right now.

Q2 4;37. Kevin Martin had the second most FTA per game in the NBA this year??

Q2 3:37. LeBron took four steps, then missed a layup. Hey I call 'em like I see em. Great interior pass from Varajao to Z for the dunk. Cavs up 33-32. Next time down a beautiful inside pass from Mo to LeBron for a great easy score!

Q2 1:55. A personal pet peeve. Czar: LeBron is "an historian" of the game. Sorry, I prefer "a historian."

Q2 1:00. Seven-foot-three Z hits a three! I love when he does that. Love Z.

Q2 0:00. A furious burst at the end, missed shots, a turnover, LeBron gets it back and makes a great move, gets the ball to Z who gets fouled. And a technical foul too. Wally missed the tech, and the Cavs go into the locker room with a 2 point lead, 40-38. LeBron maintains that the Cavs are playing "good basketball"--not great, and he'll take the two point lead on the road.

Halftime--skipped it. The best part of DVRing a game.

3Q 11:16. LeBron hits a jumper that doesn't even touch the net, it seems. He has 14 on 11 shots. And that's a good thing.

3Q 9:43. LeBron has been jawing a bit with a fan. That worked really well for the Hawks in Game 3.

3Q Zzzzzzzz....Okay, Mo hits a three, there's 7:17 left, and it's 48-38. Hawks haven't made a shot yet in the third quarter...until Flip breaks that streak.

3Q 6:26. Z gets one of his endearing 1-4, 3 rebound possessions. Infuriating for many fans, but not me.

3Q 4:27. The Hawks have put together a nice little run and have cut the deficit to two. Hanging around way too long. I was getting used to these double digit leads.

So Miller Lite has a "taste protector cap" that "locks out air." That is so revolutionary. I was tired of air getting into my bottles and all the beer evaporating out of the seal.

3Q 3:55. Great steal and drive by Delonte. Got fouled and that negated a spectacular 11 foot high block by Josh Smith.

3Q 1:59. LeBron takes a hard head foul that knocks his headband off. When he loses his headband I feel better about my hairline. I have a few years on LeBron and think his hairline will pass mine sometime soon.

3Q 1:15. Wally hits a three and the Hawks take a TO. During which they go to the replay to make sure it's not a 2, which was called on the floor. The camera angle seems to be pretty damn conclusive, but the refs hold it at a 2. They zoom in a bit, and Mike Fratello complements the "amazing technology." There is amazing technology in the world, Mike, but video cameras are not it. Tennis ball appeals--maybe.

3Q 0:00. Cavaliers are 10-for-21 from the line. That's a dangerous stat that has kept this game closer than it could be. Cavs up 62-57. LeBron with a three with 5 seconds left, then Flip with a drive at the buzzer.

4Q 11:28. Josh Smith gets the ball downcourt and scores as LeBron had fallen at the other end. Cavs immediately turn it over on the shot clock violation. Mike Brown needs to get Mo back in.

4Q 9:28. Mo Williams has had a couple looks at threes in the last two possessions, but neither have fallen. 64-62 Cavs.

4Q 7:55. Delonte West is having a nice little game. Drives, layups, and dunks. Picking up for Mo Williams who's a little off today. (Ouch, I wrote "layoffs" by accident there at first.) My phone just buzzed from a text message but I just can't look. Last time I didn't watch a game live and DVR'd it at home, I had a dozen text messages about how the Indians had scored 22 runs while I was on the golf course!

4Q 6:01. This fourth quarter is about as scintellating as the third. LeBron just woke it up, breaking a couple minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer, but still, 69-62 Cavs halfway through the fourth quarter. Four minutes since the Hawks have scored a point.

4Q 5:51. Mo Williams picks up his fifth foul and has to sit down. He is off today.

4Q 3:40. The Hawks just got three wide open three point attempts and missed them all. Delonte finally scooped up a rebound and led the Cavs right into a shot clock violation. 73-66.

4Q 2:42. Mo Williams in the corner with a huge 3! (Gotta admit, I saw @Szczepanik and @Bo_Matthews tweet about this by accident earlier!)

Heineken makes good ads. Or maybe any ad with Biz Markie laying down the tracks is good. No way to tell. I'm reasonably certain "Stand" by R.E.M. and "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie are the only two cassette singles I ever bought. I just dated myself. No, not in that way, sicko.

4Q 1:00 to go and the Cavaliers are on a fantastic 1-minute possession saved by offensive boards by Anderson Varajao and Zydrunas Ilguaskas. 79-74 and the next Cavs basket coulod be a dagger!

4Q 0:52.1. Mo Williams with a huge 3 and Mike Fratello indeed calls it the dagger! 82-74 Cavaliers!

4Q 0:34.7. Hawks in foul mode and there are chants of "M-V-P" from within the arena!

And that'll do it! The Hawks are a great team, but as said at the end, "they came across a team on a mission." All eight games in the playoffs this far have been won by the Cavaliers by double digits. An unbelievable run. Now a well deserved rest. Well, I guess "well-earned" is accurate! A nice round of applause for the Hawks from their fans.

Delonte had a great game, with 21 points on only 13 field goal attempts. Every night there is someone else to help LeBron. And that's what the national media doesn't always catch. Too easy to call the Cavaliers a one-man team.

Cavaliers win, 84-47. Celtics or Magic next.