Sunday, April 25, 2010

That's better

If the Cavaliers' confounding Game 3 loss to Chicago on Thursday night was a "wake-up call," then LeBron and friends spent the first quarter-and-a-half of Game 4 responding to this hypothetical alarm by blearily slapping the snooze button and rolling over for a little extra shut-eye.

When the Cavs finally did come to, however, they did so with a bloody vengeance and played their best game of these young playoffs. As usual with this team, the offense thrived when the defense was making stops. The Cavs strangled the guard penetration and open shots the Bulls used to dice the defense over two-plus games, leading to the smooth transition game that is Cleveland's offensive strength. The half-court offense still needs work as ever - Shaq must go into his move set quicker and the team is taking too many threes. Still, I always enjoy a balanced scoring attack that doesn't include LeBron taking jab-step jumpers with two seconds left on the shot clock.

Really, this was precisely the convincing win this squad needed. Victory is inevitable at this stage of the post-season, meaning how the Cavs compete is just as important as the results. If Thursday's disheartening game ends up being the cold shower that awakens the Cavs for the rest of the playoffs, then so be it.