May 7, 2009 (Akron Beacon Journal delivered by Newstex ) -- Mike Brown doesn't want his team to get ahead of itself after two easy wins over the Atlanta Hawks .
The Hawks started Game 2 without Al Horford and Marvin Williams, then they lost Joe Johnson in the third quarter. Then they lost to the Cavs by 20 points. It wasn't near that close. At one point in the fourth quarter the Cavs were up by 31. It was embarrassing and nearly humiliating, even to a team that was without three key players in the final quarter.
But Atlanta's Maurice Evans put things bluntly when he said: "To be honest with you, I don't think that even if we were 100 percent, if we gave the effort we gave tonight, that it would have made much difference. They are playing team Basketball on both ends of the floor, and that's something that we've got to get back to."
It was pretty ridiculous ? and non-competitive. The Cavs are playing as well as they've played all season, and this is a good time for a team to peak. The Hawks played listless and lifeless as if they expected to lose.
That's not a good combination.
Injuries aren't helping the Hawks , but it really doesn't matter. If the Cavs keep playing like this, this series is over.
Heck with playing like this ? this series is over. There is no way the Hawks can win four-of-five.
The only question is how many games are played. My money is on four.
The only negative to a sweep would be that the home fans would be cheated of one more party at the Q for Game 5. Because that's what the first two games were ? big parties where a Basketball game was played.
Random thoughts ?
?The postgame locker room provided an interesting sight. ESPN was showing the highlights while James watched from his locker. The TV showed James making his 36-foot, step-back, jumpshot three-pointer. Then it showed him standing, casually waving his arms back and forth. When he saw it on TV, James laughed, stood and did the pose ? as if he honestly didn't remember doing it.
?The thought of it boggles the mind. A 36-foot, stepback, jumpshot for three. You have got to be kidding me.
?Delonte West was poked in the eye in the third quarter and left the game. In the fourth quarter, GM Danny Ferry came out to talk to owner Dan Gilbert, perhaps about West? The Cavs said West would be evaluated on Friday, but James said West was his old self in the locker room after the game.
?Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had courtside seats next to the Cavs bench.
?Usher joined the "Dancing Usher" as both danced to Rick Astley in the fourth quarter. If anyone knows Usher, my daughter would like to meet her. The singer, not the usher.
?The difference in the game was effort and defense. The Cavs pounded Atlanta on the boards, and the second quarter started with West driving to the hoop for a layup. On the next possession Joe Johnson tried to drive to the hoop, and he was cut off by West and Joe Smith. Amazing what happens when a team plays defense. Atlanta almost seemed to clear a path for James' reverse slam that ended the first quarter.
?The bench celebrated Mo Williams winning a jump ball like they had clinched a title. Pretty comical moment.
?In the third quarter James was ahead on the break but bounced a pass backward to give Wally Szczerbiak a dunk. "I would have dunked the Basketball but when you got Wally running the floor with you, you got to give it up," James said. "Got to."
?Said Szczerbiak: "The team gets a kick out of it when I throw the ball down. I barely squeaked it over the rim, but it's a dunk."
?From ESPN: The Hawks have scored fewer than 90 points in their last 15 road playoff games, the longest streak in the shot-clock era.
?Does Mike Brown feel for Hawks coach Mike Woodson? "Mike Woodson's a nice guy," Brown said. "In the summertime if we see each other we might have a bite to eat. But he's got to take care of his own problems."
?Josh Smith was upset James was not whistled for two calls, one when he knocked Smith to the floor from behind and another when James hit Smith in the face. Smith had an argument on both non-calls.
?Said Johnson: "I can't see me not playing Game 3."
?The Hawks point to last season's series against Boston for hope. They lost the first two games badly in Boston in that series, but won three times in Atlanta.
Stating it plainly:
Joe Johnson: "I think we're a better defensive team than that. We have shown that in the past, but in these last two games we haven't helped each other defensively at all."
Mike Brown: "We know Atlanta is banged up. They had a tough, long series against Miami. They're trying to find themselves now."
James on if a team needs some adversity in the playoffs: "If a team can stay from it and win a championship, why not?"
James on his end-of-the-first-half three: "It was a big lift for us to start the second half, absolutely. I can say, yes, it was demoralizing because of where I shot the ball. We carried that momentum into the second half."
Newstex ID: 34754347