ECF: Game 4: Watch out
Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 May 2007
Don’t look now but the Cavs have the Pistons on the ropes. I realize the series is tied 2-2 with only one more game to be played in Cleveland, but Detroit cannot like what has happened this series, let alone what happened in game four. The Cavs had their typical sleepwalking third quarter, allowing the Pistons to outscore them by nine, 24-15, but the Cavs outscored the Pistons in the other three quarters and after a nice outburst in the middle of the fourth quarter the game was never really close. Detroit has yet to play particularly well in the series and by now you have to chalk that up to the Cavs’ defense.
The game ball has to go to Daniel Gibson, who played inspired basketball that belied his youth and inexperience. Many Cavs fans had been waiting for Gibson to replace Hughes — or at least for Hughes to depart for the bench — but in the moments leading up to tipoff I was quite nervous about how Gibson would respond.
So quickly did we find out.
4-7 from the field, 12-12 from the line, 21 points — an extremely satisfying line from a position we’ve come to expect nothing from. Of course, we all knew Gibson could score. But Gibson played quite well against Billups, too. Sure, Chauncey scored 23 points, but he only shot 6-16 from the field, missing his final six shots, and had five turnovers. With the exception of a couple baskets Billups lived mostly on the outside, which played right into Gibson’s defensive strengths (quickness) while mitigating his own offensive advantage over Gibson (size).
The evolution of Daniel Gibson is a sight to behold.
It is worth mentioning that Hughes played valiantly in spite of his injured foot. You probably can’t overstate the importance of Hughes starting the game instead of Gibson, for it allowed Gibson to continue in his normal role off the bench and it allowed Hughes to establish the defensive tone of the game in the way he had the previous three games. I rip on Hughes a lot on this blog, but I have nothing but positive words for him after game four. Heck, I’m not even going to mention that he shot just 1-6 from the field….oops.
Drew Gooden might get overshadowed by Gibson and James, but Gooden was fantastic, making up for a lackluster series. If there were three game balls to go around he would get one.
Then there is LeBron, who might be on a vendetta after games one and two. I do not envy Tayshaun Prince.
Oh, and we are just two more Rasheed Wallace technical fouls away from a one game suspension. I doubt he’d ever pick up a technical at home, but you never know. If I were Mike Brown I would advise Varejao not to shower for the rest of the series, on the hope that his rancid Brazilian odor might drive Wallace over the edge. Hey, any advantage you can get.
As you can see LBJ was the player of the game. Gooden and Gibson were almost identically excellent. The rest of the team played poorly (except Eric Snow, but he only played one minute so he doesn’t really count). That might be just as good of a sign as Gibson playing well: some of those guys are bound to bounce back. If Gibson sticks to form then I like the team’s chances in game five.