For considerable stretches this season … the fact is … the Cleveland Cavaliers were the best team in the NBA. During those specific periods of time the Cavs played the game in specific ways, while making excellent use of the different players on their roster, given their individual strengths and weaknesses.
However, in the Cavs’ abbreviated playoff run, their coaching staff made the seemingly inexplicable decision to fundamentally alter the way that they would use their collection of players in the post-season …
… which has now resulted in their elimination from further competition for the 2009-2010 NBA Championship and, quite possibly, thrown their organization into upheaval.
The best review of Cleveland’s Game 6 defeat, last night, at the hands of the Boston Celtics [NBA Champions, 2008-2009], which these eyes have seen, so far, can be found right here [by Dave, at nbaroundtable].
This is the comment which yours truly contributed:
If Kevin Garnett had been 100% healthy this season, then … according to your truly:
1. Danny Ainge would not have traded Eddie House … and,
2. The Boston Celtics would have been THE CLEAR-CUT FAVOURITES to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2009-2010 NBA FINALS … and,
going into these playoffs,
3. This corner would have tabbed the Celtics, in advance, to defeat the Cavaliers, in this 2nd Round series, primarily, for the following 2 reasons:
i. The 5-man unit comprised of Rajon Rondo, PG + Ray Allen, OG + Paul Pierce, SF + Kevin Garnett [at 100%], PF-C + Kendrick Perkins, C-PF is, still, the VERY BEST in the NBA today;
ii. Doc Rivers is a championship-winning NBA head coach, who really does know what he’s doing, in the grand scheme of things, while Mike Brown, unfortunately, is not.
For his own peace of mind, yours truly sincerely hopes that Mike Brown has a comprehensive answer to question of:
Why exactly he chose to abandon the player substitution patterns which had previously been successful for the Cavaliers this season?
… and, instead of using some combination of those possible rotations against these Celtics, he elected to:
I. Sit out JJ Hickson, completely;
II. Limit the use of Delonte West;
III. Limit the use of Jamario Moon;
iv. Sit out Jawad Williams, completely;
v. Fail to use the front-court tandem of Shaquille O’Neal [C] and JJ Hickson [PF];
vi. Use Shaquille O’Neal for more than 20 minutes per game;
vii. etc., etc., etc., …
because there is absolutely NO SOUND REASON, whatsoever, yours truly can suggest for him to have taken this path of action, at this point.
The writing has been on the wall in Cleveland for, at least, the last 2 seasons and it’s always a sad day when the lives of so many otherwise good people are effected negatively and inexoribly altered because a pro sports franchise is finally perceived to have grossly under-achieved under the direction of a specific head coach [and the general manager who hired him, in the first place].