I know you've probably seen this quality piece of photog work by now from the Cavs 101-93 win in Game 1 last night over the Celtics. And if you're like me, you probably almost needed to see it again today to reassure yourself that what you thought you saw last night actually did happen.
Photo Credit: John Kuntz / The Plain DealerWhile we were forced to hear Reggie Miller describe the play, if Uncle Austin were on the call he'd of undoubtedly got a little excited by this one. Wouldn't have blamed him either. After the shock wore off, and we all finished turning to our friends during the game asking - Mo Williams just did what? - this whole city was sent abuzz by the electric jolt he provided on the play. And so was his team. Only it didn't stop with that right handed wham over Paul Pierce for Mo - which according to Brian Windhorst "may have been the first dunk of Williams' career" - because those were just two of the 12 he posted in that 3rd quarter to turn this game completely around.
Cavs fans, loyal Stepien Rules readers, and my immediate family. Since we last touched base, Maurice has helped the men of the Wine and Gold send the world’s most confident #8 seed off to summer vacation after only 5 games. Based on the flood of emails in the StepienRules inbox, many of you are wondering the same thing I am: can Maurice Williams get his “Mo”-jo back?
Offensively, Maurice wasn’t great, but he was good enough to help the team win. He was effective as a scorer in games 1, 3, and 4, and struggled some in games 2 and 5 when his shot wasn’t falling, but did facilitate enough to dish out 11 dimes. Dave Wooley put together his series statistics for me below:
Game 1: 39 minutes, 3-7 3FG, 19 pts, 10 ast, +14 and 0-0 FT
Game 2: 38 minutes, 0-2 3FG, 12 pts, 6 ast, +6 and 8-8 FT
Game 3: 40 minutes, 5-11 3FG, 21 pts, 3 ast, +5 and 2-5 FT
Game 4: 34 minutes, 3-6 3FG, 19 pts, 2 ast, +23 and 4-6 FT
Game 5: 36 minutes, 2-7 3FG, 7 pts, 5 ast, +1 and 1-1 FT
Overall he played 37.4 minutes per game, shot 41.0% on field goals, 39.4% from three, and 75.0% from the free throw stripe. His overall per game averages were 15.6 points, 5.2 assists, and came in with a +49 on the +/- scale. (For reference, LBJ (+60) and Jamison (+50) were the only ones better with +/-).
Offensively, I think this is what we can expect from Maurice, aside from the fact that his free throw percentage should improve. Some games he’s going to be on and really help the team, others he isn’t. When his shot isn’t falling, he will have to act as a facilitator for the offense. The nice part about this year’s playoffs is that he isn’t being counted on to pour in 20 each game. Jamison and Shaq are there to pick up the scoring slack, and Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker can provide some help shooting the 3’s. This should help take the scoring burden off #2’s back, and allow him to play free and easy within the ball movement offense.
If there is one thing that really bothers me about the Chicago series, it is the fact that in crunch time, Maurice still lacks confidence. He needs to have the confidence in himself, the swagger to put up that 3 pointer or his patented Mo-flow runner when the game is on the line. Particularly in game 5, when his shot wasn’t falling, he swung the ball like it was a hot potato instead of throwing the dagger.
Maurice, we know you can do it, your teammates know you can do it, and now it is going to be up to you to do it!
Defensively, he had his share of struggles against Derek Rose, as was expected. However, the team defense improved considerably when he was shifted to cover Kirk Heinrich. Kudos to Mike Brown for putting the longer Moon and Delonte on Rose, and allowing Mo to fight through screens and chase Heinrich around the perimeter. I expect much of the same strategy vs. Boston, with Maurice chasing red hot Ray Allen, and Parker/Delonte/Moon on Rajon Rondo. I’d love to see Maurice come out against Boston with a renewed attitude and physicality on defense. If he can stay in Jesus Shuttlesworth’s face to limit his open three point attempts, and move his feet to limit penetration, he can really help the Cavs stymie Boston’s offensive attack.
Now to what everyone’s been waiting on. I still don’t think we can shorten Maurice to Mo, but we are getting closer...
From an alphabetical standpoint, I am taking the I-C-E off of Maurice (currently Maur), and hoping he heats up in the Boston series and gets his playoff swagger. We’re going to need “Mo” in the Eastern Conference Finals!
From the blog that brought you The Curse Breakers...a hot new Cavs joint, just in case you needed anything else to get you pumped up for the Celtics series...
2010 History in the Making - by Seven Complete
My favorite line is 'Shaq in exchange for Wallace and Sasha Pavs - wow'...let's tip this thing off already!
This song was produced by SesTor...recorded, mixed and mastered by Dee Jay Doc at Synergy Studios...check 'em out on YouTube.
As I was sitting and watching the amazing game that LeBron James had in Game 4 at Chicago, I realized that we as Cavs fans have begun to take his greatness for granted and we do not realize what we are watching. So I have decided to delve into the playoff statistics of LeBron James to see just how amazing he has been.
LeBron James Playoffs, Year by Year:
2006: 13 games, 30.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.38 spg and 0.69 bpg
2007: 20 games, 25.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 8.0 apg, 1.70 spg and 0.50 bpg
2008: 13 games, 28.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 7.6 apg, 1.77 spg and 1.31 bpg
2009: 14 games, 35.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.64 spg and 0.86 bpg
2010: 5 games, 31.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 8.2 apg, 1.20 spg and 2.40 bpg
Totals: 65 games, 29.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.60 spg and 0.92 bpg
His overall combination of scoring, rebounding and passing is practically unmatched in NBA history. Only three players with 10+ career playoff games played averaged 7+ assists and 7+ rebounds per game in the history of the NBA. Those three players are LeBron James (8.3 rpg, 7.3 apg), Magic Johnson (7.7 rpg, 12.3 apg) and Jason Kidd (7.4 rpg, 8.8 apg). When you look at the points per game from these three players there is no comparison to LeBron. Magic averaged 19.5 points and Jason Kidd averages 14.9 points. LeBron is averaging 29.5 (which on its own is very impressive, ranking 3rd in NBA history for playoff points per game).
In the 2009 playoffs he averaged 35.3 points, which is 6th best in NBA history for a single playoff (10+ games). His best scoring series is against the Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals when he averaged 38.5 points.
In Game 4 at Chicago, LeBron had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. This was the first playoff game that a player had a triple double with 35+ points since…….LeBron did it last year in game 5 of the Magic series (37p, 14r, 12a). Prior to that, you have to go back to 2000 when “The Glove” Gary Payton did against Utah (35p, 10r, 11a) and 1993 when “Sir” Charles Barkley did it against Seattle (43p, 15r, 10a), which were the only other two occurrences since 1990. So over a 20 year span, this was done twice, then LeBron does it twice in under a year.
Over this same span, only Jason Kidd (11) has had more playoff triple doubles than LeBron (5). In his 11 triple doubles, Kidd averaged a solid 19.7 points, while LeBron has put up an incredible 30.8 point average in his 5 triple doubles. Interestingly the walking triple double himself, Oscar Robertson, had career playoff averages of 22.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 8.9 assists. Once again, there is no comparison.
A closer look at his five playoff triple doubles shows that LeBron has his biggest games in the most critical situations.
The following is a game by game recap of his triple doubles:
1st - April 22, 2006 Eastern Conference First Round Game One vs. Washington (32p, 11r, 11a) in a 97-86 Cleveland Victory:
This was LeBron’s first playoff game of his career, it was the Cavaliers first playoff game since 1998, and LeBron came out in style, proving that no stage is too big for the King!!! This was a very important game to win for the Cavaliers confidence in what would end up being a hotly contested series (this year and the next two years as well). Note this was also the game when Nike handed out the Witness T-Shirts to the crowd, starting a whole new marketing campaign. Seems that worked out well.
2nd - May 13, 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 3 vs. Detroit (21p, 10r, 10a) in a 86-77 Cleveland Victory:
The Cavaliers came home for Game 3 after losing two in convincing fashion in Detroit. May people thought the Cavaliers would get swept out in 4 games by the then mighty Pistons, but LeBron had other ideas. This game was the first of three wins in a row, and the Cavaliers were then a fumbled Flip Murray rebound away from pulling of a huge shocker. They ended up losing the series in seven games, but this was the turning point in the Cavaliers vs. Pistons series as it proved they could hang with and even beat the playoff seasoned Pistons.
3rd - May 2, 2008 Eastern Conference First Round Game 6 at Washington (27p, 13r, 13a) in a 105-88 Cleveland Victory:
This game came after a Game 5 Cavalier loss at home. Washington (the #5 seed) thought with that victory they would be able to extend the series to seven games and possibly steal the series from the Cavaliers. The Wizards to a man were convinced that this was the year they would get past the Cavaliers. LeBron said no to that in Washington in front of a packed house wearing “Crybaby 23” t-shirts supplied by Papa John’s. I have refused to pay for Papa John’s pizza since that day (I will eat free pizza made by pretty much anyone though). DeShawn Stevenson and Soulja Boy were also a side show of this LeBron performance!
4th - May 28, 2009 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 vs. Orlando (37p, 14r, 12 a) in a 112-102 Cleveland Victory:
The Cavaliers came into this game down 3 games to 1, and this was a must win to give the Cavaliers faint hope of coming back. LeBron had by most accounts the second best playoff game of his career (the first is his masterful 48 point double overtime performance against the Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals). He took the team on his shoulders and carried us to the victory. It would go for naught though, as the Cavaliers would lose game 6 in Orlando and bow out of the playoffs.
5th - April 25, 2010 Eastern Conference First Round Game 4 at Chicago (37p, 12r, 11a) in a 121-98 Cleveland Victory:
The Bulls were coming off of a game 3 victory and were building confidence that they could turn this into a series. LeBron said no way. This win sealed Chicago’s fate and the Cavaliers would go on to win Game 5 to close the series without much of a struggle. This was important, because their second round opponent (Boston) would also win in 5 games, so they will get the same amount of rest. LeBron also hit an incredible 6 of 9 from three point range including a half court shot as the 3rd Quarter buzzer sounded.
These games were all victories for the Cavaliers and they all were momentum changers. LeBron rises to the occasion time and time again, and his next playoff triple double will almost assuredly come in the same fashion.
LeBron has been consistently productive, not just in playoff games, but also in each series he has played.
Below is a list of LeBron’s statistics broken down per series over his playoff career:
2006 vs. WAS: 35.7ppg, 7.5 rpg, 5.7 apg
2006 vs. DET: 26.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 6.0 apg
2007 vs. WAS: 27.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 7.5 apg
2007 vs. NJ: 24.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.5 apg
2007 vs. DET: 25.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 8.5 apg
2007 vs. SA: 22.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.8 apg
2008 vs. WAS: 29.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 7.7 apg
2008 vs. BOS: 26.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 7.6 apg
2009 vs. DET: 32.0 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 7.5 apg
2009 vs. ATL: 33.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 6.0 apg
2009 vs. ORL: 38.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 8.0 apg
2010 vs. CHI: 31.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 8.2 apg
Take away the 2007 NBA Finals against the Spurs, and LeBron has been unstoppable in the playoffs. He has averaged 7+ assists and 7+ rebounds in 7 out of 11 series. He has put up a 30+ point average in 5 out of 11 series, including the last 4. In his 12 Eastern Conference Final games, he has put up unreal averages of 32.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists.
Cavs playoff statistical history, LBJ's current spot on the career playoff points list, and a weekly rant after the jump...
Finally we have rid ourselves of the frizzy-haired one! I haven’t heard a sigh of relief (not because the Bulls worried us, but ‘cause Noah annoyed the hell out of us) that loud since Portland chose Oden in 2007 and Seattle – tough memories – knew that they had Durant. So now we roll onto Boston, and into a series which there is no love lost. Just out of curiosity, have any of you guys read this? I’m going to give you a second to have a quick look through it; I’ll be right back…
Ya done? Good. Now call me crazy, but where in that article - by Dan Shaugnessy titled Celtics will beat Cavs in second round - do we see actual statistical reference backing up his claim? The only stats we got were the results of previous games, overall records of both teams and the current lead both teams held at that point. So basically, Dan hasn’t backed up his statement, rather just tried to make us believers. By repeating himself. I’m down with that Dan, but look, I’m about to help you out. Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s why the Boston Celtics will beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals, 2010.
1) Doc Rivers Magic Switch. Apparently, Rivers has an age-defying, depth-enhancing switch. Insiders at ESPN believe he keeps it chained around his neck, and when necessary he flips it. And just like that KG doesn’t have to play on one good knee, just like that Michael Finley and Nate Robinson actually contribute. It’s magic. But when it really works, I mean at its best now, you see Boston do things like beat Dwyane Wade 5-on-1 and then make us all watch as the media goes into a frenzy about how Boston are back. I’m 36% positive Doc Rivers used that switch on Mickey Rourke right before they filmed “The Wrestler” also.
2) They Know They Can Beat Us. We split the season series with the C’s two apiece; one of those losses came in our own backyard. That loss was on opening night when we faced one of the toughest dilemmas you could face in the NBA, accommodating a one Shaquille O’Neal into your staring five. Not only that, we had new guys in AP and Jamario Moon who played that night. You just don’t gel that quickly. And besides, Boston were hot to start the season (23-5) but age kicked in at the finish line (27-27). A fresh Boston team, with three months rest and a full training camp behind them are lethal. A Boston team after 82 regular season games, a five-game first round series and carrying five guys over the age of 32 that play important roles, well, not so lethal.
3) Paragraphs 14 and 15. Go back to the link and read them again. But before you do, please don’t be chewing food or drinking coffee, you may choke or burn yourself. Veteran snipers? Big Baby contributing? Kendrick Perkins stronger? The sniper that is Michael Finley averaged 2.4 points and took a sniper-like 5 3pt FG’s, making 2. Big Baby had one good game in that series and that was because KG wasn’t there due to his “elbow” on Quentin Richardson. Kendrick Perkins may be two years stronger, but he’s still Kendrick Perkins. Twice scoreless in the series, flirts with foul trouble. But I’ll give him one thing, he scares the holy crap out of me with his big angry “I’m riding a sweet deal here with these guys” face. Maybe he’s so upset over the fact that ‘Sheed leaves no donuts after practice.
4) Rasheed Wallace. This guy deserves his own spot here. Mercurial? Try crazy. Started off the season out of shape? So does that mean he’s in shape now? From man boobs to poor shots, ‘Sheed has done pretty much nothing to earn his salary, which by the way is more than double that of Rajon Rondo. Having a guy that can stretch the floor off the bench is a valuable asset. ‘Sheed stretches the floor (but doesn’t make shots) alright, but so do Jamario Moon and Antawn Jamison. Claiming ‘Sheed may be the difference is like saying the Hasheem Thabeet justified his draft position with his D-League performances.
I will say this however regarding the Celtics. Rajon Rondo might be the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and can do things that will hurt us defensively if we don’t play things right. By that I mean giving Delonte his fair share of time at the one and moving Mo to the two, Red will do a better job of containing Rondo. Paul Pierce will always bring it and Ray Allen can still and will for the rest of his life be able to shoot the lights out. Do those things worry me? No because we have the guys to chase Ray around for 48 a night and some dude playing the small forward who negates every other small forward in the NBA on both ends of the floor.
Our length and versatility at the four and five spots will kill them. Shaq, Andy, JJ, Z, Jamison and maybe even LeBron at times can between them cause the C’s defense fits. Our best asset throughout this series will be our ability to go small ball on them. I’d love, if even for half a quarter a game, we lined up with Mo-West-Parker-Bron-JJ. You could put in Andy instead of JJ if you felt defensively that unit could suffer. You could also play LeBron at the two spot and go huge with ‘Tawn at the three, Andy/JJ at the four and Shaq in the middle. What I’m saying is that with so many options at our disposal, all that’s required is for us to want it. Game Three against the Bulls, that was Cleveland playoff basketball. That’s what’s required, and that’s what will kill the Celtics off, starting Saturday at the Q.
Having predicted correctly a 4-1 win over the Bulls, I’m going for a Cavs win in 6 this time around.
A right elbow is the only ray of hope the people of Boston cling to in what should be the official passing of the torch in the Eastern Conference.no comments
With the Cavs - Celtics 7-game second round series tipping off this Saturday night, I've posted below - in no particular order - my top -7 reasons I hate the Celtics...
Dirty Players, Dirty Team: I can agree with Joakim Noah on two things. It is true that Cleveland does not get all that many vacationers, and its also true that Kevin Garnett is a dirty player. And I'll take Noah's comment one step further, the whole team's dirty...just ask Ray Allen. Don't be at all shocked when the game plan includes collective shots at LeBron's funny bone elbow on Saturday.
more after the jump...
Paul Pierce: Lotta reasons here, I'll just name a few. His team was awful before his GM went out and traded for two superstars, and now all of the sudden he is allegedly one of the greatest Celtics ever...huh. This is after he quit on seasons, and led teams towards finishes in the Draft Lottery. You can give LeBron the 11 worst players in the NBA and he'll finish outside the lottery, guaranteed. Besides that, all that crying during the ring ceremony was pathetic, and so was this whole mess, Willis...