Quantcast Cavs face Oden and the Trailblazers

 

Cavaliers face Trailblazers

 

 

As the Cavs prepare to face the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night at the Rose Garden, the Cavs face some real question marks for the first time all season. Through the first few months, they were blowing away teams like it was going out of style. The offensive philosophy was changing, as the Cavs were moving away from “LeBron Ball” (i.e. having him pound the basketball onto the court and everyone else standing around and watching), and going more towards a style which incorporated active bodies off the ball, and other players whom could create their own shots.



Sandwiched in-between an impressive game last Friday night where the shorthanded Cavs kept their home record flawless, boosting it to 20-0 with an impressive victory over a well rested New Orleans Hornets team, were performances where the Cavs reverted back to their old style of play. Their lack of height, and depth, showed against the Bulls and Lakers on the road in recent nights. With Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas out with injuries, LeBron James has had to do more of the heavy lifting. The result was the more predictable style of play which led to their uneven success last year. He got his numbers, but hard to exert himself to get them, and others couldn’t pick up the slack. Perhaps even more troubling, though, the absence of Ilgauskas presents a major void in the paint. They have no one else inside who can create their own shot, and L.A. was able to dominate the inside. Ben Wallace, Anderson Varejao, and co. simply isn’t tall enough to control a frontline featuring two seven-footers.

Wednesday night, the Cavs face an opponent in the Portland Trail Blazers that are young, talented, and have a bevy of players who can create matchup problems. LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy are at the forefront of their success. Both are also high character guys, a vast departure from the “Jail Blazers” teams that featured guys who had a hard time staying out of trouble on and off the court. Throw the raw, but talented Greg Oden into the mix, and rookie Jerryd Bayless, and you have a strong nucleus of players who can contend in the present, and in the foreseeable future.

 

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The Cavaliers’ bench players had better get used to playing an extended role, with this tough matchup tonight, and continued trip on the west coast after this. Sasha Pavlovic, filling in for the injured West, played very well, the much-maligned shooting guard had 14 points against the Lakers. His height, and long arms, will be needed to help keep Roy in check. Lorenzen Wright can’t be expected to do too much that this stage of his career, but he will at least need to provide some sort of intimidating presence in his starting role, and some interior scoring from time to time. Daniel Gibson needs to improve his decision making and make shots more consistently from three-point range.

 

by Michael Hammons
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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