02 June 2007

Detroit-Cleveland Game 6, Live Blog

I’ll be checking in every little bit throughout this game. Game 5 was a classic, with Lebron’s ascendance; hopefully, this one will measure up. If it doesn’t… well… first off, it’s sports, so it’s good anyways, but I’ve got Diet Coke and popcorn, so the evening should be pretty good.

8:03 PM
Right now, TNT is showing taped interviews with Lebron, talking about his performance in game 5; I have a feeling that, as great as it was, I’ll be sick of hearing about it by the end of the evening.

TNT just showed a poorly photoshopped photo of Charles Barkley as some sort of... obese woman with a fruit-hat. Huh?
Antonio McDyess interview... platitudes and fluff, nothing of substance.
Barkley just said that Cleveland would "pound" Detroit tonight. Hm... maybe not the best choice of words, in light of the McDyess/Varejao incident?

Wow, but "1408" looks like a dumb movie. Just sayin'
Craig Sager, interviewing Eric Snow, has a very, very bad toupee. And Snow just said that "we have to make them score against our 5-on-5 defense." Um... isn't the point to make them not score?

Pistons win the tip. Sheed makes a bank shot. Zydrunas Ilgauskas misses a wild, fall-away hookshot.
Why do the Cavs go inside to him every game? I can understand the logic, but it never works...
Sasha Pavlovic jump-faked Tayshaun Prince into the bleachers, then got fouled driving to the lane.
Rip Hamilton is the primary man guarding LeBron, who hasn't taken a shot yet. Every time he gets the ball so far, he's doubleteamed.

Larry Hughes just hit his second 3-pointer to cut the Pistons' lead to 12-11. On both of them, his guy has gone to guard Lebron and left him wide open.

Ilgauskas just accelerated to a ponderous jog and followed the ball into the stands... he's been replaced by Anderson Varejao.
Technical foul on Chris Webber... also a double technical on Pavlovic and Rip Hamilton.
There's the replay - Webber shoved Anderson Varejao, and then Pavlovic stared him down. Hmm... really don't see why the double tech there. Shoulda just been the one on Webber, I think.

Varejao just made a nice little hook shot over (I think) Webber, and drew a foul - he's got a lot of energy. And really cool hair.
Then he draws an offensive foul on Delfino. Nice shot of some kid in the crowd wearing a Varejao wig.
Gibson shoots a three with 2.2 seconds left... Mohammed runs out, jumps, and lands on him. Three free throws. Really a bad play by Mohammed.

27-21 Cavs, end of the first quarter... kind of a funny moment there, as the buzzer didn't go off, so the Pistons (who had the ball) just kind of stood there awkwardly for a few seconds before they walked off the court.
My thoughts so far: Pavlovic, Varejao, and Gibson look solid for Cleveland, Rip Hamilton looks good for Detroit. Lebron's attempted one shot, which it probably too few, but he's been double- or triple-teamed every time he's gotten the ball, so he's been making the smart plays. Still, at some point, he's going to have to go on a little scoring tear.
Sloppy play overall in the first - Detroit committed some flat-out stupid fouls, and Cleveland's had about three or four wild cross-court passes intercepted. An entertaining game, even if it's not a very well-played one.

The funny no-buzzer moment continues - now the arena people are trying to replace the electronics. Bad-toupee Sager just announced that they'll be using a handheld airhorn if they can't get the buzzer to work.

Still delayed... the arena music people are playing the Vonage song (people do stupid things...) in the background... really an awkward interview between Toupee Man and a ref - Sager tried to make small talk, some sort of weak joke (if you move all the cameramen from courtside, will you let ours stay?) and the ref totally blew him off.

They start the second quarter... no working shotclock, no working scoreboard; the p.a. announcer is going to call out at 10 seconds and 5 seconds left on the shotclock. Donyell Marshall misses a shot.

Detroit's trying to guard Lebron with Lindsay Hunter now, and it's not working; James has driven past him twice in a row. Non-shooting foul on the first, shooting foul on the second.

Lebron is sitting; Ilgauskas and Varejao are on the floor together. McDyess just got his third foul.
Daniel Gibson looks really, really quick. 34-30, Cleveland, with 6:51 left in the second quarter.

5:36 left in the second, Cleveland up 37-35. The Cavs look confused about how to run any sort of offense right now - they're passing the ball around the perimeter, shooting a three with a couple of seconds left, and then playing defense.
Ilgauskas just put in an offensive rebound. I'm on him a lot, but I've got to grant him this much: he's tall.

2:49 left in the second, tie 43-43, commercial break. Truly ridiculous continuance there; Webber faked Gooden up in the air, then made another fake after Gooden landed on him, then threw up a shot. Should've been a foul on the floor.
Gibson's been exploited a couple of times down low - I guess there's a tradeoff for his quickness, in that he's pretty small. Hamilton is just plain bigger than Gibson is.
Lebron has started driving a little bit, and he's getting hacked every time he goes inside. I don't think he's made a field goal yet, but he's starting to get into gear.

0:45 left in the 2nd. Big moment here - Lebron absolutely stuffs Rip Hamilton, and then Hamilton committed a frustration foul. That's three on Hamilton, who's been pretty much carrying the Pistons. Hamilton takes a seat.

Halftime. 48-48.
Thoughts so far:
1. The Cavs haven't run a cohesive offensive set so far. Everything's been either wild passing or "hand to Lebron" followed by wild passing. Players are trying to do too much, and making really stupid plays. Examples have included Varejao dribbling 1-on-3 downcourt, throwing up a wild layup attempt and then trying to draw a foul, Pavlovic making several really, really bad passes - passes to no one in particular that have led to Pistons fast breaks, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas trying to back Rasheed Wallace down - from the three-point line - at least twice.
2. Chauncey Billups is playing horribly. He's not turning the ball over too much, but he's made no offensive contribution. In 20 minutes, he has 5 points and no assists.
3. Lebron isn't scoring, but he's seeing open people. This has been the only real offense for the Cavs so far - James is 0-for-2 from the field, but he has assists on 5 of the 13 Cleveland buckets.

11:30 left in the 3rd. Billups just took an off-balance, fall-away three from the corner, with a man in his face. Terrible shot. Not even close. Still a tie game. The clock is working again.

8:02 left in the 3rd. C-Webb got kneed in the groin on a Sasha Pavlovic offensive foul. 56-52 Detroit now, but Cleveland is looking a lot better than they did during the first half.
Make that 56-54 - Lebron just drove to the basket and made his first layup of the night.
Cleveland is working what looks like a sort of bastardized high post against Detroit's 3-2 zone, with Ilgauskas around the free-throw line. He can't move well, but he's tall enough to see through the zone for open players.
Webber picked up his fourth foul and, to add insult to injury, got hit in the groin again.

5:30 left in the 3rd. Coming off a commercial break, TNT cuts to Daniel "Boobie" Gibson, and starts a little montage of Cavs players who have had funny nicknames. This is relevant how?
Gibson then proceeds to brick a free throw. Poetic justice.

3:13 left in the 3rd, 63-62 Detroit. Larry Hughes looks awful right now; he's taken a couple of long threes, he pump faked and then just sort of... stopped around the elbow until Rip Hamilton took the ball away from him, and, running up the court uncovered, he just threw a lead pass to a double-covered Lebron. James tracked it down, but wound up out in the corner with two Pistons on him.

End of 3rd quarter, 67-66 Cleveland. The Cavaliers are back to scrambling around the court and accomplishing little or nothing on offense. Their last three shot attempts of the 3rd were threes, including one from Anderson Varejao that had the TNT commentators laughing. Daniel Gibson continues to impress, as he now has 12 points for the game, including 7-9 free throws. Lindsay Hunter hit a big 3 with 54.9 seconds left in the 3rd to keep Detroit close; they've been doing little of note on offense themselves, but they haven't been looking quite as spectacularly bad as have the Cavaliers.

11:27 left in the 4th, 70-66 Cleveland. Gibson just made another three, this one right over Flip Murray. The kid has skills.

10:44 left in the 4th, 73-66 Cleveland. After a travel from Tayshaun Prince, Gibson makes yet another three. Marv Albert said that Gibson is "becoming a legend", and I can't disagree. Expect to see him getting more playing time next year. Tonight, he's got 18 points in 18 minutes.

10:32 left in the 4th, 76-67 Cleveland. Lebron takes the ball away from 'Sheed, dribbles downcourt, makes the layup, and gets fouled. Cleveland is starting to pull away. Impressive stuff.
And now (10:02) Billups commits an offensive foul! Detroit is playing like it's their first time in the conference finals, and Cleveland is starting to play like they're used to this kind of pressure.
9:42 left, 79-67. Yet another Daniel Gibson three. Wow.
9:12 - Hamilton makes a nice driving layup for Detroit to make it 79-69. He's really been the only bright spot for the Pistons so far.

7:44 left, 81-69 Cleveland. Rasheed Wallace just fouled out; now he's gone ballistic at the refs and picked up two technical fouls - if Detroit somehow manages to rally, he won't play in game 7. Really a terrible play from Wallace - a bad offensive foul on one end, then just blatantly grabbing Lebron on the other. The Pistons are absolutely falling apart here.

6:49 left, 86-71 Cleveland. Daniel Gibson just made another three, and Detroit called a timeout. The momentum is completely in the Cavaliers' favor right now; Detroit has not been able to do anything whatsoever offensively, and they are whining about every call. Unless something changes drastically, the Cavs are going to the NBA finals.

4:27 left, 92-77 Cleveland. Detroit has gone to a four-guard lineup, with Antonio McDyess the only real "big man"; Varejao is cleaning up on the offensive glass. I'm starting to wonder if Gibson may have become Lebron's Scotty Pippen tonight - he just made a running layup over two Pistons, and now has 31 points on the night. Lebron is having a really odd evening - 17 points (on 2-for-9 shooting), 13 rebounds, 8 assists.

3:33 left, 94-79 Cleveland. Rip Hamilton just fouled out, and it's all but official. Hamilton had 29 points and had been Detroit's only real offensive option all night. Chauncey Billups has been embarrassingly bad - 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist; Tayshaun Prince has scored 5 points.

With under a minute left, Cleveland is up 98-80, and neither team is going at it anymore. Tomorrow, Cleveland can start looking ahead to San Antonio, where they'll be the prohibitive underdogs. But for tonight, let them celebrate - Cleveland will be going to the NBA finals.

It's official - the Cleveland Cavaliers are the Eastern Conference champions, defeating the Detroit Pistons 98-82. Lebron's final total: 20 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists; Daniel Gibson finished with 31 points and 6 assists in 29 minutes, and is getting the postgame interview from Craig Sager. Gibson's analysis: "My shot was falling, and it was great." The kid can barely speak. Ilgauskas is hugging James, there's confetti on the court, and everybody's celebrating.

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