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Blog Entry

Post-Ups

Posted on: April 9, 2010 3:49 pm
 
Having wrapped up the league’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, the Cavaliers have the luxury of coasting to the regular-season finish line. Only one problem looms on what Cleveland hopes is a championship horizon. And it’s a big problem – 7-foot-1, 325 pounds to be exact. 

The Cavs are 16-3 without O’Neal, who has been sidelined since Feb. 26 with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Earlier this season, Cleveland was 5-1 without Shaq when he was out with a left shoulder injury. That’s a small sample size, but even I can figure out that the Cavs’ .840 winning percentage without Shaq is better than their .741 winning percentage with him. 

What’s the problem? None, for now. Shaq has been in the NBA for 17 years, so it shouldn’t take him long to figure out which basket the ball is supposed to go into once he returns. But the longer O’Neal is out, and the longer the uncertainty festers about the date of his return, the worse it is for a team that by all other appearances is on a collision course with the Lakers in the NBA Finals. 

Though sources indicate that the team would like to re-integrate O’Neal into the flow for at least the last regular season game Wednesday in Atlanta, coach Mike Brown has been deliberately vague about the particulars. Part of it is that Brown honestly doesn’t know when Shaq will be back. Part of it is that he doesn’t want to know. 

A year ago, Brown took note when the Celtics’ title defense became sidetracked by the daily “will-he-or-won’t-he” speculation about Kevin Garnett’s possible return from knee surgery. Garnett didn’t provide any updates to the media for months, leaving coach Doc Rivers to deal with the distraction. Garnett never ended up coming back, and the Celtics’ beat the Bulls in seven games in a thrilling first-round series anyway. But they ran out of miracles in the conference semifinals against Orlando. Come to think of it, the Celtics are still waiting for the real Garnett to come back – and they may spend their entire playoff run waiting, however long it lasts. 

Brown has told confidants in recent days that he’s trying to avoid the kind of distraction that besieged the Celtics over Garnett’s absence a year ago. Brown’s situation comes with an added complication. Whereas there was no doubt the Celtics would’ve gone farther in the playoffs last year with a healthy Garnett, there is no such guarantee that the Cavs will be better off with Shaq given that they’ve played so well without him. 

The Cavs really need Shaq to deal with only two people in the postseason: Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. The earliest they’re likely to see either one would be a potential conference finals rematch with the Magic, so there’s no rush. Asked if Shaq’s eventual return could present problems for the Cavs, Rivers said, “I hope so. I hope it tears the entire team apart. But I don’t think so. 

“Shaq’s been through this, and so has LeBron, and so I don’t think there are ever issues when everybody’s trying to win one thing,” Rivers said. There’s only issues when different guys have agendas. And I think Cleveland all year has proven that they’re pretty much an agenda-less team.” 

The question of whether they’re better as a Shaq-less team eventually will be answered. Just don’t ask when. 

Now that the biggest issue of the last week of the regular season is out of the way, here are the rest of the Post-Ups:

• The Clippers will be one of many teams in the market for a new head coach this summer, and sources say they’ve already started doing their homework on one sensible candidate: Mark Jackson. Clippers officials have been calling around for input on Jackson, who has hired agent Steve Kauffman to help him navigate his shift from the broadcast booth to the sideline. Jackson’s supporters in the league have been telling the Clippers not to fear his lack of experience, given the success of previous inexperienced hires such as Rivers and Avery Johnson. They also are touting Jackson as being capable of lighting a fire beneath underachieving point guard Baron Davis. Of course, not much homework is necessary on Jackson. Clippers GM Neil Olshey, like Jackson, grew up in Queens, N.Y., and they’ve known each other since elementary school. Clippers officials are said to be focusing on the draft and free agency before delving fully into their coaching search; they’re in the rare position of having a lottery pick and enough cap room to sign a max free agent. There’s no rush to hire coach, particularly this summer, since the top free agents may want to have a say in the coach they’ll be signing up to play for. The Clippers, Nets and Bulls all will have the ability to offer such a choice; the Knicks have Mike D’Antoni, who would be most of the top free agents’ first pick anyway.

• While much of the 2010 free-agent focus has been on the Knicks, Nets and Heat, the Bulls will enter the summer chase with quiet confidence – not to mention nearly $19 million in cap space. That figure assumes a cap of at least $53.6 million, as the Bulls are among a growing cadre of teams bumping up their projections based on improving revenue data from the league. With a core of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, top-notch fan support and a winning tradition woven by Michael Jordan, rival executives are beginning to fear the kind of sales pitch Chicago will be in a position to present to the top free agents – including Chicago native Dwyane Wade. The Bulls also have a couple of trump cards that could make them an even more formidable player in the 2010 sweepstakes. By trading Kirk Hinrich to a team that’s under the cap, Chicago would clear as much as $9 million more – creating enough room to sign one max player and a $10 million player. Teams with cap space that don’t figure to pursue max free agents – such as Oklahoma City and Sacramento -- will be at the center of such subplots throughout the month of July. Those teams have room to absorb contracts and allow other teams to sign players that wouldn’t go to Oklahoma City or Sacramento – a favor that should reap handsome rewards in the form of draft picks or other assets. Bulls officials also are planning to sell free agents on their draft rights to Turkish sensation Omer Asik, a 23-year-old 7-footer whom they hope will follow in the footsteps of countrymen Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur and Ersan Ilyasova.

• Rumblings that John Wall may not be a lock as the No. 1 pick are exactly what you think they are if you’ve seen Wall play. “Delusional,” said one team executive who will have a lottery pick. “Nobody in their right mind is taking anybody but John Wall with the No. 1 pick. I don’t care if you have Chris Paul and Deron Williams.” Look at it this way, the executive said: If Wall were a free agent this summer, he’d be behind only LeBron and Wade in the pecking order. If Evan Turner were a free agent, he’d be behind Joe Johnson, too. DeMarcus Cousins? He’d be behind all of the above, plus Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, Yao Ming and Carlos Boozer.

• While it has been widely assumed that only one Eddie would be out in Philadelphia after the season – Jordan, not Stefanski – there is one complicating factor that could change that. And his name is Larry Brown. While the Bobcats coach feels a sense of loyalty to fellow Tarheel and new owner Michael Jordan, there are strong indications that Jordan won’t stand in Brown’s way if he wants to seek another job with complete control over basketball operations. Though some speculation has centered on Brown going to the Clippers, that’s not happening, sources say. The most likely scenario is the Sixers due to Brown’s family ties with the city.

• One team that apparently won’t be cleaning house is the Pacers. Owner Herb Simon told the Indianapolis Star in a wide-ranging interview that Jim O’Brien “will be the coach next season. … I haven’t heard any information that he won’t be back.” Team president Larry Bird will return, too, on his customary handshake agreement, Simon said.

• Not surprisingly, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy takes a contrarian view when it comes to resting superstars down the stretch, as the Lakers and Cavs are doing with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, respectively. “If you’re worried about injuries, don’t play them in all 82 games,” Van Gundy said at shootaround Friday, according to Newsday’s Alan Hahn.

Great analysis by Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus explaining how and why the league-wide scoring average will exceed 100 points per game this season – the highest mark since 1994-95. The key points: Offense is down on a per-possession basis, but teams are playing at a faster pace. Other than a one-year jump in 1999-2000, teams are playing at their fastest pace since ’94-’95.
Category: NBA
Comments

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2010 7:02 am
 

Post-Ups-HEY NOAH

SO BERGER, WHAT ABOUT THAT DENVER LET-DOWN IN GAME 2.  AND IN THE CLEVELAND SERIES, NOAH OPENS THAT BIG UGLY MOUTH OF HIS (I SWEAR THERE IS HAIR GROWING OUT OF HIS MOUTH), SLAMS THE CITY OF CLEVELAND FOR BEING ALL FACTORIES (BECAUSE HIS HOTEL ROOM LOOKS OUT OVER HUGE STEEL FACTORY) AND DOOMS HIS TEAM TO LOSE FOR SURE--CAN YOU SAY SWEEP (OR 5-1). 

NOAH, COLLEGE IS OVER, YOUR NOT PLAYING OHIO STATE, YOUR PLAYING THE BEST NBA TEAM IN THE WORLD, WITH THE BEST PLAYER EVER IN HISTORY, AND YOU HAVE OPENED THAT UGLY MOUTH OF YOURS ONE TOO MANY TIMES.  I KIND OF HOPE WE LOSE 1 IN CHIACGO SO YOU HAVE TO FACE THE CLEVELAND FANS ONE MORE TIME.  QUIT BEING A MORON.

THE....BROWNS TOWN CLOWN !!


THE STEAM
Since: Apr 2, 2010
Posted on: April 10, 2010 11:15 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: April 10, 2010 11:11 pm
 

Post-Ups

Shaq, you are in Cleveland to do one thing-  defend Dwight Howard...  Do that well, and help CLE to the Finals, it was worth it.

That is all...


miamivice82
Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: April 10, 2010 7:20 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: April 10, 2010 7:17 pm
 

Post-Ups

Skis  you're post is ABSURD.  Shaq's 2009 with the Suns was BETTER than his 2008 with the Heat.

Shaq to this day is a Top 3 center for 23 mins a game....PERIOD!



Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: April 10, 2010 7:15 pm
 

Post-Ups

mim....you're a damned fool.



Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: April 10, 2010 6:49 pm
 

Post-Ups

Shaq has simply not played at the same level as he did when he was with the heat for any team since. The reason is partly motivation partly age. When you are 7 ft. and 325 lbs. it starts to wear on the body to be running down the hard wood all night. Shaq has put in his time on the Lakers and Heat and we can give him a pass on the Suns just cause he really wasn't a fit there anyway. I am with bearz in that he deserves to win it all and go out like this. It should be his last dance. With him will possibly go the back to the basket center (unless Omar Samhan can do what he did during the tournament in the NBA.) I think the future of the league is big man who are fast and limber in the mold of Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard. I am assuming with that the writer above is a Bulls fan so he can see that the more limber big guys like Taj and Joakim are going to be double double players every night. The quick big man is going to be able to defend the high screen roll against wing players and then be a weak side shot blocker as well. Look at the next generation of Emeka Okafor, Dwight Howard, Joakim, Brook Lopez, These guys can all move if need be while big guys that are painful to watch run down the court (Greg Oden, Yao Ming) are going to spend the year in the trainer's room and have circles run around them by their smaller counterparts. 



Since: Jul 4, 2008
Posted on: April 10, 2010 4:29 pm
 

Post-Ups

Shaq was very good about 10 years ago , he was average about 3 years ago , but at this time he help the other team more than he do for the Cavs . At this time he is the weak Shaq , he is scare to play D Howard because Shaq is a crazy glue , his movements are very slow and sloppy . Shaq stay with the Cavs for 5 more years an 80 million dollar contract extension .



Since: Sep 7, 2007
Posted on: April 10, 2010 10:13 am
 

Post Ups

Good Article..



Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: April 9, 2010 9:45 pm
 

Post-Ups

The thing is they didn't bring him for the regular season. They had no issues there. In the playoffs the game slows down considerably and having control beneath the basket becomes more essential. Hence the acquisition of O'Neal. So if I was a Cavs fan this wouldn't truly be a concern. What their record was without him in the regular season means little when it comes to the post season which is a totally different game and approach by the teams that make it that far.


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