They got one. No more.
OK, the Cavs dropped Game 3 of their series with the Bulls. We knew this was bound to happen; the odds of the Cavs sweeping another first-round playoff series were slim. After winning seven consecutive opening-round games, a slip-up was going to happen.
And while it wasn’t the only problem, poor free-throw shooting killed the team. The Cavs missed 11 free throws in a two-point loss. Which, again, should be no surprise.
There’s little reason to fear that the Cavs will lose this series, let alone another game. The bigger concern is the player rotation, or lack of rotation. All season long the team succeeded by being versatile: playing big against the Lakers and Boston, playing athletic against Orlando and Atlanta, playing small against Phoenix and Dallas. It was a real strength of the team.
That now seems to be forgotten. Even though Shaq and Z continue to struggle with the Bulls quicker frontcourt players, JJ Hickson can’t get off the bench. He’s played three minutes so far in the series. Why not give some of Z’s minutes to Hickson in Game 4, especially if Z and Shaq continue to struggle? In Game 3 the duo combined for six points and five rebounds. In Game 2 it was 11 points and 10 rebounds.
It’s not like if Hickson plays against the Bulls the Cavs can’t go back to Z in the next round if the matchups favor him. Wasn’t that the whole point of building a flexible roster?
Game 3 is Sunday afternoon.
14 wins to go.
I agree that they should give JJ a look, but it seems to me that the much larger problem is defensive intensity and stopping Rose. He cannot beat the Cavs by himself. If they can keep him out of the lane and clamp down on Deng and Hinrich, we should head to the second round having won 4-1.