Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cavs-Wizards Playoff Preview

Since Arenas bricked two potential game-winning free throws in the playoffs two years ago, Wizards fans have been waiting for this match up (last year didn't count for obvious reasons).

Position-by-Position Breakdown

Point Guard: Antonio Daniels & Gilbert Arenas vs. Delonte West

The Wizards have the clear edge at this position. Antonio will start and Gilbert will finish. Delonte West can shoot but is not really a threat to get in the lane and put up big assist numbers (then again does he need to with LeBron?). In a best case scenario for Cleveland, West will be able to knock down spot-up three-pointers off LeBron kick outs.

Clear Edge: Wizards

SG: DeShawn Stevenson vs. LeBron James

While LeBron isn't listed as a two, he'll be matched up with DeShawn. Guarding LeBron is going to be a team effort. If DeShawn can keep LeBron in the 30-point range rather than the 40-point range, he'll be doing well. You just can't stop LeBron on the drive so it's key that DeShawn baits him into taking jumpers.

Clear Edge: Cavs

SF: Caron Butler vs. Devin Brown

Caron will be guarding Brown on defense allowing him to rest and conserve all his energy for offense. If Caron's mid-range jumper is falling (and it usually is) look for him to have a big series. Numbers wise, Caron is in an elite group just below LeBron as far as points, assists, and rebounds. Devin Brown is terrible but he does hustle so the Wiz can't sleep on him too much.

Clear Edge: Wizards

PF: Antawn Jamison vs. Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace doesn't impress me at all. He is a major downgrade from Gooden (a guy who's killed the Wizards in past years). His defense is nice but he gives you absolutely nothing on offense. Jamison is having a career year and his inside-outside style will make Wallace uncomfortable.

Edge: Wizards

C: Brendan Haywood vs. Z. Ilgauskas

Big Z is a big dude. If his turn-around jumper is on, you can't stop him. On the downside, he's incredibly slow and injury prone. Haywood is having a career year. His free throws aren't that much of a liability anymore and his length on defense is really disruptive.

Even

Bench
The Cavs bring experienced players off the bench but "experienced players" don't always equate to good players. The Cavs have several three-point threats but it's risky to rely so heavily on the deep ball. Varejao is a disruptor and will probably give the Wizards bigs problems. Daniel Gibson is the most overrated player in the NBA (he got hot in one playoff game and now people think he's a star). For the Wizards, Mason will bring three-point shooting, Blatche will be a disruptor, Songalia will bring interior scoring, and Nick Young could be an X-factor.

Slight Edge: Wiz

Coaching: Eddie Jordan vs. Mike Brown

When you have LeBron on your team, a coach isn't that important. Brown has struggled to manage his team since dealing Larry Hughes. Eddie Jordan is arguably having a COY-type season. The way he's kept his team afloat, despite so many injuries, says a lot about his ability to motivate players to buy into his system.

Edge: Wiz

Prediction: Wizards in six games

1 comment:

agent zero said...

cavs fans vs. wizards fans...

although it can get electrically loud at wizards games, it takes a whole lot of momentum to get the crowd up to their optimum volume at verizon center; on the other hand, this is something that is very atypical to that of the cav's arena. The fans their are always loud and up out of their seats thorughout the game. Since the majority of the games will be played at the quicken loans arena, If the series were to go 7 games which it will not, (because wiz will win in 5 games) their arena gives the cavs the overall advangtage --

clear winner: cavs