When a Coach-of-the-Year isn't quite so much the best coach
Colour me suprised. Many people have brought up, with increasing regularity, the Cavs' 1-2 record verses the Magic in the regular season (along with the longer-term losing record against Orlando, something to the tune of 9 loses in their last 11 games). Naturally, we can't make too much of the games prior to the start of this season, as both the Magic and the Cavs underwent significant roster improvements last summer. The more the wheels begin to fall off the Cav bandwagon, the more analysts and reporters seem to refer to this stat. Well, better late than never people.
In reply, Mike Brown and other Cleveland defenders have pointed out that Cleveland had equally-poor records verses the Pistons and Wizards in previous years, only to dispatch of said teams once the playoffs started. On the face of things, this one seemed like quite the plausible defense, throwing a monkey wrench into our stat-loving rantings.
But let's look a bit closer at said defense, shall we? Last year, Cleveland split their 4 regular-season meetings with Washington, before beating them in the playoffs in 6 games. Two of the regular-season games were decided by 1 and 2 points; Cleveland won a 3rd game by 36 points, and in the 4th, a Wizard win, LeBron James didn't play. What exactly does Coach Brown think was so different about the playoffs? What's he trying to sell us?
Two years ago, Detroit took 3 of 4 from the Cavs, then lost in 6 games in the playoffs. There's nothing on the face that seems to deviate here from what Coach Brown claimed, so score one for him there. Definitely strange turn of events between the regular season and the playoffs. I'm sure there may be some clues in the individual games -- you'd figure there have to be -- but to look would be overkill.
On the other side, that same year, Cleveland took 3 of 4 from the Wizards in the regular season, before sweeping the series in the playoffs. Score one for the regular season.
So, in general, we can say the coach has somewhat of a point -- that it is possible that regular season difficulties will not translate into the playoffs -- but it's probably much more accurate to say that this is a rare occurence. Nothing wrong with playing the percentages, especially when they're overwhelming.
Nice Try Refs
As far as the officiating in tonight's Game 3, what can you say? Horrible? Slanted? Inconsistent? Blatently-biased? A flagrant foul when a guy is going up for a shot? How many out-of-bounds play calls did they get wrong? How many charges did they mis-call? It felt like Kings/Lakers Game 7 all over again.
Kudos to the Magic for overcoming a very curiously called basketball game to take the 2-1 lead.