I talked to a current NBA coach who has been on the staff of several teams that have gone deep into the playoffs. I asked him to pretend he was Mike Brown, and what should the Cavs coach do in Game 2 of the NBA Finals?
``Boy, that's tough,'' he said. ``I've coached against them a lot and never had much luck. They are really, really good. Especially in a setting like this.''
Since the San Antonio Spurs are going for their fourth title in nine years, we probably know that. But the coach did have some ideas:
• Why were the Cavs chasing Tony Parker 30 feet from the basket on those high pick-and-roll plays? This was a surprise, as Brown knows Parker's game very well -- they were together in San Antonio: ``Parker will kill them if they keep doing that,'' the coach said. ``Back off. Play behind the pick. Dare him to shoot that jump shot. If he makes it, fine. He'll miss some. But going to the rim -- he finishes as well as any little guard I've ever seen.''
• If Parker does get into the lane, go after him: ``Don't think he's going to pass. He'll probably shoot, he's going for a layup. If he does pass off -- fine. You'd rather have someone take a jumper -- and the Spurs do have good shooters -- than Parker turning the game into a layup drill.''
• If Larry Hughes is hurt, don't play him: ``Larry is not a great outside shooter or decision maker,'' the coach said. ``His best attribute is his athleticism. But if he has a bad foot, that's gone. Play the (Daniel) Gibson kid more. At least you have to guard him. I've coached Damon Jones, and I like him in these games because he won't panic and he can make an outside shot. Eric Snow is fearless and he'll go after Parker. I'd play any of those guys -- combine them -- rather than just ride Hughes right now.''
Man, I know Mr Longoria should blow by Snow quickness-wise, but if the way to beat this guy is to stay in front of him and fight through the picks, Eric is your guy.
Roker continuing to play Hughes meaningful minuits on Parker is the kind of stupid stubborness that is the hobgoblin of coaches with second-rate minds. C'mon Roker, don't do it. Show me you are NOT that. Start Hughes to let him keep face for long term team harmony and respect his willingness to take the needle if you must, but put him on Gnobli where his long arms and instincts to pick off the pass can help. Then after the 2nd play stoppage, sit him down and bring in Daniel, and rotate Snow & Gibson on Parker.
Do not waste Bron as a shut-down D player!
You need him too much.
And the big men can not get out of position picking up the pieces on Parker.