Nice game Rasheed. 3-13 from the floor, hobbling up and down the court like Tiny Tim all night.And nice guarantee. Looks like you're coming back to Cleveland after all. What an effort by the Cavaliers, who improbably evened the series with the Pistons at two games apiece, and all of the sudden find themselves just two more wins away from a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals.
To win a game in mid May against a team the caliber of Detroit while committing 18 turnovers, and registering just four non-Lebron assists just speaks to the level of defense we saw here in game four. LeBron made just eight buckets, and had just as many turnovers.
The defense tonight was incredible. Absolutely amazing. The effort. The energy level for all 48 minutes. LeBron, Snow, Donyell, Varejao ... all four of these players were superb all night at both ends. And props to Mike Brown, who coached a whale of a game. He played the matchups perfectly all night.
Sitting Drew and Zydrunas for the majority of the second half was once again the right call on this night. Donyell and Varejao played incredible defense all evening, wreaking havoc with their hustle and length on the defensive end, and their relentless movement away from the ball and activity on the offensive end.On a night where LeBron was off ... ESnow, Varejao, and Donyell stepped up. Snow had 12 points, one turnover, two steals, and held Chauncey to a 3-10 night from the floor. And going coast to coast to knock Maurice Evans on his ass helped keep big Mo in the Cavalier camp, as opposed to allowing an easy layup. Evans looked terrified as Snow floored him, then missed his first flagrant free throw badly.Donyell played great defense all night, and drilled three enormous three balls. Varejao hit double digit points once again, and was a force at both ends replacing the incomptetent Ilgauskas. And the charge he took with under a minute left was the single biggest play in this game. Seeing Varejao dart over from the weak side, get outside the restricted area, set his feet and dig in was one of the moments from this season I'll always remember, regardless of what the Cavs ultimate fate in this series is.
For whatever reason, this game tonight reminded me of Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson, with the Cavs obviously assuming the role of the underdog. In the first half, they traded blows with a Pistons team that blatantly expected to win this game tonight. They hurt them early in the fourth with a series of haymakers that left the Pistons confused and frustrated. They then finished them off by holding them without a field goal for the final three and a half minutes. The look on Sheed's grill after the final buzzer sounded was reminiscient of Tysons as he looked up from the canvas and realized what Buster just did to him.This one feels good, but the Cavs still have an uphill battle. They've gotta go steal one in that shithole Detroit, where they've been beaten handily in their last five tries. And they've also got to win game six back here, which won't be easy either. With the whole team set to attend Justin Hughes funeral as a group on Tuesday, and coming off these back to back wins, the team should be inspired for game five. The chances are it still won't be enough against this vaunted foe.
But at least for one night, this feels really good. The Cavs just won back to back games in round two of the playoffs against the team everyone figures will win the NBA Championship. At the very least, this thing is now going six games, and "just giving the Pistons a good series" will no longer be an acceptable outcome the next time these two face each other in the playoffs. The bar has officially been raised.