Point taken (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday April 25, 2007 11:59PM; Updated: Thursday April 26, 2007 3:13PM
"He has been everything we could have asked for," says Brown. "He gets to the free throw line. He doesn't turn the ball over. He plays defense. He does a good job settling down our ballclub. I have no complaints with Larry Hughes."
Adds Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, "His ability to score from that spot is a huge factor. Plus, he rebounds (Hughes has 15 boards through the first two games). Not a lot of point guards give you that."
It helps when you play in an offense that doesn't ask much from the position.
"All we want him to do is get the ball over the court," says a Cavaliers team source. "After that, we don't have much need for a point guard. But if he shoots like the way he has (Hughes is firing at a 50 percent clip in the postseason) we might not lose a game."
Still, the Hughes experiment does have it's potential drawbacks. Flash ahead to the second round and the Cavaliers are looking at a possible matchup with New Jersey, which boasts one of the league's premier point guards in Jason Kidd.
"New Jersey is going to pick and roll him to death," says an opposing team's scout. "Larry is a great defensive player -- but he is a gambler. He's most effective when he can play the passing lanes. The Nets are going to force him to fight his way over the top. That takes away some of his effectiveness."
One rumor circulating in Cleveland centers on Wizards assistant Mike O'Koren. Speculation has O'Koren, Washington's lead assistant for the last four seasons, as a candidate for the head coaching vacancy in Sacramento.
The feeling on press row was that LeBron's ankle injury may be worse than he has indicated. James struggled through a first quarter where he scored five points and did not pull down a single rebound. A star player misleading the media on an injury is not uncommon; usually they downplay or exacerbate it -- in LeBron's case, it appears to be the former.
Finally, an open plea to the NBA: Ease up on the special effects. Cleveland's piped-in crowd noise, constant music playing and fire-powered introductions border on ridiculous. Good teams will attract fans; bad teams won't. The Pistons could play in an open warehouse on 8-Mile road and they would still sell out. You could roll the Barnum and Bailey circus through Phillips Arena in Atlanta and the upper bowl will still be a ghost town.