There is a familiar match up in the Eastern Conference Finals: the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Detroit Pistons. Offense vs. defense. The inexperienced youngsters vs. the time-tested veterans. A team relying heavily on its one superstar vs. a team that depends on the collectivity of its starters.
So what makes this series any different from last year’s, when the Pistons won in seven? What can the Cavs do differently to change the outcome of this series? Will LeBron James’s brilliance outshine the versatile Piston starting lineup? Here are keys for both teams.
For the Cavs:
Last year LeBron James scored 20 or more points in all seven games against the Pistons. However, none of his teammates made it past 17 throughout the series. James needs help from his supporting cast. They need to provide him with some relief on the offensive end and the Cavs must match the Pistons’ intensity playing defense.
Larry Hughes is an ex-factor in this series. This guy was a bonafide star alongside Gilbert Arenas in Washington and he needs to shine against the Pistons if the Cavs want to stick around. Hughes has improved his game since starting at the point guard spot and he’s going to have to be aggressive to take some of the pressure off LeBron.
Role players like Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Sasha Pavlovic will have to be much steadier offensively as well as be active on the boards. Ilgauskas will need to take advantage of having the Piston’s weakest defender, Chris Webber, guarding him. Donyell Marshall will have to be a leader off the bench while Anderson Varejao must try and spark the Cavs with his scrappy play. Eric Snow will be relied on for defense and Damon Jones will need to provide timely jumpers.
For the Pistons:
The Pistons have been at the Eastern Conference Finals time and time again. In order to win this series, the Pistons have to play to their tempo
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