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News » Time to have a good time


Time to have a good time


Time to have a good time
Cavaliers

The real shame is that Tuesday was just a practice day for the Cavaliers , because LeBron James was on fire.

He hit basket after basket, dribbled between his legs and showed off some fierce no-look passes.

And then he hugged his father, grabbed his juice and presumably headed off to naptime.

Yes, the Cavaliers have so much downtime between the end of their first-round sweep of the Detroit Pistons and their Eastern Conference semifinal showdown against the winner of the Miami-Atlanta series that the Cavaliers star swingman had time to bring his 4-year-old son, LeBron James Jr., out for some one-on-one instruction after practice.

The two Jameses spent about 20 minutes showing off the pint-sized one's skills - declining to confirm if the 3-foot wonder has committed to Ohio State yet - while the rest of the team wondered aloud whether a minimum of six days' rest will be good or bad for the Cavaliers .

With Atlanta's victory Monday to even the series with Miami at 2-2, that first-round matchup won't end until Friday, at the earliest.

Which means Cleveland has plenty of time to rest the weary bones of veterans like Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace, work on sharpening defensive schemes, as the Cavaliers did Tuesday, and help polish the skills of a 4-year-old protg.

Players wouldn't even mind if the Hawks and Heat stretched their series to seven games, which would mean more than a week of rest for Cleveland.

"Obviously we want them to play as many games as they can," guard Mo Williams said. "I know how my body felt after just playing four games. If they play seven games and get banged up and bruised, that's fine. You want every advantage you can. I don't feel sorry for those guys if they have to play seven games."

However, the interesting part is that on average, the team with fewer days rest early in the playoffs has performed better in the postseason.

The past four NBA champions have had an average of 2.5 days rest after the first round, while the runner-up has had an average of 5.3.

Last year's Boston Celtics had only a combined seven days' rest between playoff series - including one day between each of the first two rounds because those two series went seven games. Their total days rest was the fewest for a champion since the Los Angeles Lakers had six total days of rest in 2000, the first of three consecutive NBA titles.

The numbers appear primarily inconclusive, though, as NBA champions in the past 10 years have had an average of 11.5 days' rest, barely edging the runners-up, who had 11.2 days' rest.

"Obviously, you can't sit too long and not do anything," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said, "and you can't do too much during this time. You have to be productive with whatever you do on the floor."

First-round lessons: While the Cavaliers wonder who they'll face next in the playoffs, they'll focus on improving their own play, primarily working on the defense Brown loves to preach. They are learning from the mistakes they made in the first round against the Pistons - even if those mistakes were few. The Pistons led for a total of 30 minutes, 42 seconds in the 192-minute, four-game series.

"You can always get better," guard Wally Szczerbiak said. "You can get better with rotations, defensive concepts. You just constantly want to improve."

Williams, for one, was happy to have the first-round series behind him. It was the first significant playing time for the point guard, in his first year with the Cavaliers , in a leadership role. He had a roller-coaster performance, but still averaged 14.8 points on 44-percent shooting. He tied or set career highs in every offensive category.

"You just live by going through life experiences," Williams said. "Playing in that first round was no different for me. I had to live through a first-round playoff. That only can get me better."

BOX

NBA Champions

Days off

Between

Between

until

conf.

conf.

Total

Conf.

semis &

finals &

days

Team Year semis

conf. finals

Finals

off

Boston

2008

1

1

5

7

San Antonio

2007

3

1

7

11

Miami

2006

3

6

5

14

San Antonio

2005

3

2

7

12

Detroit

2004

3

1

4

8

S. Antonio

2003

3

3

5

11

LA Lakers

2002

6

3

2

11

LA Lakers

2001

6

5

9

20

LA Lakers

2000

1

3

2

6

S. Antonio

1999

1

5

9

15

Avg. 3

3

5.5

11.5

NBA runners-up

San Antonio 2008 Days off Conf. Finalsxxx Betweenx Total

Days off

Between

Between

until

Conf.

Conf.

Total

Conf.

Semis &

Finals &

days

Team Year semis

Conf. finals

Finals

off

LA Lakers

2008

5

4

6

15

Cavs

2007

5

2

4

11

Dallas

2006

6

1

4

11

Detroit

2005

5

3

2

11

LA Lakers

2004

3

5

5

13

N. Jersey

2003

3

5

10

18

N. Jersey

2002

2

3

4

9

Phila.

2001

3

1

2

6

Indiana

2000

1

3

4

8

New York

1999

1

5

4

10

Avg. 3.4

3.2

4.5

11.2


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

 

 
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