This is what a wake-up call looks like. All of the Cavs submitted a, “What I did on my 8 day vacation” essay and failed. From top to bottom. LeBron passing up shots in the final minutes, the other starters having absolutely no confidence in their abilities at either end of the floor. And our bench. Oh my sweet goodness our bench.Five points in 41 minutes out of the bench. I’m not going to write it again for emphasis, I could barely write it once. THAT JUST CANNOT HAPPEN.

Now, the Seaward blew up the coaching. I don’t need to do that. Thanks Seaward for not making me punch something. Here’s what we discuss now, the undeniable biggest problem in the series for the Cavs: how in the name of Craig Ehlo are we going to guard Dwight Howard?

John Hollinger wrote a fantastic article yesterday previewing the series. In it, Hollinger suggested that maybe LeBron try his hand at guarding Howard. He pointed out that LeBron couldn’t do it ALL game, at the risk of fouling out. At this point, this might be what has to be done.

Z can’t guard him. Joe Smith is too small. Ben Wallace could’ve guarded him in a past life. LeBron is really the only capable defender the Cavs have for Dwight Howard. The Cavs need to figure out what to do with the man child, because everything else depends on it. Everything. Doubling Howard allows one of their 18 million perimeter shooters to be wide open, and, outside of going to a zone defense, we can’t double team and expect not to get burned on the perimeter.

But, LeBron can’t guard him all game. This is why I will submit this: Darnell Jackson. He’s a big guy, and, more importantly, he has fouls to give. There’s no reason for Mike Brown not to try the DBlock on Howard. NO REASON.  There’s no doubt that whatever results Jackson could produce on the defensively guarding Howard would make up for his lack of offense on the other end. If Z can’t start finding his touch as a shooter, the Magic aren’t going to honor it for too much longer, meaning that Jackson’s lack of range becomes a moot point. This kid has to be hungry–STARVING–for an opportunity to actually contribute to this team.  Put him in for 10 minutes in the second quarter of game two, just to see what he does. Heck, he might even frustrate Howard to the point where he slaps him around, like he did to Sam Dalembert in the Magic’s first series against Philly. Who knows what the DBlock is capable of? That’s the point!

As a Cavs fan, I want to win the Championship. Obviously. But, if we fall short, I want to know that every possible option, every possible angle, every single flag was run up the pole and saluted. Put Jackson in for 10 minutes. Just see.

Besides, maybe he’ll even score 2 points on a putback. Which, if he did in game one, would have accounted for 28% of our bench scoring.



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