NBA visits Pittsburgh; Cavaliers, James try different approach
Originally Posted by Come honor face
^^^lol Is that true?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
By Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Cleveland Cavaliers have played different styles in each of Mike Brown's previous three seasons as coach. Personnel has changed each season and the Cavaliers have played everything from a tough, grind-it-out defensive style to an up-tempo pace.
The one constant has been LeBron James. But this year, even James is different. Or at least how he is being handled in the preseason is different.
The Cavaliers are in town to play the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics tonight at the University of Pittsburgh's Petersen Events Center. Fans should know that James is expected to play, as is Boston's big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. James played 13 minutes and scored 15 points when the same two teams met Friday at Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., a 96-94 Boston victory.
"Unless he gets injured in practice [yesterday], he's doing to play," Brown said of James. "How many minutes? We're not sure."
James, who led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals two years ago, was a big part of the U.S. team's run to the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics this summer. The team trained hard throughout the summer and the Olympics weren't until August. That's why James is being handled a little differently this year, although Brown said James doesn't seem tired.
"He's probably not going to play every preseason game. He may sit a game," Brown said. "He and I sat down and put together a basic plan on how to integrate him into ourselves this season. Yes, he's big and strong and all of that, but we don't want to wear him out. Not just for this year, but for the long term. We want him ready come playoff time. The last three years, he's played summer basketball [for U.S. teams] and they go hard.
"He needs some rest. We'll slowly build up his stamina throughout the preseason. You always want to win when you step onto the floor, but even if you don't win, you can still get better offensively and defensively. Resting him right now is more important than winning."
Brown believes James is a slightly different player this fall.
"He's more mature and he understands how hard it is to win, and some of the little nuances you have to be able to overcome to win at the championship level," Brown said. "Going through that gold-medal performance, he was with championship players and championship coaches. Just going through that experience I think gives him more confidence and a better understanding of the next time out."
The Cavaliers have a different look again this year. The main reason is the addition of point guard Mo Williams, acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks in August. Williams has averaged 17 points and six assists the past two seasons with the Bucks, and finally could be the perfect match for James that the Cavaliers have been seeking.
When Brown took over as coach four years ago, the team was big on defense and had veterans such as Eric Snow in the backcourt with James. Now, besides Williams, the Cavaliers also have young guards such as Delonte West, Boobie Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic.
"It's been a different team every year in terms of the way we play and the style we play," Brown said. "We're different this year in that we're a lot quicker. Williams, West and Gibson -- those are three of the quickest guards in the NBA. That takes a lot of pressure off LeBron.
"I tell my players to get better over the summer, so I need to go do it, too. It starts with me and I think I got better as a coach this summer."