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Don't Expect Big Changes in Game 4

6/14/2007

ESPN's David Thorpe has been watching these Finals and wishing that Cleveland coach Mike Brown, realizing his team was outmatched, would have been bold in experimenting with different approaches. Thorpe cites Bill Belichick who, in leading the New England Patriots as massive underdogs in 2002's Super Bowl XXXVI, essentially invented a whole new defense to shock and knock off the mighty Rams.

Thorpe dreams of things like LeBron James playing power forward (or even center when Duncan is not on the floor). He wants as much offensive firepower as Cleveland can muster at all times. He wants fast tempos and bold decisions.

Essentially, Thorpe wants Brown to make the assessment that the way things have been done practically guarantees a loss. So, certainly since the end of Game 1, it's time to do something else to force San Antonio to adjust.

Just from watching how the Cavaliers play, you get the feeling that Coach Mike Brown just is not wired that way. He seems like more of a "do it the way you have always done it" guy.

That suspicion was confirmed heartily today when the Akron Beacon-Journal's Brian Windhorst told me that there are almost no decorations on the walls Coach Brown's office, just off the locker room. The exception is this Jacob August Riis quote:

"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before."

My question is: what happens if you only get four chances to split that rock in two? I'm thinking you might need some dynamite.

UPDATE: That quote is, reportedly, the basis of Coach Popovich's career.

UPDATE: Thorpe's Insider preview of Game 4, which calls for LeBron James to play in the paint on offense, where he can force San Antonio to guard him in the paint time and again, while being a magnet for offensive rebounds.