Thursday, November 12, 2009

Revenge for Cavs? Nah, just a good win

To think about revenge in November makes as much sense as checking your Christmas list in early May. For anybody whose name is on the list will have plenty of days left to show Santa if he's been naughty or nice.

So LeBron James and the Cavaliers could dismiss the talk of revenge, giving it not a minute's thought last night in Orlando. Payback -- or revenge -- needed to wait until the games meant something more than a first-weeks-of-the-season win did. To exact revenge, the Cavaliers must beat the Magic in May or June, not in November.

At this point, they were more than willing to settle for this 102-93 win -- a win in Orlando, too.

In that win, the Cavs showed what they weren't able to show when Orlando eliminated them in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They proved they could handle Magic star Dwight Howard in the paint.

And that's one thing the Cavs have to do: now and in their future. They went into the off-season with that as their goal, because LeBron could never hope to bring a championship to Cleveland if he and his teammates couldn't figure out a way to match up better against Howard.

At its essence, basketball between elite teams is a game of match-ups, and the addition of Shaquille O'Neal has given the Cavaliers an effective counterpunch to Howard, although no one knew with certainty beforehand how Shaq's presence might work against the Magic.

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