Sunday, May 3, 2009

With a load of time off, Brown busy keeping his Cavs sharp

The NBA season has a rhythm. You play three or four games every week and rarely have more than two days off in a row. But when you enter the postseason, that rhythm can be broken, especially if you win a series in four or five games


David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Such is the dilemma for Mike Brown and the Cavs, the only team to sweep its first round series. Having dispatched the Pistons on Sunday, the Cavs will go at least nine days before they begin the conference semifinals.

When that series begins depends on the result of Friday's Game 6 in Miami. If the Hawks win Friday, they'll be in Cleveland on Sunday for a 1 p.m. ET game on ABC. If the Heat force a Game 7, they would be back in Atlanta on Sunday and Game 1 of the conference semis would likely be Tuesday.

"If you expect to be good and expect to win, you have to deal with things like this," Brown says of the time off. "And this is a good thing to deal with."

After Sunday's win, Brown gave his team the day off on Monday. He's also giving them Thursday off. But in order to stay sharp, the team scrimmaged on Wednesday and will scrimmage again Friday.

"We have to figure out ways to keep them engaged and ways to stay sharp," Brown said. "And they have to do their part too by giving suggestions and so on and so forth, making sure that they stay focused and bring energy every time we step out on the floor."

While the extra time off provides more time to add sets or options to the playbook, Brown says that adding new wrinkles is standard no matter how many days the team has off.

"Just because there's time, we're not doing anything out of character or unusual," he said.

Brown has yet to talk about the Hawks or Heat with his team, but said he may introduce a couple of sets from each team on Friday. And no matter what happens in the next few days, the Cavs' coaching staff is prepared.

Advance scout Bryant Moore has been at every game in the Atlanta-Miami series and has been working with assistant coach Mike Malone in developing game plans for both teams. The coaching staff will watch Game 6 together and will tweak the game plans that Malone has authored.

The staff prepares "playoff books" and video edits for each of the players, as well as video edits for the team to watch together. And all of these are ready to go. Brown says his staff would be ready if the next series started right away.

The Hawks and Heat have some similar characteristics, but each poses distinct challenges.

If the Heat advance, the game plan starts with defending Dwyane Wade. "You've just got to hope that you can make him work for his shots," Brown said. "And if you can do that, you have to make sure that you respect everybody else and know who the different individuals are when it comes time to trying to close out."

It's the other side of the floor that concerns Brown with the Hawks. Atlanta has great length and athleticism and switches on almost every screen.

"Patience is going to be something I really preach to our guys," Brown said, "because [the Hawks] will switch a lot of pick-and-rolls, they'll switch a lot of pin-downs and because of all that switching, they're in front of the basketball quite a bit and they're hard to shoot over."

No matter the opponent, if his team approaches the next series like it did the series against the Pistons, Brown will be happy.

"When I look back at it, I thought we were very business-like with what we were trying to do," Brown said of the first-round sweep. "We did not get over-excited or over-confident at any time throughout the course of a game or the series.

"So our business-like approach to the series, to each game and to each particular possession was something I look back on and I'm very excited about, because this process is so long that you don't want to get too ahead of yourself, nor do you want to get too excited for winning a game or winning the series. It has to be held in the right perspective. I think our guys did do that."

Source From :