Expect anything from the Cavs these days with them on the verge of sweeping the Pistons. Even a 7-foot-3 “point guard” named Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Or is that Magic Ilgauskas? Known simply as Z, Ilgauskas heard calls of Magic during Saturday afternoon’s film session after a memorable play from Friday’s Game 3 win, which put the Cavs up 3-0.
Expect anything from the Cavs these days with them on the verge of sweeping the Pistons.
Even a 7-foot-3 “point guard” named Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Or is that Magic Ilgauskas?
Known simply as Z, Ilgauskas heard calls of Magic during Saturday afternoon’s film session after this memorable clip from Friday’s Game 3 win, which put the Cavs up 3-0.
Ilgauskas grabs a loose-ball defensive rebound near midcourt, sees some open floor and thinks, “I can dribble the ball.”
That’s when the fun begins with less than 40 seconds left in the first half.
A few dribbles later, Ilgauskas awkwardly leaves his feet in the lane, a no-no for any player. Though, as teammate and guard Delonte West pointed out Saturday, “Some of the greatest point guards improvise.”
Ilgauskas -- “floating for two-tenths of a second,” as Head Coach Mike Brown said with sarcasm -- spotted LeBron James racing down the floor and got him the ball for a layup.
“I picked it up too early, so I got myself in trouble,” Ilgauskas said. “Thankfully, LeBron was on my left side, so I was able to pitch it to him.”
Cavs point guard Mo Williams loved it.
“Magic Ilgauskas. It was a helluva play for a 7-3, 72-year-old.”
Easy, Mo. Z’s only 33.
Brown’s response to other Cavs calling out “Magic Ilgauskas” was, “my stomach just turned.”
So does Brown plan to find some point guard opportunities for Ilgauskas in today’s Game 4 at 3: 30?
“No. He may try to find some himself.”
Ilgauskas will pass on that.
“Once was enough.”
All kidding aside, West said Ilgauskas’ game should be appreciated more for what he’s done as a 7-3 center. Ilgauskas kept the Cavs alive early with an assortment of jump shots and later buried a 3-pointer.
He also showed off his one-on-one defense against 6-foot Will Bynum, sitting down in a stance and forcing the guard to settle for a bad jumper.
“You’re going to look back on Z’s career and realize all the things that he’s brought to the teams he’s played on,” West said. “He shoots 3-pointers, hook shots, fadeaways. ... I’m nervous if he might take my position next year.”
Nine days of agony could end today for the Pistons, who sound more and more frustrated after each game.
Richard Hamilton said “it’s killing me ... being down 0-3 ... watching them celebrate.” The more Hamilton talked, the more he sounded like a guy who knows his team is doomed.
“It’s tough,” Hamilton said. “You kind of have to play a perfect game (to beat the Cavs).”
Bynum sounded equally baffled when talking about defending James.
“He has been doing this to every team he has been playing against,” Bynum said. “I thought we did a good job on him. He was almost at a triple-double. He is tough.”
What makes it tougher is when the other Cavs get their own games going because of James. Friday, it was Joe Smith and Ilgauskas, who combined for 32 points. Three nights earlier, it was West and Williams scoring 41 between them.
“All five guys have to focus in on (James),” Bynum said. “That gives other guys open shots, open opportunities, and he picks and chooses his spot so well. That’s what makes him a great player.”
The Cavs, though, aren’t counting this series as over.
“I think Game 4 is going to be all about pride,” Williams said. “They’re a team that’s won (in the past) so they have a lot of pride. They don’t want to get swept. So I see another grind-out game (today).”
- The Cavs are the 86th NBA team to go up 3-0 in a four-game series. Of the previous 85, 51 swept the series.
- The Chicago Sun Times reported that the Celtics shouted trash talk at the Bulls down the hallway after Boston’s win in Game 3. That’s the same Celtics who apparently were angered by the Cavs having a good time during their rout of Boston two weeks ago.
- The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke asked Kobe Bryant if he thinks LeBron James is scouting him these days. “Of course he's watching, I know LeBron. He’s watching everything I do. That’s just his personality,” a grinning Bryant replied. When asked if he studies James, Plaschke said Bryant’s smile went away. “No. I could care less.”
- Media covering a Lakers practice got to see Adam Morrison and Sasha Vujacic get into it with one another in a 4-on-4 game. They shoved each other and Morrison shouted several times, “you grab my shirt one more time …” No one seemed too concerned. Coach Phil Jackson stayed seated in the stands, appearing amused. Later, Bryant told reporters, “You should have seen it when I used to go at it with Shaq.”