Question of the day: Will the Cavaliers make it to the NBA Finals?
Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.
Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel
Only LeBron's right elbow knows for sure.
For months, Danny Ferry thought he had cobbled together a Cleveland roster that could win even with one hand tied behind its back. But when that hand is attached to the balkiest elbow this side of Andy Pettitte, there have to be concerns.
Everything in Cleveland is designed around James creating sufficient elbow room to allow Mo Williams to attack from the perimeter and Shaquille O'Neal to work with room in the lane.
The only statistic that matters at this point for the Cavaliers is range of motion. The greater the range of motion, the higher the degree of difficulty for an opponent to keep James from his appointed rounds in the NBA Finals.
For now, it's all about the bends, as the pressure builds in Cleveland.
Updated at 12:44 p.m.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
Before somebody demands I buy stock in some waffle house chain, this is only the second time all season I have changed my playoff predictions.
Before the season, I picked the Lakers and Celtics to meet in the NBA Finals. Sometime during the season, I revised that matchup to the Lakers and Cavaliers. And now get me rewrite again: It's Lakers and Magic, for sure.
Write it down in erasable ink.
LeBron James' elbow is hurting, Shaq is no longer Kryptonite to Dwight Howard's Superman act and the Magic possesses too many perimeter threats for them all to have an off night in the same game. Howard is becoming one of those classic big men who don't receive enough credit for how skilled---and game-changing---they are. He's beyond a defensive force.
And I also like the Stan Van Gundy over Mike Brown matchup at coach. Orlando will also be rested after warming up with the junior varsity Hawks in this round, while the Cavaliers do battle with those Celtics.
Updated at 2:10 p.m.
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
If LeBron James’ strained elbow and bone bruise in his right elbow remains an issue and he indeed is hurt, no, the Cavaliers won’t reach the NBA Finals. But if James is over the injury and he plays like the MVP he was during the regular season, the Cavaliers can play for the NBA championship.
Another concern is the Cavaliers’ poor defense. If the Cavaliers start playing defense the way they played it during the regular season, there’s no reason to think they can’t reach the NBA Finals. But if the Cavaliers can’t find a way to contain Boston’s Rajon Rondo from destroying them in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Cavaliers many not even make it to the conference finals, let alone the NBA Finals.
Photo: Members of the Cleveland Cavaliers during game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics on May 3. Credit: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images.