Cavs Search for the Silver Lining
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SAN ANTONIO, June 10, 2007 -- Cavs forward Drew Gooden said during Friday's media availibility that he was optimistic about the rest of the series because he felt that Cleveland had played at its absolute worst in Game 1 and still only lost by nine.

Turns out he was wrong, the Cavs were capable of worse.

Much worse.

If Thursday was a stinker for Cleveland, then the better part of Sunday was a port-o-potty on a hot summer day.

Game 2 seemed to be over before it even started and now Cleveland fans are left wondering if that if that same sentiment applies to their championship hopes and dreams as well.

At one point, it was so bad that LeBron airballed a free throw.

In the first half, when the Cavs dug themselves a 25-point hole, not one of the eight players with a field goal attempt shot 50 percent or better from the field. Coversely for the Spurs, only two players out of the eight with a field goal attempt didnít shoot better than 50 percent or better from the field.

"It started to become embarassing," said Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had nine points and four rebounds. "Here you are in the NBA Finals and you're down 30 points. So, I think it's just a pride thing more than anything."

It wasn't the worst half in Finals history, but it was close. Cleveland mustered 33 points, narrowly eclipsing the all-time low of 30 points in a half shared by the 1981 Rockets, '98 Jazz and '03 Nets Finals teams.

Poor shooting wasn't the only ailment plaguing the boys in wine and gold in the first 24 minutes. It was more like, pick your poison -- they were outrebounded by 11, went only 10-for-18 from the foul line, and LeBron scored only two points in just three minutes in the first quarter after picking up two quick fouls.

They turned it around though. LeBron played 35 more minutes and scored 23 more points with picking up only one more foul.

Suddenly a 29-point deficit was cut down to eight with 4:53 to go in the fourth. Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall came in off the bench and hit some outside shots and Daniel Gibson remained confident in his shot, following up his 16 points on seven made field goals in Game 1 with 15 points on six made field goals in Game 2.

Cleveland ended up outscoring San Antonio 30-14 in the fourth period.

It was reminiscent of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals when Allen Iverson's Sixers trailed the Bucks by 33 points headed into the fourth quarter of Game 6 before rallying to cut the lead to 10 and make the statement, "Hey, we might lose this game, but those first three quarters were an aberration. We can play with you guys."

Cleveland backup point guard Eric Snow was on that Philadelphia squad that used the momentum worked up from its fourth-quarter comeback to beat Milwaukee in Game 7.

In other words, he knows what good can come from taking lemons and making lemonade. Even if it is served after a loss.

"The only thing that you're doing is that you're sort of knocking some of the other team's confidence," Snow said. "They're not coming in feeling like it's easy and feeling too good about themselves. That's the main thing you want to establish and that's what we did tonight. End of the day they won the game, but I don't think they're leaving here feeling like, 'OK, this is going to be a piece of cake.'"

The Cavaliers have been through a rough period like this before. Back in January, six months before a nine-point Game 1 loss and an 11-point Game 2 loss, Cleveland dropped four out of five games in the middle of a West Coast road trip by totals of 19, 15, 18, and 11 points to the Suns, Sonics, Trail Blazers and Nuggets, respectively.

Rather than pack it up and mail it in, the Cavs rallied to salvage the last game of the trip, a 106-104 win against a Warriors team playing in front of its rabid fan base, and the Dallas Mavericks will be the first to tell you that thatís no small feat.

Not only did the Cavs prove that they can bounce back from blow outs six months ago, but just six games ago they also proved they can respond to an 0-2 series deficit, lest we forget the comeback they put on the Pistons.

"We're definitely still confident," LeBron James reiterated after the game. "It doesn't matter if you lose by one or lose by 30 with us. A loss is a loss, and we've been down 2-0 before in this situation, so we have to find a way to bring the intensity that we did in the fourth quarter tonight and carry it on to Game 3."

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