In the wake of Cleveland’s playoff near-miss, it was fascinating to watch the differing autopsies provided by ESPN’s Greg Anthony and Stephen A. Smith. Incredibly, Anthony said that Dan Gilbert’s biggest mistake wasn’t the firing of coach Paul Silas, but that the Cavs’ owner “allowed second-guessing to come into play” and that the team choked.

Smith, however, pointed squarely to Gilbert undermining Silas (ordering substitutions, placing “spies” around the team, etc.). “You can’t have that kind of behavior going on with ownernship. Dan Gilbert did a lot of things wrong here, but the bottom line is, he had the wrong vision, the wrong concept, and he’s going to have to justify that the entire off-season.”

Anthony, visibly uncomfortable just inches to Smith’s left, came back with a comment about the difference between running a professional business and a pro sports franchise “was something that has to be learned here.”

No mention, of course, from anyone on the panel that Greg has allegedly been advising Gilbert for several weeks and might be a candidate for the Cleveland G.M. job.

For all the talk of the Cavs going down the toilet during the stretch run, not nearly enough praise can be lavished upon Jason Kidd, Vince Carer, Lawrence Frank, Rod Thorn and…..(I’m having a hard time writing this) Bruce Ratner. The Nets’ dramatic turnaround came after ownership had seemingly pulled the plug on the season before it began ; to have advanced into the playoffs without the benefit of Richard Jefferson, yet with Carter (above) playing the best basketball of his career the last few weeks, is pretty remarkable. Writes the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro,

In the 82nd game of an extraordinary season, Vince Carter endured 44 minutes of Achilles’ tendon pain and four months of doubt, and if his detractors were paying attention, they no longer can dismiss the Nets as just another eighth seed.