Good win by the Cavs yesterday, this was the first game I actually got to watch, so here's somet thoughts.
Last year, they would have lost this game. I had seen this script before, the Cavs get a large lead in the early goings, and over the course of the game, the other team makes a comeback, eventually taking the lead and winning the game. The Cavs lost games like this (off the top of my head) to Boston and New Jersey last year. They had control, then lost it. Last night showed both their lack of maturity AND their growing maturity. Did you see Marshall celebrate after he hit the tying 3 ball? No. The Cavs are still young and learning (Marshall should have never had to of taken that shot, the game shouldn't have been close). Things came undone but the Cavs held in there. And once overtime came around, it was over. They got the control back and took the game away.
The offense still needs work. There were a couple sequences like this: James gets the ball, jab step, jab step, dribble, step back jumper. Sometimes this worked, other times (like late in the game) it didn't. Austin Carr was screaming that LeBron's teammates didn't set picks for him, and that partially true. But LeBron didn't make a move towards the hoop and settled for the jumper.
The defense needs work. The Cavs had 17 point lead at half time. And the game went into overtime. I think if this game were in Cleveland, the Magic could not have come back. But the Cavs lost focus, on offense AND defense in the second half. The Cavs let their intensity slip a litte, and the Magic made them pay.
Damon Jones needs to get over himself. Jones is on a self imposed ban from the media, after coach Brown picked Snow to be the starter. Jones is going to get a ton of playing time, especially late in the game. Snow and Hughes smothered the Magic backcourt early on in the game, setting the tone. Snow may not score, but with Hughes, James and Z in the lineup, he doesn't have to.
Z haters can shut up. This was a type of game where Z was supposed to fizzle. He was playing a young kid in Dwight Howard, who is quicker and more athletic. But Z played great all game. He had some clutch rebounds, some clutch shots and some clutch defensive series. What more do you want? He's not flashy, he's not out spoken, but he is a very very good basketball player.
(On a side note, the post game interview with Z and Tait was awesome. Z talked about how even though he's been here forever, he's still finding his niche in this team full of good players. "It used to be me and LeBron would have to shoot 20 times for us to win, now thats not the case.")
This team is going to be really really good. They have an early 4 game winning streak, just imagine what this team will be like once everyone gels together... Play the Cavs now, cause you won't want to come March.