Some random thoughts from tonight's preseason win:
LeBron let the game come to him. He was passing early and often and didn't really force the action. He finished with 13, 8 and 8.
Drew Gooden looked like a monster. Gooden came out and hit his first 7 shots again (he did it in the first Celtics game as well). He was very active around the rim and got a lot of easy points by working around the hoop. I've hated on Gooden in the past (for good reasons I like to think) but if he can stay that active for every game (not every other game) the Cavs could have a borderline all-star at the power forward spot. So far he's had two nice preseason games and I applaud him for it, but let's wait to see if he can string some nice games together once the season starts.
Larry's finger looks fine to me. Hughes was 2-2 from beyond the arc and looked pretty solid over all. I really don't think the finger is going to be much of an issue this year.
Post play, wha? New announcer Fred McLeod was saying how James wants more post touches this season and felt he didn't get enough in the FIBA tourney. This statement warms my heart. James went to the post a few times tonight and either got the bucket or got fouled. I like this.
Speaking of Fred McLeod. So I know each anouncer has their own little catch phrases and obviously I'm still getting used to McLeod. But I can't help it, I giggle like a little kid every time he describes a jump shot as a "stroke job". I'm sorry, I just do.
I like the big men. As already noted, Gooden looked dominant, but Donyell Marshall and Z each had good games of their own. Z was 4-8, had a good hook going and shot the jumpers well (and he dove on the floor for a ball, say what you want about him, he hustles). Marshall scored 19 and looked really good. He hit the only 3 he took, grabbed 10 boards and just seemed to be everywehre.
Hey, what's that? Pump fakes? Multiple Cavs used the pump fake tonight and while this isn't exactly ground breaking, it showed some poise. Marshall and Jones both passed up 3s to take closer shots, Hughes used it as well and both Z and Andy used it in the post.
They passed on a lot of 3s. Jones and Marshall passed on a lot of 3s tonight, opting to drive instead. And while I like this, they aren't settling, these guys are the Cavs deep threats.
How 'bout those rookies, huh? Well, both Brown and Gibson didn't get into the game until late in the fourth quarter (6 min to go). They each made some nice plays, Gibson hit a jumper and had a steal, which led to a Brown fast break.
Varejao didn't play much either. Andy only played a bit in the first half and was his usual active self. He got 5 free throws (missed 4) but one of them was off a nifty up and under.
Coach Brown had a tight rotation for most of the game. The starters played some decent minutes (LeBron played the entire 3rd) and the only bench players that saw time until the 4th quarter were Jones, Marshall, Varejao and David Wesley. Scot Pollard didn't play til late in the 3rd and Newble didn't play at all.
Speaking of Wesley... He hit some jumpers and and passed the ball really well (actually, the whole team passed extremely well) but he seemed to foul a lot. He had 4 fouls and he wasn't on the floor a whole lot.
The game tomorrow should be interesting. The Cavs play the Raptors tomorrow, and if you wanna see how the rookies do, I would turn on Joe Tait. Coach Brown said he'll sit some guys on the second night of the preseason back to backs, so don't expect a lot of LeBron.
Take all of tonights performances with a grain of salt. Sure, Tel Aviv has played some NBA teams tough, but the longer this game went, the more they fell behind. They couldn't keep up with the Cavs and they just didn't have the talent to compete. They were a nice looking team (they shot and passed really, really well), but they just couldn't hang with LeBron and co.
Two weeks from Wednesday Two weeks from Wednesday. The season starts. This was the last televised preseason game, so the next time you turn on the Cavs, the game will count.