Some random thoughts from the Cavs' home opener.
The Cavs first basket of the season? An Eric Snow jump shot. Suck it. Told you he's not the anti-Christ (he was 2-2 overall). (And honestly, I felt more comfortable with the Snow/Jones or the Snow/Wesely combo than I did that Jones/Wesley scenario we saw tonight).
Offensive movement? Wha? For at least one game, the Cavs offseason offensive overhaul stayed intact for the entire game. Even during crunch time the ball moved around. This is a good sign, I'll be interested to see if it breaks down when the games get tight.
Larry Hughes went off. Hughes led all scorers with 27 and he also chipped in 9 rebounds and 5 assists. If the Cavs can get anything close to that throughout the season, they'll be sitting pretty. Of course, don't expect Hughes to be shooting 11-15 (3-4 from three) every night. Some of his jumpers looked very nice. However, there were a few that looked really flat, but went in anyways.
Hughes did walk to the locker room at one point in the second half. Alright, who else out there felt sick? I know I did. It turns out he just had some leg cramps, so it wasn't a big deal. But God damn if I didn't have a heart attack when I saw him walking off the court.
Looks like they're serious about this post-up stuff. Early on, LeBron got a couple possessions in the post and he used them for a fade away and a pass to Z. They went back to the post late in the game as well, netting a lay up and a Damon Jones three.
Hubie Brown annoyed me tonight. And I usually like him too. It started with him saying how the writers in the paper were 'almost unanimous' in picking the Cavs to win the division, conference and title. I'm not sure which paper he's talking about, but in today's Plain Dealer4-5 of their writers picked Miami to win the East. Only Bill Livingston picked the Cavs. And Branson Wright had the Cavs 7th(!) in his power rankings, behind Detroit and Chicago (two teams from the Central. So I'm not sure which local paper unanimously picked the Cavs to win it all, but it wasn't the ones I've seen. Later on, I disagreed with Brown on Drew Gooden's offensive goaltending call and also Brown's description of Eric Snow as 'quick'.
Maybe Gilbert Arenas should've gotten some more sleep. ESPN reported that Arenas got only one hour of sleep as he was up all night dribbling a basketball because he was so pumped for this game. Well, he missed something like his first 7 shots and only ended with 7 points. To be fair, he dished out 11 assists and hit a big three down the stretch.
Zydrunas had a slow night. Big Z was in foul trouble the entire night and never really got into the flow of the game. For what it's worth, he made some nice passes (especially that back-door to Hughes) and dove on the ground for ball. He also airballed his initial hook shot attempt; in all seriousness, I hope that doesn't discourage him, if he can develop that shot over the course of the season, it could be a nice move for the playoffs.
Gooden looked like he gave a shit. Drew was active on the boards and was running around on offense. I really think this non-stand-around offense will really help him keep his head in the game. He was setting picks and moving around all Varejao-like. If Gooden can be half as active as Varejao, he'll be a border line all-star. Now let's see if he can string a few of these games together.
Does anyone out there have any confidence in Sasha Pavlovic? Anyone? Hello? Bueller? No? Ya, me neither. I think I speak for all of us when I say I'd rather have Shannon Brown out there. But hell, if Sasha looks that bad, I'd rather have Ira Newble out there. There, I said it. And I feel ill.
The Cavs were way too sloppy tonight. Especially in the first half, but the entire game as well. David Wesley threw two or three cross court floaters that you knew were going to be picked off before he did. Just awful. He wasn't the only one making bad passes, but his were the worst.
Speaking of awful, how 'bout those free throws? Maybe it's the new ball. Maybe it's getting back to shooting free throws during game situations. I dunno. But what I do know is that if the Cavs want to justify ending huddles with 1-2-3-Championship! they gotta shoot better than 15-30 from the line. LeBron (2-6), Hughes (2-5), Gooden (0-2) and Varejao (5-9) all shot poorly. Marshall was 3-4 and Z was 2-2.
Oh yeah, almost forgot about that LeBron character. LeBron ended the game with a line that looked like this: 26-10-5. I really liked the fact that in the second quarter, Lebron took a seat for and the Cavs added 6 points to their lead. WTF? LeBron played 41 minutes total, not real good, but it wasn't the entire game either.