Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Toronto 95, Cleveland 87

some thoughts from the Cavs loss to Toronto

The Cavs looked sluggish.
They got down by as many as 19 in the first half. The Raptors shot 73% from the floor in the first quarter and the Cavs... well... they shot a lot of jumpshots. You got to wonder if the game last night played a part.

Chris Bosh is real good. Bosh destroyed just about everyone the Cavs threw at him, especially Drew Gooden. Varejao had some success (drew some charges, kept him off the boards) but also fouled him 3 or 4 times.

Gooden wasn't really a factor. Besides being destroyed by Bosh, Drew wasn't really active overall. He only was out there for 19 minutes (four more than David Wesley!) and scored 8 points and grabbed four boards. After this seasons fast start, Gooden was thought to have finally 'got it'. But he seems to have gone back to his normal 'on-a-game, off-a-game' routine.

Neither was Pavlovic. Sasha played 13 minutes, hit 1 of 3 shots and played some below average defense. We keep waiting for these two to show some consistency, the Cavs could really use a boost with Hughes sidelined.

However, Damon Jones was a factor. Again. Jones didn't shoot especially well (12 points on 5-13 shooting) but he hit enough shots to keep the defense honest.

LeBron was this close to a triple double. He finished with 30-10-8 in 'only' 39 minutes of play. The Cavs did relatively well with LeBron on the bench, especially in the 2nd quarter when they cut into the big lead. However, it seemed like he kept waiting to take over, but never really did. He also clanked a couple free throws (he was actually fouled in this game) but

Hooray for Boobie! A big part of that second quarter run? Daniel 'Boobie' Gibson. Much to my surprise, Brown had the rookie start the second quarter. A bigger surprise was that Gibson played extremely well that Brown kept him out there for the entire second quarter. The biggest surprise? Gibson was out the late in the fourth quarter. Sure, he made some mistakes (he missed a couple wide open 3s, didn't follow his shots- one late in particular, and he played some so-so defense). However, I'll take some Boobie mistakes in an early season loss to Toronto in a trade off for the plays he'll be making come April and beyond. I've been waiting to see the rookies get some extended playing time all season (better than David Wesley extended playing time) and Gibson's strong play forced Brown to keep him in.

This isn't to say I'm blaming the loss on Gibson's rookie mistakes. Sure, his missed shots and the defense weren't ideal, but Snow's missed shots and defense weren't great either. Also, the offense only put up 12 points in the final period and they didn't get to the line at all. A night after LeBron took just a single free throw, the Cavaliers didn't get a freebie the entire fourth (they shot 12 for the entire game). Awful. Of course, most of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Chris Bosh. Honestly, he beat the Cavs every which way.

I miss Larry Hughes. I mean, I really miss him; Pavs isn't consistent enough, Brown doesn't play and the Cavs starting backcourt consists of Eric Snow and David Wesley. Larry gives the Cavs another offensive player that teams actually have to worry about. When Gooden and/or Sasha are on, the Cavs will be OK. But like tonight, when they didn't contribute much, the Cavs will really miss Hughes.

and finally

The Cavs are in the midst of a 4 games in 5 nights stretch as well as a 6 in 9. They had a very good chance to start off 2-0, and even though Toronto isn't that great, this isn't exactly a terrible loss. The Cavs showed flashes of bril- well, I wouldn't exactly say brilliance, but they showed flashes of decentness. Of course, they also allowed themselves to fall behind big to the Raptors. Sure, you would've liked to win this one, but it wasn't a complete loss... Did I mention that Gibson played?

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