First half = good. 60 points scored. 40 points given up. Yes. Fast breaks, assists, rebounds, defense. It all was working.
Second half = meh. Predictably, the Bucks staged a comeback. Of course they did. I mean, it's too much to ask that the Cavs play two good halves right? I know, they still won by ten and it's good that once the Bucks made their run the Cavs took control again. But still, this game didn't need to be this close.
Z is partly to blame for this. The man was in foul trouble all night long and when he was out in the second half, you could really tell. The offense just stagnated, everyone was standing around and dribbling. Z finished with 8 points and 7 boards in only 22 minutes (he did have 3 assists, with two of them coming off the high post to LeBron)
No Wild Thing. Z's foul trouble hurt more cause Anderson Varejao was out with a neck injury.
Where's Pollard? You'd figure with Varejao out, that the Cavs would've activated Scot Pollard. But no. But hey, at least Ira Newble dressed.
Donyell Marshall showed up. And I mean really showed up, 29 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and a block. This was by far his best game as a Cavalier. Marshall had 18 points in the first half and he also hit some big shots (threes) down the stretch as the offense stagnated. He was 7-10 from behind the arc. 7-10.
Larry Hughes versus Michael Redd. I'm sure I wasn't the only Cavalier fan interested to see how these two matched up. Hughes finished with 26 points (on 10-17 shooting), 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Redd had 24 (5-16), 2 assists and 1 rebound. Redd got most of his points from the foul line, as he shot 14 free throws (and made 14). Surprisingly, Hughes was better from downtown (Hughes was 2-3 while Redd was 0-3).
Redd's problem? Eric Snow. After shutting down Joe Johnson two nights ago, Snow harassed Redd to a hard earned 24 points. On the offensive end Snow finished with a round 0 points but did toss in 10 assists. 0 points. 10 assists. Um... nice?
Villanova. Villanueva. Whatever. Was Scott Williams this bad last year? He is really bugging me. You hear he needs to lose weight?
LeBron James is good. While the big story will be Donyell Marshall's 29 points, LeBron James bettered him by 3, netting 32. He got some easy points (the aforementioned Z passes and a fast break or two) and he also got hammered a few times. One was a flagrant II (Brian Skinner) and he got to the line a total of 13 times. You know how Redd was 14 of 14? Ya... LeBron was 8-13. Now I'm not expecting him to shoot like Redd, but 10-13 isn't that much to ask, is it?
Of course, no one else in the home whites shot any better. Cavaliers, as a team, from the foul line: 52%. From 3-point range: 50% (thanks Donyell!). None of the Cavs shot particularly well from the charity stripe; Hughes was 4-7 and even Z was only 2-4. This has been a problem all year and this needs to improve (hire Mark Price, he's got the free time)
Why couldn't they have put the Bucks away earlier. Don't get me wrong, this is a nice win. But the Cavs still had a rough stretch (9 points in 10 minutes at one point in the second half- well done). And still, going into Chicago with a 3 game win streak is definitely a good thing. However, if they had kept the lead at 20 points throughout the second half, they could've rested the starters most of the fourth and had 'em a little fresher tomorrow night (well, Gooden and Z should be fresh due to their foul trouble). But what's it matter, even if the Cavs do beat the Bulls for a second time this year it won't matter, they still won't be as good.