Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cleveland 86, Orlando 83

Well would you look at that, a 7' 3"center. The Cavs went to Z early and often and he responded with 18 points in the first half. He finished with 22 points and 10 boards and personally, of all the Cavalier big men, I thought Z did the best job on Dwight Howard.

Darko Milicic goes for the pump fake. Every time.

Big news of the game: Mike Brown switched up his substitution pattern. For the first time in a long time, Brown didn't bring Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall in at the same time in the first period. He brought in Jones and Anderson Varejao. I know it's not a huge deal, but I liked the variety.

And the fourth quarter lineup. For the majority of the fourth quarter Brown had a five of LeBron, Larry Hughes, Z, Boobie Gibson and either Drew Gooden or Varejao. Both Snow and Marshall were on the bench. Needless to say, I was thrilled.

Gooden showed up. He finished with 14 and 12, with the bulk of those coming in the second half (which is news because Drew had a nondescript first half). It was also nice to see Gooden out there during crunch time. You rarely see Gooden in late minutes of the fourth quarter.

But let's not get carried away. Now, it was nice that Brown mixed the lineups up and that the Cavs actually fed the post. But LeBron won this game. He scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and I would love to tell you that they came in a variety of ways and within the motion offense. But they weren't. He hit an array of jumpers; off of picks, late in the shot clock, early in the shot clock, when he was open, with a hand or two in his face- it didn't matter.

and finally (I know it was short, lo siento)

Merry Christmas. Have a happy one and I want to thank everyone for reading these the past year or so.


Benjamin Warburton said...

First off, Merry Christmas Mr. Cox and to the rest of the OSU CREW who read this blog. I thought Z played great (obviously) but they should have kept going at him in the 2nd half. He was owning both howard and outlaw bigtime. Booby Gibson + Cruch time minutes = good. He didnt score, but he was compitant enough to not turn the ball over in the last 6 minutes. Lebron looked great and apparently responded to skip bayless calling him out the night before., he should no longer shoot jump shots. His post up game has really improved. I really think this has gone over looked. He has consistantly drawn fouls back to the basket then headfaking or taking a dropstep. I know we discussed this in college (bigmen with NO FUCKING FOOTWORK)...Gooden has developed his. I seriously think Brown should try getting to him and Z on the block early and often. Hughes, well, took some ill advised jump shots but did okay taking it to the hole. There is more to talk about, but that can wait until after christmas when we see this team on the road trip. Hopefully, they can play above .500 ball. Take care and again, merry christmas and happy new year.

Ben said...

Z cooled off in the second half a bit; some of his shots were a bit off, but they were from the outside, where in the first half he was down low. It didn't matter because they still went to Gooden down low. So they still had some kind of post presence.

Hughes looks tired, his jumper is just awful at this point. He's actually asked for less minutes, which I think is an idea that we can all get behind.

Gibson has been getting more and more minutes at the point, which is a good sing (at least Brown knows he has to change it up).

Benny, have a good Christmas and New Years (don't know about you, but I'll be in Columbus for the the new year).

Erik said...

Merry Christmas, Ben. Thanks for giving all us Cavs fans another outlet in which to vent.

Hopefully the Cavs can at least tread water at 3-to-5 games over .500 until Ferry can swing a deal for Andre Miller or some other starting-caliber point guard (and NOT Earl Watson, who seems to be the fashionable "starter who just needs a shot" pick. That he is not.)

If the Cavs can get a PG who can competently run a five-man offense, I think you'll see this team start to play a smoother game and start winning more consistently. It's not a cure-all, but it's a start.