Yes, no Tyronn Lue! Was everyone as relieved to see Tyronn freaking Lue in street clothes as I was? Honestly, has anyone felt that before? "Man, I really love their chances tonight now that Lue isn't playing" I hate that short, quick bastard.
I'm liking this new added wrinkle in the offense. You know, the 'throw the ball down low to Zydrunas every now and then' wrinkle. Here's Z's line for the game: 16 points (8-13), 10 boards (6 def), 2 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists in 35 minutes. He also took two charges. The Cavs had a few scores where the possession started off on the block with Ilguaskas, he passed it out and the ball rotation found an open man. (When he gets the ball regularly, he's more likely to pass it out when his shot isn't there. When he's not getting regular touches, he's more likely to force a bad shot because he has no idea when he's gonna see the rock next).
Hughes played decent... You could tell he didn't trust his jumper, especially early on. He cut to the hoop pretty much all game (and the backdoor was there all night). Larry had 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, but he also had 5 turnovers and only shot 5-14. Surprisingly (to me at least), Hughes played a total of 39 minutes, after requesting a little more rest. Maybe he was fine after the couple days of rest; I dunno. But I was expecting a little bit of a drop off in his minutes, especially playing Atlanta.
LeBron was active all game. LBJ led all scores with 27 and seemingly had his way with Atlanta's defenders all night long. This was one of those games where LeBron was active all night; he moved without the ball, played solid defense, drove the lane rebounded well.
The substitution pattern was mixed up. Again. For the second game in a row Brown didn't bring Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall in at the same time. Varejao was the first man off the bench (but he quickly returned due to foul trouble).
The Cavs could've used Scot Pollard. Well... at least in the first half. With Varejao getting himself into quick foul trouble, Brown was forced to play Ilgauskas more early on. This was fine, but Z picked up 3 first half fouls. Gooden had 2 in the first half and Varejao had 3. Pollard could've gotten some minutes, given Z a rest and put some work in.
James played 40 minutes. Which is a bit long for my taste, especially when you consider the fact that the Cavs were up by a pretty solid amount all game long (plus, the Hawks stink). James also began the second quarter on the court (not sure that's happened so far this season). 40 minutes isn't a ton, but at the same time, this is a game where he could've sat a bit longer with little ill effects.
The point guards. One word: ugh. Two words: Dammit Snow. The Cavaliers very first possession was one of their classic ugly possessions of the season. The Cavs walk the ball up and Snow holds/dribbles the ball beyond the 3-point arc while no one else moves (hooray motion offense!). Finally he passes the ball off to Drew Gooden with about 5 seconds left, Gooden pump fakes a few times then passes the ball to LeBron with 2 seconds left. Of course, LeBron nailed a trey (personally, I don't think he got that shot off, but you know what? I'll take it).
Gibson looked like a rookie. Boobie had a couple turnovers that were ugly/unforced; just a lazy or telegraphed pass. He had a couple nice drives to the hole, but he's not great at finishing yet. Teams are wising up to his 3 point shooting as well- he didn't have a clean look all night. It's good that Brown is giving the rook steady minutes and that Gibson is actually getting some time at point (he seems to share it with Jones mostly).
Damon's shot was back. Was it just Jones' back? Was he in a slump? Who knows? But Jones was an efficient 2-4 from the field (1-1 from behind the arc). For one night at least, it looks like his slump ended.
To be fair, both Snow and Gibson did pretty well defensively. Snow did a bang up job on Joe Johnson and Gibson chases around Speedy Claxton during his 11 minutes of court time. Johnson was basically a non-factor throughout the game (he shot a Larry Hughes-esque 4-17 and finished with 10 points).
Can all Cavalier road games be played in Atlanta? This was the Cavs first road win since early December, when they came into Atlanta and beat the Hawks on December fourth. They lost their next four road games.
I know it's just Atlanta. AND they were without Future-Hall-of-Famer Tyronn Lue, but it was nice to see the Cavaliers play a complete game start to finish. They led the whole way and the Hawks never got closer to six; the Cavs were in control the entire way and while there were some dead spots here or there, they never took their foot off the gas- they kept pushing and looking for good shots. They were only 3-6 from 3 point range, so you know they were standing around hoisting jumpers.