It wasn't really that close. Jones hit a 3 ball with 0.1 left. The Cavs made a late (real late) charge to make the final score look competitive but it was a 12 point game with 1:55 left. With the way they've been playing, maybe they should try this quick-shot-then-foul game plan more often...
You figure if they scored 111 points I wouldn't have a problem with the offense. You'd be wrong. The Cavs made 1 shot in the first 4 and a half minutes of the second half. One. Of course, Mike Brown didn't feel the need to sub or call a timeout in those 4 and a half minutes. The Cavs also went through a nice spell in the second quarter, going 1-16 over a 6 minute period in the second quarter. That was awesome.
LeBron stepped it up. LeBron finished with 37 points, 8 assists and 1 rebound. Obviously, you'd like that rebound total to at least be in the 4-6 range, but his effort was top notch all night. He only shot 16-21 from the line, but he very easily could've gone to the line at least 3 or 4 more times. LeBron kept driving and kept challenging the Nets' defenders all night (which is what I like to see). He settled for a couple jumpers during that awesome second quarter stretch, but besides that, he attacked all night long.
The box score at least looks nice. Most of the starters played well. Z had a nice overall game, with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists (I like using him on the high post, he passes out of the high post better than than the low). Hughes added 19 points, Jones had 14 and Gooden had a quiet 10. James, Hughes and Z all played big minutes, while Gooden sat awhile (for what I assume were defensive reasons).
Everyone else however, was a non-factor. Snow was pretty much useless, Gibson actually looked like a rookie, Varejao played 21 nondescript minutes and Donyell continued his sub-par play (have I mentioned how I hate how the offense looks when Marshall is out there? He just parks his giant ass at the 3-point line and contributes squat).
Hey Sasha Pavlovic played. For 2 minutes. Though, in those 2 minutes, he saw some action at point guard(?). I'm not sure what that was about. On the plus side, at least he didn't commit a charging foul.
The defense stunk. Is anyone surprised that Jason Kidd tore the Cavs up for 10 assists (to go with 9 points and 8 boards)? Kidd got the hole at will versus Damon Jones, often dishing the ball to a wide open Jason Collins (after Z rotated to cover Kidd). Vince Carter poured in 38 points and seemed to hit a shot every time the Cavs made a run to cut the lead close. The Cavs let the Nets shoot 57% from the floor; just too many close, easy shots.
It wasn't a total loss. The Cavs shot a decent percent from the foul line (81%) and they got to the line more than NJ (42-37). The Cavaliers also out rebounded the Nets 42-36 and they even kept their 3-point attempts under 20 (7-16). So there were some good signs (they played hard the entire game and they continued to attack the basket).
I could still use some varied substitution patterns. I know Brown likes to bring in Jones and Marshall in together midway in the first period. And I know he likes to sit LeBron to start the second... but why not switch it up? Take LeBron out late in the first and rest him over the quarter break. Give Gibson some PT with the starters (I'd love to see a line up of Boobie, Hughes, James, Varejao and Z. That'd be fantastic). Use less Marshall and more Gooden (even though he goes brain dead on defense, at least he'll give some second chance opportunities).
Oh good, another back-to-back. Versus Detroit. The Cavaliers love back-to-backs (1-5 on the 2nd night this year). But at least they're at home, where they are a delightful 11-2. So maybe those will cancel each other out.