Makes sense to me. Of course the Cavs lose to the Sixers at home with James but beat them at Philly without him. Of course they do.
They didn't start that great. The Sixers shot 81% in the first quarter and 65% for the half. The Cavalier offense wasn't in sync (I, for one, am shocked) and I was really wondering if they were actually going to lose big to Philadelphia. The Cavs let Philly score 38 in the first quarter and they were down 60-43 at the half.
The whole team stepped up. This was real nice to see; with LeBron out, everyone did their part; 5 Cavs scored in double figures: Hughes had 16, Gooden had 21, Marshall had 17, Jones had 15, Gibson had 11. Zydrunas pitched in 8, Sasha had 6 (he was the only Cav doing anything early in the game) and David Wesley added 5 (though it should've been 7, he blew a wide open lay).
More Wesley. As much as we all have trash his signing, can't we say that he's given the Cavs two wins this season? He played huge minutes against the Sixers; played tough defense, hit a 3 and actually made free throws. He also had a big game against Golden State. I'm not sure if the Cavs beat Philly (or the Warriors) without Wesley's contributions. (Not to get ahead of myself, but wouldn't you rather see Wesley out there than Snow? I mean, if the Cavs are going to play an old defensive point guard, why not make it the guy who can shoot the ball? Just sayin')
I'm not sure what this means, it's some kind of pattern... It seems every time Brown gives Daniel Gibson extended minutes, he produces. It's the weirdest thing. Gibson had 11 points and 5 assists while logging 22 minutes. He scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter (he played the final 15 minutes) and also handed out 5 assists. And in that fourth quarter? He *gasp* ran the point. Fantastic.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Fred McLeod called Daniel Gibson 'mini-LeBron' and said that Gibson reminded him of Isiah Thomas. Whoa. (Though thats not as bad as Scott Williams calling a Sasha Pavlovic drive 'Jordanesque')
Wesley also played the entire fourth period. Snow only got 13 minutes. I'm OK with this.
Live by the three. Usually, if the Cavs shoot 18 threes, I'm not particularly pleased; this usually means at least 5 of those are from LeBron and at least 3 of those are ugly 'he's LeBron so he's allowed to take those' shots. The Cavs actually made 9 of those threes. 50%. And the weird thing is, they were good shots. You remember those; passing the ball to the open man, drive and dish, swinging the ball. Without LeBron not out there, the Cavs couldn't just stand around and wait for him to do something awesome.
Not that the offense was all that great... Snow holds on to the ball way too long and they still take a long time to execute the play. The Cavs really didn't to towards Z very much, but the get get Gooden the ball on the low block a few times (at least someone touched it in the post).
Hughes. Some good plays (3 steals) and some bad (4 turnovers) but overall I'd say he had a pretty solid game. With LeBron out, he didn't try to do too much (which was good). Also, I'd really like to know what he needs to do in order to get a foul called. The man takes the ball to the rim, gets contact and.... nothin. Nada. He only took 1 free throw all night (naturally, being a part of the '06-07 Cavaliers, he missed it). He should've had at least 5 attempts from the stripe tonight.
Coach Brown actually coached, wha? He rode the same 5 for most of the fourth quarter (Jones, Gibson, Wesley, Marshall and Gooden) and let Gibson handle the point for all of crunch time. He even drew a technical foul for arguing with the refs; he stuck up for Gooden (I've been waiting for this to happen. I've also been waiting for him to get himself kicked out of game to wake his team up). This whole 'motive the team' concept is nice, I could get used to that. Plus, he kept Eric Snow on the bench, which I think we can all agree is a good thing. (I did notice he kept clapping a ton when the Cavs were getting beat bad in the first half. Constant clapping. That really didn't seem to do it for the guys).
Free throws were delightfully not terrible. The Cavs shot 72% for the game which, while isn't great, isn't a hindrance either. If the Cavs can shoot around 75% most games, they should be alright. Those 50% nights have to end.
Oh great, the Suns. Phoenix comes to town on Sunday riding a 16 game win streak. James should be back and hopefully Brown doesn't use LeBron's return as an excuse to go back to his 'Eric Snow plays 35+ minutes' strategy (Gibson needs more minutes, he can actually create for people! Also, he can make baskets, which is neat to see coming from the point guard spot every now and then).