I missed a lot of this game. Everyone missed the beginning of the ball game thanks to the Houston-Dallas game going long. I had the game tivo'd (with an additional 30 minutes!) because Real Life intervened and I had to work in the morning. So when I read this morning that the Cavs won and LeBron played well, I was really looking forward watching LeBron kick some ass, but because there were roughly 102,003 free throws attempted, the game ran a tad bit long. So if I'm missing key points (like say, crunch time...), lo siento.
Fouls. My God, the fouls. 61 personal fouls, 4 technicals and 97 combined free throw attempts. That is insane. Every Cavalier starter had at least 4 fouls (Gooden had 5), Andrew Bynum fouled out and Odom and Turiaf each had 5. James shot 22 free throwms and Hughes and Snow had 10 apiece. How Smush Parker played 35 minutes and only picked up a single foul is beyond me (though he did get a tech). Anyways... the refs were not good. Both team got hosed here and there, but I'd have to most of the real bad calls went the Cavs way.
James played great. I think we've all forgotten how good this kid actually is. James had 38 points on 10-16 shooting and he shot 18-22 from the charity stripe. Ya, you read that right. He. Hit. His. Free. Throws. James took advantage of the crappy refs, attacked the hoop all night and just looked like the LeBron of old. ('The LeBron of old'... right. The kid is what, 22?). Anyways, he looked awesome. He also had a sweet post move on Odom. Needless to say, I loved it.
James made free throws! 18 of 22. 82%! Right now, the Cavs need LBJ to shoot at least 75% from the line, but if he shoots in 80's, he's pretty much unstoppable. Also, for the first time all season (that I'm aware of) James didn't kiss his wrists before shooting. That is a great sign.
More free throws. I'm not sure which is more remarkable, that Eric Snow made 9 of 10 from the line or the fact that he actually got 10 free throw attempts. Either way, well done Eric (he finished with 13 points and 5 assists and I could swear he had more than just 2 turnovers). Then there's Larry Hughes. 3-10 from the line (that's 30% for you scoring at home) just one night after connecting on all 10 attempts against the Jazz. I love that he got 10 attempts, but making just 3 is terrible.
More Hughes. 5 of 18 from the field- not good. 5 turnovers- not good. 1-5 from 3 point range- faaaantastic.
Criticisms of Hughes aside... all Cavs starters scored in double figures. So did Pavlovic and Marshall. Not too shabby; spreading the wealth, moving the ball. I like it.
Third quarter woes. The Cavs started out the third the way they always do: poorly. Jump shots, lackadaisical effort- the works. But then the Lakers imploded (technical fouls, poor passes leading to turnovers, etc). They actually finished the quarter rather strong, so I guess they only crapped out for half the third quarter instead of the entire quarter. So they're improving.
Andy played well. 15 points, 11 boards filling in for Zydrunas. Start the Z trade rumors! (In all seriousness, I think Andy playing a few complete games without fouling out makes Gooden more likely to be dealt).
Barkley vs Bavetta weekend! I'd still say it'd have been wonderful if LeBron had pulled a Pedro and skipped the weekend, but I can understand why he didn't (plus, dropping 38 on Kobe and the Lakers the last game before the break doesn't hurt). Despite all the turmoil and disappointment the Cavs have put their fans through in the first half of the season, they are 2nd in the East and just 2 games behind the Pistons for the conference lead. When all is said and done, not too bad.