Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cleveland 105, Indiana 94

Start the road trip off right. A solid win against the Pacers hopefully will wash out the nasty taste of the Nugget game.

The offense worked. Well, they had a little slump early in the game but besides that, they stayed away from the 'stand around and hoist jumpers' offense that they love to employ (though it did sneak in here and there).

On a related note, Z had a good game. Funny how that works out. The big fella finished with 23 points, 4 boards (which is surprisingly low, I mean, he can get four boards off of one 'volley ball' sequence) and 2 assists. He got the ball early, he got the ball late, he passed out of double teams, etc- he was utilized. Also, he hit all nine of his free throws (the fact that he got nine attempts is a good sign). Of course, this was against the Pacers. Z can destroy sub-par teams, it's against the good teams that he's really needed (and he hasn't stepped up/been used). He's in a good groove right now, scoring in double figures for the 5th game in a row and the 8th time in 10 games.

Eric Snow got a lot of minutes and I'm not even mad. Snow had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. He even hit an open jumper or two. When he shoots 5-7 AND makes his free throws AND rebounds AND plays his good defense AND doesn't commit moronic turnovers, Snow is very palpable. That's not really true, I don't mind Snow in small doses and 26 minutes is fine when he's playing this well. It's when he gets 26 minutes and he's not producing at all (I'm expecting this kind of night) where I get frustrated with him.

Plus, Daniel Gibson got a decent chunk of minutes. He hit two 3s but didn't do a whole lot besides. But right now the Cavs need his jumper most of all, if he can get back on track from beyond the arc, he's going to keep getting the PT. It would serve the Cavs well to have both Gibson and Z shooting with confidence come playoff time.

Besides Gibson, no one hit a 3. Boobie was 2-3, everyone else was 0-10. It actually wasn't too bad, the misses were spread across the team. LeBron was 0-3. Hughes, Sasha and Marshall missed two apiece and Zydrunas missed an 'end of shot clock' heave. Even though they were missing, I see this as a good sign- the shots weren't falling and they didn't just 'shoot themselves out of it'. They went inside, they went to the line and they didn't rely on the bombs.

The minutes were distributed a bit better. Kinda. LeBron still got 40, which isn't good. Sasha had 29 minutes, just 4 less than Hughes's 33, which I like. However, Larry didn't play the entire fourth quarter. So Sasha still had less minutes, even though Hughes sat the last period. I'm not really seeing a reason why Brown can't give Sasha another five or so minutes a game and relieve some of the burden off of James (and Hughes). Brown gave a solid chunk of minutes to each of his bench performers; in addition to Snow's 26 minutes, Gibson and Varejao (who had a little foul trouble) had 17 and Marshall had 15.

and finally....

New York tomorrow. I always hate it when they play the Knicks, cause the Knicks usually A) give them a game or B) out right beat them. I feel like the Cavs should be destroying them, but the Knicks usually break out the quick guards (a large Cavalier weakness) and hang with 'em. Fortunately Jamal Crawford (a notorious Cav-killer) and Quentin Richardson (a strong LeBron defender) are both out, so hopefully this game will be as easy as last week's.

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