Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cleveland 118, Memphis 96

This is getting fun. I'm enjoying this whole 'beat the teams you should beat' run that the Cavs have been on. Instead of starting out slow and working themselves into the game, the Cavs came out and destroyed the Grizzlies. Take their confidence away early, so you can rest late.

Third quarter domination. Everyone is going to talk about LeBron's outburst in the third (and rightfully so), but before James buried the Grizzlies, Z took the Cavs from 'big lead' to 'blowout'. The Grizzlies have no one who can guard the big fella and the Cavs made a conscious effort to get the ball to Ilgauskas.

Then LeBron blew up. My lord, that was impressive. James hit 5 shots in a row, personally out scored Memphis 15-12 and generally just put on a show. And the crazy part? He didn't take his first shot of the half until the 5:30 mark. 15 points. 5 minutes. He missed a shot at the quarter break that would've pushed the Cavs to triple digits.

Lucky number seven. Seven Cavaliers scored in double figures. James led everyone with 29, Z had 18 (on 8-11 shooting), Hughes finished with 13, Marshall had 12, Sasha had 11 and Gooden and Andy finished with 10.

Garbage time again. Isn't it weird how good this team looks when Snow, Jones and Wesley are the 9th, 10th and 11th men? Plus, now I'm not extremely pissed off when this trio is in the game. Garbage time is allowing Shannon Brown more court time and its letting Mike Brown rest James (only 30 minutes!), I'm a fan of both of these developments. Actually, none of the Cavs starters played in the fourth period (which is fantastic this late in the season, especially on the 4th game of a 4 in 5 nights stretch).

I no longer hate Larry Hughes with a passion. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. Hughes finished the game with 13 points (5-12 from the field), 6 assists and 5 boards. I've said this before, but I don't mind his off shooting nights as much (and this wasn't even bad) when he fills up the box score in other ways. The move to point guard has jump started the other aspects of his game and has allowed him to really showcase his overall talent.

Pau Gasol can't play defense. Z abused him in every aspect.

+50% from the field. Again. I know that the Cavs have done this against some bad teams, but it does show the themselves that yes, they do have an offense. The new starting lineup (with Hughes and Pavlovic) gives the Cavs so many options with the first unit; Z and Gooden have pretty polished low post games (and can hit the face up) and Hughes, James and Sasha can all shoot AND slash. Plus, it's a tall unit that can run and play a half court game if need be. I know we're in the middle of another 'high' on this roller coaster season, but I really hope that we've gotten past 'stand and chuck' offense.

and finally...

On St. Patrick's Day, a snake returns. So you're telling me that Clevelanders can drink green beer all day and THEN go boo Carlos Boozer? Really? We expect this to end well?


rob said...

If only Chicago and Detroit weren't playing great basketball, too. Man, it would be nice to get that first seed but I just don't see it happening. Detroit is a veteran team that knows how to win down the stretch. Though, the Cavs can definitely beat them if LeBron continues to play like this.

As far the Boozer on St. Patrick's Day. Either someone wasn't thinking or someone really wants to see something crazy happen. I agree, it's very possible that night could end badly.

The city of Cleveland, plus St. Patrick's Day, plus the most hated ex-Cleveland sports figure in a long time finally showing his face, equals a possible disaster for sure.

Erik said...

Isn't it great when your best athletes are leading the charge?

I sincerely hope that Hughes, Pavs and Shannon Brown are here to stay as major contributors and that Snow, Jones and Wesley stay near the back of the bench.

Hughes, Pavs and LeBron ... man, is that a huge, athletic backcourt. I know they'll lose some speed matchups, like against Detroit, when Billups and Hamilton did whatever they wanted, but 95 percent of the teams in this league can't contend with a 6-5 PG, 6-7 SG and 6-8 SF who can all slash to the hoop like a freight train.

Ben said...

A few weeks ago I was all ready for a huge offseason roster shake up. But if the core rotation is this: James, Hughes, Pavs, Gooden, Z, Brown, Varejao, Gibson and Marshall instead of this: Snow, Hughes, James, Gooden, Z, Jones, Marshall, Varejao and Wesley, its an entirely different team.