Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cleveland 82, Utah 73

What a first half. Down 32-31. 13 turnovers. Z and Hughes didn't score. If it wasn't for Pavlovic's 14 points, lord knows how ugly it would've been. Not that the second half was that great, I mean, both teams finished with FG% in the 30s, both teams shot below 20% from 3 and, of course, the Cavs shot 50% from the line.

Speaking of ugly. Carlos Boozer.

More ugly. Mike Brown put out a line that had Eric Snow, Ira Newble, Anderson Varejao and Donyell Marshall running around with LeBron James. That's two defensive players, a hustle guy and a one dimensional player. That's just rewarding the fans.

Can I drag this ugly theme out more? Yes. Austin Carr's singing 'Anticipation' and then feeling the need to explain how Varejao is good at anticipation. This came just seconds after Fred McLeod's offensive foul call in Portuguese. I love these announcers.

Last ugly, I swear. Larry Hughes: 2-17. My God that is bad. Two. For. Seventeen. However, he did have 8 boards and 5 assists. This starting job has really brought out the other parts of his game. Don't get me wrong, 2-17 is unbelievably bad (also 0-3 from the free throw line), but it's much more palpable when he does the little things. Also, it's hard to complain about anything when they're on a 8 game win streak.

I love drunken fans. I can't get enough Boozer sucks chants. Although the signs needed some work; there was a Top 10 list of most hated figures in Cleveland sports which Model and Boozer at 1 and 2 but had Elway and Jordan at the bottom of the list (below Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez). LeBron wants the fans drunk... er... into it more often:
"They were great tonight," James said. "I wish they could be like that every night. They do a good job. It was awesome tonight to see the electricity in here."
LeBron went nuts. It started (real) late in the third period; LeBron got a couple of run out dunks and woke up the crowd. Then he started the fourth with a couple of big driving layups and the Jazz, after leading all game, suddenly had mount a comeback. LeBron finished with 'just' 24 points, but he had 9 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals and 17 (17!!) rebounds. His defensive intensity skyrocketed and he looked like a superstar in every aspect of the game. Also, if the Cavs could've held onto a pass in the first half, LeBron would've had a triple double.

Speaking of passes, how 'bout Zydrunas? The offense if finally starting to click and Cavs players (especially Sasha) are realizing that they could get a layup if they cut to the hoop while Z has the ball on the block. Pass and cut... Crazy... Z only finished with 8 points, but he had 6 big ones in the last 4 minutes.

No Shannon Brown. Not that I was looking for a lot of minutes, but the Cavs were having trouble scoring, especially in the first half. You'd figure Brown would get off the bench before we'd see the glorious Ira/Snow backcourt. Oh well.

Rebounds: Great. Free Throws: not so much. Led by LeBron and Gooden with 17 and 12 respectively, the Cavs controlled the boards by a 61-41 tally (Gooden really came alive at the offensive end, grabbing 7 boards). As for the foul line, LeBron was 8-13, Gooden just 4-8, Sasha 1-2 (Sasha gets no love from the refs. He should've had more than just 2 FTAs) and Hughes missed all three he took (Z and the bench didn't attempt a freebie).

and finally...

Eight is not enough. The Cavs play in Charlotte on Tuesday and you'd like to see them push their streak to 9 going into the Dallas game the following night. I'm really interested to see how this new lineup is going to fare versus an elite team like the Mavs.


Erik said...

Why do I get the feeling that Ira Newble's resurgence is the most exciting thing that's happened to Mike Brown all season?

You could almost sense Brown's urge to jump onto the scorer's table and stage dive when Newble hit those threes against Sacramento. Another defensive player who creates just enough offense to justify keeping him on the floor.

I fully expect that, by playoff time, Newble is going to be the second man off the bench behind Andy V.

You know how Cleveland fans want to gouge their eyes out watching Eric Wedge's infatuation with Casey Blake? Well, Newble, when he's playing well, is Brown's Casey Blake.

You can't fathom what he sees in this guy, but every time Brown looks at a zeroed-in Newble, it's with misty effects and "Dream Weaver" playing in the background, like when Wayne first looked at Cassandra in "Wayne's World."

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering if Boozer got shingles for a while now. What's up with his face this year? Geez.

Brown sure does like to screw with his lineup, but I gotta say that I'm absolutely fine with Amon Ones (has no D, can't find a J) riding the pine.

I wonder how down on himself Hughes has been on his shooting. It's been atrocious! Take higher-quality shots. Why chuck up so many 21 footers?

Things are clicking right now. Could be on our way to the number one seed in the East.


Ben said...

Ya, it kinda scares me that Newble keeps getting minutes. and not just 'the team is playing like dirt and we need a new spark' minutes. Early guy off the bench minutes.

Plus, since he comes off the bench, this means we get to see a backcourt of Eric Snow and Newble. I imagine opposing teams are thanking Brown. "Snow and Newble? I don't have to play defense for about 3-5 minutes!"

Greg- I'm with ya, I'm not missing Damon Jones at all. Once Gibson returns, Jones won't ever see the court.

As for Hughes, I'm not sure. His last game was real awful, but he's had bad nights before that and he just keeps shooting (which is what you have to do at this level).

I just wish he'd try for a pull 15 footer instead of a 21 footer.

The East has been up for grabs all season and the Cavs really haven't made a move. I think they could swing it if they stay focused (and if they were playing this way earlier in the year, they have a 2-4 game lead on everyone else)