Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cleveland 99, Indiana 88

Old fashion beat down. This is how I've been wanting the Cavs to handle lesser opponents all season long. The Cavs started the game with the intensity that they had at the end of the Milwaukee game; they never trailed, had an 18 point lead at halftime and generally kicked the Pacers' ass.

Play all four quarters. The Cavs held a double digit lead from late in the first quarter until around the 2 minute mark in the fourth and the lead had gotten up to 26 (hell, the Cavs led by 21 after three periods). I know the Pacers made a run, but the game shouldn't have been that close at the end, especially considering that Indiana didn't hit a 3 all game. Late comebacks usually involve a 3 every now and then (like the Bucks game)

Garbage time came early. Brown had the bench out there early on in the fourth quarter and let's just say that offense struggled a bit. No movement, lot's of jumpers, dumb offensive fouls and too much Eric Snow (even when Brown brought the starters back in to shut down the Pacers' late run, he kept Snow out there. And crappy offense ensued).

The refs love Sasha Pavlovic. Honestly. He picks up cheap calls, he'll get hammered on the offensive end and I'm not sure he's drawn a charge... well... ever. Does Pavs commit dumb fouls every now and then? Sure. But he always seems to be on losing end of the close calls (or no calls, Dunleavy got him pretty good on a dunk with nary a sound from the zebras).

All the starters scored in double figures. Well, except Pavlovic who finished with 9, but he was 0-4 from the line, so I'm counting it. James led everyone with 26, Hughes had 23, Gooden had 19 and Z had 10. The starters set the tone early and attacked the Pacers all game. The best part? They ran the ball and the offense, got some easy points and shared the ball with each other. It was real nice to see.

LeBron did all the little things. 26 points, 7 boards, 6 assists in 39 (still too many) minutes. But he also had a block, 3 steals and a couple offensive put backs (one of which you'll see all over Sportscenter). When he gives the rest of the game the attention and effort that his scoring
gets, he's unstoppable. As for his scoring, he got to the rim seemingly at will and he made even 4-5 free throws (only 5 FTAs? really? Mike Dunleavy took 11).

Hughes bounced back with a strong game. Larry didn't exactly have a great game against the Bucks (1-9 shooting, 6 turnovers) but he rebounded with a 23 point, 7 assist, 4 board effort and even shot 8-15 from the floor. When he gives the Cavs a game like that, they're pretty much unbeatable. I don't always care for the way he plays, but the Cavs are 5-0 since he's been starting at point guard (and he should stay there when Boobie comes back).

Shannon Brown had a nice game. While the game was competitive (well, maybe not competitive, but the times that the Cavs were trying, meaning the first 3 quarters), Brown looked really good. He played good D, he ran the floor and had sweet Statue of Liberty layup. However, when garbage time came around Brown (and to be fair the rest of the Cavs) took some bad shots and didn't look particularly interested in running the offense.

and finally...

Going streaking. How far can the win streak go? The Cavs have Sacramento at home on Tuesday and are at Memphis on Wednesday. Then they have Utah at home on St. Patrick's Day and begin a back-to-back against Charlotte and Dallas the following Tuesday. You'd like to put the Kings and Grizzlies games in the win column, the Jazz game could be tricky and the Bobcats game is more than winnable. Ideally, I'd like to see the Cavs go into the Dallas game riding a 9 game win streak (and who knows if Dallas will lose before then).

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