Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cleveland 110, Atlanta 76

Score early, score often. The Cavs started the game 9-0 and they never let up. It was obvious that they knew they needed this game to keep pace with the Bulls and they completely destroyed Atlanta in every facet of the game.

One wonders where this kind of effort was against Boston. And New York. And Charlotte. Or the entire season. Let's move on....

The Cavaliers shot 57%. Part of the reason might be their 28 fast break points. They had seven guys in double figures (James, Z, Hughes, Pavlovic, Gibson, Marshall and Varejao (Gooden finished with 9), shot 42% from 3pt range and they were 61% from the foul line (wait, that last one isn't good...). But that 61% was better than the Hawks' 57%, so.... um... good job there.

What's better than a Cavaliers blow out win? A Cavaliers blow out win where Ira Newble logs a DNP-CD *rim shot*. I keed... This actually surprised me a bit, Brown emptied his bench (Damon was the low man with 9 minutes- he was also the only Cav not to score) and he's had a recent love affair with Ira, so it's kinda weird that he never got the warmups off.

And they ran... I mentioned the 28 fast break points and there were a lot of highlight plays. These came from a combination of Cavaliers defense and the Atlanta's lack of. The Cavs swarmed, contested shots and rebounded well, but that is still no excuse for Z to have a 10 foot cushion on a break away (seriously, that should never happen, ever (but I loved it)).

It's game #80 and FSN Ohio still sucks. Honestly, at this point in the season we shouldn't be missing free throws (AND the ensuing play). On the other hand, Scott Williams met Josh Barfield and Ryan Garko (who, BTW is forcing Wedge to play him, Daniel Gibson style) so that was nice...

The Hawks were dead by the 2nd quarter. Obviously, this wasn't much of a game. Atlanta only had 28 points at the half and they officially stopped trying midway through the 3rd period. (Case in point: Sasha had a break away dunk and decided to show off did a reverse jam. The next possession he went inside for a layup and no one hammered him. I don't know about the Hawks, but I would've put him on his ass).

and finally...

Taking care of business. While it's good that the Cavs are taking care of their end of things by beating these bad teams, they still need Chicago to lose to grab that 2-seed. And don't get me wrong, I like the effort and the focus these past two games (hey, a two game win streak!) but it still irks me, knowing they could've controlled their own destiny by beating these types of teams earlier on. The Cavaliers end the season with a back-to-back (oh joy) in Philly and against the Bucks at home.


Erik said...

From my perch in the dead-last row of "Loudville" (which didn't actually get loud until they passed out Thundersticks in the third quarter), this game changed when LeBron took that shot to the nose in the first quarter.

After that time out, LeBron was mad, as if to say "You made me bleed, now you're going to pay." He was really aggressive for the rest of the game, driving to the hoop, dishing out some really nice assists, and putting together a really high-octane all-around effort. The team fed off that.

Prior to LeBron's bloody nose, the Hawks were creeping back into the game, and I think that if LeBron hadn't gotten pissed-off, this might have been another nailbiter against a depleted, last-place team.

I wish LeBron was able to flip the aggression switch himself instead of needing to be prodded, but last night, he once again showed just how dominant he can be when sufficently motivated.

By the way, since I didn't see the FSN telecast, did Scott Williams ask Barfield and Garko what team they play for? Or better yet, what sport?

Ben said...

Williams was whoring for tickets. And actually got up during the telecast to go say hi (they were one row behind him)