First road win out of the way. The Cavs are just 2-2, but I think you have to be pleased with their play since the season opener. The Cavs fought hard against Golden State; they withstood a few Warrior runs, they played solid defense and, while they pushed the ball, they didn't get caught up trying to run with Golden State.
LeBron led the Cavs in just about everything. He paced the team in points (24), rebounds (14) , assists (9), blocks (3) and chastisings of Drew Gooden (1) all while playing with blurred vision (after getting a poked in the eye late in the first period). Throughout the night, LeBron set up about 15 feet from the rim and got some easy baskets (well, at least some baskets where he's not going 1 on 5). His 3(!) blocks were pretty ridiculous and his effort at the defensive end was strong all evening (he wanted, and got, to guard Baron Davis down the stretch). He was both dominant and playing within the flow of the game. Needless to say, I enjoyed it.
But it's not like he didn't have help. Both Daniel Gibson and Zydrunas Ilgausksas dropped in 22 points and Drew Gooden pitched in 16. Gibson knocked down 5-9 from beyond the arc (including a trey with 19 seconds left to put the Cavs up 4) and Z was 9-15 from the floor while grabbing 13 boards. I know a lot of Z's stat averages are up simply due to his increased work load, but you can't say the big man isn't playing great ball right now. He's rebounding well and taking good shots (it also helps that the Cavs are actually looking into the post with some regularity). Plus, Z moved more Tuesday night than he has in the past 4 years (he had a multiple drive to the rim and, surprise, they were effective).
Sasha Pavlovic hasn't gotten his legs under him yet. While Sasha was a brutal 2-11, I didn't find myself too upset with is play (certainly not as upset as I'd be with a 2-11 night from Larry Hughes. Of course, at this point I may have an irrational dislike for Hughes and his game). Sasha missed his share of open jumpers as well as a few layups. I expect that once he gets a few games under is belt that those shots will start dropping. Plus, I love a starting 5 of Gibson, Pavs, LeBron, Gooden and Z. That group will score points.
The bench was ok... Damon Jones scored 10 points (4-8 overall and 2-6 from downtown) and ran the point fairly well. Dwayne Jones only got 3 minutes but blocked a shot and challenged a few others. Devin Brown was probably the biggest help off the bench; Brown played his fair share of point guard and he notched 8 points, 8 assists and 6 boards in 27 minutes.
Both teams shot poorly from the foul line. The Cavs and the Warriors were both under 70%. LeBron was 5-7, Z was 4-6 and Gooden was 2-4 (for the game, the Cavs shot 68%). This could've come back to bite them at the end, but Golden State shooting 69% let them off the hook. For the season, the Cavs are shooting just 67% from the line; this has too improve.
Since it was a close game throughout (nevermind an entertaining one) we didn't get to see many young guys. Part of me is surprised that Shannon Brown hasn't played since then opener but another part of me remembers his play during said opener. I was also interested in seeing Golden State's Italian rookie, Marco Belinelli, but he didn't get any court time (the Cavs were his first DNP-CD). I spent last June's draft hoping the Cavs would find a way to trade into the first round to snag Belinelli but instead they stood pat (as I'm sure we're all aware).
The Cavs defense was decent. Yes, Golden State scored over 100 but they only shot 42% from the floor. Baron Davis attacked the smaller Gibson on the block a few times, but the Cavs did a pretty good job of forcing Davis into tough shots. Davis scored 29 points, but needed 28 shots to do it (for comparison, LeBron had 24 points on 16 shots).
This was the best the Cavs' offense has looked all season. They made quick decisions with the ball, it looked like the knew what they wanted to do and they went to the post for the entire game (unlike in Phoenix when they stopped for the 3rd period). The Cavs also pushed the ball quite a bit; they'd grab a rebound and throw a pass quickly, rather than holding onto the ball and waiting for a guard. Having Devin Brown and LeBron crash the defensive boards is a ready made break. All in all, the offensive movement was the best it's been all season (and sure, they were playing against Golden State's defense but I was just glad to see the Cavs stick to their gameplan).
First back-to-back of the season. Playing Golden State and then Utah won't be easy, especially with the Cavs missing a good chunk of their roster (Varejao, Hughes, Marshall and Snow). Plus, the starters logged a lot of minutes against the Warriors; James had 42, Z had 38, Gooden had 37 and Gibson notched 35. It'll be interesting to see how the Cavs' effort will be following the game in Oakland.