Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cleveland 111, Indiana 106

The Cavs are not shy about shooting the 3 ball. They followed their 13-30 performance against Toronto by hitting another 13 (in only 24 attempts). Everyone who shot a 3 made one and most of them made two (LeBron was just 1-6). Ira Newble and Devin Brown were both 2-2 and Pavlovic hit 4-8. I'm not totally comfortable with the Cavs relying so much on the long ball, but it's worked for the last two games at least.

All those 3s helped James get another triple double. James had another ridiculous game, going for 30 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. He's playing on another level right now. He's hitting step back fade aways, he's grabbing misses and running the full length of the court and he's even breaking out a surprisingly effective finger roll. Free throw woes plagued LeBron as he went just 9-15 and a lot of the misses came late in the game (though they weren't really pressure shots, it kinda seemed like he may have lost some focus at the end).

Can we get Drew Gooden some stickum? I don't want to bash the guy after he had such a productive game (23 points, 12 boards) but he lost at least two passes off his hands. He misplayed a couple passes near the rim against the Raptors as well. Drew's played really this season, but he could've had another 4 points this game if he could've just caught the ball.

I did not care for the refs. A lot of people will point to the free throw discrepancy (Indiana shot 41 freebies to Cleveland's 28) but I'd chalk that up to the Cavs' offense (and their tendency to shoot -and make- jumpers). Pavlovic continues to get hosed by the zebras (he was clipped on a runout with no call) and he never seems to get the benefit of the doubt. Gibson's sixth foul was pretty brutal and Z and LeBron both got hit while shooting more than once (Z was particularly frustrated). You'd think the Cavs (LeBron especially) would start to get some whistles here and there... but guess not.

Sasha had his best game of the season. Pavlovic had 22 points (on 7-18 shooting), hit four 3s and dished out 5 assists (but a day after recording 8 boards, had just 1). Sasha ran the floor well, passed well out of his drives and played pretty active defense for most of the night. If he starts to play like he did last season, I think the Cavs have a very nice shooting guard combo with him and Devin Brown.

Teams continue to go at Daniel Gibson. It was pretty obvious that Jamaal Tinsley had the green light to take Gibson whenever he wanted (and he did, going for 24 points). Marquis Daniels also gave Boobie some trouble and the Pacers exploited that matchup down the stretch (until Gibson fouled out). To be fair, no one on Cleveland guarded Daniels all that well; the former Maverick shot 9-12 from the field and 7-8 from the line. Gibson also added to the Cavaliers' long distance attack as he shot 2-3 from beyond the arc.

Take your time Larry. Raise your hand if you miss Larry Hughes? Anyone? Eric Snow can play the defensive stopper, LeBron shares the PG duties with Gibson, Pavlovic and Brown do a lot of little things (like going inside) that Larry doesn't and Damon Jones is hitting his treys (2-3). I'm not saying that the team plays better without Hughes... but... things definitely seem to be going... um... smoother.

and finally...

This should be a fun stretch. The Cavs are in the middle of a four games in five nights stretch and they'll face Boston at home on Tuesday and then travel to Detroit on Wednesday. Then they go to Boston on Friday and Toronto on Sunday. That's not an easy stretch but at least the Cavs are playing well (3 game win streak) and who knows what could happen with LeBron playing at such a high level (averaging 30-8-8 for the year and posting back to back triple doubles).


graham said...

Good write-up. Not only is Hughes' presence not missed, it seems as if we're just a better team without him. More guys who can actually put the ball in the hoop are able to take more shots. It's kinda nice.

I'm very excited for the Boston game. I'd love to see LeBron go off.

Ben said...

I'm really hoping that LeBron just goes off against Boston, especially in Cleveland.

Erik said...

I might not watch the Boston game. Not because the Cavs might lose, but because playing Boston (and, worse yet, losing to Boston) means having to face the New Celtic Dynasty and their legion of media fluffers who make sure that Boston's sports erection stays rock hard.

We just went through 10 days of that when the Indians lost to the Red Sox. I'm not sure I want to face more Boston strutting and preening so soon.

Of course, if the Browns make the playoffs and win a game, there a good chance they'll land in Foxboro, so I should probably get used to it.