Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Cleveland 101, Toronto 83

It was over after the first 5 minutes. The Cavs jumped out to an early 8 point lead and never looked back. The first quarter was insane: the Cavaliers were 6-10 from behind the arc, they held Toronto to just 15 points and LeBron scored 16 points in the first 8 minutes. Sure, Toronto made a few runs here or there (*cough* third quarter) but the game was never seriously in doubt after this early blitz.

LeBron James = ridiculous. In 38 minutes, the Chosen One had 33 points and he shot really well- 9-20 FG, 2-5 3Pt and 13-13 (!) from the stripe. LeBron also filled the stat sheet in other ways, grabbing 7 boards to go with 4 assists, a steal and 2 blocks (including denying future-Cavalier Chris Bosh at the rim early in the fourth). LeBron was aggressive in attacking the rim and it paid off in regards to both his play and the calls he received (he wasn't forcing things and looking for the calls).

Take your vitamins. The Cavs missed Sasha Pavlovic, Lorenzen Wright and Joe Tait due to the flu (I didn't know about Sasha, but I'm not surprised in the least about Tait). Wally Started in Sasha's (er... West's) place and filled in admirably. Zoolander had 15 points, 4 boards and 3 assists in a whopping 44 minutes (he started the game 2-4 from downtown but finished 3-7, he was 4-10 overall and he made all 4 freethrow attempts). We've been saying all year that this is a deep squad and they're showing it; Sasha steps in for West, Wally steps in for Sasha and Mike Snyder steps in for Tait (I thought Snyder did OK).

Mo Williams showed why he should be an All-Star. Williams finished with 16 points, 9 assists, a board and a steal in 38 minutes. During the game-ending first quarter, Mo had 5 points and 6(!) assists. He set up James on a lob, he found Ben Wallace for an easy 2 and he set up the 3 for Wally, James and Daniel Gibson. I swear to god if a guy who can't fucking shoot the ball (Rondo) makes the All-Star team ahead of Mo.... (though I'm all about the extra motivation factor as well).

Toronto's bigs kept the Cavs in foul trouble. While both Z and Varejao finished with 5 fouls, Z had the least frustrating night. Ilgauskas had 6 points (3-8 FG, 0-1 3pt), 8 boards and 2 blocks in 23 minutes. Meanwhile in just 14 minutes, Varejao's 5 fouls were more than his shot attempts (3) and rebounds (also 3). Bosh finished with 29 points, 3 boards (?), 2 assists and 2 steals. He ran the floor well and he knocked down open looks (I don't expect the Cavs to trade for him-they don't have the parts- but they're gonna go after him hard in 2 years). Jermaine O'Neal also had a nice game, scoring 20 points and grabbing 8 rebounds to go along with a single assist and steal.

But J.J. Hickson filled in quite nicely. J.J. had 8 boards and 3 boards in 18 minutes. You can tell the game is slowing down for him; he's making better decisions on offense, he's not rushing (pump fakes!) and he's learning where he's supposed to be on certain plays (he filled the lane really well a couple of times). The Cavs played J.J. at small forward for a bit when they went big (it was a weird five: Boobie, LeBron, Hickson, Darnell Jackson and Varejao).

Boobie Gibson continued his hot streak from Detroit. Gibson shot the ball extremely well, scoring 18 points while going 6-11 from the floor and 4-5 from downtown. But he wasn't just a scorer, he also pitched in 3 boards, 2 assists and a steal. I like how Gibson played and if he can make shots and stay within his game (just 1 turnover), I'll be much less annoyed with him (which is all that matters, in the end).

and finally...

Stay away from ESPN (unless you want to go on a murderous rampage). The Cavs are in New York tonight, so you know what that means... 2010.... Kobe's 61.... Michael's double-nickle... I'll go out on the limb and say that the media could overshadow the actual basketball game. I don't care how much LeBron scores (I don't think it's smart for him to go for 62) all I care about is another Cavalier win (hopefully a blowout).