Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cleveland 107, Miami 100

Not a bad trip, eh? Four game in five nights, all against playoff teams, all on the road... 3-1. It was nice seeing them bounce back from the ugly Houston loss to get clutch wins in San Antonio (albeit without Timmy), Atlanta and Miami (the latter two avenged previous losses in those buildings). All of this was without their starting power forward. I dunno if you noticed or not, but this is a really good basketball team. 47-12. Damn.

The Cavs had an early lead, but Miami is tough. With 2:42 left in the first, the Cavs had built a 10 point lead (24-14) but the Heat came back (they made it 27-24) before the Cavs went into the first break up 30-26. LeBron had a nice first period, scoring 12 points on a couple of 3s and some longish jumpers. The Cavs had a slight lead at halftime, but Miami turned the D up a notch in the third and the Cavs entered the fourth trailing 76-82.

LeBron's J was falling, especially from downtown. James finished with 42 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, a steal and a block. LeBron made all 10 of his free throw attempts and he knocked down 6-7 from beyond the arc (and 6 of those 10 came from being fouled while hoisting a trey). He was squaring up on his jumper and his form looked really good. James also got to the rim a few times on cuts and his emphatic dunk with 42 seconds left sealed the game. What's most amazing (if you could really choose just one thing) is the fact that James netted 42 points on just 21 shots (D.Wade scored 41, but he shot the ball 30 times).

Dwyane Wade is pretty good. Wade nearly matched LeBron's 42 with 41 of his own and he pitched in 9 assists, 7 boards, 7 steals and a block. That's right 41-9-7-7. Wade penetrated seemingly at will and his ability to get to the rim opened things up for a lot of other Miami players. The Cavs basically kept Delonte on Wade for the bulk of the game and didn't really double team until the fourth quarter. Wade also had 8 turnovers, which puts him pretty close to the quintuple double.

Mo Williams is fucking clutch. Williams sure looked like an all-star on Monday night. Mo finished with 30 points, 7 boards, 7 assists and 2 steals. The Cavs scored 31 points in the final period- Mo had 17, LeBron had 12 and Z made a jumper. Mo had a HUGE floater with 4 minutes left to give the Cavs their first lead of the fourth quarter (Mimai ended the third on a 8-0 run) and he and James combined for an 45 second, 8-0 run to cut the Miami lead from 91-80 to 91-88 (two treys by Mo and a dunk by LeBron). This guy is cold blooded and I love it. (Insert LeBron's Pippen comment here: ____).

The rest of the starters had nice games as well. Delonte had a little scare with the rest (he used it to gather himself while falling) but ended up with 8 points (3-6 FG, 2-3 3PT), 6 assists, 5 steals and a board. Z shot only 5-13 from the floor (12 points) and his jumper wasn't falling early (he hit a clutch one late) but he had a couple of ridiculous tips and he also finished with 15 boards and 2 assists. And Varejao? Well, Wild Thing drew a few offensive fouls, knocked down a few jumpers (3-5 from the floor) and ended up with a nifty line of 6 points, 4 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. I know this is obvious, but Andy plays much much better next to Z than he does almost anyone else.

The bench.... meh. I thought J.J. played decently, but I look at the box score and he finished with 5 points and 0 rebounds in 17 minutes. Wally had 1 points and 2 boards in 13 minutes. Gibson? 1-5, 3 points and a foul in 9 minutes. But hey, we did get a Sasha Pavlovic sighting. He very nearly had a 7 trillion (a box score with 7 minutes followed by 12 zeros) but don't worry, he commited a foul and a turnover (whew!). Needless to say, it wasn't surprising that Mo and LeBron passed the 40 minute mark (the starter with the least minutes was Z with 33).

and finally...

No rest for the weary. 4 in 5? Let's make it 5 in 7. The Cavs get Tuesday off before facing the Bucks in Cleveland on Wednesday night. After that? Only a Friday night game in Boston followed by Saturday night against these same Heat at the Q. Should be a fun week.


graham said...

This turned out to be a big week for the Cavs. In hindsight, to go 3-1 and win the way they did could be huge for homecourt advantage. Now if only they can beat Boston this Friday.

It'll be interesting to see how Joe Smith helps this team out, too. He might actually be our best back-to-the-basket player now since Z largely is a jumpshooter now.

Erik said...

Z still is the only big man with anything resembling a post game. His specialty is the 18-footer off the pick-and-fade, but he still takes the ball on the block. If you're 7'-3", you're pretty much obligated to take the ball on the block a few times a game.

Smith really has no post game. He's a mid-range jump shooter who can put the ball on the floor. That's still valuabld when you have LBJ, Mo and Delonte driving and dishing.

Having Smith set up for a baseline 15-footer off a Mo dish is a heck of a lot better than having Andy spotted up out there. The other team will actually have to concern themselves with contesting Smith's jumpers, whereas they can dare Andy to just shoot it, and camp out for the rebound.

Smith can make shots and grab boards. It's the meat and potatoes of basketball. You do those two things reasonably well, and you can help out any team.

Anonymous said...

.....................nice ^_^v..............