Sorry, I know I've been M.I.A. with the recaps recently but what can ya do? I apologize, I have work and real life (though I try, I swear, I really do). I doubt I'll have a recap for Friday's game against the Pistons (snuggie night!). My friends are in a band, Falling into Fire, that will be performing at the Hard Rock Cafe this Friday. I will be in attendance that night (come on out everybody!) and I work all day Saturday, so I'm not sure how much of Friday's game I'll be able to catch (or how much time I'll have to write).
It's really no surprise that the Cavs whooped the Nets. The game's first play resulted in Devin Harris fouling LeBron on a breakaway and things never got better for the Nets. The Cavs defense stifled New Jersey's offense and it led to a ton of easy buckets for the Cavaliers.
I like the fact that the Cavs played hard the whole game. Maybe it's because guys have been hurt and missing time but the Cavs kept their focus against these two awful New York teams (that hasn't always been the case in the past). They did what they were supposed to do: beat up on bad teams.
So far, so good for the "J.J. at center" experiment though I wouldn't jump to any conclusions just yet. Hickson's big test is going to come on Saturday, when the Cavs travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks. Unlike the Knicks or the Nets, the Bucks are both in playoff contention (currently sixth) and employee a very good center in Andrew Bogut. I'm really interested to see how the Cavs and Hickson respond to that challenge (it's also the second night of a back-to-back).
I expect the Cavs will continue to play well without Shaq, even as the competition improves. First, let's please remember, the Cavs won 66 games last season, sans O'Neal. These guys are a good team, regardless of who is manning the middle. Plus, now that both Shaq and Z are missing, the Cavs are forced to go small and speed the game up, which only makes LeBron even more lethal. Will they have trouble against Dwight Howard and the Magic? Hell yes. But most teams don't have a player the caliber of Dwight Howard patrolling the paint, so the Cavs should be fine on most nights (again, they won 66 games last season).
Anyways, it's not the worst thing the world for the Cavs to have to play the young guys like Hickson. With all of his experience this season, J.J. should be able to contribute in the playoffs, even if the Cavs won't have to rely on him.
That's where their depth comes into play. Come the playoffs, if someone like Mo or Jamison gets into foul trouble, the Cavs will be able to plug in Daniel Gibson or Hickson without too much of a drop off (as opposed to having guys like Donyell Marshall or Eric Snow running around out there).
This team is really deep and really good. Not gonna lie, it's nice.