Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Quick Cavs-Spurs Thoughts

Nice to see the Cavs beat a playoff team (albeit a old, wounded one) without LeBron, Shaq, Z and (*gulp*) Antawn Jamison. The much maligned role players (they'd be worse than the Knicks without LBJ!!!) played really well and the Cavs executed really well down the stretch.

Mo Williams had a nice bounce-back game, though he still sucks defensively. Mo finished with 17-8-8 but got torched by George Hill (23 points). For the most part, Williams set up the offense rather nicely, but he still takes to long for my tastes.

I absolutely love Delonte West. West scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and made a couple of 'wow' plays to help beat San Antonio. Delonte had a major tip-in to cut the deficit to three (85-82) with five minutes to go and his steal (and subsequent free throws sealed the victory. Delonte's game reminds me a lot of Manu Ginobili's. Both guys can get to (and finish at) the rim, they both like the step-back jumper and they both play at full throttle. The Cavs had no answer for Ginobili and Manu finished with 38 points.

In a nice change of pace, the Cavs made their free throws down the stretch. With 1:05 left and trailing 90-89, J.J. Hickson stepped to the line and calmly made both. Delonte then got the aforementioned steal and made both of his attempts (Cavs lead now 93-90). Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao made both of their attempts and the Cavs ended up going 8-8 from the stripe over that last minute-plus.

You gotta give credit some to J.J. Hickson. He played great defense on Tim Duncan, staying home and keeping his position. Duncan seemed frustrated by J.J's length and finished with 13 points and 5 boards. I liked what Hickson did offensively as well; he attacked Duncan, making him work (though Hickson missed some easy shots once he got past Duncan) and finished with 12 points and 7 boards. You'll absolutely take that (I fully expected Duncan to school young J.J.). Hickson played poised and that was without LeBron and Shaq to keep him in line.

For a short time in the 3rd period, the offense ran through Jawad Williams. It was glorious.

Antawn Jamison left with a stiff knee. 'Tawn and the Cavs don't seem to be too upset about it but, as a basketball fan (let alone a Cleveland fan), any type of knee injury scares the crap out of me. Jamison was playing well before he left, finishing with 17 points and 4 boards in 21 minutes.

It's not their biggest or most important win (though it is their 50th), but it was nice to see the Cavs beat a good team with LeBron in street clothes. Yes, the Spurs were without Tony Parker (broken hand) but it's still a quality shorthanded victory over a playoff team. The non-LeBron Cavaliers need to prove to themselves (and LBJ) that they can execute in crunch time and not have to rely on James to do everything. The proved it for one game, at least.

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