Saturday, April 03, 2010

Cleveland 93, Atlanta 88

Solid victory. I attended the game and going in, I was a bit concerned about the Cavaliers' effort Heading in, their Magic Number was just 2 (so they're pretty much locked up for best overall record) and the Hawks were looking for some payback for the loss on LeBron's birthday (the game with a the 24 second clock malfunction and Varejao's three). But the Cavs played with good energy (though the third quarter was kind of a stinker) and they kept the pressure on Atlanta.

LeBron doesn't fail to disappoint. James finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. One of his steals was just stupid; he stole a lazy Hawk pass around the halfcourt line (he was basically playing both the man with the ball and the passing lane) then drove straight for the rim and finished off an 'and one' opportunity. There were times where the offense bogged down (there were some bad possession in the third) but, except for a couple of dagger treys in the fourth, the Cavs and LeBron weren't standing around.

Last season's Mo Williams made an appearance. When Mo has a good game, the Cavs are nearly unstoppable. Williams finished with 24 points (7-14 FG, 3-7 3FG) to go along with 4 boards, 2 assists and 4 blocks(!?) in a team high 40 minutes. If the Cavs are going to win in the playoffs, they're going to need Mo to have games like this. Williams needs to be aggressive and looking to score, he can't just play facilitator, that's not his game.

Antawn Jamison left the game with a shoulder injury. So there's that... Jamison played alright, he wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible either. He fumbled away a (low) pass that could've led to a wide open corner three (the Cavs a couple of plays like this, bad pass or fumbled boards) and he split his two free throws (but hell, that should raise his Cavalier average). Antawn finished with 12 points and 7 boards.

The role players played well. I loved what we saw from J.J. Hickson. J.J. finished with 8 points and 16 boards (7 offensive) in 30 minutes. He was really skying for a lot of those offensive boards and he had a couple of nice putbacks. Delonte West also played well, despite going just 3-10. I loved Delonte's defense (Jamal Crawford finished just 6-18 from the floor) and offensively, he put this fake on Mike Bibby that was absolutely gorgeous.

The coaching and subs were good, for the most part. Not gonna lie, I like the fact that West played 26 minutes to Anthony Parker's 24. Lineup I liked (you'll be shocked): Mo, West, LeBron, Jamison and Z lineup (last year's 66 win starting five plus Jamison). The lineup I didn't care for: Mo, West, Jamison, Powe and Z. Well, it's not the lineup I didn't care for, but the fact that with Jamison, West and Mo on the court, the Cavs went to Leon Powe on the block for three straight possessions.

and finally...

60 wins. Again. Kinda cool, no? Man, the Cavs are good. LeBron is playing at a level that I haven't seen before. It's just a joy to watch (I mean, even his goaltend was awesome). I'm not sure how I feel about the Cavs late season schedule. The Cavs face the Celtics on Sunday and then still have games against Orlando and Atlanta. With their Magic Number at 1, these games no longer really matter. I'll be honest, at this point, I'm just scared of injuries (Varejao's game to game, Jamison just tweaked his shoulder). It's too bad.


Columbus Cavs said...

I'm hoping the Cavs choose to keep in game shape and mentally-ready-for-tough-playoff-action shape rather than rest over these last 6 games.

Boston, Orlando, Atlanta again, these are good battles, why not just go for it?

See if we can win 66, work in Shaq with LeBron still playing, and go into the playoffs with a full head of steam.

Injuries can happen at any time... luck (and karma?) are bigger factors than whether they're playing or resting.

You could argue that we don't need to play all-out now because we could always warm up against the poor 8th seed Raptors/Bulls(/Bobcats/Bucks?) but I don't know, I'm thoroughly enjoying all these Cavs wins and just don't want it to stop.

Geoffrey said...

I too don't like the lineup with both Z and Powe playing together. That is way too many leg surgeries on the floor at the same time.

The growth of JJ is incredible. This guy is practically forcing Mike Brown to play him at this point. He still makes bone-head plays (losing his man, dropping rebounds/passes, giving Horford a 3 point play late in the game) but he is making up for those plays big time. Also, its nice that he is allowed to make a mistake and not have Brown immediately call for Andy 2 minutes into the second half...