Overview: The Cavs got back to .500 with a convincing home win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Daniel Gibson led the Cavaliers with 18 points and 8 assists off the bench.
One nice thing about being a fan of a not-all-that-talented team: they take bad teams seriously. The 76ers are undersized and can’t really shoot — instead of fooling around before putting the game away in the fourth quarter, the Cavs attacked the basket early and often while packing the paint on the defensive end.
The Cavs weren’t shy about attacking on Tuesday, and nearly all of their first-quarter points came from the painted area. Varejao was effective from inside, Hickson put a beautiful up-and-under move on Brand for a dunk, Sessions kept getting layups and missing them (lord, does that man miss a lot of layups), and Joey Graham started absolutely brutalizing Evan Turner in the post once he got off the bench. Nobody had a great offensive night for the Cavaliers, but the team was freaking relentless. The ball moved, players moved, and I can’t remember anybody settling for a contested jumper with time left on the shot clock. It wasn’t beautiful basketball, but the effort level more than made up for it. If you put in that kind of effort at home against the 76ers and don’t make mistakes (only 7 turnovers for the Cavs), you’re probably going to win.
– Game ball goes to Boobie Gibson. He ran the offense beautifully, and he hit some huge threes in the fourth quarter. He still isn’t much of a threat to score inside the arc, but he makes up for it with his passing — he appears to really have some chemistry with Hollins on the pick-and-roll.
– Quiet night for Hickson, who finished with only 8 points and 2 rebounds. The good news is that he didn’t force anything, and the better news is that Hollins and Graham were able to pick up most of his slack.
– Wow, Andy is tough. First game back from a rib injury, and he went right back to mixing it up on both ends and taking charges for the team. That’s the type of guy a rebuilding team needs to have any kind of success.
– Oh, Ramon Sessions. He actually played the game the right way on Tuesday and didn’t force anything too crazy, but he is a comically poor finisher at the rim.
– Gotta give Anthony Parker props for not trying to do too much and initiating what may have been the play of the year for this team — Parker saved a ball going out of bounds and whipped a behind-the-back pass to lead the break, which was picked up by Jamison and handed to Andy for an and-1.
– Joey Graham! Who knew? Love his toughness and desire to go to the hole, and I expect he took Jawad’s spot in the rotation tonight.
– Manny Harris — mixed feelings. Good athlete, and has a knack for making home-run passes, but he had some ill-advised forays to the basket tonight. I’m shocked that he didn’t get benched after going one-on-four and turning it over in what should have been a last-shot situation at the end of the first.
– Jamario needed this game. He looked great on both ends, found himself in the right place, and finally got some jumpers to fall. The Cavs need him to pull it together if they want to run, so this game was a great sign.
– Defensively, Thaddeus Young was the only player to really have success — he’s technically a forward, but he plays more like one of the athletic wing players the Cavs have had so much trouble guarding this season.
– Jamison was slightly off, and couldn’t get some of his signature odd-angle shots to fall, but he was still pretty much Jamison. Good rebounding, kept the floor spaced, made some plays in the low-post.
Alright, that’s all I have for tonight. Time to go road-tripping against some tough teams — we’ll see how that goes. Until later, campers.