Archive for November, 2010

Recap: Cavs 101, 76ers 93 (Or, Mediocrity! Glorious, glorious mediocrity!)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

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.

Cavs-Related Bullets

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.

Some notes:

– 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.

Are the Cavs a .500 team or heading to the cellar?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

(Note on the video: I tweeted this earlier, but I would very much like to see an alternate Heat jumbotron entrance video, featuring LeBron lording over everything, set to this. That’s some Fantasia stuff right there. Also, the only way I could be more excited about the upcoming Kanye album is if he’d had time to sample this soundtrack. Everything needs to use this soundtrack. It owns.)

(Note #2: I was overwhelmed by how many incredible applicants I got for the links editor position. I’ve been putting off getting back to those of you who applied because I don’t want to have to not choose people, but you will hear from me soon.)

(Note #3: HOLY CRAP MICHAEL VICK. That was the game we’ve been waiting for for nearly a decade, and it came under these circumstances. His first pass to Jackson traveled 60 yards in the air, and with lateral movement it was probably closer to 65 or 70. I can’t get over how insane all of this is. This is like rookie LeBron never really improving his jump shot or shot selection, going to jail for dogfighting (I’m sorry, I can’t think of an analogy for that), getting signed as Durant’s backup and getting some token minutes, then finding his 08-10 form as he absolutely destroyed an out-of-shape, rapidly looking overrated Durant’s team. It’s legitimately cooler to be a Vick fan than a LeBron fan right now, by a large margin. I would not have called that when I wrote this in 2007. Final note on this: if Vick and LeBron’s transgressions were somehow combined, they would be the ultimate enemy of the Dawg Pound.)

Well, it’s nearing crossroads time for the Cavs. The team surprised a lot of people by getting some pretty decent wins, but they’ve also been thoroughly outclassed at home by the Raptors, Nets, and Pacers, and are currently 27th in the ever-popular Hollinger Power Rankings. So let’s take stock of the things the Cavs have done that decent-to-good teams do, and the things they’ve done terribly:

Not that bad: Sometimes they run the Princeton Offense well.

There’s cutting. There’s passing. There’s movement. Varejao and Hickson are surprisingly patient in the high post, and have both been stunningly accurate with their mid-range jumpers. There is legitimate NBA offense being played by this team at times, and it’s fun to watch when it’s working.

Very bad: The team goes away from it far too much.

Varejao and Hickson will break off the offense at times, and often the offense will devolve into Sessions/Boobie/Mo trying to create something out of nothing and forcing up a shot. That’s not going to get it done.

Not that bad: Sessions is capable of playing the point very well.

He’ll make plays. He’s fast and aggressive. He is capable of passing, and always puts the pressure on the defense. He’s shown the ability to make cuts when the Princeton is being run. The team’s best moments have been when the lightbulb turns on for Sessions.

Very bad: Sessions usually plays like he has no idea what is going on.

STOP FORCING DRIVES. STOP FORCING DRIVES. Ramon isn’t a good shooter, and offense has to come from somewhere, but diving at the basket 15 times a game, settling for a pull-up or floater when the defense rotates, or just going all the way, getting blocked, and creating a run-out for the other team is not good basketball. I never thought I could like a player this determined to get to the basket this much. If LeBron played like Sessions, I’m convinced he’d score something like 65 points a game, but Sessions isn’t LeBron. In fact, Sessions may be shedding some light on why LeBron didn’t just damn the torpedoes on EVERY SINGLE PLAY.

Not that bad: The interior defense

Varejao is a beast defensively, and he’s not getting pushed around by opposing centers. His defense on Brook Lopez was a thing of beauty. Hollins has actually been surprisingly stout inside as well. This team is not getting bullied or giving up easy baskets to opposing bigs, and that’s a big deal.

That bad: All other kinds of defense

Opposing wings are lighting this team up. Moon isn’t fundamentally sound enough, and Parker is 20 steps to slow to guard opposing wings. The team has no chance. Ramon and Mo aren’t doing a great job of shutting down penetration either; if this team wants to outrun teams, they have to find ways to stop penetration. You can upgrade this to wing play in general: Parker plays like a guy who was great overseas when he was more athletic, and he’s slowed down about 20,000 breaks in the first 8 games of the season. I hate to kill AP, because he has skills and knows how to play the game, but he’s just so slow now, and he’s being given way too much offensive responsibility. Jawad Williams still thinks he’s Ohio’s Mr. Basketball award winner, and Jamario Moon’s fundamentals are Jamario Moon’s fundamentals.

Not that bad: Depth

You can probably upgrade this to “pretty darn good.” Jamison is one heckuva sixth man, Hollins has been solid, Powe can contribute, and Boobie’s point play has been a revelation. This team’s bench has been a strength.

That bad: The team has to be deep, because they can’t rely on anybody on a given night.

Kinda speaks for itself. That was always the case with the other 11 Cavs on the roster when LeBron was here — now that LeBron isn’t here, it’s that much more of an issue.

Not that bad: Hickson is blossoming into a very good ballplayer

I honestly didn’t think Hickson would have this kind of perimeter game in a million years, and he’s mixed that in with forays to the basket, some nice mid-post moves when he faces up, and good cuts when the team runs Princeton. Very glad I get to watch him grow up as a ballplayer.

That bad: the team might be asking to much of him

The fadeaways and pull-ups are nice, but he’s not enough of a go-to guy to be relied upon the way the Cavs have been relying on him, especially early. He’s still at his best when he’s moving to the rim and throwing down, but the Cavs have been forced to toss the ball to him in one-on-one situations and hope for the best far too much.

Well, that’s all I have for tonight. We’ll see what this team is made of over this next stretch.

Recap: Pacers 99, Cavs 85 (Or, somebody cover Danny Granger)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

epic fail photos - Crane Fail

Overview: A depleted Cavaliers team fell to the Indiana Pacers, who got a game-high 34 points from Danny Granger. Antawn Jamison led the Cavs in scoring with 19 points off the bench.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

The less said about this one, the better. The Cavs were missing their two best players on Saturday, and that’s a lot to overcome.

The team was able to hang in there early thanks to Hickson and Jamison hitting some tough shots, but the ball wasn’t moving and the team was a step slow defensively, and it didn’t take long for that to catch up with them.

Ramon Sessions had a predictably bad performance, forcing floater/pull-up after floater/pull-up en route to a 6-17 night from the floor. The maddening thing is that Ramon will show these great flashes — his cut behind a Gibson/Hollins pick-and-roll and the beautiful outlet he threw to Jamison were two of the best plays of the night. But when the offense stalls, he will plunge to the basket, and that’s not a winning strategy.

Jamison made some jumpers early, then started forcing it and choked the offense a bit. Eventually, everything evened out and he had one of his typical lines: 19 points on 16 shots, 9 rebounds, a three, a block, and a steal.

Hickson’s gotten way better with those 18-foot turnarounds and pull-ups than I ever thought he’d become, but some early makes proved counter-productive — the jumpers are nice, but his jobs are to run the offense from the high post and move without the ball for finishes at the rim.

The defense on Danny Granger was some shameful p0op. The Cavs lost him in transition and let him get good looks at threes. When he went to the basket, they didn’t stop him. When he pulled up, they were nowhere in the vicinity. The Cavs’ complete inability to guard opposing wings is one of their biggest issues right now.

Good interior defense, though — even with Varejao out, Hibbert never really looked comfortable down low.

The Cavs definitely got bested in the running game — Indiana turned long rebounds into run-outs, spaced the break well, and did a great job catching the Cavs with those transition threes.

A bright spot was Leon Powe, who moved well without the ball and made some nice plays when he got it in the paint.

Alright, that’s all for now. Cavs have a chance to get back to .500 when they host Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers, November 13th

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Pacers (3-4) vs. Cavaliers (4-4)

Offensive Efficiency: Indiana 103.1 (18th) vs. Cleveland 102.1 (22nd)

Defensive Efficiency: Indiana 105.3 (21st) vs. Cleveland 105.8 (22nd)

Pace: Indiana 98.3 (8th) vs. Cleveland 94.8 (19th)

Notes:

First of what could be a few games without Mo Williams — Boobie and Razor Ramon will have to show up, and it’s going to be very important to get those Princeton sets working. Hickson must be patient from the high post.

Hibbert will be a load inside. No Varejao, so that could be a real problem.

The book on Danny Granger is to run him off that three-point line. If the Cavs fall asleep on him the way they fell asleep on Morrow in the 2nd New Jersey game, it could be a long night.

Collison is fast and wants to get to the basket. Cavs have to keep him out of transition and do a better job than they did with Devin Harris in the half-court.

Hansborough has actually been pretty effective in limited minutes — Cavs should watch out for that 2nd unit and make sure they don’t let him get them in foul trouble.

Alright, that’s all. Let’s see if the Cavs go above or below .500 tonight.

Recap: Nets 95, Cavs 87 (Or, the Nets giveth and the Nets use Devin Harris to destroy you)

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

epic fail photos - Bike FAIL

Overview: The Cavs failed to hold on to a double-digit lead against the New Jersey Nets, and fall to .500 after a 95-87 loss. Devin Harris led the Nets with 31 points. Mo Williams missed the fourth quarter due to a foot injury.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

The Cavs got out to an early lead, but never really moved the ball the way they did on Tuesday night. The high-post action wasn’t really there, and there weren’t that many passes per possession or a lot of quality cuts happening. There were a few nice plays out of transition and semi-transition (Daniel Gibson’s entry pass to Jamison for a quick post-up hoop and alley-oop feed to Hollins come to mind), as well as a few nice sets (how about that modified Kracken to get Hickson a dunk along the baseline?)

However, most of the Cavs’ offensive success came from going right at the heart of the defense and getting a layup or drawing a foul rather than keeping the floor spread and moving the ball. It worked because the Nets were playing sloppy interior defense, but it couldn’t be sustained forever. In the second half, the Nets started collapsing on the paint and stopped committing silly fouls, but the Cavs offense still ended up being Ramon Sessions or Hickson trying to convert contested shots at the basket.

Offensively, the Nets found new life when they stopped trying to force-feed Brook Lopez and let Devin Harris penetrate the lane and cause havoc. Harris is so good when he’s on — he can get all the way to the basket, he’s developed a deadly pull-up game from the free throw line area, and he knows when to make the right pass, not just the home-run pass. When Harris started getting aggressive, the Cavs always looked a step slow defensively.

ANTHONY MORROW. YOU HAVE TO GUARD HIM. AT ALL TIMES. It would be easy to attribute Morrow’s big night to Harris’ penetration, and that did play a role, but a lot of the times he got open looks because the Cavs were just being stupid. Closing out on Harris and leaving Morrow open. Jawad Williams leaving Morrow all alone to help against a Harris drive before Harris had actually made his move. Forgetting about Morrow after a Nets offensive rebound. Morrow’s a great shooter, and he’ll get his, but you can’t give him free looks. Some shameful poop, that was.

Not a great showing for the Cavs, and a sign of how much trouble this team can get itself into when they forget to run the offense. Some individual notes:

– Razor Ramon didn’t have a bad game at all, and had a lot of success attacking the basket. However, he forgot to be a point guard, and his predictable forays to the basket late in the game really stalled the offense — would’ve been nice to be able to put Mo in there.

– Awful shooting night for Boobie, but I continue to be shocked by his maturation into a point guard. He made some absolutely brilliant passes of all kinds tonight, in both the half-court and the full-court. The alley-oop to Varejao will make the highlights, but I was actually more excited by is slick entry to Jamison in semi-transition and a bounce pass to find a cutting Varejao out of a pick-and-roll.

– Antawn Jamison with a very Antawn Jamison game. 14 points on 12 shots, 9 rebounds, and scores from post-ups, catch-and-finish opportunities, and a few deep jumpers. He is so versatile, and yet his final lines end up looking so similar. Also, FREE THROWS.

– Solid games from Hickson and Varejao. They both had some nice movement off the ball and finishes, but didn’t really do great work from the high post — Varejao settled for some jumpers and Hickson was off-target from some passes. Andy’s defense on Lopez was again superb, but Hickson did show that he’s still a work in progress defensively a few times.

– RYAN HOLLINS OPUS. He’s big, he’s athletic, and he can flat-out dunk if given space. Very impressive 13 minutes for Hollins, to say the least.

– Ultimate Jawad played 12 minutes too many on Wednesday. I’d rather see Eyenga or Harris at this point — Jawad isn’t that gifted, and he makes too many mental mistakes on both ends.

– Sometimes, Anthony Parker will randomly draw defenders to the 15-20 foot range and make really nice plays off the dribble. It’s absolutely insane. Parker was once the best all-around player in Israel by a significant margin — with age and the added level of competition, I’d say that watching him is like watching a 52-year old MJ trying to make it work. It’s kind of cool.

– Stop taking pull-up jumpers, Jamario.

Bullets of Randomness:

– Freakin’ Kris Humphries.

Until next time, campers.

Preview: Nets at Cavaliers, November 11th

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

New Jersey Nets (2-5) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3)

Offensive Efficiency: New Jersey 97.3 (26th) vs. Cleveland 103.0 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: New Jersey 106.2 (22nd) vs. Cleveland 106.0 (21st)

Pace: New Jersey 92.8 (28th) vs. Cleveland 95.4 (18th)

Notes:

Well, more of the same would be nice, right? After beating New Jersey on the road on Tuesday, the Cavs are looking to improve to 5-3. Here’s some of what I’ll be looking for:

– Brook Lopez can’t be happy about his 6-18 showing on Tuesday. I predict that Avery Johnson will look to get him going early — if he makes his first two or three and gets some confidence against Varejao, this could be a very different game than the one the two teams just played. If he can’t get settled and Varejao stays in his head, it’ll be good news for Cleveland.

– Mo Williams will also be looking to bounce back — hopefully the home crowd can help him forget about his abysmal shooting last night.

– I’m really, really, really hoping that Ramon Sessions builds on that epic fourth quarter — everything just works so much better when a real point guard is running the show.

– That said, I’d like to see Varejao, Hickson, and Jamison keep working that Princeton offense and getting comfortable from the high post/the perimeter in half-court sets.

– If Outlaw has another huge night tonight, it will be time to take a look at how this team defends swingmen. However, I think there’s a good chance Tuesday night’s performance was a fluke.

Alright, let’s see if this team can improve to 5-3. I’ll be in the Daily Dime, so come say hi.

Recap: Cavs 93, Nets 91 (Or, Jamison returns, Sessions shows up)

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Overview: The Cavs survived a 1-12 night from Mo Williams thanks to strong performances by Antawn Jamison, Ramon Sessions, and Daniel Gibson, hanging on to beat the New Jersey Nets by a final score of 93-91.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

The good news? The Cavs aren’t all that bad. The great news? It looks like they’re getting better.

For the first three quarters, the Cavs showed how dangerous they can be running the Princeton offense with all the versatile weapons they have on offense. The improvement that Varejao and Hickson made to their jumpers in the off-season is nothing short of stunning, and they both look really comfortable playing the high post, keeping the floor stretched when they’re left alone, and finding cutters from the high post and moving without the ball down low.

Everyone on the floor looks really comfortable making those quick reads, moving hard when they don’t have the ball, and letting fly when the defense gives them room. Almost all of the Cavs’ bad possessions were the result of being too aggressive rather than standing around and waiting for something to develop, which is exactly what you want to see from a young team figuring out a new offense. Jamison’s return really helped — he does such a good job of keeping the floor spaced and attacking the rim from a (I am required to say this) variety of angles when he gets the ball down around the blocks.

Mo couldn’t buy a shot tonight, and that’s something that will happen to him from time to time — he doesn’t get to the rim very often, and a lot of his game relies on letting those mid-range jumpers fly when he gets space. Everybody has cold nights from the floor from time to time — when they happen to Mo, he doesn’t have many ways to get himself easy points. I actually liked a lot of what I saw from Mo. He put pressure on the defense, moved the ball from side to side a lot, and probed for seams really aggressively before making the pass or pulling up for a shot. Not Mo’s night from the field, but he’s playing the game the right way.

In the fourth quarter: RAZOR RAMON TAKING OVER. Sessions showed some flashes early when he made a nice hockey assist off a drive-and-kick and had a couple of easy finishes at the bucket, but he was still driving recklessly and made one of his signature blocked drives that turn into a fastbreak opportunity.

Then, in the fourth, Ramon Sessions the point guard showed up. First he drove to the basket and found Boobie open beyond the arc for a three that cut the lead to two. On the next possession, he went baseline, kept his dribble, and found Boobie for another three that cut it to one. On the next possession, he got a rebound and pushed the break, which scrambled up the Nets defense and left Jawad Williams wide open for a transition three that gave the Cavs the lead. Then he hit a floater to put the Cavs up one.

Later on, he drove for a layup, found Hickson along the baseline for a dunk, hit a beautiful pull-up jumper, and found Jamison in the corner for a huge three. Again, Ramon did all of this in ONE QUARTER. After an incredible, clock-saving, contested, rainbow three by Anthony Parker, the game was all but over. The Cavs are 4-3 and 3-1 on the road. Jamison is back and making shots. Ramon Sessions might pan out after all. The bigs are looking like they can run this offense. It’s a good day.

This defense can work, and it’s because of Anderson Varejao. So many people underestimate him as a post defender because of his frame, but he’s got wiry strength, he’s long, and he’s always putting pressure on his man and staying so tight on him that he doesn’t have time to set up his moves. When the offensive big does try to create space, Varejao is usually sitting on the shoulder he wants to turn to and waiting to draw the charge. On a related note, Brook Lopez went 6-18 from the floor and drew all of four free throws on Tuesday night.

Hickson is starting to mix up his improved jumper and inside moves with the off-the-ball movement that made him effective in his first two seasons — beautiful secondary cut off a Varejao pick-and-roll for a dunk tonight, and the 4th-quarter dunk he got from a Sessions assist was beautiful.

Jamison: 3-4 from three, 0-3 from the free throw line. How we’ve missed you, Antawn. Also: Mike Fratello said on the broadcast tonight that people “sometimes forget” about Jamison’s ability to make threes. Austin Carr, who exclusively refers to Jamison as “The Jump Shooter,” does not have that issue.

Daniel Gibson was both being aggressive, making good decisions, and hitting his threes. Huge jumper in the fourth quarter to ice the game. Also, it’s kind of hilarious how much better the Heat would be if Boobie was their starting point guard. I’d say the same thing about the Lakers, but I renewed my one-year vow not to say anything bad about Derek Fisher during last year’s finals.

Al Thornton and Travis Outlaw, two very similar and not particularly good players, had huge nights against the Cavs on back-to-back nights. Should I worry? Nah. RAMON SESSIONS. Until next time, campers.

Wanted: New links editor

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Hey everyone, Krolik here. As you may or may not have noticed, my course load this semester and my NBC job have made the day-to-day of Cavs: The Blog pretty tough. A few weeks after I got the NBC job, I put out a request for a links editor. Tom Pestak responded, and did a better job than I could have imagined anyone doing. He has my eternal gratitude for that, and he is more than welcome to post whatever he wants on this blog whenever he sees fit.

Unfortunately, the demands of the real world have made it impossible for Tom to contribute to this site like he did last season, and we are now looking for a new links editor. If you are interested in the position, please email me at johnkrolik@gmail.com with the subject line “links editor.” If you applied last time, do not assume that I still have your application on file — I do, but would like to know that you still have interest in the job.

You would be expected to aggregate Cavs-related news every weekday at some time in the afternoon. If you perform well, I can tell you that additional opportunities will become available to you, both on this site and on others. If you’re a young writer looking to get your foot in the door or just somebody who loves the Cavs and looking to make your voice be heard, this is a great way to do it. I look forward to hearing from any interested parties in the near future.

Sincerely,

John Krolik

(P.S. Know this — I truly believe that Tom went above and beyond during his time as our links editor and delivered more than I possibly could have expected, to my delight. If you feel you have that level of passion, that’s obviously tremendous, but please do not feel as though you will have to do as much as Tom did during his time here.)

Links To The Present: Nov 11, 2010

Monday, November 8th, 2010

“I take pride in guarding my guy,” he said. “I take pride in rebounding, all the little things that help us win.  Coach has confidence in me. I never worry about missing a shot or making a turnover. He has faith in me.” -Boobie Gibson [Bob Finnan]

I wanted the Cavs to trade for Andre Iguodala last year.  This article looks to the future and determines that AI2 would be a good fit in Cleveland.  Definitely worth the read.

Any list with Damon Jones on it 4 times must be awesome right?  Can we all agree to start doing the DJ leg kick in our local pick up games?

Speaking of Damon Jones and Andre Iguodala…

“Graham finished with 10 points in about 15 minutes, which earned him another 9:38 in the victory at Washington on Saturday night. Graham was plus-eight for the game, meaning the Cavs scored eight more points than the Wizards while he was in the game.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Daniel Gibson combined with Mo to control the game, especially in the final 5 minutes when the Cavs found themselves down 90 to 85.  Mo would put the Cavs up for good with 2 minutes to go when he sank two free throws to make it 97-95.  Boobie nailed his second three of the game on the subsequent possession which served as the final dagger.  The possession took nearly the entire shot clock and resulted in a 5 point lead and gooseys coming from all the bench.” [Brendan at WFNY]

Ryan Hollins has a higher PER than LeBron James, and I have as many offensive rebounds as the Chosen One this season.

Recap: Cavs 107, Wizards 102 (Or, Good news for people who like Cavs news)

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Overview: The Cavs got back to .500 by beating the Washington Wizards by a final score of 107-102. Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson led the charge for the Cavaliers, combining for 47 points and hitting two huge fourth-quarter threes.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

Mo Williams! 28 points, and 17 of those 28 came from either the painted area or the free throw line. Not every defense will be as porous as Washington’s, but it’s great to see Mo getting aggressive and attacking the paint like he has the past two games. And those two huge jumpers in the fourth is what this team is expecting Mo to do, but that doesn’t make it any less good.

Boobie Gibson! 11 of his 19 came from the paint or the line, and he stepped up and drilled his outside shots when they left him open. So far, it’s been the guards who were supposed to be shooters who have flourished, and Sessions has struggled mightily. Not what you would’ve expected on a “running” team, but there you go.

The second unit in general was crucial on Saturday night — Anderson Varejao (+1) was the only starter with a positive +/-, and every bench player had a +/- of +8 or higher.

Another promising defensive effort from the Cavs, who kept Blatche, Wall, or Arenas from doing major damage; Al Thornton going 10-16 isn’t going to happen every game, although it is a little disturbing that Thornton made 7 field goals from inside the paint.

Alright, back at .500. It’s a good feeling. Let’s see if the Cavs can keep it going when they play the Nets on Tuesday.