After getting manhandled for the first three quarters against the Clippers in a texbook “trap game,” the Cavs scored 35 of their 87 points in the fourth quarter to erase a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit and win the game. The winning basket was Mo Williams’ three-pointer with 6 seconds to go. LeBron added a triple-double.
Holy crap. So this is what that whole “Witness” business is all about. This was an amazing one to see live.
LeBron came out way too passive. He didn’t have a field goal until .8 left in the first quarter, when he finally just drove the lane instead of waiting for Mo and Delonte to snap out of their funk or tossing up left-handed running skyhooks. LeBron got 32 points tonight going 1-10 outside of the paint: the lane was there. This is not a great defensive team.
When he turned it on, however, he was absolutely incredible. For not having anything going from the field, this is about as good as you can play. LeBron was scrapping for layups, finding his teammates not for jumpers but for layups and dunks, getting to the line over and over, and getting nearly every rebound in sight. This was LeBron using his complete game to impose his will on the court without having to do all the scoring. Although in the fourth quarter, where we did score 35 points, LeBron was doing pretty much all the offensive heavy lifting, getting into the lane time and time again or hitting the roll man if the Clippers’ rotationally-challenged bigs tried to shut off his drive lanes.
Mo Williams. What do I say? For 47:54, he had absolutely as bad a game as you can have. He’s kind of an Anti-LeBron in that he’s a guy who’s primarily a straight-up scorer whose offense comes from the perimeter, so when he’s not in a flow things can get very bad very fast. (Fortunately, he’s ridiculously consistent.)
Tonight, he wasn’t hitting his shots off the dribble. He wasn’t hitting open threes. He wasn’t doing well defensively. He had one assist against four turnovers.
And yet, for the third game in a row, Mo Williams was the difference between victory and defeat. And if I had to pick one game to show how valuable Mo is to this team, it might be this one. No matter what he’s done before in the game, he’s the guy who’s there when we need him. Tonight, he was the difference between a great win and the worst loss of the year.
Delonte got off the hook, too-he was an absolute non-factor all game long, which is the one thing he generally never is.
Again, I’m going to point out just how good Joe Smith and Andy were at rolling to the basket all game long and getting layups, and how unbelievable LeBron was at finding them with amazing passes. I do not think it is a coincidence that this came against Zach Randolph.
Bullets of Randomness:
I have to wake up in 6 hours and I have a miserable, miserable cold, and I’m tired. Mike Taylor, the YouTube dunking guy, is one of the best defensive guards I’ve seen. I’m going to bed. Sweet dreams, all. Here, MGMT.