With the Cavs coming off their lowest point of the year and the Bobcats coming off their highest point, the Wine and Gold looked pumped while the ‘Cats looked exhausted. The Cavs got on Charlotte right out of the gate and never looked back, holding a double-digit lead the entire way and allowing LeBron to sit for the entire fourth quarter. After a stretch of more human-level ball, the Cavs had a game that recalled their month of absolute dominance.
-Fourth-Quarter takeovers are sexy and make the highlights, but there are such things as first-quarter takeovers. The points count all the same, and they can be as crippling as crunch-time displays sometimes. While LeBron generally starts the game looking to distribute and goes for the jugular late, after an outing in Washington that was far too passive until the final stretch LeBron decided to come out in kill mode.
He attacked mismatches, made strong moves to the hole, and even got a lefty dunk with the EXACT SAME amount of steps that he took with the “crab dribble” in Washington. If you’re going to let that go, please don’t change things up when the game’s on the line. Anyways, LeBron went 7-10 from the field in the first quarter for 15 points, the quarter ended with the Cavs up 17 points, and the game was essentially over from that point. Even though it all came in the first quarter, LeBron’s barrage was what demoralized the Bobcats and allowed LeBron to put in in cruise control for the final three quarters.
-Oh, this is a dangerous offensive team when our two shooters off the bench make their threes. Boobie and Wally combined to go 6-7 from behind the arc, and their play with LeBron on the bench after his initial barrage kept the game from ever really being competitive. The effectiveness of that second unit is often the difference between a close one and a blowout, and so much of it hinges on the two guys who we know can make shots making their shots. And honestly, what is it about Charlotte that puts Boobie in kill mode? Is it just that he wants to show up D.J.?
-Delonte and Mo combined for 13 assists. Hey, when shooters make shots and playmakers make plays, this team puts some points on the board! Who knew?
-HICKSON. Crap, this kid is a monster. When he’s playing with confidence and is setting up angles by setting screens and finding open spots instead of trying to force everything at the basket, he’s just relentless. I didn’t like that MB was essentially only playing him in garbage time before, because the way he’s going to be effective this year is working off plays made by others, like LeBron and Mo, instead of being fed the ball and trying to do it all himself, which is what he was doing when he was getting blowout minutes. If you’re looking for a silver lining to Z getting injured, this is it: Hickson could be a Leon Powe for us in the playoffs.
Play O’ The Game:
Generally, this is going to be a play that represents a turning point, but since this was a blowout I’m going to go with Boobie’s alley-oop to J.J. We all know that Boobie’s quick and J.J. can jump out of the gym: the amazing thing about this play was how FAST Hickson got from baseline to baseline. When Boobie got the ball, Hickson was behind him and a couple of Bobcats, and then he just absolutely flew down the court. In a league of freaks, Hickson’s got to be in the 98th percentile of pure athletes. With his speed, length, and hops, J.J. could be an amazing defender, especially on hard shows, and he can be so dangerous if he’s off the ball. Hang onto Hickson.
That’s all for today. Friday it’s the Celtics-that should be easy.