Overview: In a home game against the woeful Timberwolves, the Cavs came out with energy and took a commanding lead in the first and never looked back, putting the Timberwolves away behind 47 combined points from LeBron and Mo and a strong defensive effort.
Well, playing really bad teams can help make you look really good. LeBron’s first quarter, where he had 18 points, was definitely something to behold, as he came out with energy and looked to put the game away right out of the gate. He nailed a 29-foot three with the shot clock running down (with a perfect stroke, I add), was flying to the basket at will, nailed a heat-check three pulling up on a fast break, and missed a heat-check that the play-by play GENEROUSLY calls a 25-footer-that was from a dribble inside of half-court. However, after that, he actually pump-faked a heat check and blew by his man closing out for a layup. Using made outside shots to open up the paint instead of using them to set up harder shots from deeper? Who knew that could work?
After the first, he only had two field goals, more or less giving the game to his teammates to take home offensively and hawking the boards for a very strong 12 boards-these weren’t easy ones nobody wanted, they were full-on Dwight Howard snaps in traffic and were part of a strangling effort on the boards-Minnesota, the 8th-best offensive rebounding team in the league, came into the game with an offensive rebound rate of 28% but only got 17% of the offensive boards tonight, with Kevin Love only snagging one offensive board.
LBJ also added 7 assists for a line of 25/12/7 on 65% TS against a surprisingly harassing Minnesota defense on LeBron, which was able to coax five turnovers out of him.
The play of the day was definitely LeBron getting a (hard but clean) flagrant foul from Jason Collins, shooting the free-throws, then immediately flying backdoor for an Alley-Oop stuff on the inbounds play. He was actually looking down at the rim. Ridiculous.
Mo Williams also definitely came to play, drilling half his threes and finding the confidence in a midrange game that had gone a little dormant, hitting 4-6 from midrange and showing the ability to score in a flurry with LeBron on the bench.
Boobie was 4-5 from beyond the arc, had two assists against one turnover, didn’t stop the ball, and only took 2 shots inside the arc. The key is that all the looks were open-the less he forces, the better he becomes. I’m thinking that new contract was at least as much of a problem for him as the toe was.
Delonte also seems to be exuding confidence, going for a Delonte-like 13/5/6 by attacking the hole, setting up a midrange game, and keeping the ball moving.
You know what, the whole team came to play tonight. The rotations were crisp, everyone was making the extra pass and hitting shots, and 7 players had 2 or more assists. (One of the 2 who didn’t? Mo.)
On the “Brazilian Backhand”-for the love of God, no more catch-phrases. (By the way, do NOT Google “Brazilian Backhand.”)
Bullets of Randomness:
Good lord, this Timberwolves team is a mess. Foye, Telfair, and Miller all come off the bench while Kevin Ollie starts.
Twice, Mike Miller drove and kicked to Sebastian Telfair for a corner three attempt. What’s wrong with this picture?
In fact, Mike Miller had all of two field goal attempts, with one coming on a fast-break he couldn’t not take. “Mike Miller, point guard” may be the NBA’s answer to “Joaquin Phoenix, rapper.”
Randy Foye: 5-9 from deep, 1-7 from two. Wasn’t this kid supposed to be a Dwyane Wade-type?
You’re not going to believe this, but Kevin Ollie doesn’t look like a starting-quality NBA point guard. We knew this during the Clinton Administration. By the way, Bobby Brown can really play, and he’s buried under Kevin Ollie.
I revise my opinion from “Kevin Love is corpulent and bad at basketball” to “Kevin Love is corpulent and can rebound. Also, he looks like a jerk.”
I’m not sure what I can say about Dan Gilbert’s spectacularly awkward third quarter in the broadcast booth, other than that it was amazing.
Although at one point, Gilbert did point to the Cavs’ popularity by saying how hard it was to get to play as them on XBOX LIVE NBA 2K9. Coincidentally, I played this game for the first time yesterday against my friend, and I can tell you this: everyone wants to be the Cavs because LeBron is completely ridiculous in that game. He’s up there with Michael Vick in pre-passing cone Madden.
When me and my friend played, LeBron finished with 45 points on 20-23 shooting from the field with 6 assists and the game-winning three with two hands in his face at the buzzer. (Also, when my friend double-trapped him, he made the pass to Mo Williams for a game-tying three, which was cool because that’s what happens in real life.) I can’t believe I got an excuse to tell that story on this blog. I swear my life cooler than this blog makes it seem. I also realize that’s not saying a lot. See y’all Sunday.