Overview: The Cavaliers scored 34 points in the first quarter and 44 in the fourth to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers by a final score of 123-116. The Cavaliers blew a 19-point lead, but were able to recover thanks to big performances by Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson.
There’s something about hitting those first few jumpers that makes our starting big men unstoppable. Varejao started the game off by hitting two long jumpers the 76ers were more than happy to concede, and spent the rest of the game on a confidence bender that saw him attacking the rim, finding spaces, and finishing from a variety of angles. 23 points and 12 rebounds for Andy, who didn’t miss a shot from the field. Absolutely amazing performance from him.
Good God, the 76ers started the game off playing horrible basketball. They were bored and a step slow defensively, and offensively they’d just walk into their offense and fire a long two. It’s about the lowest possible level at which professional basketball can be played, and give the Cavs credit for taking advantage and jumping out to an early 25-8 lead, because they’d need all of those points later on.
Then Jrue Holliday and Elton Brand absolutely started going off, and things looked bad. One thing about this team is that it doesn’t have a superstar, so it will experience some more extreme runs than it did in the past; the “okay, things are going bad, let’s throw it to LeBron and watch him get a basket” plan is no longer an option, so there will be some prolonged funks.
Just when it looked like this was going to turn into an ugly loss, the Cavs roared back. Big shots from Boobie Gibson, a nice pass and drive from Ramon Sessions, a great and-1 for Varejao, some big plays from Mo Williams, and all of a sudden the Cavs had a 44-point quarter and their second win of the season. Great win, and one that showed that Cleveland can score on anyone when they have it going. Few other notes:
– Ramon Sessions made some nice plays out there, and actually looked like a point guard a few times. Let’s see more of that.
– Not a huge game from Hickson, but he still showed some great, quick moves for baskets that really show his maturation as a player.
– If Gibson can run the point and draw fouls like he did tonight on a regular basis, it’ll be a huge, huge deal.
– Very good game for Mo, especially considering that he didn’t hit any of his five three-point attempts. He needs to focus on running the offense first, and that’s what he did on Friday.
Bullets of Randomness:
– Did anyone else see how easily Andre Iguodala scored from the high-post, low-post, and by catching it on the blocks and finishing and wonder why he doesn’t do those things a LOT more? By the way, I just described all three of Iggy’s field goals.
– I nominate Elton Brand for the “best player who plays like the old guy at the YMCA” award this season.
– Jrue Holliday. Wow. That was impressive.