Recap: Cavs 126, Clippers 119 (Or, CAVS WIN!)

February 11th, 2011 by John Krolik

Overview: The Cleveland Cavaliers ended the longest losing streak in NBA history with an overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

OH MY GOD THE CAVS WON BULLETS:

It feels very, very strange that this team is worse than its record indicates. This is this team’s second win since November. Both of those wins have come in overtime, and both were tied by Mo Williams on the last Cavs play of regulation. Four of the team’s nine wins have been in overtime games or games decided by three points or less, and the team has won zero games by double-digits.

In a lot of ways, this game was a referendum on the Clippers. This is a 4-19 team on the road, and despite all the hype around Blake Griffin, the team has some serious issues. And Blake Griffin, as great as he is, has some serious issues.

The good news for Cavs is that J.J. Hickson was a beast. The mitigating factor there is that Blake isn’t much of a help defender — he has all the physical tools to be a monster on the weak side, but he’s been allowed to coast defensively in Del Negro’s system. Still, J.J. has looked great for the last couple games, and he continued to look great tonight.

27 points and 14 rebounds is great news — what makes it even better is that only two of J.J.’s points came from outside of the paint. Hickson’s finally getting back to attacking. He still made some big mistakes (how big did that ridiculous travel with .5 left in the first half almost end up being?), but he’s showing why Cavs fans were so excited about him before the season. And his defense on Blake in the post late was great. (Blake’s other major weakness — he has no moves over his right shoulder in the post. He should spend all summer working on that left hand.) And that block? WOW. WOW WOW WOW. Hickson’s 22, and he outplayed Blake on Friday. That’s good stuff.

Oh, and that last block looked like a goaltend in real time. It was pretty close on the replay, but 9 times out of 10 you get called for a goaltend if you try to get a block from that far out of position. Cavs caught a break there.

Mo Williams looked hobbled and forced some shots, but his playmaking definitely helped, and he was there to make the big shot to tie the game. It’ll be interesting to see how the team works him back in.

Ah, Jamison. Of course he would be responsible for breaking the streak. He was great offensively, making his shots from outside and drawing fouls inside. And that late three-pointer may have been the defense. He was still Jamisonian defensively, and if the Cavs had lost I’d have a lot of thoughts about how this team cannot get a defensive stop to save its life, but he was feeling it tonight.

Daniel Gibson. What a clutch shooter. The guy is a machine.

That’s honestly all I have for tonight. Crazy to think the streak is actually over. Crazier to think that a home win against the Wizards would give the Cavs two wins in a row. I’ll see you on Sunday.