Overview: After losing a 23-36 first-quarter lead, the Cavs put away the 76ers with a fourth-quarter comeback, holding Philadelphia to 10 points in the final quarter.
Another monster first quarter and game for LeBron James. He scored or assisted on 25 of the Cavs’ 36 points in the opening quarter, and once again looked like an all-around monster in the first quarter, setting up his jumper and his teammates while keeping the defense honest with a few monster drives to the rim. 32 points on 70% True Shooting tonight, with 9 assists and 7 boards thrown in for good measure.
The Cavs’ offense gets accused of standing around and watching LeBron too much, but tonight it was the Cavs’ defense that got caught up in the show-they didn’t give the defensive end of the floor enough respect once again, and the 76ers stayed aggressive and was able to abuse the Cavs on defense with fast-break points and drives to the hoop.
The 2nd unit was a big culprit tonight-leaking 11 points in 4 minutes just isn’t acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. My main issue with them tonight was their pace of play-they went through 9 possessions in 4 minutes, which would extrapolate to 108 possessions per 48 minutes. They got caught up in being in a shootout, and were settling for way too many quick jumpers and sloppy drives. The 2nd unit has to understand that the Cavs will, statistically, be at a pretty significant disadvantage when LeBron is off the floor, and have to play smart, control the ball, and try to minimize the impact of what happens when he’s sitting. In the fourth quarter, the 2nd unit was able to get the Cavs back into the game, and that was entirely due to them playing smart and under control rather than thinking they played for the Suns.
JJ Hickson is a monster, and that midrange stroke looked extremely smooth tonight.
Only 1 jumper for LeBron in the 2nd quarter, and none in the second half. On one level, that’s playing the percentages, but with how many sloppy drives he took, I’d like to see him trust that jumper just a little bit more when nothing else is there, considering how good it’s looked when he’s playing a bit looser in the start of games.
Mo and LeBron just love finding Hickson, and his mid-range jumper even looked soft tonight. And boy, can he get to the rim fast from the top of the key-two straight games he’s had jaw-dropping plays just flying to the basket.
Good bounce-back game for Z, going 6-10 from the floor and logging 4 assists for good measure. Shaq’s a better player than Z and does give the Cavs some advantages, but LeBron just loves running wild when Z’s spacing things in that opening unit.
Very big game for Moon, getting timely dunks, knocking down the open three, and putting in very solid work defensively and on the glass.
Rough game for AP from the field, but him, LeBron, Moon, and even Andy on some switches just did a phenomenal job marking Iggy in this one. He struggled all game, and absolutely killed them by shooting them out of the game with horrible shots in the fourth quarter. I can’t remember a player that good being that horrible for an extended stretch in a game-deciding situation. AI missed 6 of his 7 jumpers in the fourth, most of them badly.
Mo Williams was doing work tonight-why was he not on the floor during that disastrous 2nd quarter stretch?
Alright, that’s all I have for tonight, but a lot of good and bad things shown by the Cavs over this 4-in-5 stretch. Hopefully they can keep the offensive flow they’ve shown in the first quarters and the defensive intensity they’ve shown in the fourth quarters. Have a good weekend, everyone.