The Cavs’ post All-Star break funk didn’t even last a full quarter, as the Cavs overcame a sluggish start to take control of the game and calmly pick apart the Bosh-less Raptors.
-LeBron had a very workman-like 20/9/9 on 9-17 shooting tonight: he didn’t try to force any drives and basically took what was there the entire game. I really liked how he played after starting the game off 0-4 from the field, turning his attention to trying to get his teammates set up and respecting Z’s hot hand on his favorite jumpers, as well as patiently waiting for seams and open jumpers. 8 of his assists came in the first half, as did most of his rebounds, and I’m actually kind of heartened that he didn’t gun for the triple-double, although it’s possible he’s protesting them after the New York fiasco. Also, his first make of the game came when he caught it in the midpost, backed down Shawn Marion effortlessly into the charge circle, made a quick fake and gather, and scooped in a layup while Marion stood rooted to the floor. That was his last post-up. LeBron’s sticking with an improved form on the jumper, but he’s missing a few badly, a sign that he’s in the process of changing it.
-This should be further down the list, but TARENCE KINSEY IS BACK!!! YES YES YES!!! He started the game tonight and immediately started doing Tarence Kinsey things, like making weak-side cuts instead of watching the action on the strong-side, running the floor, and…here, I’ll just sum up Tarence with this sequence.
-Tarence catches the ball on the wing and slashes into the paint, moving the ball laterally. Nobody cuts with him for counter-motion.
-Tarence makes the questionable decision to pull up and shoots an awkward leaner flying through the paint. He misses.
-Instead of running back under the Cavs’ basket after his miss, Tarence strips the ball from Anthony Parker before he can get out of his own backcourt and throws it off of Parker after he fails to control the ball in-bounds. Cavs ball.
-On the ensuing possession, while Z is posting up, Tarence makes a weak-side cut, finds the seam, and pops a balanced bunny jumper for 2.
-TARENCE KINSEY IS THE MAN. Tonight wasn’t his best game and he’s still getting his sea legs and isn’t a starter-quality player, but he just does so many positive things out there.
-The All-Star Break was great for resting all of our bigs. Z was back in the flow of everything and couldn’t miss an open jumper and was great in the low post, working the low post, drawing the double team, and making some great passes, including a beautiful lob to LeBron for an absolutely thunderous stuff. There was more of an impact on that dunk than most hockey games. It’s funny because it’s Canada.
-Andy pulled in 14 boards, was active all night on defense, got 3 blocks and a steal, and didn’t do one stupid thing offensively. That’s all we ask.
-JJ Hickson looking strong, putting a beautiful step-through move together for a hoop and finishing off a LeBron penetration for a 4-5 night with 8 boards in only 23 minutes.
-In fact, opposing GMs, Wally Szczerbiak went 4-4 from the field tonight, with 4 boards and an assist to boot! If this was Wally’s last game as a Cavalier, which is unlikely, it was a good one. Wally, we’re prepared to stick with you and your goofy mask for the forseeable future. Not tingling with excitement, but prepared with a steely resolve, splash of cold water, and last vestige of cautious optimism. This is probably how I would have felt had McCain won the election.
Mo Williams: 7-11, 17 points, 4 assists. All points on mid-range jumpers. A strikingly average game.
To clarify, the All-Star game was good for all our big men who didn’t jam their arm through a glass window playing pickup football. Although I’m sure Ben would point out htat while he’s just cut, the window is shattered. It didn’t do much for Darnell Jackson either-I think the window may have won a fight with Darnell Jackson. Darnell officially has “why do we pay him money instead of James White?” status. THERE IS NO WAY SOMEONE THAT AWESOME CAN’T BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR AN NBA ROSTER. And him and LeBron’s post-practice dunk contests would be the stuff of legend. Here, just watch this video 30 times.
And we’re back. Boobie Gibson also played terribly.
Bullets of Randomness:
Without Bosh, this is a truly bad team.
Who told Jason Kapono it was a good idea to take 6 shots that weren’t threes?
After Roko Ukic’s breakout 22-point performance against the Spurs, Roko broke right back in with a 3-point barrage. The era of Roko is not yet upon us. He’ll probably be able to swing one GM confusing him for Beno Udrih into at least a 12-million dollar 2nd contract.
When did Jose Calderon miss a free throw? I WAS NOT INFORMED OF THIS. When he rolled in two FTs tonight, my heart was in my throat until I looked it up to see what the streak was at.
Shawn Marion’s offensive game is under the category of “hilarious.” He’s clearly trying to show how effective he can be with the ball in his hands, so he drives and then, instead of pulling up or turning the corner, he just takes a 10-footer while still going at full speed with a defender on his hip. I’m sure there’s a worse way to try and score, but I don’t know what it is. 6 assists is nice, though. And when your broadcasters’ main response to criticism of the trade is “Marion is definitely better than Jemario Moon,” without mentioning Jermaine O’Neal, you’re probably a salary dumpee.
Raptors starters: 23-62 from the field. Not a recipe for victory.
Thing of The Game:
“Jigsaw Falling Into Place,” Radiohead. We’re less than 24 hours from the passing of the trade deadline and knowing more or less what this team will look like for the two most important runs at a championship in its history. Sleep well and pray.