The Cavs may have gained some confidence by winning in San Antonio.
The Cavs beat San Antonio at their own game Thursday night. They shot better from the perimeter, created turnovers, didn’t allow easy baskets, and played physical basketball. In keeping with Cavalier basketball, they out-rebounded the Spurs, built a decent lead, then nearly blew it.
LeBron was merely ‘average’ on Thursday, actually slightly below his average. He finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. He also had 2 great blocked shots, and a 3rd that was called goal tending. It probably was, but it was another great hustle play as LeBron swatted a lay-up from behind. That is becoming LeBron’s signature defensive move.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a force, scoring 17 on only 11 shots. He took over for the Cavs offensively when LeBron went to the bench in the 2nd. That group of Z, Daniel Gibson, Devin Brown, Andy Varejao and Damon Jones actually turned a 7 point deficit into an 8 point lead. They did it with great defense and team offense. Devin Brown had an outstanding behind the back pass to Damon Jones on a 2 on 1 fast break. That was set up by a steal from Andy Varejao. It was as if the Cavs knew they had to do more with LeBron on the bench, only this time instead of jacking up jump shots, they played as a team. They made the extra pass and fed Z on the low post. It was the best effort I’ve seen from the bench this year.
Varejao had probably the best game offensively I’ve ever seen him play. He made some jump shots, and at least twice he took the ball to the other side of the rim to avoid being blocked. In all he scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Devin Brown had 4 assists in his 16 minutes. That’s as many as Larry Hughes has had in the past 2 games. And he’s the starting point guard. At least Larry had a couple of nice steals.
The game was on TNT, and I have to say the coverage wasn’t all that good. Whoever was mixing the sound should be fired, because the crowd noise was fading in and out of the mix with the announcers. At one point you couldn’t hear any of the crowd, or the players, or the whistles- just the announcers. And Reggie Miller must have talked about the Cavs needing another shooter for half of this game. Are you trying to get yourself a contract Reggie? We 3 or 4 slow old guys that can’t shoot anymore, thank you. Actually, I bet Miller would be an upgrade over Marshall.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot that LeBron came down on Parker’s foot last night and tweaked his ankle. He ‘walked it off’ as my dad used to say, and finished the game. That could have been a serious problem for the Cavs who really can’t afford to be without LeBron for a couple weeks and have any shot at avoiding the Celtics or Pistons in the first round. Speaking of which, any team that wants to come out of the East this year is probably going to have to beat Detroit and Boston to do it. Unless of course you are Detroit or Boston, in which case you will not have to beat yourself.