LeBron busts through the line of scrimmage…Touchdown! Well, what do you see in this picture?
Someone might want to remind the Hawks what sport they play. I can’t say that I blame them however. At about the 9 minute mark in the 3rd quarter LeBron decided he’d had enough and the wasn’t going to lose this game. And he didn’t. To that point LeBron had only 5 points in the game, he would add 31 more, including 19 of the Cavs last 22 points. Said Daniel Gibson, “He got into one of those zones we all love, It was fun to watch.” Yeah, I’d buy that. Sort of reminded me of another such stretch, back in the playoffs against Detroit.
The Cavs as a team shot much better against Atlanta, including 6 of 10 from Larry Hughes. Zydrunas had a rough night, grabbing 5 boards and scoring only 3 points. His shot just wasn’t there, and they defended the pick-and-pop well, which is Z’s bread and butter. Drew Gooden had himself a good ballgame, and Varejao added 11 boards and 8 points from the bench. I was impressed with the balance of playing time the three big men got last night, and since Drew had the hot hand of the three, he was rewarded with more minutes. What a concept!
It has been a little while since I’ve written about the Cavs, and a lot has taken place in between. The Cavs beat Miami and Dallas, then laid an egg against New Orleans. But perhaps more importantly, Damon Jones has worn out his welcome in Cleveland, and Ira Newble might have signed his trade papers as well. It seems Damon isn’t too happy nowadays. He reportedly walked around the arena changing Christmas carol lyrics to trade requests within earshot of the media. Like that wasn’t intentional. He made comments about wanting to play for Miami again, all but saying he could be the difference maker on that team. Damon, let me speak for all Cleveland fans for a moment. There is nothing we would like more than to see your sorry-shooting butt playing for the Heat again. But let’s face it Damon, you are waaaayyy overpaid. Nobody wants you. Do you think that Cavs have been turning down trade offers for you?
In the past 8 games, Damon has played a total of 12 minutes. And all of those came in that stinkfest against the Knicks. The only way that Jones would be valuable to the Cavs is if he could come in at a moments notice and drain the long ball. He cannot play extended minutes, because his defense has sieve-like qualities. And so, the Cavs will be saddled with his contract for the rest of the season and beyond.
As for Newble, perhaps it is a reflection on coach Mike Brown that Newble refused to enter the Miami game. I will not pretend I know anything about being a trainer in the NBA, and I can’t say how much ‘stretching’ Ira would need to do before he enters a game. I can say that to the fan it smells a lot more like sour grapes. It looks like Ira was pouting because he hadn’t entered the game until the final minute. Now, maybe Mike Brown shouldn’t have tried to put him in there. Maybe that is sort of a slap or insult. But truth is Newble is paid to be ready to play whenever the coach wants him in the game, and so he should be fined right alongside Damon Jones for refusing to enter that game. He wasn’t prepared to play and he should have been. If he was asked to enter the game with 3 minutes to go would that have made a difference? How about 5? Where is the line Ira?