LeBron James waited…almost too long…to take over this one.
LeBron James led the Cavs in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocked shots. Yet, without a few of his teammates, the Cavs wouldn’t have pulled this one out. Andy Varejao came up big tonight, despite playing with a bruised knee and an Achilles sprain. Varejao grabbed 18 boards and scored 16 points in his 41 minutes. It was Andy that willed the Cavs back into the game in the second quarter when LeBron took a seat.
The Bobcats, and specifically Jason Richardson opened the game scorching hot. The Cavs managed to hang with Charlotte, and eventually opened up an 8 point lead in the second, as Richardson went cold. The Cavs finished the first half up 58-51. But, as has been the trend for the Cavs, they started the third quarter cold, and relinquished the lead. James, who had 13 points at the half, didn’t score at all in the 3rd frame.
The fourth quarter began with the Cavs down 8. Gibson and Gooden made big plays offensively down the stretch, but LeBron began to take over the game with defense. Charlotte scored only 16 points in the fourth, and the last three came on a long bomb from Raymond Felton to send the game into OT.
In the 2 extra sessions James scored 12 more points, grabbed rebounds, and made great hustle plays. After 2 OT’s the Bobcats were on the short end, 113-106. The headlines and highlights will talk about LeBron’s final flurry, but the Cavs would have never seen OT had it not been for Andy Varejao and Daniel Gibson. Gibson finished with 14 points, and was 4 of 6 from three point range. The Cavs as a team shot 45%, led by LeBron’s 10 of 20 night. So, I guess you can add field goal percentage to the stats LBJ led the Cavs in. Good thing the team was following his lead tonight.