Not a bad way to snap the longest losing streak of the season (also: a good last game before the break). The Cavs beat the Suns with Phoenix’s quick tempo (and shots), hoisting 26 treys (making 11) with Mo Williams’s shooting 7-9 from downtown, on his way to 44 points. Mo also led the Cavs with 7 assists, to go along with his 3 steals and 2 boards.
That LeBron fellow wasn’t bad either. James had a pedestrian (for him) 26-6-6 night. LeBron moved well without the ball, getting easy buckets off of passes from his teammates. He also settled for more than a few jumpers, going 1-5 from beyond the arc. With Mo having such a hot night, James seemed more than happy to let him take scoring load against the Suns. He still had a couple of those “I’m LeBron James” plays; one where he muscled up a layup while being dragged down and he threw down a couple of quick, thunderous dunks inside.
Amare played well. Stoudemire finished with 27 points and 6 boards. Stoudemire had his jumper working, routinely hitting the faceup, and he seemed to be able to get inside whenever he pleased (though he had his shot blocked a couple times). Offensively, this guy is a stud. But defensively… well, he let Anderson Varejao drive right past him for a layup. Now, I like Andy, but he shouldn’t be able to blow by a guy with Stoudemire’s athletic ability. I know he’s available on the trade market, but I’m not sure the Cavs have to the pieces to get him, if they’d even want him.
Shaq on other hand, I could see myself getting talked into. There’s been some rumblings that the Big Cactus would welcome a trade to Cleveland and at first, I wanted none of it. But he looked pretty good Wednesday night, scoring 11 points in 5-7 shooting. He’s still a load to deal with on the block (he got great position most of the evening). My biggest concern with adding Shaq (provided they aren’t giving up Hickson) is if he would demand he start? I have a hard time telling Z to go to the bench and I’d really prefer not to mess with the starting unit’s chemistry. If you could have Shaq coming off the bench for 24 minutes a night, you’d give the bench a solid low post threat and he could help body up some of the bigger players (plus, you think he wouldn’t love to see the Lakers in the Finals?).
Wally is still playing hard. Wally has really played well these last couple of weeks which has been impressive since his name (and contract) has been the subject of every Cavalier rumor. He’s been making a lot of hustle plays and it’s seems like he’s found his niche in the offense. Szczerbiak had 11 points and 4 boards in 29 minutes; his jumper wasn’t falling (4-13 FG, 2-8 3PT) but he had a nice stretch in the first where he scored 7 straight points (with two coming on hustle plays).
There was an announcer switch in the second quarter. The Cavs traded color commentators with the Suns, sending over former Cavalier/Cavalier broadcaster Scott Williams. I was never a big fan of Williams but I thought he did pretty well. I can only image what Austin was like for Suns fans. I wish I could’ve been watching that feed.
We’ve got to stop this bitching. The FSN guys kept referencing the Pacer lost like the Cavs got totally jobbed. Look, I have a real hard time complaining when the exact same call was made .4 seconds earlier. As for the other stuff (Laker game, the triple-double, Mo’s All-Star big) let it the hell alone. Go win ball games. No excuses, right? This team hasn’t won anything and they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. They look distracted by all this stuff, hopefully they’ll calm down and regain some composure after the All-Star break.
Both Wallace and Varejao had good games. Andy was really active offensively; he filled the running lanes well and he was active around the rim. He shot a couple of jumpers, but nothing really outrageous. Wallace also had a solid game; grabbing 11 boards and 2 steals while challenging a lot of shots at the rim.
A much needed break. Fred McCleod mentioned that Delonte West hoped to play against the Suns, but was pushed back. I’m really hoping the time off combined with West’s return will help this team get out of their recent bad habits. Plus, his return will allow Wally to move back to the bench and give a defensive presence to the Cavalier front court. The Cavs won’t play until next Tuesday in Toronto. We’re also down to one week until the trading deadline, February 19th. Work some magic, Danny.