Cleveland 99, Miami 89

Surprising exactly no one, the Cavs came out strong. The game started 9-0 and for the most part, the Cavs held that lead. They ended the first quarter up 14 points (28-14) and basically treaded water for the rest of the game. Miami would make various runs to cut the lead to 7 or 6 points, but the Cavs always had some kind of answer.

Mo Williams can shoot the ball. Mo was a blistering 10-15 from the floor, 6-7 from behind the arc and 3-3 from the stripe. He hit his open looks all night (three treys in the first period, one per quarter afterwards) and he scored 12 points in the final period to squash the final Miami run. It wasn’t just jumpers, as Mo’s floater (the, ugh, “Mo Flow”) was falling and he kept the pressure on the Miami defense by attacking the hoop when it was there. Mo finished with a game high 29 points with 5 boards and 3 assists.

LeBron got to hang back and collect a triple double. James didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (he rebounded from his 5-15 game… with a 5-15 game) but finished with 14 points, 12 assists, 10 boards, a steal and a block (a Jason Kidd special). LeBron was able to pick apart the Miami D, consistently finding the bigs down low for easy baskets (especially Joe Smith). After a nice week or two shooting the ball, James was o-3 from downtown and just 4-7 from the foul stripe. Early in the game, the Cavs went to James posting up and he got a couple of easy hoops/foul shots (hooray!). But as the game wore on, they went to the post less and less (as they tend to do).

The bench was pretty consistent. Boobie Gibson hit 2-3 treys, Wally was 2-5 with 6 points and 4 boards and Joe Smith was 4-7 for 9 points and 5 boards. Smith definitely looked better against the Heat, although he’s still shaking off the rust on his jumper (he wasn’t getting minutes during his last month with OKC, so this isn’t much of a surprise). Wally had a bit of a rough time on the defensive end, often being matched up with rookie Michael Beasley (9-14 FG, 19 points) but for the most part, I thought the bench provided solid minutes.

Dwyane Wade was pretty good and pretty pissed. Wade notched 25 points, 12 assists, 8 boards and his first ejection. He was catching fire in the fourth period, starting off 4-5 before getting tossed with a minute to go. With about a minute to go, Wade got T’d up when he reacted poorly to a non-call on one of his patented “drive to the rim, jump into a guy and draw a foul” moves. I was OK with it; Anderson Varejao went straight up and Wade initiated the contact and simply threw up some junk looking for a bailout.

The starting bigs were OK. I must say, I do like the two-man game that’s developing between Delonte West and Andy (4-6 FG, 12 points, 7 boards). West found Varejao on some rolls to the rim and Varejao repaid West with a nifty give-and-go off of the high post. Meanwhile, Z had an off night. His jumper wasn’t falling and he seemed frustrated with some calls/non-calls and he finished just 2-8 from the floor for 4 points. You gotta wonder how tired the big fella was, as Brown limited Z to just 23 minutes.

and finally…

Go West. The Cavs are on the West coast this entire week, facing the Clippers on Tuesday and a back-to-back with the Suns and Kings on Thursday and Friday. These are all very winnable games, so I’m not all that worried, but I just hope they stay focused and don’t let their guard down (it’s a little different than their last trip, where they faced all playoff teams). I’m interested to see how the rotations will work with regards to Smith and Hickson. Obviously, Joe is gonna take most of J.J.’s minutes, but I’m kinda hoping Hickson can still get some regular minutes, at least until Big Ben’s return.

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