Not the prettiest game, but it still counts as a W. Cleveland shot only 41% from the floor, scored just 9 points in the 3rd period, had their starting backcourt combine to go 1-18 with 4 points and still won by double digits (again, this is a really good team). The Pistons gave the Cavs their best shot to start the game; they jumped out to an 8-0 lead and forced the Cavs into 7 turnovers, but the Cavs still managed to go into the second quarter tied at 18-18.
Cleveland’s defense was fantastic. The Cavs held Detroit to 38% shooting from the floor, 33% from downtown and only let the Pistons score 68 points. That ain’t bad. Individually, I thought Z did a fantastic job, recording 3 blocks and a steal while playing very good one-on-one D (Z had a great game overall, 13 points, 6 boards, 3 blocks, 2 assists and a steal). Varejao was great as well, being a general pest and his hustle was outstanding. Detroit didn’t score 20 points in a single period.
He wasn’t Video-Game James, but he was still pretty awesome. LeBron just missed a triple double, scoring 25 points to go with 11 boards, 9 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. James could’ve easily have gotten that 10th assist at any point in the night (Z’s halftime buzzer beater was waived off-correctly- and everyone missed everything in the third quarter). LeBron defended Tayshaun Prince (who shot the ball well early on, but finished just 3-10 as he was hobbled by a bad back for the bulk of the game).
Joe Smith was the MVP of the game. Smith came off the bench and gave the Cavs some much needed scoring (especially with Mo and Delonte having off nights) to go with his usual stellar board work. Smith finished with 19 points and 10 boards and he even made a 3 from the corner that put the Cavs up for good (61-58). Joe was a freaking beast on the offensive boards (nabbing 4), routinely out hustling the Piston bigs (though maybe that’s not as impressive as it sounds, since Rasheed Wallace quit before the game even started. Seriously, I’m not sure Wallace even broke a sweat).
Williams and West may not have shot well, but I thought they still played good games. Sure, their shots weren’t falling, but West still played great defense (Hamilton went 6-17, Stuckey was 5-11 and Bynum was 2-8) and ended up with 5 boards and 2 assists in 33 foul plagued minutes. Besides his shooting, Williams was awesome. Mo dished out 7 assists (could’ve had 8 if he would’ve connected with Bron-Bron on an early backdoor alley-oop), often zipping bouce passes off the dribble, netting easy buckets for the bigs like Smith and Andy. Again, this is what good teams (and players do) when shots aren’t falling, they step up the D and if the starters are having an off night, someone else steps in to fill the void.
Man, I can’t wait for Sunday’s home game. The crowd for Game 3 was already sparse and filled with lots of traveling Cavalier fans. Game 4 is on Sunday (off day!), the Detroit is down 0-3 and Michigan’s economy is in tank- expect lots of Cavs fans. I really hope the Cavs sweep, we don’t need a 5 game series. Just end it. Get some rest (and practice time). None of the other Eastern series look close being finished, so the Cavs could really give themselves a leg up if they lower the hammer on Sunday.