Cleveland 111, Miami 104

Great game, great win. This game had anything a basketball fan would want: a close, contested game between two good teams, both two superstars played great and had more than a few highlight plays (D. Wade had an all-time great dunk over poor Anderson Varejao), there were some great shooting displays (Wade and Mo Williams shot extremely well), the role players for both squads stepped up (J.J. Hickson and Jamario Moon gave the Cavs major minutes) and free throws, lots and lots and lots and lots of free throws (Wade shot 21 freebies and Bron-Bron had 18). The first quarter was spectacular; Wade had that dunk over Andy and LeBron ended the quarter (following a Wade bucket) with a runner to beat the buzzer.

The two stars were awesome. Wade finished with 36 points (9-21, 3-6 3pt), 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks while LeBron James put up 34 (8-20, 2-4 3pt), 7 assists, 4 boards, 2 blocks and a steal. Wade’s dunk over Andy kinda woke LeBron up and he responded with a couple tomahawks of his own. During the fourth, LeBron scored 10 of his 34 (7 of those came at the stripe) while Wade threw in 9. At times it seemed like they were trying to one-up each other but it would never last long and it never got out of hand or sloppy. James went to the post a few times (though not consitently) and his jumper still looks really really really good. Even though LeBron shot just three less free throws than Wade, I still feel like Wade gets every call. With his size, he can jump into players (something LeBron can’t do) and still get the benefit of the doubt. LeBron would just bowl ’em over.

But they both had help. Mo Williams had his second consecutive strong performance, notching 25 points (10-15 FG, 5-7 3pt) to go along with 4 boards, 3 assists and a steal. For Miami, Michael Beasley scored 24 points on 9-17 shooting. Four of the Cavs’ starters finished in double digits (Shaq had 14 and Hickson had a career-high 18) and Jermaine O’Neal was the only other Heat in double figures, with 15 (to go along with 9 boards and 2 blocks).

You’ve got to like what you saw from the Cavalier role players. Shaq (who you should consider a role player) scored 14 points in just 21 minutes, Hickson made himself available and scored 18 on 7-9 shooting (though only 4 boards) and Moon had 8 points and 6 boards off the bench. You can tell that the Cavs used the most out of their four days off, Hickson looks very comfortable in the offense and Moon has been a rebounding machine these last two days. However, some of the old guard didn’t playy too well; Z continued his poor shooting by going 0-3, Varejao was never the same after getting posterized (2 points, 5 boards in 15 minutes) and Boobie Gibson came back down to earth, shooting just 1-4 from beyond the arc (and 1-7 overall). I’m really pleased with Hickon’s play. He knocked down a faceup, he showed some nifty post moves, he passed well and he used his athleticism to get easy buckets. He’s going to have his ups and downs this year but you can tell he’s getting more and more comfortable on the court.

and finally…

I’m extremely pleased with the Florida trip. Two wins?! I was terrified going into the back-to-back in Orlando and Miami, I would’ve been happy with a split. But a sweep?! Two good teams, on the road, on back-to-back nights? Awesome. The Cavs came to play and they delivered. Yes, Orlando was without it’s two stretch forwards, but it’s still two good victories and it serves notice that the Cavs won’t be taken lightly. Mo Williams has been really aggressive since the break and Cavs fans have got to be pleased at that. Until further notice, Williams is the second option on this team (it’s certainly not Shaq) if the Cavs are going to make any noise this postseason, he has to be a major part. Seeing him play two great games against two good teams is a big positive. The Cavs can’t rest just yet, they face the Jazz in Cleveland on Saturday night.

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