Night and day from Sunday. The Wizards are a team in a bit of turmoil (in case you haven’t heard) and the Cavs simply took it to ’em. It was a complete turnaround from the Charlotte game. The Cavs were quick, active on the boards, spread the ball around (not a lot of standing) and just demolished the Wizards. The Cavs had six players end up with double figures and LeBron didn’t even have play during the fourth. It was nice to see the Cavs blow out a bad team like last season.
The offense looked crisp. It was fairly obvious that the Cavs got some rest and put in a practice or two (also, they played the freaking Wizards). Guys were moving without the ball, setting baseline screens and cutting back door. They got Shaq the ball while in motion and everything just looked more smooth. Also, the Cavs posted up, not just Shaq, but a variety of people throughout the game (like Mo, Delonte and even J.J.) and it was very effective. The Cavs shot a whopping 57% from the floor (44% for the Wizards) and an even 50% from behind the arc (11-22).
The starters got some rest before their trip out West. James had 23-7-8 in just 31 minutes, Shaq has 17 and 6 in just 17 minutes and no other Cavalier broke the 30 minute mark. Three Cavaliers off the bench scored in double figures; Z had 12 (5-8 FG, including a corner trey), Varejao had 12-8-3 while posting a +22 and Delonte (sporting a +21) gave ’em 14 points, 4 boards, 6 assists, a steal and a block in 25 minutes.
The Cavs played sorta rough with Future Cavalier Antawn Jamison. Shaq was nailed with a flagrant 1 on Jamison, Varejao seemed to be giving him an extra bump when possible and the Cavs ran islo plays for J.J. Hickson against Antawn (and J.J. responded, 8 points, 6 boards). Meanwhile, Jamison went about his business, scoring 26 points, making 9-10 free throws and going off for 18 in the third quarter alone (3-4 from three). He was the only Wizard to show up (not entirely true, Randy Foye scored 18 points on 8-12 shooting); Caron Butler sulked his to 8 points on 3-9 shooting, Nick Young scored 14 points but needed 18 shots to do it and Andre Blache needed 14 shots to get his 10 points.
Some other Cavaliers stepped up. Anthony Parker had his best night as a Cavalier, scoring 16 on 6-8 shooting (4-5 from downtown) though he only notched an assist and a couple blocks otherwise. Jawad Williams got his first extended minutes and made the most of ’em, going off for 7 points, a rebound and 4 assists. All in all, this was a team win and everyone who played, contributed. Yes, it’s against a free falling Wizard team but the Cavs did what they need to do- beat the bad teams.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed the uniforms. The Cavs wore their “Cavs Fanatic” jerseys, aka the throwbacks that never happened. Gotta say, I loved ’em. It’s the Price-Daugherty jerseys but mixed with the wine and gold colors. Awesome. Would anybody object to the Cavs wearing these things all the time? It’s the best of both worlds (for me anyways); the classic uniforms I grew up cheering for but without the Knicks colors. Me gusta.
Going back out West, for the last time. The Cavs start their final West Coast trip of the season (except for a two game jaunt to New Orleans and San Antonio) against the Nuggets on Friday. After Denver, they fly to Portland, Golden State, Utah and then back out to L.A. to face the Clippers. While their opponents aren’t nearly as scary as their last trip out West (Mavs, Suns, Kings and Lakers) but since they went 3-4 on that trip, my expectations have been raised. Obviously, you’d like to see them at least go 3-2 but 4-1 shouldn’t be out of the question, no? The Cavs return home on January 19th to face the Raptors.
Cross posted at LeBrowns Town.