The score was close for most of the game, but it felt like the Cavs were on cruise control. After the first quarter, game was knotted at 28. At halftime, the Cavs trailed by two (56-54), and they cut it down to one (76-75), heading into the third quarter. However, despite the poor effort and constant whining to the officials, at no point did I think this game was ever in doubt. Sure, the Cavs were playing with fire, if someone got hot or the Cavs went cold, things could’ve gotten dicey, but you just knew they were going to pull it out in the end. And did they ever. The game was still tied (91-91) with roughly five minutes to go and the Cavs blitzed the Pistons with a 22-10 run to seal the game.
LeBron had a triple-double. Bron-Bron finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and a block (that shoud’ve been called a goaltend). I’ve said this before, but I’m amazed that I continue to be amazed by what he does on a nightly basis. While watching this game alone in my apartment, twice I audibly said to myself, “nice pass” because of LBJ (once for an over the top pass to Jamison in the first half and then for his late game drop off to Varejao. Just gorgeous). That kills me, he has me talking to myself. I will say I’m a bit concerned that they needed James to play a whopping 43 minutes to beat this crappy version of the Pistons, but you’ll have that from time to time.
Nice game from Mo, kinda. The good: Mo had 20 points, 4 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals. He was a factor in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points in the final period, including three big triples. The bad: Mo had a couple of awful turnovers down the stretch (a double dribble and a terrible, sloppy pass to LeBron) and he fouled Charlie Villanueva on a trey midway through the fourth. I want Williams to be more aggressive (especially at the start of the second period); I hate when he dribbles the ball and wastes the shot clock and I like the trouble he causes when he attacks (LeBron gets wide open when he drives). He needs attack the defense more, make them work.
Antawn Jamison had a quiet double-double. Jamison finished with 15 points (7-14 shooting), 12 boards and 3 assists. Not too shabby (though taking 14 shots for 15 points ain’t great). However, he had 13 and 9 at halftime… In the second half, I felt the Cavs turned Jamison into a spot up shooter, the stretch 4. Making him a stretch 4 is fine here and there, Jamison can knock down those corner threes… but he can do more than that. I have the same issue with Delonte (who sat with a sore knee); while these guys can knock down shots, they’re more than just catch-and-shoot players. Having them stand around and watch LeBron (or, at times, Mo) dribble the ball for 17 seconds isn’t using them to the best of their abilities.
No one was happy with the refs. The Cavs were chirping at the refs for the bulk of the game and maybe it paid off. Cleveland benefited from a few key calls down the stretch. In the fourth quarter, LeBron got away with both a charge and a goaltend (even if Fred McLeod didn’t want to admit it) and the refs gave him one of the biggest continuations I’ve ever seen (practically the whole lane). Overall, the refs weren’t good and I’d even say they tilted Detroit’s way (the Cavs had a point, even if they needed to shut up), but the Cleveland got the big calls late in the game.
The bench continued to play solid ball. Jawad Williams had a nice game, scoring 10 points (7 in the second period). Varejao was really effective, going 4-5 from the floor to finish with 9 points, 6 boards, 3 assists (including a nifty over-the-shoulder to Jamison) and 4 steals. With Delonte out, Boobie got some PT and made the most of it, going 2-3 from the floor and hitting the only three he took. Something to keep an eye on, after getting 20 minutes against the Celtics, Jamario Moon only received 9 against Detroit (though it’s probably due to Jawad’s hot shooting more so than Moon’s play).
I go back and forth on the Cavaliers’ celebrations. The goose neck stuff, the jumping up and down, the handshakes… it’s a bit much. On one hand, it’s not like they’re taunting people. They aren’t getting in guys faces or trash talking. For the most part, all of the crap is directed at each other. However, the Cavs and LeBron celebrated his dagger three like he just clinched a playoff series. I know Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince are still there, but this is not the same Pistons team; they’re older and just not as good. It shouldn’t have taken a late flurry of threes to beat these guys. I can definitely see why they’d piss people off.
I miss the Farmer’s Only commercials. These Isley’s Chip Chopped Ham commercials just aren’t doing it for me (it makes it hammier!). City folks just don’t get it. Anyways, the Cavs face the Pacers on Wednesday night at The Q, which is always fun. Though the Cavs tend to have their way with Indiana, Danny Granger usually plays LeBron pretty well and they’ve had some nice, nice battles over the years. The Cavs have played two games in their four-in-six days stretch; after the Pacers, they’re in Chicago on Friday and face these same Pistons on Sunday at The Q.
Cross posted at LeBrownsTown.com