Solid win, good road trip. The Cavs beat the Nets to finish 3-0 on their three game road trip (against Philly, Washington and New Jersey, but still). Their starters didn’t play particularly well but Cleveland moved teh ball well (27 assists) and got major production from it’s bench (outscoring their New Jersey counterparts 52-15). J.J. Hickson led the way with 18 points and 10 boards but the big story was Antawn Jamison (who looked like he actually a gave a shit), who finished with 15 points, 8 boards and 3 assists.
The Jumpshooter (worst nickname ever?) did more than just stand around and shoot. Antawn looked engaged. He moved without the ball (beating the entire Nets team down the floor for an easy bucket) and actually moved with the ball (scoring on floaters and setting up others with his drives). In short, he showed all facets of his game and was very effective. The Cavs are going to need more games like this from Jamison. They’re a much tougher team to guard when Antawn is active and aggressive.
The ending was kinda crazy. Jamison hit a trey with a little over two minutes left to give the Cavs a 86-82 lead. After a defensive stop, the Cavs were scrambling (Boobie got his shot blocked) and the ball ended up in Anthony Parker’s hands and he hit a rainbow three as the shot clock expired (Cavs lead 89-82). Leading 91-85 with 21 seconds to go (after Jordan Farmar blew two layups), the game seemed well in hand but then Jamison was whistled for a terrible foul (you really couldn’t have gone up any straighter) and gave Anthony Morrow three freebies (which he made). The Cavs sealed it with two free throws from Parker (which is nice, considering the Cavs nearly gave the game away at line by going just 12-22).
J.J. Hickson: productive. Hickson played only 25 minutes but shot 8-14 on his way to 18 points and 10 rebounds. I’m more impressed with the 10 boards (3 offensive) than the points. I want to see to him notch double digit rebound totals on a regular basis. Against New Jersey, he was active and decisive (finishing nicely near the basket) and he was knocking down his midranger jumper.
It was not Mo Williams best night. Mo, coming off a nice finish against the Wizards, never got it going. He shot a woeful 1-12 from the floor and never found a rhythm offensively. Williams ran the pick and roll with a couple of Cavs bigs (Hickson, Varejao, Jamison) but his passes always seemed a bit behind. I like (re: LOVE) using him and Hickson in the pick and roll, but their timing just isn’t down yet. Ramon Sessions stepped up in Mo’s place, providing 15 points and 5 assists (including 7 and 3 in the fourth period, respectively).
I expected Brook Lopez would’ve hurt them more. With 16 points and 8 boards, Lopez certainly didn’t put up bad numbers but he only shot 6-18 from the field. I give a lot of credit to Anderson Varejao, who looked healthy as he pestered Lopez for much of the evening. Aside from Travis Outlaw (27 points, 4-7 3pt) the rest of the Nets didn’t really give Lopez a lot of help. I would’ve liked to see more of Derrick Favors, who grabbed 7 boards in just 15 minutes and looks like he’ll be a load to handle down on the block.
What? You guys again? The Cavs face the Nets in Cleveland tonight to wrap up their early season home-and-home. I’m interested to see how guys like Hickson and Lopez play after already seeing the defensive schemes (will Lopez handle Varejao better? Will Hickson get as many open looks? etc). Hopefully, the Cavs will continue to share the ball and not have a let down at home after going 3-0 on the road.