On one hand, I give the Cavs a lot of credit for hanging with the Heat for four quarters. The Cavs, most notably Boobie Gibson (26 points) and Anderson Varejao (18 points, 15 boards), really made Miami work for their 101-95 victory.
On the other hand, they still lost. I hate these moral victories (whoo! We lost by less than normal!), but the Cavs really did play with of a lot of energy and effort. It’s a positive sign after being blown out in just about every game over the past two weeks.
But it’s frustrating. So you guys can hang with the Heat, in Miami (not that the crowd is really a factor), but get blown out by the Timberwolves, Pistons and Sixers? Really? As long as they stick to offensive plan (the ball movement was quite good, especially in the first half) and play with some defensive intensity (there was roughly a billion more hard fouls Wednesday night compared to December 2nd), Cleveland showed that they can compete with anyone. Despite the final outcome, there’s some positives Coach Scott can point to.
However, all that being said, this really could’ve been much worse. While Cleveland’s 40% FG percentage looks (and is
) terrible, remember that that’s including Gibson’s sizzling 10-16 performance. Non-Boobie Cavaliers shot a putrid 35% (25-71) and if you take out Varejao’s 6-10, it drops down to 31%.
So despite finishing in double figures, the rest of the starters were ice cold, Mo shot 6-20 (1-10 3pt), AP shot 4-10 (1-6 3pt) and Antawn Jamison finished 5-18 (but 3-9 from downtown! whoo!). And if you can believe it, somehow the bench was even worse. Three players contributed a grand total of 12 points, 7 boards and 4 assists (J.J. was a team worst -12 in his 20 minutes).
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Boobie and Varejao performed well and kept the Cavs in this game. These guy were two of LeBron’s most consistent Big Game teammates. Both Boobie and Andy play without fear and both have had big moments in the playoffs. Jamison, Mo, Parker? Not so much.
Even with the effort and the intensity and ball movement and big nights from Boobie and Varejao, the Cavs still lost in the end. Turns out, you really need to account for Dwyane Wade in transition. Who knew he’s allowed to bring the ball up and just shoot a 3? Wade finished with 28 points (including 17 in the deciding 4th period), LeBron had 21-13-5) and Bosh pitched in 16 and 4. Miami didn’t play extremely well, but they just had too much talent for Cleveland to deal with.
The Cavs can stop their 9 game losing streak at home on Friday when they face the 11-12 Pacers. If they fail to snap their skid, it won’t get any easier any time soon; their next three games are against the Knicks, the Jazz and the Hawks Atlanta before returning home to face the Wolves the day after Christmas. Yikes.
Positive things happened. They still lost. Please don’t go winless for the month of December.