Friday, November 14, 2008

Six in a row

The Cavaliers kept rolling along last night, winning their sixth straight game with an impressive 110-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets (highlights here). It was the team's best offensive performance of the young season (57% shooting) and they really clamped down on defense when they had to. After allowing Denver to pile up 61 first half points on 60% shooting, they held the Nuggets to just 38 points in the second half en route to their fifth consecutive home win.

Offensive Game Balls of the Night:

  • LeBron James - As usual he stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds in just 38 minutes. I can't stress how important it is to this team that they can now afford to rest the King for long stretches. This will pay huge dividends in May and June.
  • Mo Williams - This was Mo's first real offensive outburst of the season. It reminded me of those hot shooting nights he would have as a Buck playing against the Cavs. And his 24 points meant that LeBron didn't have to shoulder the scoring load again tonight.
  • Boobie Gibson - After going 0-for-8 in the win over the Bucks, Boobie really turned things around. He went 7-for-11 last night on his way to 15 points and showed off a vast array of strong drives to the basket, not settling for outside jumpers. His improved ball handling is a really pleasant surprise so far this season.
  • Ben Wallace - No that's not a typo, Big Ben had a great offensive game tonight. He chipped in with 11 points on 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from the line (!!!) including his first one that he accidentally banked off the glass. I love what Ben brings defensively and you'll take these nights from him whenever you can get them because they are few and far between.

Mo is quickly becoming the Robin to LeBron's Batman

Defensive Game Balls of the Night:
  • Delonte West - Delonte only tallied 8 points in his 33 minutes on the floor, but played stellar defense for long stretches when he was on Chauncey Billups. Billups torched Mo for 16 first quarter points and that's when Mike Brown switched Delonte to him. Billups ended up with 26 points, but it likely would have been much worse if Delonte wasn't making him work so hard.
  • Sasha Pavlovic - You wouldn't know it from the box score (zero points on zero shot attempts in 11 minutes, but Sasha stepped in and played some nice spot defense in the fourth quarter. Mike Brown is still tinkering with his rotation, but as long as Sasha can come in and play tough defense and not turn the ball over I'm all for it. Wally Szczerbiak got burned pretty badly on a few drives last night and at least when Sasha comes in the game you know he'll stay in front of his man.
  • Anderson Varejao - The mop-topped Brazilian was at it again last night. He baited Kenyon Martin into a flagrant foul-2 and an ejection late in the game when Martin threw a pretty tame elbow at Andy and he worked his flop to perfection. Martin then blew up when he was tossed out and it was a nice exclamation point to the night.
Overall, it was another solid win for the Cavs and a fun game to attend. This team is starting to understand the importance of winning at home and winning in November. They look to be hitting their stride offensively and can turn it up whenever they need to defensively. This has been a very good start to the season and they will again be tested when our good buddy Carlos Loozer pays a visit to the Q on Saturday night. I'm looking forward to being there for that one...

Tribe Update: Congrats to Cliff Lee for winning the AL Cy Young, an honor that should surprise no one that followed the Indians this year. I've written about it enough here this season - Lee was better than anyone could have ever imagined. I'm looking forward to seeing how he can follow it up next season... And congratulations are also in order for Grady Sizemore who won his first Silver Slugger award yesterday. Lee and Sizemore are two reasons (other than the start of Cavalier playoff basketball) that I'm looking forward to next April.