Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Sweep

It was a good sports weekend in Cleveland, especially since the Browns weren't a part of it. The Cavaliers had a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday night. First they were home vs. the Pacers and then they hit the road the next night in Chicago - it's always a daunting task in the NBA to play that second consecutive night on the road. In the past few years it would have been asking a lot of this team to win both games, even against lesser opponents the likes of the Pacers and Bulls. Now with the added depth on this roster, taking both games should be the rule and not the exception.

The Cavaliers passed their first back-to-back test with flying colors after Friday's 111-107 win (highlights here) and Saturday's 106-97 win (highlights here). And it wasn't so much that they won both games, but rather how they won both games. On Friday the Cavs were forced to play out of their element. They didn't win with their defense (well, besides this play) but instead with their up-tempo offense. They flew their way to 68 second-half points and won a game they likely would not have been able to get last year.

Then on Saturday they were able to win with their defense, with their hustle, with their determination, and with their superstar showing why he's the best player in the league. LeBron's consecutive three-pointers in the final two minutes were the type of daggers that he has become famous for the last couple seasons. And we should all take a minute or two to commend LeBron for his improved free throw shooting - he has now made 42 of his last 47 after starting the season 12-of-20. He is now up to 77% overall. If LBJ can maintain that clip I see a lot more wins in this team's future.

The King and AV have been keys to the Cavs' 5-2 start

Through seven games the Cavs sit at 5-2, in first in the Central division, and about to begin a three-game home stand. Mike Brown is now comfortable with his rotation and some of his players look the best they ever have in their Cavalier careers. Anderson Varejao is playing his way into a big contract next year. Ben Wallace looks healthy and dominant again defensively. Wally has settled nicely into his role off the bench. Mo looks comfortable taking big shots and running the show. Z is steady and consistent as usual. Delonte West has adjusted very well to his starting 2-guard spot. And Boobie Gibson is showing some surprisingly adequate ball-handling skills and is starting to look more like the PG that we all hoped he could be off the bench - and of course his long-range shooting will always be there too. These are all reasons to get pumped about this team and be happy that they can divert your attention from yet another lackluster Browns season.