Friday, December 26, 2008

And ugly win, but still a win

Last night's 93-89 victory (highlights) by the Cavs over the Wizards at the Q had all the makings of an enormous Christmas Day letdown. Trailing by 7 points with 1:40 left in the 4th, I even said the game was over. The Cavs looked lethargic all night long against one of the worst teams in the NBA. But they still had some fight left, finished the game with an 11-0 run and stole one of the uglier wins I can remember in a long time. The did it with defense down the stretch and some good free throw shooting (8-for-9 in that final 1:40).

The Christmas Day pre-game chalk toss was a sight to behold

We've come to expect so much of these Cavaliers that at first glance such a win can appear troubling. But when you factor in the fact that this was Christmas Day against a bad team that dislikes the Cavs and played hard, you can forgive the Cavs for throwing out a clunker. What's important is that they woke up just in the nick of time, kept the home streak alive (now 15-0 in the friendly confines of the Q), and most importantly they were able to gain a game on Boston after their loss in LA. So now the Cavs sit at 25-4, just 1-1/2 games behind the Celtics. Of course it's still way to early to be scoreboard watching like this, but how can you resist? The Cavs look to keep things rolling on Sunday night at the Q when they start a home-and-home series against the Heat. I expect them to be much sharper in this one.

And I wanted to note how fun the "LeBron chalk" pre-game ceremony ended up last night. At first it seemed like it would be just another silly Nike promotion. But I have to say that the view from inside the Q was very cool and the crowd was really into it. And I actually think the crowd collectively helped will the Cavs to that victory last night. The Q has become a very intimidating place for road teams to play and it is a great thing to behold. I also enjoyed seeing Brian Windhorst's comments on the subject this morning:
LeBron seemed genuinely emotional about the pregame mass chalk toss. Some great pictures came out of it. He said it was something he'll remember the rest of his life. There is no doubt he has a special relationship with the fans here. The only guys not happy were the janitors.
- Brian Windhorst