Thursday, December 18, 2008

That's more like it

On the heels of their close loss in Atlanta on Saturday, last night's matchup in Minnesota had the makings of a a perfect "trap" game, especially considering the Cavaliers have another tough battle looming ahead on Friday night in Denver. It would have been easy to overlook the Timberwolves, losers of 10 straight and sporting just a 4-20 record. Last year's version of the Cavaliers probably would have overlooked them. But you get the sense that this year's team is much different and much more focused. Instead of looking past Minnesota, the Cavs took care of business in much the same fashion they have all year with a 93-70 rout (highlights) in the Target Center.

LeBron James had another brilliant performance on his way to 32 points on a ridiculous 10-for-14 shooting. His dazzling array of passing and tough fallaway shots led to the Cavs outscoring Minnesota 30-14 in the fourth quarter and culminated in the rare road standing ovation. Definitely a classy move by the Minnesota crowd. And Delonte West also shook of a recent shooting slump by chipping in a personal Cavalier-high 21 points on 9-of-16 from the floor.

The King acknowledges the classy Minnesota crowd on Wednesday night

The 70 points scored by Minnesota marks the lowest by any Cavs' opponent so far this season. It also drops the Cavalier defensive average to 89.2 ppg, the best in the NBA and the only team allowing under 90 a night. At the 25 game point last season the Cavs were just 11-14. They are 21-4 now. And this was already their 17th double-digit victory on the season, compared to just 10 of them all last year. Again, barring some catastrophic injuries this team is on pace to do something very special.

Speaking of injuries, Bob Finnan gives an injury update. I had a feeling the toe problem might linger for Boobie. And I'm OK with him resting up and getting himself 100% healthy. Sasha Pavlovic has done an admirable job stepping into the rotation and buying into Mike Brown's 'defense-first' mentality. And he appears to have learned to stop the out-of-control drives to the basket where a turnover seemed to be the only possible outcome. I'm not saying that Sasha is anything spectacular - and I've certainly learned over the years to not fall for his flashes of talent amid maddening inconsistency - but his controlled play of late has been a pleasant surprise. Now if Z really can give it a go on Friday night I will feel much better about our offensive flow in Denver. I'm just glad he survived this back in '95...