Thursday, December 11, 2008

Streak stretches to 10

With last night's 101-93 win (highlights) over the 76ers in Philadelphia, the Cavaliers ran their winning streak to 10 games. But in the process they may have lost another huge part of their line-up for a few games. Following Boobie Gibson's toe injury on Tuesday, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a nasty looking roll of his ankle last night. X-rays after the game proved to be negative, but it looks like Z may be put on the shelf for a little stretch to make sure he returns to health.

Mo continues to impress with his ability to creat off the dribble

But aside from the Z injury it was another good night for the Cavaliers. They didn't play their best ball, looked sloppy on both offense and defense at times, but they still got a much-needed win on the road. They basically won the game with their play in the third quarter when they outscored the 76ers 36-19. As I've said before, it seems like this Cavs team can turn up the defensive pressure whenever they feel like it. They did so in the third and at one point the lead swelled to 21 points. They proceeded to let Philly back in the game with a clunker of a 4th quarter (likely affected by the Z injury - after which they were outscored 23-15), but made enough plays down the stretch to win the game.

Mo Williams, LeBron, and Ben Wallace shined in particular for me last night. Mo continues to impress with his ball-handling through traffic and ability to create shots for himself when nothing else seems to be working. LeBron was his usual self, showing off a combination of strong drives to the rim, ball-hawking blocked shots from behind in transition, and a nice, long buzzer-beating three to end a sluggish first quarter for the Cavs. And Ben Wallace was all over the court again, collection 10 rebounds, 2 blocks (seemed like more though), and 6 points (even swishing a wide open baseline jumper).

It will be interesting to see how the team responds to a little adversity now with Z and Boobie out of the rotation. Four of their next five games will be on the road and it will be a good opportunity for the team to use that "bunker mentality" that Mike Brown is always talking about. I expect LeBron and Mo to shoulder more of the load now offensively, something they are both very capable of. And now that Mo is part of this group it won't be such a scary thought to insert Anderson Varejao into the starting line-up and have him play long stretches on the court with Ben Wallace. And aside from Mo's arrival, Andy has proven himself a capable part of the offense so far this season. We will need contributions from all the guys to weather these injuries that seem to always crop up at the worst time...