Friday, March 20, 2009

Still rolling at the Q

The Cavs turned over a new leaf last night at the Q in their 97-93 OT win over Portland (highlights). On a night when their outside shots weren't falling they found a way to get their inside game working again. They committed to getting their points in the paint, forcing the ball into Z with his back to the basket, and ran plenty of sets with LeBron planted low in the post. The results were highly favorable with the Cavs getting 42 points in the paint, a welcome change from the frequent jump-shooting that has dominated their games of late.

After an ugly first quarter that saw both teams combine for only 31 points, the Cavs committed to their defense and were patient with their approach. It was a back and forth struggle at times and was tight pretty much throughout, but you never got a sense the Cavs were panicking or that they would lose. Maybe it's the feeling that a 31-1 home record affords us as Cavs fans. But it sure is nice to see the team keep their composure in the midst of all these close games recently. I have a feeling this experience will go a long way in the playoffs.

LBJ was able to notch his 7th triple-double (his 4th in the last 7 games!) with a 26/11/10 line and he unleashed a few rarely-used shots from his bag of tricks. He went to the running hook a couple times and really looked comfortable initiating his offense down on the block with his back to the basket. I really thought Z was a difference-maker as well with his 21 points. So was Joe Smith with his 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench. And Delonte and Mo provided some great defense on Steve Blake and Brandon Roy on a night when neither of the Cavs' guards shots were falling - they combined to only go 8-for-29 from the floor. Thankfully it was 'LeBron to the Rescue' down the stretch in the 4th quarter and overtime. This is a very talented young Blazers team and this was another solid win for the Cavs.

Did I mention how happy I am to have Joe Smith back?

So with just 14 games remaining on the season the Cavs are 55-13 and still hold the NBA's best record by one game over the Lakers. They move on to face another tough opponent tomorrow night at the Q when the Hawks pay a visit. It will be a matchup of two of the East's hottest teams, each sporting a current 7-game winning streak. Go Cavs (and Vikings, and Buckeyes, and Flyers).