Monday, February 1, 2010

Another easy one

The Cavs must certainly be enjoying the fact that they can rest Mo Williams and Delonte West and get both players back to 100% health. The current soft spot in the schedule affords them that luxury and still allows them to pound on their weaker opponents. Such was the case again in weekend victories over the Pacers and Clippers. First came a 94-73 thrashing of Indiana. And then last night at the Q the Cavs scored 46 points in the first quarter on 11-of-13 shooting from 3-point range. They built a 31-point lead early in the second quarter on their way to a 114-89 pounding of the Clippers.

I've never seen a shooting display quite like what was going on inside the Q in the first quarter. The Clippers were double-teaming Shaq from the opening tip and that freed up our shooters on the perimeter. And it doesn't hurt when LeBron has one of his sizzling stretches from beyond the arc. It was reminiscent of last February's game in Milwaukee when he went off for 55, including a stretch of 17 points in less than three minutes. When the dust settled after the first twelve minutes last night, LBJ was 8-for-9 (including 5-for-6 from 3) for 23 points and the game was all but over. You just knew it was going to be one of those nights when his patented "heat checks" (you know the ones that make you go no, no, no... YES!) are going in.

Things certainly got a little sloppy in the 2nd half as the Clippers actually cut the huge lead down to 11 points early in the 4th quarter. But such can be expected in a game like this, which was never really in doubt. And the Cavs responded nicely down the stretch and finished things off the right way. The team still has 6 more in a row at home... their longest such streak in 16 years. Hopefully we see a few more of these easy blowout wins along the way. The Cavs are currently still a half-game up on the Lakers for best record in the NBA (although they do hold the all-important tiebreaker there). And they are 5.5 up on Orlando, 6.5 up on Atlanta, and a whopping 7 up on Boston. Fun times.

Fun facts: LeBron has tallied at least 11 assists in 6 of the last 10 games. And Shaq continues to pick up the scoring slack in Mo's absence. Last night was his 8th straight game in double-digits. Over those 8 games he is averaging 16.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in just 26 minutes of action. And finally, for the season the Cavs bench is outscoring their opponents by a 29.2 to 25.6 average. That may not sound like much, but that wasn't the case last year. Don't look now but the Cavs are only one win behind their 66-win pace a season ago. I still think they can match or beat it if they remain relatively healthy.

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