If the Cavaliers suffered at all last summer from peaking too soon during the regular season, you can cross that off your list of things to worry about for this year's squad. Coming into tonight's game against the Mavericks, the Cavaliers had been riding a 3-game winning streak...but...its tough to argue that they've been playing great basketball in the process. In those three games prior - against the Bucks, 76ers, and Nets who are all under .500 and have a combined record of 20-60 - the Cavs won by an average of 6.6 points per game. With Dirk Nowitzki sidelined tonight while team doctors attempted to pry Carl Landry's teeth out of his forearm, it would have been a nice opportunity to steal one on the road before going to Phoenix tomorrow. But that didn't happen.Part of the reason for that was Shaq's ineffectiveness tonight, going 1 of 7 from the field, against a guy in Erick Dampier he once reffered to as Ericka. The other reason, besides the energy that seemed to be left at Hopkins Airport, was a recurring theme that this time showed itself in the form of Tim Thomas. The 6'10" PF came into tonight's game averaging 7.6 ppg. He played 36 minutes tonight with Dirk out, and proceeded to drop 22 points on the Cavs by way of 50% shooting from the field, and grabbed 7 rebounds to boot. In short, he had a great night against the Cavs; just like PF's Zach Randolph (32pts), LaMarcus Aldridge (22pts), and Jeff Green (26pts) - to name a few - had against Cleveland during recent match-ups with Memphis, Portland, and Oklahoma City respectively.
LeBron, if he were any other player in the NBA, had what would be referred to as a solid game, but 9 of 23 from the field for 25 points, 6 dimes, and 3 rebounds is what it is for the King at this point - a below average output. Anthony Parker continued to shoot it well in defeat, 5 of 7 from the field for 12 points along with a couple of 3's as he quietly leads the NBA in that category, and you had to be pleased with the effort from Delonte as well. West's 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists were about as good of an encore to his 12 point 4 rebound game on Friday as you could have hoped for if you were a Cavs' fan, but it wasn't enough.
The Cavs fall to 20-8 and up next are the Suns tomorrow night in Phoenix. Also, stop back to check out the Wine and Gold Podcast - we're back - tomorrow one hour before tip-off.
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