As Cavs fans, we can't have everything we want all the time. If we want a team that can rip off a 13-game winning streak, we're going to have to be able to handle a 3-game slide every couple years. If we want a team that's willing to add a significant piece at the deadline, we're going to have to be patient enough to allow that guy to get acclimated. Additionally, for the time being it seems, if we want the five best players on the floor at the same time, we're going to have to wait until the last five minutes of games to see it...because they still don't start.Antawn Jamison was a step in the right direction though tonight, don't get me wrong, but I'd like to see the Cavs take one more in starting Delonte as well. Those two, along with Mo, LBJ, and Shaq, took the court out of the timeout with 4:54 left in the game - clinging to an 89-87 lead - and proceeded to put a 16-8 run on the visiting Hornets to close out the 105-95 win. A couple things happened in those closing minutes to change the fate from that of the last few games, and those things were as simple as defense and making shots. Mo Williams hit a big three to start things off, Delonte blocked a shot, hit a three, Shaq blocked a shot, and LeBron hit a couple more threes, and before you know it, that was it. Nice try Marcus Thorton...you show-off.
These calls for Delonte to be inserted into the starting lineup are meant as no slight to AP either. He's a solid, capable, rotation player for sure, as evidenced tonight by his 4 of 7 from the field shooting for 13 points to go with 4 rebounds. Very efficient offensively. He's just getting torched on defense. Not that Mo Williams isn't basically a turn-style out there either because he is, but for the next week or so I'm going to assume that Mo's still hurt. And by still hurt, I mean I'm going to assume that he's coming back from a leg injury - and not a shoulder - because he's now, not only a small guard, but a slow one too. But like I said, I'm going to keep all that inside for about another week, and hope he's healthy again when we get to March. As for now, Parker's definitely healthy, so he's going to have to be blamed in the meantime for yet another back-court explosion.
It goes without saying, but Marcus Thorton and Darren Collison can't combine to score 59 on you at your place if you're the Cavs. I mean, even Boobie Gibson had to be sitting over there leaning back to Sebastian Telfair whispering, I know I don't play defense, but nobody lit me up like that when I was starting. It was bad. And I know the kid Thorton just got hot, and I know he might have had his best game all season, but I also know that he had it against the Cavs, just like a slew of other guards - with average to above average quicks - did in recent games. That's gotta be fixed, and besides blaming Parker, Mo Williams is just going to have to be accountable on that end of the floor and figure out a way to guard somebody...more on that next week.
It felt like, to me at least, Jamison officially arrived when I saw him swinging on David West's head from the rim after he finished that sweet look-a-way pass from LeBron in the second half. As mentioned, big fan of Jamison in the starting line-up, that's where he should be. And that's coming from a guy that initially thought he might be best suited as the 6th man for this team. But he's a starter for sure, and credit Mike Brown for getting him in there tonight where he went for 18 and 6 in his first start as a Cav.
Additional credit to Mike Brown for working towards a playoff style rotation which he limited to eight guys tonight. And I can't really complain about the eight either - other than some re-distribution of AP's minutes - going as deep as Jamario's ten is fine with me. No time like the present to start working out things like that, and I thought the rotation looked markedly better than last time out. A guy who looked just as good as he did last time out was Shaq - 20 points, 7 rebounds over 30 minutes - and if he can keep this up, look out. LeBron, who turned it up late, finished with 20 points and 13 assists, and with the addition of Jamison, look for that assist total to continue to hover around the double digit mark every night.
Last note, which I found ironic, revolves around Hickson. I was in agreement with those that didn't want to trade J.J. pretty much no matter what. And I'm also in agreement with Mike Brown, that in a play-off style rotation (like tonight), Hickson's probably gotta get what he got tonight: DNP - coaches decision. Cavs have now won 14 of their last 17, which I prefer to say because it sounds much better than snapped a three game losing streak.