Thoughts on 2nd Half -- Cavs outscored 25-17 in 3rd, 28-18 in 4th...fall 95-87
I know about excuses, and I'm not trying to make one here, but I honestly believe that if Mo Williams doesn't get hurt in the second half the Cavs win this one. Only he did go down, and the Cavs let a great opportunity in the form of a 10-point first half lead slip away on Tuesday. A game that would've stretched their eight game season out to a record of 5-3. Only they're 4-4 now, which wouldn't be that bad if they weren't also 1 - 3 at home. The home crowd really wanted to see a win tonight.
Before I get to some other things worth mentioning, I cannot simply dismiss the palpable buzz I felt in the Q to start this one, that only grew as as the Cavaliers built their double digit lead heading into the break. The fans really want to get behind this team. Real bad. 5-3 would've been huge. With two minutes to go, the arena ended up being as empy as I have ever seen it. Just one loss to be sure, but it certainly was also an opportunity to gain some serious momentum, that seemed to disappear as quickly as it had emerged.
- On Mo Williams' injury:
I am not a doctor, and I am not trying to put words in anyone's mouth, but to me Mo basically re-injured his groin. It was initially reported as a "abductor strain." Mass confusion ensued on twitter as everybody clammered to dust open their old biology books to identify where exactly your abductor is. After numerous body parts were guessed, it was generally determined that this is essentially your groin.
Byron Scott said during the postgame that it was a "left abductor groin strain."
Mo Williams, for the sake of clarity said the following with respect to his previous groin injury as compared to the one suffered on Wednesday:
"It's a different spot, but the same injury."
Which is not really great news at all. In fact it's bad news. No word as of now on how long he'll be out, but as I said a few lines earlier, the injury already cost Cleveland one win.
- On Sessions to Anthony Parker in the corner late in the game down five:
This was a really awful series of plays. If you recall, with about 20 seconds on the shot clock one possession late, Sessions threw up a forced and failed drive attempt that had no chance. Then, he found AP on the baseline who threw up a hopeless turn-a-round jumper. Two fails.
On the second play, when asked if that was by design, Byron Scott said the following:
"No, we drew up something totally different and Sess just didn't see it. Where he was going, I have no idea. I thought he was going to look over the top to Antawn."
I'm not trying to bang on Sessions either. There were a lot of reasons why the Cavaliers lost. Devin Harris being about three of those reasons. But all I'm suggesting is that Mo Williams makes one or both of those plays.
- After the game, Daniel Gibson added the following:
"Some of the plays and some of the shots we made last night just didn't happen or just didn't fall for us tonight."
He also said of the 1-3 home start...
"We need to clean this up at home. We have some of the best fans in the world, and we need to put a better product on the court for them at home."
- And yeah, Devin Harris looked like an All NBAer:
But don't be so quick to blame the Cavs guards for Harris' dominance. When asked why Ryan Hollins barely played in the second half after providing the spark he did in the first, Byron Scott said the following:"There were a couple things we wanted to do with Harris. Ryan was very passive with Devin, and I wanted to bring Andy back-in."
Unfortunately Andy didn't help to slow Harris much either, and he was far and away the best guard on the floor tonight.
- Some stats:
NJN: Brook Lopez scores 4 points, Travis Outlaw (who had a big game on Tuesday vs. CLE) 5. Cavs still lose though because Devin Harris went for 31 points 9 assists. Kris Humphries had 13 points and 18 rebounds. Yes, Kris Humphries had 18 rebounds. Anthony Morrow had 21, and Derrick Favors 7.
CLE: Hickson totaled 15 points and 6 rebounds. Jamison and Sessions each had 14, Tawn added 9 boards, and Ryan Hollins finished with the first half 11 I was raving about earlier. No other really significant stats. Gibson only scored 5 and added 5 dimes. Jawad Williams didn't score in 12 minutes of action, Mo Williams finished with 9 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds in 21 minutes before getting injured.
Cavs turned it over 11 times as compared to 8 for NJN, and shot bad from three (3 of 12) as compared to 8 of 17 for the Nets. You can blame Anthony Morrow for most of those.
Traffic was a little rough getting down here, and I ended up too busy today to recap last night's win in New Jersey, but we're here now so let's keep it moving.
Moving in the direction of a fourth straight win, second in a row against Sean Carter's Nets. He still around?
Anyways, here's what I got from pregame:
* Daniel Gibson was the last guy to leave the floor during shoot-a-round prior to the pregame chalk dry erase talk. Booby's been ballin, as we know, and here's hoping he keeps that going tonight. He's putting in work to be sure, and it's evident on the court.
* Jamison might not play as much as expected tonight due to the fact he played more minutes than anticipated in last night's win at New Jersey. That's what happens when you fill it up like he did last night...you don't come off the floor.
* Other nugget, Mo Williams asked not to go back in late in fourth last night due to the fact that the guys on the floor were getting it done. Nothing negative, just being a leader on an off night doing what's best for the team. Good stuff Maurice.
I'll have more later on as I'll be updating this thing as we go tonight. Let's get it, 5-3 would be a great start.
Thoughts on First Half...Cavs 52 - Nets 42:
This game coudn't have started much better after returning home from a three game road stretch. Meaning no letdown...so far.
The Cavs jumped out 25-17 in the first quarter behind a 7 point effort from J.J. - who after Brook Lopez picked up a cheapy - sent him to the pine for a while (Lopez sat until returning at the 7:52 mark in the 2nd quarter) with his second first quarter foul on an and-one attempt for Hickson. I say attempt because JJ missed the FT, but it's no matter.
Daniel Gibson (2 pts / 4 assts) and Antawn Jamison (2 pts / 3 reb) were the first two off the Cavaliers bench as Byron Scott works now - nearing the 10-game mark - towards developing a solid rotation he can trust at the 5:32 mark in the first quarter. After combining for 30 last night, they only got on the board once during the first quarter but it was on a nice finish off a Gibson feed.
A big spark off the bench in in the first half was - again - Ryan Hollins. That's a few times now for him now. Hollins grabbed a couple boards and scored 11 in the first half. This is huge because - though he returned later in the second - Anderson Varejao (4 / 4) did leave for the locker room with what was reportedly bruised ribs.
I thought in the preseason that after Hickson and Andy the Cavs had no bigs. I now think Hollins is a solid big...my bad Ry. But after Hollins, there really is nothing. The Cavs need all three - JJ, Andy, Hollins - to never get hurt. Props to Andy for playing through it.
Cavs pushed the lead out to 10 points at around the five minute mark. Hickson (and Hollins) finished the half as the leading Cavs scorer with 11 points - along with 3 rebounds as well. Moon went Goosie as well to the tune of 7 fist half points.
Devin Harris has 18 for the Nets, Anthony Morrow has 7. Cavs need to stop Harris' penetration. In the second half, hopefully Ramon Sessions can provide some assitance in that area.