This week we sit back, pop in a Creedence Clearwater Revival CD and listen to a little Bad Moon Rising. No I’m not taking about Andre Risen in the mid to late 90’s, I am talking about Jamario Moon, the Cavaliers most unexpected playoff contributor.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Cavaliers bench. I did not include Jamario Moon in this group because he was coming off a three week stretch that included five DNP-Coach’s Decisions, and six games in which he played the following minutes: 9, 8, 10, 3, 6 and 3. Meanwhile, Jawad Williams and Leon Powe were consistently playing and getting 10+ minutes per game of run. Well, then the Cavaliers clinched the #1 overall playoff seed and Mike Brown decided to rest his regulars and play out the rest of the regular season without risk of injury to his main stars. Unbeknownst to us, this opened a huge door for Jamario Moon, and he has come storming through it.
Prior to those last four games, Moon had played 57 games (he missed 11 games with injury and had 10 DNP-CD’s).
The following shows Jamario Moon's statistics up to, and then during the last four games:
First 57 Games Played: 16.1 mpg, 4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.47 spg and 0.47 bpg
Final 4 Games Played: 33.3 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.75 spg and 0.75 bpg
Additionally, Moon hit 7-14 three pointers (50.0%) in the last four games, which was a big improvement from his 25-86 (29.1%) prior to those four games. His minutes were doubled as a result of LeBron and other players being rested. His statistics show that his production was more than doubled. He came out in games that did not matter to the Cavaliers and was one of the few players who showed hustle and heart in those games. He scored 14, 15, 12 and 15 points in the four games, showing a nice consistency.
With this streak of games Jamario has shown enough, deservedly so, to earn time in the playoff rotation. His length and athleticism on defense has been his calling card, and that is what earned him his contract with the defensive minded Cavaliers, but his offense is what has gotten him his run lately.
Not only did Jamario work himself into the playoff rotation, he is continuing to earn himself more minutes with a very high level of production. The following is his statistics in the first three games of the Bulls series:
Game 1: 7 minutes, 1-2 three-pointers, 3 points, 1 rebound
Game 2: 20 minutes, 4-5 three-pointers, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks
Game 3: 14 minutes, 1-2 three-pointers, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block
His four three’s in Game 2 were a big reason why we were able to close the game. He stepped up and made the shots in crunch time, witch is not always an easy thing for player to do, especially in the post season. He also was given 20 minutes of court time in Game 2, which reduced the load on Anthony Parker to 24 minutes (down from 31 minutes in Game 1). Anthony Parker will be a better player only getting 25 minutes per game. This will allow him to get more rest and thus hopefully be more accurate with his three point shooting. This is what is needed for our shooting guard in this offense.
Defensively, the shooting guard spot will be critical as these playoffs continue. Next round we are looking at Ray Allen of the Celtics or Dwayne Wade of the Heat, followed by Vince Carter of the Magic or Joe Johnson of the Hawks in the Eastern conference Finals. Then in the NBA Finals, should we get there, we are staring right at Kobe Bryant. This is a who’s who list of NBA greats. LeBron will match up with them occasionally, depending on the situation later in the games, but the majority of the defensive assignment on these players will fall on Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon (also Delonte West will see minutes at the 2 guard). Moon is 6’-8” which is a tough look for these players to shoot over, and Moon has the quickness to stay with them. This is a huge reason why we signed him in the offseason, and now it looks as though it is paying dividends.
Moon is a team guy and will do what it takes for the Cavaliers to win. This fits the mold of who Danny Ferry and Mike Brown want on this team. He has been a great teammate all season long, staying ready and not knowing when his number will be called. This has paid off for Moon and now he is reaping the rewards.
So here’s to hoping we see Moon flash the “goosey” on many more occasions this postseason!
Cavs playoff statistical history note, where LBJ ranks on the career scoring list, and a rant to close after the jump