For the third straight game, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been able to muster a much needed road victory. The win against the Nets in New Jersey on Tuesday took the team over .500 and kept their lead in the Central divsion. Here is a quick look at the key highs and lows from game seven of the 2010-2011 Cavs season.
- The bench was phenomenal: Outscoring the Nets’ bench 52-15 the Cavaliers’ reserves won this one for Cleveland. The second unit has been a strong suit all season and will likely be a key for the Cavs all year. While it is a huge negative not to have star power in the starting lineup, the fact is this Cleveland second unit is similarly talented to the starters. The depth of talent allows the Cavs to pressure other teams for a full 48 minutes, which will lead directly to many victories over the course of the year.
- The MVP of the bench had to be Antawn Jamison: For the first time in over a week, Jamison was able to suit up for the Cavs and finally was able to get it going on the floor. I was highly critical of Jamison in the first few games as he seemed to be more concerned with his role on the team than he was with the team’s performance. He seemed detached and even uninterested. This was completely different on Tuesday when Jamison was able to get 15 points and eight rebounds off of the bench for Cleveland. He has the ability to be the third “consistent” scorer along with Hickson and Mo Williams that the Cavs will desperately need to win on a consistent basis.
- J.J. Hickson had one of his first “complete” games this season: Not only was he able to score 18 points on 8-14 shooting, but he also aggressively grabbed 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes. The Cavs ought to be able to rely on Hickson for double digit rebounding games, but he has yet to cash in on this potential. Here’s to hoping Hickson can put all of the pieces together and develop into the monster he has shown he can be on occassion.
- Cavs laid an egg at the line: After shooting nearly 80% for the pre-season and the first six games of the regular season, the Cavs were just 12-22 at the line against the Nets Tuesday. Jamison and Sessions combined for six of these 10 misses and were the main culprits as they typically shoot at a high percentage. In all likelihood this was an anomaly for the team who will bounce back, again against the Nets on Wednesday. However, we are all too familiar as to how free throw shooting can affect a team’s chances of winning so let’s hope this year’s team got that memo as well.
- Point guard play huge for Cleveland: One of the biggest weaknesses for the Cavaliers during the LeBron era was the point guard play. However, during the new era this might be one of the biggest strengths of the squad. On Tuesday night Cleveland point guards scored 31 points to go along with 16 assists and eight rebounds. What’s more is that the starter, Mo Williams, went just 1-12 from the floor with 2 points. Just imagine what this unit can do when Mo is feeling it with his jumper.
- Cavs need new wings if they want to fly: Despite the solid start there are no illusions about this team’s chances in the bigger picutre. If the Cavs’ hope to take things to the next level they will need to vastly upgrade their starting two and three men. Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker totaled 11 points 10 rebounds and two assists in a combined 48 minutes. Don’t get me wrong I love Parker and Moon for what they bring to this team, especially as far as intangibles, but a playoff type of team needs wings that can score the ball. In a perfect world the team could make a trade for an established wing to fill the gap and the Cavs are certainly full of assets to make that happen.
That’s it for now. Check back tomorrow for a look at the Cavs’ performance against the Nets, this time at home at the Q. Whether you love it, hate it, or not sure please feel free to comment about it below.
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