The Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 92-87 Tuesday night in their preseason opener at the Q.
A collection of my thoughts from the game are as follows…
* Jeezy’s Put on for My City intro song from last season was replaced for game one of this pre-season with the Jay-Z, Rhianna, and Kanye West collabo, We Run This Town…at the Akron Tourstop back in August, LeBron did say that was his favorite song…its possible he has some influence in such selections…time will tell if it evolves into an anthem for this year’s Cavaliers throughout the regular season.
* LeBron’s shot selection and shooting percentage will undoubtedly improve this season over years past with the ability to throw it into Shaquille O’Neal when he needs to take somewhat of a blow on offense. In years past, rather than taking it to the hoop, or passing to guys like Larry Hughes, I believe LeBron caught his breath sometimes by simply dribbling out the shot clocking standing at the top of the key, and then launching up an ill advised jump shot as the clock expired. This year though, as he did a couple times Tuesday, LeBron will be afforded the luxury to stand in that same spot, catch his breath, throw it into Shaq, and let him go to work down the clock with his back to the basket a few times a game when necessary for a breather.
* JJ Hickson looked real good to me. Get ready to hear the story about LeBron taking him under his wing this off-season about 3 thousand times this year, but regardless of that, it seems to have paid off some. Hickson threw in 11 points by halftime, and 15 for the game, while hitting a variety of different shots from a twenty foot jumper, to a reverse move off the low block. If he continues to improve, he could be a major factor for the Cavaliers this season. I continue to believe that Hickson’s skill set – if he develops – could be the perfect compliment to play off Shaq inside.
* Shaq looked fresh and I think Austin Carr was right about the fact that Shaq’s playing multiple sports this summer helped loosen him up some by using muscles he hasn’t had to use throughout his 18 year NBA career. The Big Fella looks good in Wine and Gold…and Blue.
* If you were wondering where Delonte West was, after hearing reports earlier in the day that he would play, Brian Windhorst tweeted around tip-off that Delonte ‘still needs some space and time and will not play.’
* Jamario Moon will be a difference maker defensively. He got a ‘get that weak stuff outta here,’ from Austin Carr in the third quarter with a rejection and I expect Jamario to inspire that call many more times this season. On the flip side, McLeod chimed in with a ‘looks like a lunar eclipse,’ in response to the same Moon block – memo to Mr. 3-3-0: you are somehow growing on my Fred, but that’s too much guy…tighten it up before regular season play starts.
* Couldn’t tell much about Anthony Parker but I do like his size next to Mo in the back-court…couldn’t tell much about Danny Green either in his pro debut. Green did miss a few jumpers and got beat by Gerald Henderson on the defensive end as well, but I’m still encouraged by his reported progress in camp, and look for him to make strides as the preseason progresses, Parker as well.
* Daniel Gibson at the one didn’t look as bad as I thought it would. He reportedly worked this off-season with Coach John Lucas, and it seems to have paid off some. While he didn’t light the world on fire from the PG spot by any means, he did show signs of improvement to me from years past. If he can develop into an average PG, with an above average 3p shot, that could be huge coming off the bench for a team that does not have a true back-up PG on the roster.
* The who were those guys list includes cameo appearances by Russel Robinson, Coby Karl, Andre Barret and Luke Nevel. Rob Kurz, if you were wondering, got in late and made a jumper.