Not saying Chris Webber’s the NBA version of Jay Glazer, but he did offer the following comment prior to tip-off on TNT tonight which sent twitter ablaze as the Cavaliers ran out to a 37-23 first quarter lead over the Orlando Magic:
“Kevin McHale actually called me when I was in the locker room getting ready for the show and said there may be a big trade coming for Cleveland and this might be the last time we see this starting line-up…I heard Troy Murphy”
Webber didn’t say who the Cavs were supposedly looking deal in order to pry the Pacers forward away from Indiana, but J.J Hickson currently starts at the position Troy Murphy plays. Not saying Webber meant that as a one-for-one swap, but if he did, count me as a guy who’s opposed to trading J.J. Hickson at all for Troy Murphy. In fact, I’m not so sure I’d want to see Murphy even start over Hickson if the Cavs were to acquire him some other way. And I don’t know if Hickson heard those same rumblings prior to tip either, but if he did, he did everything he could tonight against the Magic to say you better not trade me.
Despite the fact that Stan Van Gundy said he wasn’t worried about JJ Hickson, in hindsight, maybe he should have been. All the second year PF did was score 13 points in the opening quarter, go on to completely demolish a Dwight Howard shot attempt late in the game, grab four rebounds, and finish with 20 points in 27 minutes for the night. He looked good, and he’s appearing to go where LeBron is telling him to go on the court to allow for LeBron to set him up for easy finishes at the hoop learn where to position himself on the court to be effective on a conisistent basis. And how about the other PF tonight? Andy kicked in 16 and 4 of his own to allow the four spot to total 36 and 8 on the night. Quality production from a position to be rumored for an upgrade.
Now before we get any farther LeBron James is just a ridiculous person. I almost feel wrong opening with something other than the ‘off shooting night’ that ended up 10 of 21 from the field (which included six attempts from three) for 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 13 assists. They chanted M-V-P at the Q and he went nuts, burying shot after shot to close the game out with a 115-106 win. He is the MVP, and if Hickson can continue to turn out nights like this, the 13 assists are going to become an average night’s work. Kinda like the 30 + per game are at this point. And I don’t always agree with much of what Reggie Miller has to say, but he was right tonight in that you can hand LeBron the MVP trophy right now. Its over.
And so is the time Delonte’s spent out with the bad finger. Hopefully, at least. He came back tonight and despite only logging 23 minutes, he made some big plays. None more critical though than the three the hit with 3:22 left in the fourth to put the Cavs up 103-96. That was a big one. He played aggressively all night, going right at Jason Williams on another possession for two more of his eight, and he was a facilitator as well. He dished out six assists, didn’t turn it over at all, and proved to be a huge spark off the bench tonight in his first game back. And speaking of off the bench, how about third string PG turned starter Boobie Gibson? Thats double figures again, finishing with 11 tonight fueled by 3 of 5 from three-point land. Maybe he’s another guy the Pacers might want.
Then there’s Shaq. Here’s a difference from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals match-up: The Cavs added Shaq for Ben Wallace, and the Magic added Vince Carter for Hedo. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Carter’s as bad as Wallace, but he’s a downgrade from Hedo, no way you could argue he’s not – and I don’t care that he scored 48 the other night, or that he wears shoulder pads as an undershirt, he’s not better. However Shaq on the other hand, compared to Wallace, just ask Howard if he notices a difference in there. Shaq finished with 10 and 6, and Howard finished with 19 and 11, but O’Neal made him earn it. Those two were banging against each other all night, combining for 10 fouls, and if Shaq can continue to be a guy that makes Howard work…well that would be a guy they didn’t have last year.
More Trade Talk from Brian Windhorst:
“Several sources have said the Cavs have included the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons in their conversations, possibly in an attempt to set up three-team deals. The Cavs’ major targets are still believed to be forwards Antawn Jamison and Troy Murphy. But they have been having some conversations about shooting guards and the talks with the Pistons could involve Richard Hamilton, who has been made available in recent weeks.”