When TheHickson is able to accompany a Mo Williams 20+ point performance in the same game with 15+ of his own, the Cavaliers have never lost this season.
Now sure, that has only happened twice so far this season - the 123-116 win over Philly (Mo netted 22, JJ scored 16) - and now most recently during Saturday’s 92-86 win over Memphis (Mo went for 25, JJ had 16) but I have reason to believe this could be a growing trend.
Tuesday’s game against Boston will mark only the 12th game Mo has played this season, and through 11 he is averaging a team best 16.2 points per game. BUT, in the last three, he has averaged 23.3 points per game mixing in a game-winner this past Wednesday as well. So that’s one reason. The other is not as certain at this point, however I do believe that JJ is starting to “get it” and could help Mo form a relevant inside out threat of sorts.
That “it” JJ is starting to “get” is the fact that he knows has to play defense, play hard, and focus on what Byron Scott is asking him to do while he’s out there, or he’s not going to get back onto the court. Which he hadn’t done as of late, and his offensive statistics have suffered as a result.
After going for 31 on November 2nd, JJ hasn’t scored 20 points in a game since, and he had gone the last 6 games up until Saturday not even able to reach double figures in scoring. On Saturday though, he played enough defense to get back on the floor late and allow himself an opportunity to contribute to the win, grabbing 5 boards to go along with 16 points, in helping Mo help Cleveland to the win.
But more than that though, he seemed to understand what he needs to do - consistently - to be the contributor this team needs him to be. And talked about that after Saturday night’s game when he offered the following.
JJ after the game on Saturday:
“I think the last five or six games, I haven’t been playing in the fourth quarter, or when I did, it was the last minute or two or three minutes,” Hickson said. “I think I did a good job defensively tonight and it got me some fourth-quarter minutes. I know what I need to do as a basketball player to stay in the game. So it’s just a matter of me applying myself and going and doing it to earn more minutes.”
So hopefully he keeps applying himself, and Mo Williams keeps ballin, because when they do these Cavs are a tougher team than you might think to attempt to beat on a nightly basis.
Big week this week.
We’ll get into it more as the week unfolds, but there’s certainly two monster games on the docket as we all know. Boston again, and it’s gonna be a tall order to beat them twice in the early goings here this season. But, the aforementioned Mo Williams did not even play in the first win over the C’s, and if he can be the contributor on Tuesday he’s been over the last three, you never know.
What’s also interesting, if the Cavs somehow get that one on Tuesday – I will be down there for it so follow me on twitter, read my blog, yatta, yatta, blah, blah - they could go into Thursday’s highly anticipated ’return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas match-up’ with a chance to wake up on Friday with a mark in the loss column as good, or better, than Z and his longtime teammate’s new team has at that point in NBA history.
For what it’s worth, the Heat play at home Monday against Washington and then again Wednesday against Detroit before entering the Q on Thursday. They are currently 9-8. The Cavaliers are 7-9 right now.
It’s also worth mentioning that Z’s DVD buddy from the Barbershop also recently bumped into his pal, Coach Spo’, like a frustrated 12 year old this weekend, so there is that too. Trouble down in paradise, huh, who’d have ever thunk it?
More this week on that one, and plenty on Boston too. Have a great start to the week.
Photo Credit: Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer