When previewing tonight’s match-up with the Bobcats earlier today, it just felt like the Cavaliers were due for a loss, and it turns out they were. Had a chance late, as a LeBron James three went begging from the corner, and you were left wondering: if the Cavs had fouled earlier on that last defensive possession, and had 8 or 9 seconds to try for a game tying three maybe they make it to OT. But they didn’t, and they didn’t, and they probably didn’t deserve to either. Truth is, if they had 8 or 9 seconds to work with, LeBron would have dribbled out 7 or 8 of them and then probably shot the same three anyway so what’s the difference.
Tough to win when no player outside of Mo or LeBron scores more than 10 points, and you allow the opposition to shoot nearly 50% from the field (34 of 69). Mo played pretty much like an All Star tonight going for 27 points and 6 assists, but his 6 TO’s certainly hurt the cause. LeBron’s line read a pedestrian 29-7-6 despite the fact that he’s the only guy that can make that line seem pedestrian. I kinda hoped to see a little more life out of Hickson tonight, who had a couple big blocks that I thought could parlay into a more aggressive game offensively for him, but he finished with 5 points in 23 minutes instead. Delonte looked like he was about to get off, going for 6 points early, but he never did either, finishing with 9, and he couldn’t stop Stephen Jackson either when he guarded him. Jax went for 22 points to lead the Bobcats. Diop exploded tonight, and that’s depressing for any opposing NBA team, scoring more than 8 times his average of 0.9 points per game (he finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks). Flip Murray scored 10 big points (including a huge 3 in the fourth) for the Bobcats, and Ray Felton hit a dagger to with 3 seconds left to finish with 17. Gerald Wallace – who would look great as a Cavalier - scored 19 points to go with 12 rebounds. Shaq went for 10 points and 7 rebounds, which is about all you can ask out of him, meanwhile, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamario Moon combined to go 0 of 9 from the floor for 1 point…not exactly the spark off the bench you’re looking for. Boobie Gibson got a DNP coach’s decision, and you have to wonder what his take is on that…he hasn’t exactly earned the right to play as many minutes as Darnell Jackson on a nightly basis, but that’s how many minutes he’s getting. Maybe he should shave a water bottle into the back of his head next game to get Mike Brown’s attention.
Next up for the Cavaliers (27-9) is the Washington Wizards (10-21), at home, on Wednesday…hopefully the Quicken Loans Arena metal detectors are working when the opposing team arrives.