Skyenga locks up LeBron, provides huge spark, and continues his climb

I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was grab the Plain Dealer off my porch and open it up to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming what happened last night. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe that the Cavaliers could win that game, in fact I was pretty optimistic about their chances. What I couldn’t believe was the play of two guys in particular: Ryan Hollins and Anthony Parker.

Hollins was a different player last night than he was for the first 72 games of the season. His stat line was incredible, he led the Cavaliers with a career high 36 minutes, got to the free throw line a career high 12 times (made 7), had 3 blocked shots, 2 steals, scored 13 points and had a plus-minus of +33. That’s right, while Hollins was on the floor, the Cavaliers outscored the Heat by 33 points. When Hollins was on the bench, the Cavaliers lost by 21 points. That is an incredible difference, for a guy who last night really did mean that much to this team. Beyond his stat line, Hollins also was in the head of both Dwayne Wade (a couple of hard fouls, and a double technical) and Chris Bosh (only 10 points on 5-14 shooting, and a -24 plus-minus). Hollins ran the floor like a gazelle and played with toughness I never thought I would have seen out of him. He did manage to grab only 3 rebounds in 36 minutes, but with everything else he did, I can look past that for one night!

Anthony Parker was in a huge shooting slump recently. Over the last 14 games he was 31-100 from the field (31.0%), 8-37 from 3-point range (21.6%), and had scored only 80 points (5.7 ppg). Last night, Parker was 4-4 from 3-point range, 5-7 from the field and he scored 20 points. He hit some very timely shots when the Heat were getting close and he put the final dagger into their hearts to end and slight hope they had. It was a great performance. Another player who came to the Q with his lunch pail and hard hat last night, was our guy Christian Skyenga.

Skyenga was matched man to man with LeBron James and held him scoreless in the 2nd quarter. In addition to his solid defense, Skyenga had 2 steals (one of which led to a soaring breakaway dunk), 3 rebounds and 7 points. The 7 points moved his past 3 more former Cavaliers and into 162nd place on the Cavaliers All-Time Scoring list:

Rank
Player
Years
G
Pts
Avg
162
Christian Eyenga
2010-11
37
266
7.2
163
Donny Marshall
1995-96 thru 1996-97 and 1999-00
96
263
2.7
164
Bruce Flowers
1982-83
53
261
4.9
 
Tree Rollins
1988-89 thru 1989-90
108
261
2.4

Wayne “Tree” Rollins played at Clemson where he is currently the school’s career rebounding leader with 1,311 rebounds in his storied career. He was the first player to have his number retired by Clemson. Rollins was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 14th pick of the 1977 NBA Draft. Rollins was an intimidating shot blocker and rebounder standing 7’1” tall, thus the nickname Tree. Rollins led the NBA in 1982-83 with 4.3 blocked shots per game. He was named to the 1st Team All-Defensive team after the 1983-84 season. He signed with the Cavaliers in the 1988 offseason after 11 seasons with the Hawks to back up Brad Daugherty. He played two seasons with the Cavaliers, appearing in 108 games, scoring 261 points and blocking 91 shots. After the Cavaliers he remained in the league as a back-up center for 5 additional seasons. He is currently in 9th place for Blocked Shots in NBA history. He is the first person to have appeared in over 100 Cavalier games to be passed by Skyenga.

Bruce Flowers was a forward from Notre Dame who was drafted by the Cavaliers in the 2nd round of the 1979 NBA Draft. Instead of signing with the Cavaliers, Flowers decided to head to Italy to play for Cantu of the Euroleague. He is one of a few Americans with three different European Titles to his credit. He returned to the United States and signed with the Cavaliers for the 1982-83 season and scored 4.9 ppg and 3.4 rpg in 53 games. After the season Flowers headed back to Italy where he played until 1987 in the Euroleague.

Donny Marshall was a 2nd Round Draft pick in 1995 of the Cavaliers out of UConn. The pick used to select Marshall was acquired by the Cavaliers along with Harold “Baby Jordan” Minor prior to the draft. Marshall was a college teammate of another former Cavalier of a similar name Donyell Marshall (no relation). That had to be fun for the UConn broadcast team with both of those guys on the same team from the 1991-92 season thru the 1993-94 season. Marshall would play parts of three seasons with the Cavaliers. He never started a game for the Cavaliers and only scored 263 points in 96 career games. After being cut by the Cavaliers after the 1997 he bounced around for a few years never playing a game, until resigning with the Cavaliers for a few games in the 1999-2000 season. This gives Marshall the distinction of being the first Cavalier to have played in three seasons to be passed by Skyenga.

The Cavaliers play again tonight, so look for Skyenga to continue his progress up the Cavaliers All-Time chart!

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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