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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs just stay ahead of Pacers

By admin Published: March 8, 2008

Cavs 103, Pacers 95
--LeBron James played a much better game overall today than in Chicago and either rest, pride or a combination of both made a difference for Anderson Varejao. LeBron was focused much more than on scoring, although he did have 38, and Andy may have played his best game of the season. His legs looked much fresher and he was more focused. --LeBron made a couple of huge 3-pointers in the fourth to hold off the Pacers, who made almost everything in the second half after missing everything in the first. I am a little skeptical that he's going to the 3 too often late in games. But I suppose the whole point of him improving his shooting was to punish teams for going under on pick-and-rolls to deny drives. As long as he mixes it up, it could be effective. He's still having the worst 3-point shooting season since he was a rookie. Though he's putting up 30-point games like they are nothing. --Part of the reason LeBron's scoring so much lately is because with Zydrunas Ilgauskas out there is no quality second option. Andy is putting up huge numbers of shots, which is no good, Wally Szczerbiak is shooting 32 percent since he came to the Cavs and he's taken the second-most shots in the last eight games, and Ben Wallace is an offensive black hole. Plus Daniel Gibson being out removes a quality option as well. Him scoring this much is fun to watch, but it makes the Cavs easier to deal with against good teams. So that will have to change at some point. Today the Cavs went through horrible scoring droughts --The defense is still somewhat of a concern, the rotations are slow to the jump shooters. Mike Brown believes he needs to spend more time on defense in practice, he has been working on teaching the plays. --Wally Szczerbiak is still pressing, you can just see it. He's shooting just 32 percent since he got here. He did some good things down the stretch, but he's in a slump. --Some people have asked for injury updates. I talked to Zydrunas Ilgauskas today, he said he got a shot in his lower back, where he has an enflamed disc. He couldn't get out of his car a week ago. He is doing better, but will probably out a week more at least. Daniel Gibson said he could probably do some stand-still shooting but is nowhere close to being back. Sasha Pavlovic is starting to do some running but is weeks, not days, away.
Pregame
Starting lineups
Pacers: Travis Deiner, Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster Cavs: Delonte West, Devin Brown, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Anderson Varejao
Officials Jack Nies, Bennie Adams, David Jones
--The snow and roads getting in where awful. They are only playing this game because both teams were able to make it to the arena. There will maybe only be 7,000-8,000 people here, maybe less. --The Cavs will be tested by the Pacers' style of play. They want to play fast and loose, which is what the Cavs got suckered into by New York and Chicago. That is not they way they play, even when LeBron is going off. --Murphy is going to be a challenge for Wallace to guard. He stands on the perimeter, Ben hasn't shown that he wants to go out there.
Halftime -- Cavs 51, Pacers 37
--A rugged game so far, not a lot of quality play. If you are blacked out, don't worry about it. The Pacers can't buy a shot and the Cavs are playing disorganized offense. In the first quarter they really did a good job sharing the ball and moving and they scored 34 points. In the second, especially with LeBron sitting for six minutes, they couldn't get into their plays. The Cavs went 5-of-24 shooting in the second quarter and are still up 14 points, which means they are pretty lucky. --Without Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the offense really looks different. When the hub in the post becomes Anderson Varejao, who is playing much better today, it just changes everything. The opponents don't have to bring double teams and it prevents anything outside from opening up. At least more plays are being run for Joe Smith, who is not the best post scorer. --The Pacers foul more than just about anybody in the NBA, I think they are second in free throws allowed. One good thing the Cavs have done is drive the ball, especially LeBron, to invite fouls. Devin Brown has also done a nice job. The more they drive, the more they will find success against the Pacers. --Ben Wallace played without his headband for a long time in the second quarter and actually played very well without it. Now he has put it back on. For what it is worth.
Postgame
Stars LeBron, 38 points, 11 rebounds Andy Varejao, 15 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, four steals Joe Smith, 12 points, eight rebounds Troy Murphy, 17 points, seven rebounds Danny Granger, 19 points
Quotes Jim O'Brien: " "LeBron is a tough guard for anybody, he's the best offensive player in the world. When he's making 3-point shots like that, he's virtually unstoppable." LeBron: "I'm going to take them, if teams are going to keep going under my pick and rolls. I know that I can shoot the ball well from the outside and at one point teams will realize that also."

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