Trying something new here on the blog. The plan is to update before, in the middle and after each game starting tonight. Here we go.
Starting lineups: Knicks: Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph, and Eddy Curry. Some talent there, eh? Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Larry Hughes, LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden.
Refs: Bennett Salvatore, Bill Spooner, Gary Zielinski. Bennett likes to make a few calls early in every game to let everyone know who is boss.
--The New York media was asking LeBron before the game about his opinion of Joe Girardi, he is the most famous Yankee fan in Cleveland after all. He also said: "Ask me after the game about how I responded to the other night. We'll be a totally different team tonight, I'll promise you that." --Knicks color man Walt Frazier is wearing a fantastic plaid suit. The 70s were great to him and he's not leaving them.
Halftime -- Cavs 55, Knicks 54 --LeBron has 23 points and is being very active, especially in transition. He's stopping the offense an awful lot, but at least it is in the post area instead of 24 feet from the basket. Still when he the double teams come it gets ugly. --The Cavs are going to have problems guarding the post anytime Donyell Marshall and Dwayne Jones are on the floor. Against the Knicks, who have three really good post players, it is a giant sore spot. Eddy Curry is having his way against Drew Gooden anyway, putting Jones out there makes it a joke. It is a miracle the Cavs are up considering the Knicks have 28 points in the paint and are shooting 53 percent thanks to their interior dominance. --For the Cavs to win, they are going to have to come up with some way to make it harder for Curry and Zach Randolph. The Knicks may help them if Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford get shot happy, which is surely possible. It is fun to watch. When the ball goes to Crawford, Curry or Randolph, isn't usually isn't going anywhere but it.
Postgame -- Cavs 110, Knicks 106
--This is how the Cavs are probably going to have to play for awhile until they get everyone in uniform and their minds right. LeBron is going to have to take over and they're going to have to play defense in the second half to get wins. Both happened big time tonight. --As I wrote about last week, LeBron is really playing a lot down in the post. We'll see how it develops, but it gives him a lot more options at the end of the shot clock. By getting the ball so close to the basket tonight he put the Knicks to the test and they couldn't handle him. He got to the line 22 times, which makes him very hard to control. I felt bad for Renaldo Balkman, he had played at all in the preseason and Isiah Thomas throws him in there against LeBron. 46 seconds later, he had three fouls and a seat. --James also attacked in transition. The Cavs need as many easy baskets as they can get, especially against a weak defensive team like the Knicks. In a key play, with 2:35 left Mike Brown told his team he wanted a timeout and all the Knicks saw him and stopped playing. LeBron never called it and went to the basket for an easy one. --Daniel Gibson does what the Cavs have been dying for years, he makes open shots when teams leave LeBron. He's obviously not going to be this hot very often, but having him as a reliable option makes a huge difference in the team's offensive attack. He's also never afraid. --Want to bet the New York tabloids rip Stephon Marbury on his defense on Boobie tomorrow? --While the second unit may be woeful at times, you have to give them credit for the way they fought at the start of the fourth quarter. The group of James, Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall, Devin Brown and Dwayne Jones really battled for five minutes. They were down five and were able to tie it mostly off gritty defense. Dwayne Jones got embarrassed a few times against Eddy Curry tonight but he battled him down the stretch. --Jamal Crawford owns the Cavs, period. --Not that I usually follow these sorts of things, but I believe the spread on tonight's game was Cavs -5. Nate Robinson made a layup at the buzzer to make it a four point game...hmmmm.
LeBron: "When you give Boobie an open shot like that, it is almost like practice." Boobie: "It was one of those moments where you get into the zone. It did take me back (to Game 6) a bit." Isiah Thomas: "LeBron was incredible. He was drawing so much attention that we left a couple of guys open and we paid for it."