Alonzo Gee was a power forward in the SEC. He was a shooting guard Sunday night with the Cavs. Stop and think about that for a minute.
It's a testament to Gee's athleticism and flexibility that he can play so opposite of positions and do well. Gee struggled a bit when he was starting in place of Daniel Gibson at the 2, but it didn't take him long to shine again when he was back in his comfort zone tonight against the Pistons.
Gee had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but more impressively had 13 points, six rebounds and went 5 of 5 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. He and Kyrie Irving combined for 30 of the Cavs' 35 points in the fourth.
Byron Scott loves bringing Gee off the bench at small forward. He loves the energy and athleticism he brings. He loves the toughness and the spark. We all make a big deal about who starts games, but Scott loves having Gee on the floor at the end. He, Irving and Tristan Thompson played the entire fourth quarter tonight, comprising a closing trio of 24-and-under players that could grow and thrive together for years to come.
For as much as Gee tried to dismiss any difference between shooting guard and small forward, Scott finally conceded tonight the type of adjustment Gee has been asked to make.
"The transition from 4 to 3 is not that big of a deal. You can still play with your back to the basket and you're still playing a lot of times below the free-throw line," Scott said. "When you're a 2, you're playing above that free-throw line. It's a different position. You're facing the basket instead of playing with your back to the basket. He's adjusted to the 3 extremely well, but it's going to take him a little more time to adjust to the 2."
Gee was 9 of 35 over his last three games. For the first time all season, he seemed to be forcing shots he didn't need to take, perhaps because he was adjusting to new places on the floor. Now that the Cavs are getting healthy again at shooting guard, Gee may not have to go back there at all.
Irving will get the headlines and face time tonight because he's the top pick and he's quickly earning the reputation of a fearless closer. He's earned it with some incredible fourth-quarter performances. But the Cavs wouldn't have pulled this win out if not for Gee, the converted power forward who can dabble at shooting guard. What a combination.
Antawn Jamison 32 points, 10 rebounds
Kyrie Irving 25 points, 8 assists
Alonzo Gee 16 points, 11 rebounds
Brandon Knight 24 points, 3 assists
Greg Monroe 19 points, 11 rebounds
Ben Gordon 16 points, 4 rebounds
Irving and Gee combined to score 30 of the Cavs' 35 points in the fourth quarter
The Cavs scored 10 of the first 13 points in the fourth quarter to pull within 80-76 with 9:11 to play.
“We have a bunch of guys in the locker room that believe we can win games. Even when we’re down in the fourth quarter, we still have a belief in ourselves that if there’s still time on the clock, we have a chance to come back.” -- Byron Scott
The Cavs (13-17) host the New Orleans Hornets (7-24) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the final game before the All-Star break.