COLUMBUS - It’s fun and mirth at Schottenstein Arena tonight. This is one of those situations where I will happily bid adieu to the NBA’s preseason. I suspect the goal in this game is as we’d expect in the fourth game of the NFL’s preseason – come out unscathed all while working up a sweat and giving the good folks of Cbus a good show. I’ll confess, it’s difficult for me to see what Coach Mike Brown is cooking up here for the season. To answer a couple of questions I’ve seen in the comments section on the blog: he’s not particularly worried about the two-guard spot. About the only thing that’s sure is that Wally Szczerbiak will be coming off the bench. Tonight look for Delonte West to start in that spot.
Game: Cavaliers (3-5) vs. Washington Wizards (2-5)
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: Mo Williams (G); Delonte West (G); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); LeBron James (F). Wizards: Antonio Daniels (G); DeShawn Stevenson (G); Etan Thomas (C); Caron Butler (F); Antwan Jamison (F)
Officials: Derrick Stafford, Matt Boland, Mark Ayotte.
In the coach’s office:
On Delonte West starting tonight:
"Delonte’s tough, he’s athletic, he can shoot the three, he can shoot off the dribble. There are a lot of things he can do offensively and defensively to help us out."
In the locker room:
LeBron James took a chance to needle teammate Mo Williams about his Crimson Tide connections. Here’s what he said when asked about what he thought stood out in the college football season:
" I think :Penn State has stood out. I think the success of Texas is really good. There’s a lot of teams success – Alabama has been really surprising. But at the end of the day you always see the Buckeyes in the Top Ten."
Game analysis: It goes without saying that the Cavs gave their best effort of the preseason. Personally, I'm just glad it's over. LeBron James looked ready to go hitting on 9-of-14 shots for 26 points.
The good: Defense in the paint improved. The Cavaliers outscored the Wizards 46-26 in the paint and didn't allow many uncontested shots in that area. To go with it add eight blocked shots. Overall the defense allowed the Wizards to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor on 27-of-70 shooting. Their transition defense looke much better as they only allowed the Wizards 13 fast break points. Credit the fact that the Cavaliers kept their turnovers to a minimum.
Mo Williams tossed in 15 points on the good side. On the other hand, he only dished out one assist. Mike Brown said that he's not concerned with that part of West's game. From this corner, it looks as if that elusive chemistry thing hasn't been worked out yet and, perhaps, Williams isn't completely adjusted to the Cavs offense.
LeBron James on the upcoming season:
Yeah, I'm ready for the season. I told you it didn't matter how many minutes I was going to play. I'm prepared to go out there if it's a regular season game. I probably would have played more if the game was a lot closer in the fourth quarter. I got some nice work done today.
Mike Brown on rookie J.J. Hickson not seeing a lot of action:
J.J. missed the bus this morning to shootaround and as a rookie, you especially can't let that happen. So he was going to sit there. If it was a closer game, he would have probably sat the whole game. There have been very, very few times that our guys have been late for anything. He's a rookie and he has to learn from his mistakes. He should learn A) you shouldn't miss the bus and B) if you're on the bus after LeBron, Z, Mo and Ben, you shouldn't get a ride with us. He has to continue to make sure he's doing the job at hand and that means whatever business is in front of him.