CLEVELAND - The Cavaliers reveal their new look to the hometown fans tonight. After a disappointing – not disastrous – disappointing effort versus the Celtics they open at home against a team they should beat.
A certain awkwardness prevailed over their season opener against the Boston Celtics and with the exception of Zydrunas Ilgauskas almost everyone looked out of sorts to some degree. LeBron got 22, but shot under 45 percent. Mo Williams didn’t distribute the ball that well. If they are going to get into a groove going into a short road trip beginning with New Orleans Saturday.
Game: Cavaliers (1-1) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (0-1)
TV: FSN Ohio
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: Mo Williams (G); Delonte West (G); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Ben Wallace (F); LeBron James (F). Bobcats: Raymond Felton (G); Jason Richardson (G); Gerald Wallace (F); Sean May (F); Emeka Okafor (C).
Streaking: Cavs have lost one.
Three things to watch:
1) They need to protect the frakkin’ basketball. Against the Celtics they had more than 20 turnovers. Yes, they want to play faster, but they have to play with more court awareness and smarter.
2) Mo Williams – can he get untracked tonight? Only two assists on Tuesday night, although he did score 12 points. For the Cavs to be more successful he has to threaten in the paint.
3) James. Personally, I think that playing in Boston the night of their banner raising and ring ceremony bothered him more than he was willing to admit.
From the coach’s office:
Mike Brown on turnovers: It happened. You don’t want it to happen. A lot of them were unforced. Now, the Celtics play very good physical defense. They’re grabbing you and beating on you the entire game and picking up their intensity can have some effect. Their defense had something to do with it in that regard, but we could have done a better job handling their defense and the ball.
From the locker room:
LeBron James on appearing with Jay-Z at a concert to get out the vote for Barack Obama: It was great. It was great….I hope it went well for everyone in attendance. IT wasn’t just a concert to watch Jay-Z it was a big picture thing.
This one is easy. Heck, you guys could tell me how they won this one. Nevermind that they should have to start. It starts with defense and protecting the ball.
The Cavs held the Bobcats to a meager 34 percent shooting from the field. They blocked 11 shots and dominated the boards 46-34. Their transition defense was also what it needed to be as the Bobcats only got 10 points off fast break opportunities.
Secondly, Cavs fans got a look at what Mo Williams can do when out on the floor. Williams scored 17 points, dished out 7 assists and added four rebounds for good measure.
Add Daniel Boobie Gibson’s 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and you have the ingredients of a pretty good defense, but this is just the second game of the season.
Trends that always seem to haunt the Cavs reared their heads tonight. For instance, they shot just 66 percent from the free throw line. More importantly, at least in this game: they once against allowed themselves to get out played in the third quarter coming out ice cold and allowing the Bobcats to come within five at 60-55. In the third quarter they shot a pathetic 33 percent from the floor and turned the ball over five times. They can get away with that against a team like the Bobcats – with a team like…oh, I don’t know, Boston, not so much. Sort of like Tuesday night.
From here it’s on to the Big Easy to face the New Orleans Hornets.
LeBron James had to play just 30 minutes tonight. It sounded as if that made him happy:
‘’We had a lot of guys contribute tonight and I got a lot of rest,’’ James said. ‘’I believe in our roster so I don’t have to go out there and average 44 or 42 minutes. We have so much depth, guys that we can go to when I’m out of the ball game.’’
Coach Mike Brown heaped praise on point guard Mo Williams:
‘’I thought Mo Williams did a nice job in getting our team to believe that they had to get stops in order to get the win. He brought our team together. He kept talking about getting stops,’’ Brown said. ‘’ He got the guys to share the ball and try to run the offense at the other end. It resulted for us in a big run.’’