Quick, anyone out there feel lucky to have escaped with a win in this game? Yeah, I thought so. That isn’t the wrong feeling to have at this point. Once again the Cavs came out looking flat. That could be said about the last three games.
Sure they would go on to the win and hit nearly 49 percent of their shots, but they were slapped on the glass getting beat 45-36. More noticeable is that the Bucks got more offensive rebounds, besting the Cavs 17-9. More disturbingly is that a trend continues to emerge in the last four games – LeBron James has had to bail his teammates out. In three of those games, it came courtesy of 41-point performances. The difference this time: he played more than 42 minutes in this game. That is something Coach Mike Brown doesn’t want to see.
Brown on the rebounding differential which he blamed on playing a smaller lineup:
That’s no excuse for us, but I’m assuming that’s where the problem is. Yes it’s a concern because this team hasn’t had that happen since I’ve been here, but we haven’t played as much small ball since I’ve been here too.
LeBron James on his minutes tonight:
It was a hard fought game. We really had to will this win because we didn’t play our best game. I feel it our there every game honestly because I play hard and try to win every game.
At the half:
Cavs 48-42. No getting around it. This was the ugliest half of hoops thus far this season. Both teams are flat. On the Cavs end, Mo Williams came out flatter than day-old beer. The Bucks are doing a decent job keeping the Cavaliers from getting shots. It doesn’t help that the Cavs have turned the ball over nine times in the first half. They’re shooting 47 percent, while the Bucks are at 30. With a number like that it feels as if the Cavs should be up by more. Just something to keep in mind, the refs haven’t exactly swallowed their whistles either.
WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Bucks: Richard Jefferson (F); Charlie Villanueva (F); Andrew Bogut (C); Charlie Bell (G); Luke Ridnour (G)
Officials: Scott Foster, Eric Lewis, Rodney Mott
Streaking: The Cavaliers have won four in a row.
Three things to watch:
1) Mo Williams paying against his former team for the first time since coming to the Cavaliers prior to the start of the season. Mike Browns in his pre-game meet with the press said that Williams is everything he could have hoped for and then some. So far the speedy point guard has brought energy, tremendous court presence and awareness and nice decision-making to his new team.
2) LeBron James has been on a tear the last few games averaging more than 36 points in the past three contests, including two 41-point games against the Chicago Bulls.
3) Watch for the first half to get some indication of how the Cavs’ defense will perform. Against the Bulls they were somewhat suspect until the fourth quarter until they ratcheted things up considerably in that meeting.
From the coach’s office:
Mike Brown on games against division opponents:
Whether it was division, non-division, non-conference, it was our most important game because it was our next one and that’s what we have to be conscious of. Let’s attack who our next opponent is and try to get that win and in the meantime, let’s get better.
From the locker room.:
LeBron James on whether playing a division foe matters:
The division is really key. You always want to try to make a stand in your division no matter who you go against. We’re 3-0 right now against our division opponents and we have to continue that.