Post -mortem: Cavs 92, Hornets 78.
The Cavaliers won this game for two reason - defense and coaching.
Defensively, they held Hornets to 37 percent shooting on the night, forced 13 turnovers and had six steals. It's the kind of effort that's expected and has become the norm. 'Nuff said.
But in all of the excitement surrounding the team's success this season the one person who deserves much of the credit rarely gets mentioned - Coach Mike Brown.
He showed his basketball acumen by going with a small lineup for much of the second half that featured Wally Szczerbiak at center and James at power forward. The maneuver left the Hornets befuddled and frustrated.
Mike Brown on the performances of Szczerbiak and Pavlovic, who scored 14 and 19 points respectively and combined to hit on 8-of-9 three-point shots:
Those guys stepped in when they were open and they shot it with confidence. I thought tonight those guys were aggressive stepping into their shots and they took good shots because the shots that they took were open.Wally Szczerbiak on their performances:
We had open shots; we knocked them down. We have to continue to be aggressive. Sasha was great in the starting role...but we're going to need multiple guys to step up. That's what this team is all about.Game: Cavs (26-4) vs. New Orleans Hornets (23-12)
Broadcast: TV: ESPN, FSOhio. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Anderson Varejao (C); Sasha Pavlovic (G); Mo Williams (G). Hornets: Peja Stojakovic (F); David West (F); Tyson Chandler (C); Rasual Butler (G); Chris Paul (G)
Inactives-Injuries: Cavs: Eric Snow (knee); Delonte West (wrist); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ankle). Hornets: Melvin Ely, Ryan Bowen.
Officials: Steve Javie, Tony Brothers and Derek Richardson.
This year: The Hornets beat the Cavaliers 104-92 in New Orleans.
Things to watch:
- How will the loss of Delonte affect the team - The Cavs need someone to step up to make up for those 12 points that West brings. The problem they face, however, is that no one can replace West on defense where he was ferocious and tenacious.
- Mo Williams on Chris Paul - Williams has struggled on the defensive ball lately, having given up 25 points to Memphhis' Kirk Lowry and allowing the Bulls' Derrick Rose to dominate the game late and in overtime Thursday night. The Cavs need an all-around better defensive effort from him.
From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on whether the team was down after losing Delonte West:
In terms of being down, I think that's natural for any team, but at the same time we don't want that hanging over our heads,'' he said. ''We're just going to have to play. We felt this team is extremely deep. It just gives guys an opportunity to step up and play some minutes.From the locker room:
LeBron James on what West means to the team:
You can't fill Delonte's shoes. Other guys are going to have to step up. Delonte's toughness and what he's been able to do this year for our team is unmatched,'' he said. ''There's no one who can step into his shoes, but people have their own shoes and have to fulfill their own roles and play hard.
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