Post mortem: It wasn't pretty to start, but it's a win that any casual observer would take. Coach Brown didn't think so after his post game comments, but this is a game that last year's Cavs team wouldn't have won. Logically speaking they shouldn't have won this one. They lost the battle in the paint (40-32), lost on fastbreak points (16-7).
But the defense won this one for them. Consider this: they held the Sixers to just 47 points in the final three quarters and forced 20 turnovers that turned into 20 points. When you do that, you can expect to at least be competitive.
Brown should be content knowing that when he needed players to step up, they did. LeBron James hit 28, but Anderson Varejao, playing 35 minutes scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and had seven rebounds.
The backcourt of Mo Williams and Delonte West delivered 30 total points. But a huge effort came from rookie Darnell Jackson who grabbed eight rebounds - five of them offensive.
Philadelphia is a team that's underachieved in the eyes of a lot of people. Perhaps that's a case of not having gelled yet, but the Cavs didn't allow their marquee players - Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Andre Miller - to find any sort of groove.
Overall: a not-so-pretty win, but a good one nonetheless.
Mike Brown on rookie forward Darnell Jackson:
I thought his effort defensively was terrific. I thought he came up with extra possessions for us. Anytime you can get extra possessions off of pure hustle, it lifts you as a team.LeBron James on playing without Z:
Anytime you have key guys out it takes a while to get adjusted. Guys stepped up. Once again Andy stepped up. Darnell gave us some big minutes off the bench. Tarence and Sasha came in and gave us some big minutes and it was good to see that.At the half: Personally, I'm a bit surprised at the 52-39 halftime score. Without Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Daniel Gibson, the Cavs should have been out of sorts and they were to start - offensively and defensively.
We feel like we have guys who can still score if we do throw them the ball down in the post. We also feel as if we have bigs show can step out on the floor and knock down too, playing pick-and-pop basketball.From the locker room:
It shouldn’t. We practice the same way with Z in or out. The big does the same thing Z does – he just has to shoot the ball a little bit better. It’s the same offense, guys are going to have confidence if they have confidence at practice. It won’t be any adjustments made, just guys stepping in and step up.