UPDATE: Larry Hughes' injury is more severe than first thought. From what I am hearing, expect him to be out for a while. Probably at least a week and maybe more. Right now, though, all I'm prepared to guarantee is that he won't play over the weekend.
Last night when Bob Finnan, Branson Wright and I came to him after the game he saw us coming and, with a mouth full of pizza, said: "I'm OK, I'm OK." I don't think he thought it was going to be an issue. But obviously his ankle is affected. And honestly, something like this at some point was not unexpected.
Back to the main post:
Since I've last blogged the Cavs run off four straight wins and have the best record in the East. So everything is hunky dory, right? Well, not exactly. Here's your inside update:
The Good: After my great disappointment with LeBron following that loss in Charlotte, he has pieced together an outstanding 10 days of basketball. I will not dignify that walking off the court item with a comment, it was as stupid as the Bobby Knight supposed slapping nonsense. He showed tremendous leadership in the win over Boston by continuing to play hard and attack down 25 points. Right now he is balancing aggressiveness and unselfishness perfectly and performing at his usual high level. And I don't think he's even gotten hot yet. Right now, my bet is he wins Player of the Month in November for the third straight year.
The Bad: There's no doubt in my mind Nike and everyone else outside Cleveland wants LeBron in New York, which has been shown by the way Nike is marketing his new shoe there. Yet if New York is the "mecca of basketball" and if "you haven't made there, it you haven't made it," what does it say that the Garden didn't even sell out Monday night. In fact, it didn't look close. I realize the Knicks are bad, but that isn't supposed to matter to all those great basketball fans. It doesn't seem to me like the LeBron sell has totally gone over yet in NYC. Yet.
The Good: The new offense, for the most part, has been getting some more movement and allows other players to get involved besides LeBron.
The Bad: Zydrunas Ilgauskas hates it and is lost and it makes everything he does tentative. He's out of sync and out of confidence. I don't personally think Eric Snow likes it either, not that it was designed for him. In fact, I think the offense works better without either of them in there. See, now that's ultimately going to be an issue because Z is the best offensive big man and Snow is the best point guard on the team.
The Good: The Cavs' defensive numbers at the outset are a little better than last year. They haven't totally been consistent. But, in my opinion, the defense won the games against Boston, in San Antonio and against Portland (which has little talent right now outside Zach Randolph).
The Bad: They have no one who can handle a penetrating guard. Snow and Damon Jones are too slow. They've been using Larry Hughes, but that isn't his strongsuit and he doesn't like doing it. Plus the way the Cavs play defense, keeping a player out of the middle of the lane is the MOST important factor.
The Good: The Cavs bench has shown positive growth. Donyell Marshall shows up every night, Anderson Varejao's effort is constant, Jones has been solid, and Sasha Pavlovic is currently in production mode.
The Bad: David Wesley has been a failure thus far and everybody, including David knows it. He's been pouring work in after practice trying to get it back. Not sure it's going to happen.
The Good: LeBron's Nike commercials have a nice niche and excellent production. Especially with the vague Back to School reference. They are way better, and way more expensive, than the weak overall efforts of Dwyane Wade's boring Converse commercials and Kobe Bryant's lame efforts for Sony with the stupid old guy in the Utah Jazz outfit.
The Bad: Carmelo Anthony's new Jordan commercial blows them all away in my opinion. But I'm sometimes a sucker for commercials that have little talking so I know that opinion won't be the popular one.