Every season there are going to be a certain number of nights when an NBA team isn't going to lose and those it isn't going to win. Tonight was one of the positive nights for the Cavs. They had a tired Toronto team missing two key players and they handled them. I would not take anything that happened too seriously. Before it's over, the Cavs will have a night when they are on the other end.
Anyway, here's some stuff:
--I'd say 10-14 days on Boobie Gibson's toe is conservative. It sounds to me like the MRI scared the Cavs a little bit because the swelling was worse than last time. They don't want to mess around. Over the years, I'd learned a few things on basketball injuries. When it comes to feet and ankles, timeframes to return are always approximate.
--The Cavs did a pretty good job handling T.J. Ford tonight. I thought he might kill them with Larry Hughes, LeBron and Sasha on the floor. But the bigs did good job of showing on the pick-and-rolls and all the Raptors were more interested in taking jumpers.
--Got news for everyone, Hughes has been playing point guard for weeks now. Though he may not call it that. So this move without Gibson isn't drastic. The bigger adjustment is using a very big and slower lineup at the other end. The Cavs might be starting the biggest lineup in the NBA now with 6-5 and 6-7 guards, 6-8 and 6-10 forwards, and a 7-3 center. I expect teams to maybe press the Cavs a little more and perhaps try to take advantage of quickness.
--The Cavs' focus again was pretty strong tonight and so was their willingness to take the ball to the basket, which is why they got 34 free throws. They scored 120 points because they made 12 3's, but they did it without shooting a high percentage overall. This is because of the free throws, which come from driving. If this keeps up, they should continue to win.
--LeBron is averaging 33 points over his last seven games. He's returning to the level of last year. Not only that, he's diving on the floor and continuing to attack. You can see the rest of the team follow his lead in that regard.
--Shannon Brown was packed for five games in the D-League when he left for Dallas last week. Then with Damon Jones and Hughes out and Sasha Pavlovic in foul trouble, Mike Brown had no choice but to play Shannon against the Mavs. He hadn't played meaningful minutes in like two months, but he played maybe his best minutes this season in that tight spot. It impressed the coaches so much that he's now going to be in the rotation, as far as I can tell. This is his chance, we'll see if he takes advantage. He played well tonight, but as I said, I'm not paying that much attention to what happened in this game.
--Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden are out of it right now, the Cavs have been saved by Donyell Marshall and Anderson Varejao over the last two.
--Interesting how this orange fad as caught on. Joe Tait was telling us tonight that when they team first wore those unis in the 1980s, the players hated them. As Tait said: "The players thought we looked like second-rate movers."
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