Byron Scott wasn't going to just let this season circle the drain. He had to do something. So for the third time this season, he reshuffled the starting lineup.
This one got everyone's attention.
Antawn Jamison has outplayed J.J. Hickson most of the season, but Scott stuck with Hickson as long as he could. Neither is very good defensively, but Jamison is at least a little more consistent of a rebounder. This move is certainly a risk. Hickson's confidence was fragile to begin with and a move like this could damage his psyche. But Scott is more concerned with salvaging this season.
I'm not sure Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams in the same backcourt will work for 35-plus minutes a night, but at this point, why not give it a shot? Scott called Gibson his best perimeter defender early in camp, which if that's true, you have to wonder why he wasn't on Derrick Rose when Rose blew by Williams for the game-winning basket. Gibson and Williams will leave the Cavs vulnerable defensively because of a lack of size, but at least Gibson will show some heart.
What is sort of overlooked in all of this is Manny Harris' big chance. A number of fans have been calling for Harris, but don't expect too much from him too soon. He's an undrafted rookie still trying to find his way, but now he'll be expected to play big minutes. He hit a couple of shots tonight, but it was the first time he was on the floor and didn't really do anything to make you notice him.
He did drive into a sea of Bulls on two separate occasions and got swatted badly, but at least he showed enough guts to attack the basket.
The Cavs go right back out on the road for four more tough games at Houston, Oklahoma City, Miami and Indianapolis. It's still tough to imagine the Cavs winning any of those four games, but if they give the type of effort they did tonight, at least they'll be competitive. And that's a start.
Antawn Jamison 21 points, six rebounds
Anderson Varejao 17 points, 12 rebounds
Mo Williams 13 points, 10 assists
Derrick Rose 29 points, eight assists
Joakim Noah 13 points, 14 rebounds
Luol Deng 13 points, six rebounds
The Cavs led 80-74 with three minutes left, but scored just one basket the rest of the night as the Bulls rallied back. And for the record, Mo Williams still can't defend Derrick Rose.
He said it
“Losing sucks." -- Byron Scott
The Cavs held the Bulls under 25 points in each of the first three quarters. Given where this team has been defensively, that's a big deal.
* Ramon Sessions, Joey Graham and Leon Powe were all active, but didn't play a single minute. Powe isn't nearly as surprising as Sessions and Graham. Sessions was one of Scott's favorite players early on and Graham was a starter as recent as LAST NIGHT! But this is what happens when a team goes on an extended losing skid. A coach will try just about anything to get it stopped.
* The Cavs shot just 38 percent for the game. Some of the bigger offenders were Mo Williams (5 of 18), Daniel Gibson (4 of 16) and Antawn Jamison (8 of 19). Anderson Varejao was perfect from the floor for the second time this season. He went 7 of 7 after going 11 of 11 in a game earlier this season at Philadelphia.
* The move of Jamison and Gibson into the starting lineup will severely impact the Cavs' bench scoring, which entered the night leading the league at better than 46 points a game. Against the Bulls they had eight.