When Byron Scott joined the Indiana Pacers, he was a veteran past his prime with three championship rings. He embraced the opportunity to teach a young Pacers team how to win, while giving some advice to Reggie Miller on his path to stardom.
Antawn Jamison doesn't have three championship rings. In fact, he doesn't have any. And Jamison believes he can earn another contract after his current deal expires after next season. So he isn't as eager to embrace the bench role Scott did later in his career.
But if Jamison can keep playing as well as he did Tuesday in the Cavs' win over the Nets, he'll accomplish one of two things: He'll either make the Cavs much better than anyone is expecting them to be in the East or he'll play well enough to earn a trade back to a team contending for a championship.
Jamison was fantastic Tuesday. He was aggressive as soon as he entered the game halfway through the first quarter and he never slowed down, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds. He inspired J.J. Hickson, too. After a sluggish first quarter, Hickson finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
"With (Jamison's) play and me not having such as good of a half as I thought I’d have, I took it upon myself to be more aggressive on the defensive end and grab a lot of rebounds," Hickson said. "It got me going on the offensive end."
Despite 18 rebounds out of their power forwards, the Cavs were still outrebounded by the Nets, 45-44. It illustrates just how much of a collective effort rebounding must be, and how important Jamison is to that cause since he has averaged 8.0 per game throughout his career.
The Cavs have won three straight on the road and the New York media attending the game left impressed. One writer said if the Cavs can start 7-3 (their next three games are against the Nets, Pacers and Sixers), it would be a giant middle finger to a certain superstar in Miami.
But let's not forget, the Cavs have a great schedule the first three weeks of the season. Nine of their first 11 games are against teams that failed to make the playoffs last season. They are playing very well right now and could be even better. Scott said before the game he thinks the Cavs let a game or two slip away -- and since the Toronto Raptors' only win this season came against the Cavs, it's easy to see which game he is talking about.
Within the span of a week, from Nov. 19-26, the Cavs play the unbeaten Hornets, the 5-1 Spurs and the 5-1 Magic -- all on the road. That will be the true measure of where this team is and where it still has to go. Until then, they need to keep beating teams like the Wizards, Sixers, Pacers and Nets.
They'll get another chance tomorrow. These two teams meet again in less than 24 hours.
Jamison and Anthony Parker hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final minutes of the game. Parker's was a rainbow heave over Travis Outlaw as the shot clock expired and gave the Cavs an 89-82 lead with 1:29 left.
The Cavs' bench outscored the Nets, 52-15. Even more impressively, the bench outscored the starters 52-41.
He said it
"Early on it was tough to swallow. I guess I just started making excuses instead of going out there and dealing with the task at hand. The one thing I will say is it's a great group of guys. I'm glad to be here. I've said it before, I want to be here. I just have to put all that behind me, go out and play and have fun and do the things I normally do." -- Antawn Jamison, on his adjustment to becoming a bench player
* The Cavs have won nine straight meetings against the Nets, tying for the longest active winning streak against an opponent.
* Need more proof that Boobie Gibson has become one of the Cavs' most clutch players? Of his 104 points scored this season, 58 have come in the fourth quarter.
* After blowing a 22-point lead tonight at home to Utah, the Miami Heat are 5-3 to start the season. The Cavs are 4-3. Just sayin'.