What? What??!?!?!?! Yes, that score is correct. Somehow, someway, the Cavs beat the team that beat them by 55 points earlier in the season. God does exist.
The veterans really want to get traded
My god. I never thought I’d see the day when Ryan Hollins, Anthony Parker, and Jamario Moon all played well ON THE SAME NIGHT. There is a better chance of a giant volcano erupting in the middle of New York City and spewing out baby unicorns. Yet, it happened. All of them played FANTASTIC defense. I mean, as bad as this team was against Washington on defense, it gave the exact opposite effort tonight.
Parker specifically needs to be talked about. He simply shut Kobe down when he was in there (Kobe went 8-24). Not only that, he hit multiple big shots and was passing the ball as if he’s the second coming of Magic Johnson. Seriously, all of his 9 assists led to wide-open looks for his teammates. Parker, though, has actually been playing pretty well since he’s come back from injury. Some team is going to pick him up at the deadline.
However, Jamario Moon had not been playing well. Tonight was different. He also played lock-down defense and had some major hustle plays. His box score isn’t very spectacular, but his effect on the game was. He had some big rebounds, big steals, and just an overall fantastic effort.
Eyenga, the keeper.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Eyenga is the only guy I see on this team who has a good chance of being a part of this team’s long-term future. Forget the monster dunk on Gasol. The man played terrific man-to-man defense on Kobe Bryant. He will be a lock-down defender in this league, and if there is one thing you need, it’s a great SF defender. Without one, you are bound to get torched by the very best scorers in this game (they happen to play at that position). Anything else he develops in his career will be gravy.
Hickson and Jamison
Your typical Hickson and Jamison type of performance. Jamison was a volume scorer, Hickson was a volume rebounder. They both played damn hard though. Jamison got torched on defense, but it’s Pau Gasol. There really is nothing else to expect.
Hickson continues to rebound the ball well, especially on offense, but man I get the feeling those rebounding totals must be misleading. Take for instance the last two games. Hickson puts up these big rebounding numbers, yet the team as a whole gets dominated on the boards. It isn’t Hickson’s fault, but I feel there must be something to it. I’m going to check out the numbers in the next few days, but I have a hunch the Cavs might have one of the worst rebounding backcourt’s in the league. It’s the only way I can explain seeing Hickson put up 12-15 boards a night, yet the Cavs getting outrebounded by 7-10 a night. The guards must not rebound, which means Hickson has less competition. Oh well. He still has trouble boxing out on the defensive end, but he’s really using his athletic ability well to rebound on the offensive end. Props to Hickson for that.
On the offensive end, you could clearly see his weaknesses this game. With no jump shot and no ability to handle the ball, he had and will have a very, very hard time scoring on big front-courts. Tonight, you saw that. He simply had no shot at scoring inside on Bynum and Gasol. And because he can’t shoot or turn and face up and take someone off the dribble, it means trouble. He went 6-18, but at least it wasn’t because he was taking a bunch of jumpers. I still wish his shot total was down though. The man simply isn’t a skilled enough offensive player to be taking 18 shots unless they are 18 wide-open shots. Still, good effort on the boards from JJ.
Ramon will dominate the headlines tomorrow. He scored a season-high 32 points, and the majority of those points came in the paint. Already the talk about Ramon being “untouchable” has begun. Look, the kid is playing well, but that is just insanity. It’s very, very easy to overlook a defensive issue when a team is so poor. You see Ramon scoring and you think to yourself “he’s the least of the team’s problem.” This is true. However, we are talking about building for the future, not next season. If Ramon Sessions were on a good team, everyone would look at the guy as the major weakness. Why? Because he can’t defend. Anything. Lost in his 32 point game will be the fact that Derek Fisher had his best offensive game of the season. He had wide-open shot after wide-open shot. Most of that is because Ramon Sessions was losing him.
Don’t get me wrong. Sessions is playing really well for the Cavs and has for some time. But let’s understand, he’s playing really well compared to the rest of the team. A 10 win team. A team that wants to play for a title simply cannot have Ramon Sessions as its starting PG. It just can’t. Now, I understand the Cavs won’t be competing for some time, but the point is we can’t just cover our ears when some other team starts asking around about Sessions. If a deal for Sessions comes along that could possibly land us a talent that one day COULD start for a title team, then we need to listen. I’m looking to acquire future contributors to a title team, not hold on to good players on a bad team.
The All-Star break
For the first time in some time, I have some real hope. Don’t get it twisted. It isn’t hope for THIS team. It’s hope that we can actually move some of these players. The deadline is here and Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, and Antawn Jamison have all been playing well recently. Hopefully, teams around the league take notice and offer the Cavs SOMETHING for some of these guys. If you haven’t been excited all season (and why would you have been) now is the time. Get excited that we might finally get some movement and see some extra draft picks heading the Cavaliers’ way.