Cavs vs Raptors - Thoughts

-  Zydrunas Ilgaukas looked very good tonight, scoring 16 points on 8-for-12 shooting while snagging six rebounds and dishing off two assists.  He also played some solid post defense on Jermaine O'Neal.

-  LeBron played just over 8 minutes, missing the three shots he took and dishing out two assists, one of which turned into a nice And One to Anderson Varejao.  Expect many similar outings this preseason, but I wonder if he'll bring a little more to those two matchups with the Celtics.

-  Give the first round of the shooting guard competition to Sasha Pavlovic by a nose over Wally Szczerbiak, with Daniel Gibson coming in at a distant third.  Pavlovic scored the first basket of the game on a nice little jumper, and ended up with 5 points, 4 assists, a block and and steal.  Wally finished with 7 points, and made another nice 12-footer off the curl that seems to be his best shot in the Cavalier offense, but he seems to be better suited as a scorer off the bench.  But things can change significantly over the next 20 days.

-  The most disappointing performance of the night belonged to Daniel Gibson.  Gibson finished with 12 points, but did so on 4-of-13 shooting, including just 2-of-11 inside the 3-point arc.  There's no doubt that Gibson is a deadly spot-up shooter, but his ballhandling was miserable tonight, and he forced a number of tough shots off the dribble.  The box score says he had 3 assists, but on the whole he did very little to create opportunities for his teammates.  The Cavs did very well in bringing Delonte West back, because right now Gibson is not going to work as a backup point guard.

-  Mo Williams was fine in his Cavalier debut, but was prone to overhandling the ball at the top of the circle.  He did make a couple of nice shots, but he didn't get to the rim as much as I would have liked.  Obviously he is still learning the offensive schemes, but his real value to this team will be his ability to create easier shots for his teammates.

-  J.J. Hickson had a decent debut, with 7 points and 4 boards, but there's really no way to judge his progression at this early point.  He has a lot to learn out there, and looked lost on a number of occasions.  I'll say it again, if he's going to get minutes early in the season, he's going to have to learn Mike Brown's defensive schemes quickly.  Hickson did have one very nice up-and-under move for a basket and a foul, and came up with a steal and a thunderous dunk on a breakaway.  His free throws seemed to have a very high arc.

-  Tarence Kinsey got nearly all of LeBron's leftover minutes, but did little to distinguish himself, going 2-for-8 for 6 points.  Szczerbiak and Pavlovic were not on the court together, which would imply that Kinsey will is the prime candidate to be LeBron's backup at small forward.

-  The Q apparently doesn't have the capacity to handle Darnell Jackson's number, as he was listed as 0, instead of his jersey number, which is 00.

-  As for the Raptors, they really found their groove in the 3rd Quarter, turning an 8-point halftime deficeit into a 5-point lead at the start of the 4th Quarter.  The Raptors are really starting to look like a European team, getting into the lane and kicking the ball out for mid-range jumpers, and they were easily able to exploit the guys at the end of the bench who are still learning the defensive system.  The Raptors shot 52% from the field for the game.

-  The 08-09 Cavalier Girls made their debut last night, with two performances between quarters.  They also spent time during the game in the aisles around the arena, including a trip to the upper deck in the second half.  I like the idea, but they were in the stairway aisles, and that could be problematic when there are more than 4000 people at the Q.  This was just a test run, but the girls definitely got attention in the stands, with a number of fans stopping by for pictures (this blogger excluded).

Go Cavs.  Great to see the team back in uniform.

Mike C.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at FearTheSword

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