|Final - 1.21.2009||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Portland Trail Blazers||25||20||24||29||98|
Sometimes it just doesn't matter. In football, a great defense will shut down a great offense - ask the Patriots about the Giants last year. In baseball, great pitching beats great hitting - ask the 1995 Indians about the Atlanta Braves. In basketball, great players win games all by themselves, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Ask the Portland Trailblazers about LeBron James last night.
There are no words to describe LeBron's performance. 34 points, 7 rebounds, 14 assists - and the Cavaliers needed every one of them. This isn't a story to bash the Blazers, far from it. They are a damn good team, and scary young at the same time. They sent everything and everyone at LeBron and were not going to allow him to get to the rim. That is the recipe for opponents with Big Z out of the lineup and no real post presence on offense. LA played LeBron the exact same way - the difference last night was LeBron made better decisions, he hit some shots and his teammates picked him up, especially Mo Williams, who scored a season-high 33, including a career high 6 3-pointers.
Perhaps more impressive than LeBron, if anything is even possible, was the way the team responded to the loss on Monday. You could see it on the players faces that they wanted this win. They know they have yet to lose 2 straight games, and they know doubters are starting to come out of the woodwork. The passion the team played with right from the start was great to see and Mike Brown had to be pleased.
I'd be remiss if I didn't give a FTS tip of the cap to Sasha Pavlovic. Pavs didn;t force his shot, did a little bit of evreything(4 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 points) and most importantly played great defense on the perimeter against Brandon Roy(8-23) and Rudy Fernandez(3-9). It is that kind of output, 30 minutes of focused energy, that the Cavs need from Sasha and will earn him additional playing time, whether it is with the Cavs or somewhere else.
The Cavs move on to Golden State, where a win on Friday Night would make this trip a success, considering the condition the Cavs are in. With Z looking to be back sometime next week, the Cavaliers are on the read to recovery. Every win they can earn now will be huge in April, when things really get interesting.