These games are fun to watch - for the fans at least. After playing their best game of the season, a complete-game effort in beating the Suns on Monday Night, the Cavaliers decided that defense was optional for 3 quarters before locking down the Sacramento Kings 117-104 in OT.
After giving up 32 points in the 3rd quarter(85 in the first 3 combined), the Cavaliers decided that enough was enough - playing the lock-down defense that is the true reason for their success - and held the Kings to just 19 points in the final 17 minutes.
Perhaps the most impressive stat, besides the triple-double put up by LeBron James, was the defense James played on wonder-rookie Tyreke Evans. Evans was simply awesome in scoring 26 points through the first 3 and 1/2 quarters. Then James took over - the result - Evans went 1-9 down the stretch, scoring just 2 points.
Speaking of James, his offensive game was on the money as well. LeBron scored 12 points in the first, 14 in the second for 26 points in the first 24 minutes. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, LeBron was the only one scoring, thus the lead at halftime was just 4 at 57-53.
LeBron's play was even more impressive in the second half despite scoring just 8 points. As I mentioned, he locked down Tyreke Evens in the 4th Quarter and OT. He also attacked the basket and was a monster on the glass - his 34 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists have never been done by a Cavaliers before. If LeBron is warming up for his Christmas showdown with Kobe, we are all in for a special treat.
Mo Williams, who injured a knee early in the game only to return, was red-hot in the 2nd half, finishing the game with 27 points, hitting big shot after big shot in the 3rd quarter when the Kings looked to be taking the game over. It was the kind of All-Star performance from Mo that we came to expect last season and it was great to see as 2009 comes to a close.
Shaquille O'Neal was more of a presence as well, scoring 8 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in 22 minutes. It was a solid effort from Shaq.
Lastly, how could we talk about this game without mentioning the Cavaliers final 9 points - scored by Zydrunas Ilgauskas - all on three pointers from the corner. All three were set up by LeBron James drives to the basket - all three found nothing but the bottom of the net. For the game, Ilgauskas scored 25 points to go along with 8 boards.
Make no mistake, the Sacremento Kings have talent - lots of it. All five of their starters was 23 years old or younger. Their best player, Kevin Martin, is still coming back from injury. This was a tough win against an up-and-coming team and something tells me that we will see plenty more of LeBron James-Tyreke Evens showdowns in the years to come.