Sometimes there really aren't words to explain what you have just watched. I mean, how do you explain the Cavaliers 100-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at The Q? Actually, it is pretty easy - his name is LeBron James, and he'll be a 2-time NBA MVP when this season is over.
LeBron's block of Kevin Durant with the Cavs clinging to a 2-point lead with 1.9 seconds to go, followed by two clutch free throws, saved the Cavs again. With an offense that struggled without Mo Williams and Delonte West, and the embarrassment that saw the Wine and errrrr Blue and Orange MISS 20 free throws. The Cavs went 20/40 from the line, helping the Thunder stay in a game that the Cavaliers could have easily put away in the first half.
As it was, Cleveland led by 13 at halftime, and it looked as the though the Cavaliers would take advantage of a team playing its 4th game in 6 nights, coming off a loss at the buzzer to Memphis last night. Someone forgot to tell Kevin Durant that.
Durant and his Thunder teammates outscored the Cavaliers 35-21 in the 3rd Quarter, scoring on 15 straight possessions at one point, and actually lead 76-75 heading into the 4th quarter. The Thunder's lead grew to 6 before the Cavaliers started to hit some shots.
Cleveland actually lead 95-91 with under two minutes to go before ill-advised shots, and poorly timed fouls, allowed the Thunder to take a 96-95 lead. That set up Daniel Gibson, who struggled mightily in his first start at the point, to bury a wide open three with 8.7 seconds to go to give the Cavs a 98-96 lead, setting up LeBron's last-second heroics.
Shaquille O'Neal turned back the clock a bit, scoring 22 points on 10 shots - in 32 minutes. Jawad Williams added 12 points - all in the first half - and Gibson chipped in 13 point on 5-13 shooting. Gibson seemed to get hot at the right time, hitting 3 of his final 5 shots after starting 2-8.
LeBron was a rebound away from a triple double, but was stellar - 37 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds. James didn't have a great night from the line, but hit his final 4 free throws in the 4th quarter, ending 13-19 from the line. He was clutch from behind the arc, hitting 6-10 from three.
Speaking of struggling Cavs, rarely can you say Anderson Varejao is a non-factor in a game - tonight was one of those nights. Varejao, a League-leader in +/-, was a -16 tonight in 19 minutes. Zydrunas Ilgauskas struggled with the Thunder's youth and athleticism as well, going scoreless in 11 minutes.
That makes the play of Shaq that much more impressive.
LeBron James found a way and Boobie Gibson hit a big shot. I am never one to say a team did or did not deserve to win - they keep score and the Cavaliers ended with more points - they deserved to win. That said, 50% from the free throw line, 17 turnovers, and allowing a team to score on 15 straight possessions makes it much harder than it should be. Luckily for the Cavs, they have LeBron James, soon-to-be 2-time NBA MVP.