JJ Hickson was on a mission tonight.
Coming off one of his worst games in Miami two nights ago, #21 of the Cavaliers was out for redemption. And he had a game like no other.
He scored a career-high 23 points to lead everyone, and would probably have toyed with scoring 30...had Coach Mike Brown not invoked the mercy rule on the NBA's second worst team.
You want to know how lopsided this game was? Not only did Hickson not play the entire fourth quarter, but neither did LeBron or Shaq. The result was Minnesota chipping away at a 20 point lead instead of a massive blowout, but the Cavs still kept a double-digit lead for the rest of the game. Things did get off to a shaky start with the Cavs leading by only 1 after the first quarter, but they outscored the Timberwolves by 11 in the second quarter and the Wolves never got close again.
This Minnesota team has provided some lifts for us. When we played them in their own building, we weren't able to find wins yet. Now, we just haven't been able to find anything other than nail-biting wins. They've provided us with temporary respites from both ailments. Too bad we don't get to play them again for the rest of the season.
JJ Hickson: 8-10, 23 points, 8 rebounds, 7-7 FT shooting, +17 +/-, 25 minutes. Also one of the most efficient games of his career. He only needed 10 shots to get 16 points. This is why Mike Brown keeps him in the starting lineup, for all the naysayers reading this.
LeBron James: 3-8, 12 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, +16 +/-, 31 minutes. LeBron never caught fire the entire game, but that's the beauty of it. He didn't have to.
Zyndrunas Ilgauskas: 5-8, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 25 minutes. Now that's more like it. Ilgauskas had seen very little playing time in the last two games, but played the entire 4th quarter tonight.
Jamario Moon: 5-7, 2-2 from 3 point range, 14 points, 24 minutes. Much better game from Jamario than he had in Miami. He's officially announced his return.
Daniel Green: 3-6, 6 points, +4 +/-, 10 minutes. We got a much better glimpse of what Danny has to offer tonight. He made some great hustle plays, including forcing a jump ball.
Cedric Jackson: 14 seconds, 0. No points, no rebounds, no assists, no blocks, no steals, no fouls, no turnovers, and he still finished +4 in the +/- column. If he were playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl, then he just won the Switzerland bonus.