If you've watched the Exorcist, you probably know that demons don't go down without a fight. Tonight was no different.
For the first time since LeBron James left the Cavaliers, they have won 4 games in a row. They have done this at a time when it seemed like nothing could possibly go right. No chemistry. No effort. No coaching. There were a myriad of problems and so few answers for them. And yet, here we are. Everybody likes everybody, and everybody is having fun again.
How? Why? I honestly have no clue. David Griffin spoke of smiling, and looking like you love what you're doing, but does him saying those words just make the players live them? Does seeing the guy who drafted them get the ax, and the coach they ALLEGEDLY hated get to stay make them buy in?
I don't have these answers, but something has changed. The Cavs are taking on the identity of Mike Brown, and tonights game was just another example. Ugly. Bad offense. Victorious. For four straight games, the Cavs have turned up the pressure, turned up the physicality, and won. The Cavaliers front court, Anderson Varejao (although he didn't play tonight or last night), Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Henry Sims, and Tyler Zeller has been stellar. Some better than others from game to game, but to hold your own through a stretch of Nene and Marcin Gortat, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, Demarcus Cousins, and Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is impressive. The Cavaliers don't beat these teams unless those guys are held somewhat in check, so keep that in mind.
On to tonight's game. The Cavs started out ugly, as they are wont to do. But they dug in, shut off the Pistons easy trips to the basket (Monroe started out 5-5 for 11 points) and made a game of it. At the half they trailed 11. From there it was mostly Cavs, as they held the Pistons to 15 in the third, and outscored them 34-23 in the fourth.
Stuff I liked:
- Tristan Thompson needed a game -- and he had himself a game. 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 of 16 shooting from the floor. Before the game I highlighted that Drummond is a pretty bad overall defender on the interior, and Tristan took plenty of advantage of it. Kyrie may have iced it, but Tristan brough us to the promised land, and after getting his tail kicked early, he responded with the type of play that makes you think he can be a stud in this league.
- Kyrie Irving in this streak has become a game controlling meastro, and nothing more than this dagger need be said:
- Mike Brown has found rotations and is pushing buttons that work. Say whatever you want, but the units he's using right now are working.
Final Thought, We Own The Belt:
There have been many regular season champions before us, but at the All Star Break, it is ours.
The Cavs have earned themselves a break. Hopefully we get more of this in the second half.
Catch you on the flip side.
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