April 6th, 2007. My youngest daughter was 5 months old. She'll be 4 in a couple weeks. Why do I bring that up? It was the last time the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center. Behind 28 points from Mo Williams the Cavaliers once again needed to come from behind in the 4th quarter to beat an opponent, this time the Wizards 107-102.
There was no 19-point lead tonight, but the Cavaliers still lead by 11 at one point during the 2nd quarter. The lead was 8 at halftime. It didn't take the Wizards long to cut into the Cavs lead, tying the score at 62 just 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter. The Wizards continued to tack on, leading 76-69 with two minutes to go in the period. At one point, the Cavaliers were outscored 19-5 in the 3rd, continuing a trend that has gone on the entire season.
Another trend? Mental toughness. The Cavaliers have trailed in the 2nd half of every one of their wins, and it seems fitting that their first two-game winning streak comes away from Quicken Loans Arena.
Scoring the final 7 points of the 3rd quarter, followed by the first 5 points of the 4th, the Cavaliers led 71-76 with 9:23 to go but couldn't hold the lead. Back came the Wizards, who took a 5-point lead of their own - 90-85 with 5 minutes to go. From their, it became the Mo Williams/Daniel Gibson show.
Williams scored 10 points over the final 5 minutes and Gibson hit a dagger three during a decisive 15-5 run that would provide the Wine and GOld a lead they would not concede.
Gibson finished the night with 19 points on 7-11 shooting. Anderson Varejao finally missed a shot after going 10-10 last night but finished with 8 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Hollins was solid off the bech as well scoring 11 points on 5-5 shooting.
The Wizards had six players score in double-figures, led by Al Thornton's 23 points. Kirk Hinrich was hot in the first half with 17 points, but scored just 4 in the 2nd half. John Wall wasn't nearly as effective tonight as he was in his first home performance. Wall scored 13 points on 5-14 shooting. Wall did dish out 10 assists but turned the ball over 6 times.
After 6 games - 3 wins and 3 losses - we can see how this team is going to play night in and night out. They are going to come at you for 48 minutes. Will there be ups and downs? Absolutely. They play the RIGHT way, however, and the energy seems to be there, especially in the 4th quarter when it needs to be there. Cavs fan or not, if you don't appreciate the way the Cavaliers play basketball you just don't appreciate basketball.
Great win for the Cavs. Now a couple of days off before a back-to-back, home and home series with the New Jersey Nets starting on Tuesday Night in the Meadowlands.