Ok, full disclosure. The Memphis Grizzlies came to town after a huge win last night at home against the Lakers. They also came to Cleveland to play their 4th game in 5 nights. Add in a dash of revenge, and you get a huge can of whoop-ass to the tune of a lopsided 105-89 win for the Cavaliers - their 9th straight.
The win pushed the Cavs record to 5-1 against teams who beat them the previous time. OF course, only Charlotte has beaten the Cavaliers twice in a row this season. It will stay that way after Cleveland once again turned a big first quarter(28-16) into a big home victory.
What has been fun to watch these last 7 games - all wins, all without Mo Williams - is just how great of a basketball player LeBron James is. With LeBron running the point at times, the offense looks fluid - he just knows where to take the basketball to get into the best offense possible. He knows when to deliver the basketball - and to whom it should go to.
Tonight was no exception. James scored 22 points - but tied a career-high with 15 assists.James added his 13th chase-down block of the season. Right now the game is just easy to LeBron and the Cavaliers. The wins keep piling up.
The Cavaliers have also figured out how to play with Shaquille O'Neal on he floor, too. Shaq had yet another double-double, scoring 13 points with 13 assists. Shaq also protected the rim against the NBA's best interior-scring team with 4 blocks. As a team, the Cavaliers rejected the Griz a total of 10 times.
J.J. Hickson was solid as well. Each game Hickson seems to becoming less of an athlete and more of a basketball player. He is moving without the ball, now, and is ready when the passes come his way. An efficient 15 point / 8 rebound night - in just 22 minutes - proved why Hickson would likely have to be involved in any deal the Cavaliers make this year.
Between Hickson and Anderson Varejao, the Cavaliers held Western Conference All-Star Zach Randolph to just 8 points on 3-14 shooting. Rudy Gay led the Griz with 15 points as the team shot 38 % from the field, just 2-14 from deep.
Daniel Gibson was solid...again, scoring 16 points. He has grown more comfortable handling the ball and like Hickson is becoming a complete basketball player right before our eyes.
The Cavaliers are clicking on all cylinders - even as a wounded team. I think this experience will prove invaluable in the playoffs, allowing the Cavaliers to go with several different floor-combinations.
Up next, a rematch with the Miami Heat on Thursday Night.