LeBron James plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After deferring and playing the facilitating role in the first few games, and then taking the night off Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, James turned up his intensity Wednesday night in Cincinnati. James scored 26 points on 12 shots in 24 minutes. That's really good. He wasn't expending a ton of energy defensively, but he doesn't have to right now. He added four rebounds, three assists, and four turnovers. All in all, a great game, and the turnovers show he is still probing defenses to see what tools he has at his disposal.
Outside of LeBron, the Cavaliers looked like a team on the road on the second night of a back to back missing key pieces like Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao. Kevin Love left the game after the first half with a bruised neck, and Dion Waiters was taking too many midrange jump shots off the bounce. Neither looked great, but it's not worth getting worked up about. Waiters needs to attack the rim, distribute, and spot up. He did the second, but not really the first or third of things. I'm much less concerned about the number of shots he takes than I am about the quality of shots he takes.
Tristan Thompson sat out last night with a shoulder issue, but he was back and looked pretty good tonight. He blew dunk that would have been an easy layup had he used the glass, but his defense was good, particularly in the third quarter when the Cavaliers opened up a 13 point lead. He finished with six points on six shots, nine rebounds, and two assists without a turnover. He wasn't great but he was fine. He also showed good handle. I don't really care to see much of it this season, but it's a sign he is developing skills that will be helpful to him in his career.
The Cavaliers won this game despite pulling their starters while the third quarter was still in progress. Once it became a game of benches, Kolten Wong hit a home run and Matt Holliday finally got on track. Okay, I changed the channel for most of the fourth quarter to see my team in the NLCS. Still, it's impressive to see the guys fighting for roster spots and overseas contracts rally to keep the Cavs undefeated.