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"To answer my question though, did he have to inbound the ball or could he start dribbling himself?" - my mother, immediately after Dion Waiters made the game winning shot.
Umm, no mom.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled inbounding the ball. Tonight was no exception. The Cavaliers, down by what seemed like nine points for the entire basketball game, rallied and got stops to make it a one point game. There was a little over three seconds left, and the Cavs called timeout. Then the Pistons called time out. Then the Cavs called timeout. Then the Cavs inbounded the ball, and Dion Waiters hit the game-winning shot, heavily contested by Rodney Stuckey.
The bench mobbed him. Kyrie Irving mobbed him. The playoff hopes, such as they are, live on.
The Cavaliers won. On a night where they got solid performances from Matthew Dellavedova and Anderson Varejao and no one else, the Cavaliers won. The offense was disgusting. Playing in their fourth game in five nights, everything was a struggle for Cleveland. With four minutes remaining, the Cavaliers were down by nine points. At one point, the Cavaliers starters were shooting a combined 13-43 from the field.
The Pistons, on the other hand, spent the first three quarters living a charmed life. Josh Smith was hitting jumpers. Brandon Jennings was hitting jumpers. It was weird, and a little frustrating. The Cavaliers margin for error on playoff contention is razor thin. They can't afford nights when teams break the mold and get hot. They could tonight.
I don't know how the Cavaliers pulled this off. They were tired, but kept defending. Dion Waiters wasn't particularly good, but he hit his first game winning shot. Tristan Thompson played hard, but had trouble with the length of the Pistons front court. Luol Deng was largely awful.
But in the fourth quarter, Jarrett Jack earned his money. And Matthew Dellavedova was amazing all game. His shooting kept the team within shouting distance all night. His defense was great. He's an NBA player. Not sure what kind of NBA player, but he belongs. Jack? I feel a lot better about him being part of the team's future plans.
I type this as Anderson Varejao mobs Dion in the post game interview, and Dion says "My brother, man." For a team with chemistry issues all year, this team seems to like each other. All of them. At some point, they all decided to buy in. In the 4th quarter tonight, the Cavaliers shot 60% from the field, while the Pistons hit only 32% of their attempts.
I'm going to wrap it up here. We can all talk about the game in the comments. The Cavs didn't play well, but they won. That's worth celebrating. Keep dreaming, folks.