The Cavaliers gave up 32 first quarter points, again. They fell behind big, again. Just as they had come out of the gates struggling against the Philadelphia 76ers, it was an uncomfortable struggle early on. This time it even took a bit more time to get the offensive game going. 48 minutes is a long time for two teams to play basketball against one another, though, and over time the better team asserted itself.
Big factors in that turnaround: Mo Williams and Tristan Thompson.
At halftime the Cavs were shooting 36% from the field, and were 1 of 15 from three point range. That's really bad. Mo Williams stepped up at various points for the Cavs and ended up contributing 22 much needed points. He played a well-rounded game, and chipped in six rebounds and four assists. Moving forward, you hope the Cavs aren't so reliant on his scoring. Kyrie Irving returning will help. In the meantime, this is the added value of bringing him in during the offseason.
In the meantime, it's really fun watching him play with LeBron James again. They instinctively can find each other on the court for spot up three point attempts, and Williams to a cutting James for a soaring dunk put this game away. After the sadness of 2010, who would have thought we'd get a good ending? We will see.
Tristan Thompson was a game-high +15 in 26 minutes of action. He scored 10 points on six shots, and added 13 rebounds. He played tough defense and was a part (along with Matthew Dellavedova and Richard Jefferson) of getting the defense turned around after the first quarter. It's clear that rim protection will continue to be something he works on moving forward, but he's made strides there. For all the talk of Thompson being a difficult player to build around, he can share the court with Kevin Love, Timo Mozgov, and James Jones without too much difficulty.
LeBron James and Kevin Love both seemed frustrated by the Cavs' sleeved jerseys. Neither played particularly well, though LeBron James stepped into a different gear in the second half. He didn't love the first half's officiating, and it seemed to throw him off a bit. Love just couldn't seem to get his jump shot going. It happens. He wasn't a negative. Tonight, Williams and Thompson stepped up. Maybe Friday it's Delly (who wasn't bad) and Mozgov. So far, it seems the Cavs have options.
Make sure you check out Scott's recap. See you in the comments.