January is the worst time of the year for the Cavs. LeBron James expresses discontent. Someone of importance is hurt or gets hurt. A star goes through a prolonged drought. It’s not just a Cavs thing, necessarily, and just about every team struggles for bits of time throughout the season.
January has been over for some time, and so has the Cavs’ malaise. The team went 3-1 on their recent road trip, and dispatched of the Denver Nuggets upon their return home tonight. The Nuggets are a young, hurt team in the midst of their own trip. It would have been a weird game for the Cavs to lose. Instead, the Cavs showed up and took care of business.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 125. The Denver Nuggets, 109.
Lots of positive signs in this game, but I think the most important one is the sudden resurgence of the bench units led by LeBron James. With Derrick Williams added to the equation, the Cavs have someone who is playing with energy, has athleticism, can catch the ball and finish. They aren’t asking him to do a ton, but he’s taking a little bit of pressure off of Channing Frye, who only had to play 11 minutes tonight. Williams played 21. LeBron played just 33 minutes. Adding another functional player to the rotation of bigs takes a little bit of the burden away. If things stay on this track, it’s likely Williams earns a second 10-day contract.
By the way, this was a monster LeBron James game. He played with energy on the defensive end, he got to the basket off the dribble, he didn’t settle for jump shots. 27 shots on 16 shots, 12 assists, and five rebounds. Kyrie Irving missed a bunch of shots late in the game, but gave the team scoring in the first half. Kyle Korver continues to assimilate.
The Cavs are good. Tonight was a good example.