Cavaliers 93 – Timberwolves 70 [box]
It seems like it has been so long since LeBron James has had to actually play in a fourth quarter that I forgot how impressive he usually is in the final frame. With 32 total points last night, 14 of them came in the final quarter with James still sitting out the final three minutes. The jumper was falling, he was getting to the rack with ease and even when fouled we were looking at an “and one” situation.
When double-teamed, what does LBJ do? One occasion with Rashard McCants right on his hip, James delivers a bullet pass that resulted in a two hand monster slam from J.J. Hickson. Another, James fakes an over-the-head/behind-the-back pass which causes nearly every member of the Timberwolves to jump in the air. Only the real pass comes as they’re all landing, ultimately winding up in the hands of teammate Anderson Varejao.
It was an impressive finish on a game that was a little too closer for comfort before the fourth quarter came along. And while I was thrilled to see James put on a show last night, the fans at the Target Center were just as amazed, giving #23 a standing ovation as he left the quart for the night. I admit that it is a bit humorous when opposing fans leave the arena once LeBron James is done for the night. Talk about a road show…
“You can never be prepared for something like that being on the road,” said James, who waved in return to the applause. “It was great. They have great fans here. I really appreciated it.”
LeBron definitely did not do it all himself, though. Plenty of help came in the form of Delonte West (can we get this guy a wig night, please?) and Anderson Varejao. West teamed up with James in the huge fourth quarter, at one point providing 23 of 27 straight points. The guard finished with a 21-points night – his best in the wine and gold – to go with five assists, two steals and a +/- of +21. Varejao double-doubled in yet another start, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds. You can bet thta this one will be on the audition tape come free agency time as Varejao is looking more and more like the player that he said he was during all of last season’s contract negotiations.
The Cavs extend Minnesota’s losing streak to 11 while looking to start another winning streak of their own. The road trip continues as the Cavs lock up with Denver on Friday, followed up by a Sunday night venture against Kevin Durant and the Thunder.
- Team reports are circulating that Zydrunas Ilgauskas will attempt to play this Friday, after missing the past three games. Obviously, the team does not want to rush him back and the recent play of Anderson Varejao has been nothing but refreshing given the lack of depth at the “five.” In last night’s post-game interview with Austin Carr, James was spot-on when he said it’s better if any injuries happen now than in the spring. Let’s get the big man 100 percent before forcing him back to the hard wood.
- Daniel Gibson will likely target a return on Christmas Day when the Cavs take on Washington at home. I’m willing to believe that he will not be rushed back as well given that the Wizards have managed to win four games to this point.