(Cleveland 99 – Miami 89 Box)
As Dwyane Wade drove toward the basket, you could see he was starting to lose control of his body as he so often does. It usually ends with Dwyane Wade flying every which way, firing up a circus shot that has at least a 30% chance of going in all the while forcing contact and making it look like he just got killed in the process. Ask Dallas about Dwyane Wade’s histrionics. Mark Cuban would probably still be willing to give just about anyone who will listen a profanity-laced soliloquy on the topic if you ask. In Miami, Dwyane Wade gets these calls. All the time.
But last night in Cleveland, while Wade was driving to the hoop flailing about, it was Anderson Varejao who got the benefit of the doubt. He is infuriating to other teams, and apparently perfectly executed defense where you move your feet and go straight up as an opposing player is trying to get to the rim is infuriating to Dwyane Wade. As Wade went up and made contact with Varejao, the referrees stayed silent as Wade earned his second technical of the night, and an early trip to the showers with his team down 6 with 50-some seconds left to play. From there the Cavs hit free throws the rest of the way out to finish riding Lebron’s triple-double and Mo Williams’ game high 29 points to victory.
As the MVP debate continues to roll on, people have started making noise about Dwyane Wade as a candidate. He has the scoring numbers. People claim that he has a lack of a supporting cast. They are also starting to claim that it might just “be his turn” with the NBA’s highest individual honor. But let’s look at something. Last year, Lebron James had no help, really. He started the year relying on Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Andy Varejao, Larry Hughes, Boobie Gibson, Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall, and the steaming corpse of Eric Snow. At the trade deadline the team changed, much like Wade’s heat changed with the Shawn Marion deal this year. Lebron was able to will the Cavaliers to a 4-seed in the East while wrapping up the scoring title at 30 points per game. And in the end, all it bought him was an afterthought in the MVP voting because his team’s record wasn’t good enough. So you will have to excuse me if I have a tough time listening to excuses for Dwyane Wade and why he is deserving of the MVP this year, or that it might be his turn with him being healthy and leading the league in scoring.
Back to the game last night. The Cavs looked like they were going to blow Miami out of the gym. The blowout never materialized as Miami was able to go on runs pretty much every time they went down big. In the end, Lebron’s stat sheet and Mo Williams’ impressive scoring ability sealed the deal. Williams was hitting long shots, dropping mid-range floaters and doing pretty much every other type of scoring that he knows how to do. That was enough to make it happen for the Cavs.
Let’s also hope that his addition to the team will give the Cavs enough wins to put Lebron over the hump in the mysterious NBA MVP voting.
Other notes: Lebron became the second-youngest player ever to reach 3000 assists. Lebron seems to set these types of records all the time, but don’t take it for granted. LBJ is quickly becoming the greatest, soonest in the history of the game if that makes any sense… Joe Smith got thunderous ovation as he looked more comfortable than his first night with the Cavs in Boston. Smith finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds in just over 21 minutes. The real story is how he scored. It was mostly on mind-reading rolls to the hoops with feeds from LBJ. Instant chemistry is a nice thing. The Cavs will be in LA to play the Clippers on Tuesday.