In what was slated to be a sure win for the Cavaliers, things got a bit tense in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Cavaliers – playing without a few key pieces – prevailed over the also shorthanded Golden State Warriors to the tune of 114-108.
LeBron James managed to do his thing once again, scoring a relatively quiet 31 points on 11-of-19 from the floor. Can 31 points be quiet? It can when 20 points comes in the second half after focusing more attention on setting up teammates. A very patient James allotted the majority of his game to finding open teammates, resulting in 12 assists to go with a steal and and two blocked shots.
One of the blocked shots came early in the game with James adding Golden State guard Monta Ellis to his list of victims of the chasedown block. Yes, the one that is in still form above – that one. Following a turnover on the Cavs’ end, Ellis thought he had a clear lane to the hoop until James swatted a layup attempt off of the glass. The power put into the blocked shot resulted in one bounce before going out of bounds about six feet shy of midcourt. Didn’t see it? We got you covered…
Aside from James, the story of the recent few weeks continues to be second-year forward J.J. Hickson. Dubbed the “Prince of Fresh Air,” The 21-year old finished the game with yet another career night (previously set career nights against Miami, and then again versus Utah), putting up 21 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block. Hickson was also a part of one of the bigger highlights of the night when Anthony Parker fed LeBron at halfcourt, who proceeded to lob an alley oop to Hickson who finished with the two-hand slam.
Hickson finished the night a perfect 9-of-9 from the floor and made three of four free throws. At times it appears that James is making an extra effort to get Hickson involved and ensure success, but these moments will only mean that much more for the youngster’s confidence come later in the season. Fans may want to get used to No. 21 starting at power forward for the foreseeable future, and after the last three games, it may not draw any complaints.
Daniel “Boobie” Gibson lead the Cavaliers attack off of the bench, logging 32 key minutes and finishing with 13 points, two steals and three three-points field goals. Late in the game, Gibson lost his headband but proceeded to play without it – showing even more of the large Texas-shaped design that is currently in his hair. When asked postgame if playing without the headband would be a new thing for Gibson, the shooting guard replied with a smile, “No, I’m going back to the headband. I sweat way too much to not.”
All was not fun and games, however as the Golden State Warriors put up 29 points in the fourth quarter to make things a lot more interesting than most would have preferred. Having a double-digit lead going into the quarter, the Warriors pulled it within one point thanks to solid shooting by Anthony Morrow (18 points, four three-point field goals) and Monta Ellis (23 points, eight assists, three steals).
Thankfully, the Cavaliers high-percentage shooting (58.2 percent for the game, 45 percent from three-point land) was able to triumph and cool down the Warriors’ run.
Cavaliers’ forward Jamario Moon left the game midway after turning his ankle during a transition defensive set. He went to the locker room for testing, but did not return. He will likely be a game time decision for tonight’s tilt against the Washington Wizards.
The Wiz will have Antawn Jamison back. The Cavaliers, however, will be without Shaquille O’Neal (shouler) and Anderson Varejao (hip). Hickson, Darnell Jackson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas will likely get plenty of run until the frontcourt can regain their collective health.
(Photos by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images)