Ok, I admit it. The title of the post is a little bit of a stretch. Zydrunas did finish the game with 14 points, more than any other Cavalier tonight, but this one was an absolute team win. It is fitting that on the night Big Z breaks the Cavaliers’ all time games played record he also moved into third place on the team points scored list as well. With a little over a hundred points between Z and Brad Daugherty’s second place total, here’s hoping Z breaks that record soon as well. At his current pace, he will need 17 more games to do it.
The game itself was kind of strange. First, you give the Cavaliers credit for good defense, but the Suns were absolutely dreadful shooting the ball. They were missing shots that they make on a regular basis. Whether it is jet lag, or a Knicks hangover we’ll take it. Offensively the Cavaliers had 7 players in double figures, and were only 5 points shy of having 10. Read that again. 45 field goals and 29 assists. They out-rebounded the Suns by 10. If Phoenix hadn’t shot the three relatively well in the second half this one would have been worse.
LeBron James came just short of a triple double. He didn’t look too pleased either in the closing minutes when a rebound was muscled away from him by a teammate or when he came off the floor with a minute left. Truth be told I didn’t think he should have been out there as long as he was in the fourth.
Delonte West continued his hot play by staying aggressive on the dribble drive and topping Steve Nash in assists despite playing a third less minutes than the Suns’ guard.
Speaking of Nash, the Cavaliers did a good job of containing him tonight. They also managed to cut off some of his passing lanes and forced him into 6 turnovers. Well, five anyway. One ball went off his arm and out of bounds because he wasn’t paying attention to Lopez on an inbound pass. It was that kind of night for the former MVP.
Mike Brown had his now infamous ‘minutes chart’ working overtime in this one as 8 Cavaliers finished the game with over 20 minutes. A nice distribution of playing time. Zydrunas entered the game at about the 4 minute mark in the first quarter to a roaring applause. There was no stoppage in the game or ceremony at all like we were led to believe would take place. The cameras found Danny Ferry standing and applauding just outside the tunnel giving his appreciation to Z, but then he walked back inside. No game ball. No posing for pictures. Perhaps they will acknowledge the feat before the start of the Bulls game on Friday.
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)