Since this is what you want to see, let’s just lead with the dunk…
Here’s the caveat for last night’s game against the Heat. We were playing a Miami team that had won 5 of their last 7 games. We were playing a team with outstanding guard play down our top 2 PGs. After big wins over the Lakers and Thunder, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see a little bit of a let down.
And truthfully we saw one. Even still, the Cavs had enough in the tank to pull it out.
This one started ugly for the Cavs, and didn’t get much better if you are into team basketball. In the first half the Cavs had 7 assists in the first half, and the Heat were actually worse with 4. The second quarter was like the old Bird vs Magic one on one video game. Except technically there were other players on the court. Wade and LeBron lit it up, but Wade’s Heat had the advantage at the half by 4, and the showdown edge with 30.
The Cavs certainly had chances to jump on the Heat, as Wade was scoreless in the half until the 4:30 mark in the 4th. The Cavs even had 4 straight stops on the defensive end, but couldn’t muster a single point of their own in the third.
It all came down to the final 2:30 minutes. Solid defense, including an incredible steal and drive by LeBron put the Cavs in position to take the lead- if LeBron could knock down two free throws after collecting himself from a head shot on his drive to the rim. (As an aside, that was a complete sham. LeBron should have been awarded a goaltend for Wade’s hang on the rim.)
At the time, LeBron had hit only 10 of 15 free throws. In fact the Cavs continued their team wide slump by hitting only 67%. But the reigning MVP stepped to the line and cooly hit both freebies. Did I mention that he was the MVP? Why keep bringing it up? Well, several times during this one the crowd took to chanting MVP for Wade. Which is comical to me.
The game wasn’t over though, as LeBron dug in against Wade one more time, forcing a jumper that missed the mark. Game. Second game in a row that LeBron stepped up and guarded an ‘MVP’ candidate on the last possession and kept them in check.
Daniel Gibson hit 4 of 6 three pointers to help keep the Cavs close, and Shaq had another great shooting night hitting 9 of 13 shots. By the way, how is it that two of Shaq’s previous coaches (Phil Jackson on Saturday and Eric Spoelstra Monday) failed to intentionally foul Shaq in the last two minutes of a game? I can only hope that if the Cavs were playing the Pistons with the game on the line and Ben Wallace was in that we would hack him immediately.
Jamario Moon played in this one, after missing the last ten games. It seems he’ll be brought along slowly. Still no word yet on when we might expect to see Delonte West back on the court.