For whatever reason, the Cleveland Cavaliers are finding the Charlotte Bobcats to be quite the hurdle during this 2009-10 NBA campaign. The wine and gold were thumped by Charlotte earlier in the season and were looking to avenge the defeat last night at Quicken Loans Arena. Alas, it was not the case as the Cavs defense could not clamp down on a night where the offense could not seemingly find a groove.
After Ronald “Flip” Murray hit a late three-point field goal and two free throws by the recently acquired Stephen Jackson, the Cavs were forced to rely on a last-second three from LeBron James that hit the rim but would not find the bottom of the net. James finished with 29 points (on a solid 13-of-21 shooting), but his efforts would be all for naught as the Cavaliers lost their first home game in 11 tries.
Mo Williams stayed hot with 27 points, five rebounds and six assists; Shaquille O’Neal finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a +6 on the night despite only taking five shots. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers received little from their supporting cast as the bench combined to shoot 4-for-23 which resulted in 12 points. On a night where LeBron and Mo were stellar, a rare 1-for-8 night from Anderson Varejao was enough to counter the success.
Some feel that this loss falls square on the shoulders of Mike Brown and his late-game rotations though the lethargic effort on the defensive end of the floor did not help his case very much. The ‘Cats seemingly could not miss for stretches of the game, knocking down more than half of their shots in the second half. Frequent mismatches with Charlotte’s small lineup, and occasional lapses on the pick-and-roll by the Cavaliers resulted in a few easy points. The Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds; Jackson tallied 22 points thanks to some of that stellar defense pictured above.
On the offensive end, the Cavs couldn’t successfully complete pick-and-rolls of their own and LeBron James frequented his “dribble-dribble-shoot” offensive set. All in all, it was not a strong game for the Cavaliers – a team that could desperately use time to regroup.
Brian Windhorst reported this weekend that that Cavaliers have played the most games and most road games of any team in the NBA. He documents 21 games in 36 days; yesterday’s game was the 18th straight game in a different city.
The Cavs will get a day of rest, then hit the practice floor tomorrow. Wednesday night, the Cavs will host the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. Heard any news about the Wiz lately?
(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)