It’s actually harder to write a recap after a game like this. They Cavs played so well, and the Grizzlies looked so out of it that there is hardly anything to discuss. It would be nit-picking to try and find negatives . Let’s look at a few numbers-
6- As in six wins in a row without Mo and Delonte both in the lineup. This was the game that I thought we might not extend the streak. Coming up the Cavs play the Heat, and even though the Cavs beat Miami just last week without Molonte, the Heat have a quick strike back court. The Cavs should still expect to win, and I’m sure that we’ll see Delonte continue to rest that hand. After the Heat we play the Knicks and Nets. This is a great opportunity for West to get healthy.
15- As in LeBron’s assist total for the night. The Cavs have gone big due to the injuries and with LeBron playing the point we haven’t seen a team that can match. The Grizzlies are perhaps the biggest team in the league, but they were no match tonight.
66- LeBron’s assist total the last six games, eleven per contest. It would be even higher if not for a four-assist night against the Thunder.
19- In the last 20 games Shaq has scored in double figures 19 times. That streak started on Christmas Day against the Lakers by the way. We know that since Molonte went down Shaq has been a more central point in the offense. There is also little doubt that Shaq has been ‘pacing himself’ so to speak this season. I expect that when Mo comes back, and Delonte has been back that we might see Shaq rest a little more on offense getting ready for the playoffs. But what an impact he has made. If we are going to get this Shaq in the postseason night after night, it will be hard to beat this team.
10- Blocked shots tonight for the Cavaliers. A direct reflection of the brand of defense the Cavs have been playing lately. They aren’t playing down to teams. They are coming out focused, especially on the defensive end which is fueling the offense explosions early in these games.
7- As in consecutive games the Cavs have kept their opponents under 100 points. The 89 points the Cavs allowed against Memphis is the average for the last seven games. That’s four points fewer per game than they average for the season.
7.04- The difference between Cleveland’s scoring average vs their average points given up.
5.5- Cleveland’s game lead over Orlando for best record in the East. They are up 6.5 over Boston and Atlanta. It looks like Boston will be without Paul Pierce for at least a small stretch because of a foot injury. The internet is all over the place on the severity of the injury. Of course the experts will continue to say that Boston is the favorite when they are healthy. This cracks me up for a couple of reasons. First, they are never going to be healthy again. Not this bunch. Not this year. KG just might be damaged for the rest of his career, and they are simply not getting any younger. Second- these two haven’t played since the first game of the season. Don’t you have to judge teams against each other? We’ll see. In case the ‘experts’ missed it, the Cavs are missing a few players right now too. Yes, we still have our superstar; he’s also under 30. Not something Boston can say.
43- Rebounds for the Cavs in this one. They out-rebounded one of the toughest rebounding teams in the league. Shaq, Zydrunas, Andy and Hickson were just too much for Memphis.
Coach Brown probably said it best in the post-game. This one was just fun to watch. The defense, the offense- everything. Every phase of the game was clicking against the Grizzlies. Now I’m sure we’re going to hear plenty of how Memphis was tired out by playing the Lakers the previous night. So be it, they didn’t play as well as they could have. But everyone gets this kind of schedule. The Lakers got to play at home virtually all fall. There were certainly nights like this for them as well.
(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)