Mo Williams Bounces Back as Cavs Top Spurs, 97-95

90043860GS011_SAN_ANTONIO_SThe last time the Cavaliers won without LeBron James in the lineup, Sasha Pavlovic and Ira Newble were counted on to play a heavy amount of minutes.  Given this, it was fitting that last night’s 97-95 win over the San Antonio Spurs featured at least 30 minutes from Jawad Williams, Delonte West and Anderson Varejao – all of whom are (typically) bench players this season.

It was a night where it appeared that the team was dropping like flies.  James was out once again, nursing a sore ankle.  Center Shaquille O’Neal continues to recover from his surgically repaired thumb.  Midway through the game, Anthony Parker was forced to leave with a jammed finger.  And adding even more salt to the wounds, newly acquired forward Antawn Jamison was forced to leave the contest with a sore knee.

Nevertheless, the Cavaliers managed to outscore the Spurs 25-19 in the fourth quarter to record their 50th win of the 2009-10 season.

In the four games prior to last night, Williams had averaged 9.5 points on 20.6 percent from the floor.  Not long after fans were piling on point guard Mo Williams for his stretch of suspect play, the former All-Star answered the call.

Williams logged 34 minutes of play (only JJ Hickson received more time), finishing with 17 points (7-of-16 from the floor), eight rebounds and eight assists.  With a small-ball lineup surrounding him for most of the night, Williams was frequently pushing the pace, leading to easy buckets, drawing the ire of Spurs coach Greg Popovich.

“We gave away 8-12 points just because they ran it right down our throat and our transition was godawful,” Popovich said. “That was the worst part of the whole game.”

And while he had been cold for much of the evening from three-point range, Mo sank his lone trey of the night with just under six minutes remaining to tie the game at 85-85.

Despite only playing 21 minutes prior to his exit, Jamison was very productive.  The power forward finished with 17 points, sinking three of his four three-point attempts (62.5 eFG%).  Outside of the pair of 17-point scorers, the Cavaliers had a well-balanced attack with West, Varejao, Hickson, and Williams all tallying double-digits in the scoring column.  Varejao also added nine rebounds and a team-high +10 on the night.

The Spurs did not go quietly by any stretch of the imagination.  Missing point guard Tony Parker with a hand injury, they relied heavily on the backcourt tandem of George Hill and Manu Ginobili.  Ginobili brought back haunting memories by scoring 38 points, converting 7-of-11 from three-point land.  It would have been eight threes if not for his foot being on the line with nine seconds remaining in the game.

Thankfully, the Cavaliers were able to neutralize Tim Duncan for much of the contest, limiting him to 13 point and five rebounds in 31 minutes of play.  Much of this was due to the effort of foward/center JJ Hickson, who also had a bounce-back game following an abysmal two-game stretch.  The goat of the evening may have been San Antonio’s Roger Mason who finished with two points on 1-of-10 shooting.  Typically a solid shooter from outside, Mason missed all eight of his attempts, including the potential game-tying attempt with 3.9 seconds remaining.

A pair of free throws from Williams as well as Varejao put the Cavaliers up by five before Ginobili would hit a meaningless three-ball at the buzzer.  Meaningless, assuming you did not jump on the four-point spread that was available around 5PM yesterday, that is.

The Cavs will now enjoy a much-needed three days of rest.  Jamison is slated to undergo an MRI on his knee today, but has already claimed that he will play Friday in Philadelphia.  It is assumed that LeBron James will play leading into Sunday’s contest with the Boston Celtics.

The Cavaliers’ magic number for best record in the NBA is currently 14.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images)

  • ben

    Dear Cavs,

    Good gutsy win last night. Please get healthy, though.

    Love, Ben.

  • jcb

    “Meaningless, assuming you did not jump on the four-point spread that was available around 5PM yesterday, that is.”

    Or bet the under at 189.5 …

  • Harv 21

    Crunch time free throws will set you free.

    And that was the intense, fearless, all-over-the-court,gimme-the-rock-and-I’ll-make-something Delonte circa ’08-09 that we know and love.

  • typo

    Great to see us hitting clutch free throws. Really really great.

  • Adam

    “fans were piling on point guard Mo Williams”

    This better not be referring to my tweets!

    Great win and one of the proudest moments of the seasons last night. Delonte is really really good. If I was going to war…

  • boogeyman

    It was nice to see Williams and Parker play like NBA guards even if most of that came in the first quarter. Parker showed me he can actually use his height on the move as opposed to being stationary waiting for a pass and Mo, I actually saw him dribble drive and use the Mo-Flow. That being said Ginobli owned ’em both!

    All that aside I can’t wait for the savior to make his return hopefully Friday. For all the people who want to knit pick about his shot selection how have the last two games looked, perhaps like a glimpse of your future? Lets hope not for your sakes!

  • JNeids

    First Shaq, next Lebron.
    Then Anthony and Antawn.
    Clevelanders panic!

    /injury haiku’d

  • JNeids

    boogey – i love the “we” and “us” that comes when the cavs are winning, but when lebron leaves next year, it’s “your” loss and problem. pick a side of the fence champ

  • Denny

    So Delonte makes this team a touch better, yes? BUT OMG HE MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO JAIL.

  • boogeyman

    @8 JNeids actually if you’ve read previous posts you’d know that I’ve said I’ll always be a LeBron James fan regardless of whether he’s in a Cavaliers uniform or not so your comment doesn’t apply. I’ve also stated numerous times that I won’t call out #23 like others over his need to jack up 3s because without him the Cavaliers wouldn’t be 75% of the team they are currently. So thanks for playing, better luck next time!

  • Jake In Ohio City (Natty The Dog)

    Overall well played game. There was a point in the 4th where it seemed like I have more ability to make simple layups at the rec than these guys did last night.

    Hickson needs to work on his hands. The guy lost so many balls going to the hoop last night. Most of those were not good defensive plays, just his lack of coordination at times. He was SOLID on Duncan though.

    Lebron better be back and playing now for Friday. Lets hope Jamison is ok, but if he isn’t atleast we know we’ll have the same team at the end of the month that has won the majority of our games this year and last.

  • Jake In Ohio City (Natty The Dog)

    @Boogey. Hahah I’ve been on the receiving end of one of those responses. You are correct, Lebron fan for life, its been written by the boogeyman himself.

    As with Lebron tossing up so many shots, I think when those do go in, they are mostly intended to change momentum and get his teammates going.

  • JNeids

    I wasn’t debating your loyalty to Lebron, I was referring to the loyalty to OUR team – regardless of individual players.

  • dgriff13

    can we PUH-LEASE start Delonte already??????

  • boogeyman

    @jake you noticed how bad Hickson’s hands are too huh? for an athletic big man I can’t remember anyone else getting the ball stripped or just fumbling it as much as JJ. i’m amazed he can even dunk. of course take notice that most of the times when he loses the ball he’s in traffic or using thinking. hickson reminds me of Tim Robbins character from Bull Durham…the more he thinks the worse he plays.

    As for the comment by JNeids if he knew what he was talking about I’d care but I don’t. I’m just giving my opinion like others I’m not interested in being right or wrong but I think I make a whole lot more then alot of others. Like LeBron I feel you can’t be afraid of failure. If you don’t strive to be the best and take the important shots all you are is a role player who stands and watches. LeBron and I are not role players! A small part of me is hoping he thinks about Miami, I want out of this town, the weather sucks. LoL

  • boogeyman

    @13 I believe my comment yesterday speaks to this: I love Cleveland sports, I’m not in love with Cleveland sports.

    You can doubt my fandom my masculinity can handle it, it’s all good! 😉

  • Scott

    [Edited: Please read “Before you comment” before you comment]

  • Jack

    Fun aside (the noun, not the adjective):

    The debate about LeBron’s future has reached the new sub-cultures.

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