My first inclination was to give this game recap the same focus and determination that the Cavs played with, meaning it would have ended 12 words ago. Sitting for the Cavs were LeBron James, The Shaqken and Mo Williams. Antawn Jamison played only in the first half and finished with 7 points in 16 minutes. Andy Varejao also saw very limited action, logging only 10 minutes. The Hawks countered by resting Johnson, Smith, Horford and Bibby. So basically we saw an exhibition game in which the Hawks looked more motivated to beat the Cavs for once.
The game had to drive Mike Brown crazy. Defense was maybe a slightly higher priority in this one than in an all-star game. The Cavs didn’t shoot well from the free throw line (55%) the three point line (1 for 14 or 7%) or anywhere else (42%). Meantime they allowed the Hawks to shoot 54% from the field, many of those on dunks. Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair combined to allow Jeff Teague a career night, scoring 24 points and dishing out 15 assists while playing every minute of this one.
Regardless, none of it really matters. The most important thing is that the Cavaliers escaped the game with no injuries. They head into the weekend with a rested starting unit as they get ready to face a Bulls team that won 5 of 7 to earn a playoff berth. yes, the Bulls and Cavs split the season series. There is no way that the Bulls should beat the Cavaliers in this series. They have a very talented young star in Rose, and a scrappy Noah, but that shouldn’t be worth more than a win or two. The Bulls will have no answer for The Shaqken, and Cleveland will simply have too many weapons. We’ll have more on this series in the coming days so keep checking back.
I do want to address one thing that I discussed on twitter last night during the game. No matter how well Jamario Moon played in these last four games I seriously doubt that Mike Brown is going to change his substitution pattern because of it. He has given those minutes to Jawad Williams for the entire second half of the season, and he isn’t about to change now. There may be some match-ups that he would defer to Moon for short stretches, but nothing of real consequence. Don’t forget that with the return of The Shaqken J.J. Hickson is going to be fighting for playing time now as well. I see Hickson getting the opportunity to guard some small forwards in the playoffs. He has the athleticism to do it.
For now, let’s just be happy that the regular season is finished. Consecutive 60 win seasons and back to back Division titles. Never been done before in Cleveland. Here’s hoping we finish this season with something else we’ve never won before.
First game is Saturday at 3:00pm.