Hosting the Philadelphia 76ers, down three points with less than one minute remaining, Cavs head coach Byron Scott drew up a play that would provide point guard Ramon Sessions with two different options that would hopefully tie up the contest. Those options were Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker who, up to that point in the evening, were a combined 3-of-19 from the floor.
Knowing that the Cavaliers would need three points and would try to find one of their two players who could convert said shot (the other two players on the floor were JJ Hickson and Samardo Samuels), the Philadelphia defense converged on Gibson and Parker, forcing Gibson to pass the ball away to Hickson who would attempt a quick shot. The result was a smart defensive play by Philly’s Thaddeus Young and a crucial turnover (pictured above) that would ultimately end in a 95-91 win for the visiting team.
“With 12 seconds left, I didn’t want to hoist up a bad shot with a lot of time left,” said Gibson postgame. “I wanted to hit J.J and then come back off of him to get a cleaner look or maybe even a quick two instead of a bad three. J.J tried to make the right play.”
Hickson, who finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds (both game-highs), unfortunately picked a bad time to not rise above the rest of the competition. Amassing his 16th double-double of the season, the young forward/center pulled down nine offensive rebounds and added two steals and a blocked shot. He has recorded seven double-doubles in his last eight games, but could not convert when it may have mattered the most.
Also unfortunate was the third quarter loss of Antawn Jamison who sustained a fractured finger on his non-shooting hand. It was Jamison’s absence that forced Paker and Gibson as the lone deep threats as well as forcing Byron Scott to give clutch minutes to undrafted rookie Samardo Samuels. The Louisville alum chipped in admirably with 12 points, six rebounds and a block in 24 minutes off of the bench, but there is no denying that the play in question would have featured Jamison in his position.
As of the game’s completion, there was not a prognosis on Jamison’s damaged digit. The Cavs will take Monday off before practicing on Tuesday and hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)