The game against Juwan Howard and the Heat on March 29th being one, and the other being this latest loss to Blake Griffin and the Clippers 100-92 yesterday.
With an opportunity to make a direct impact on the ping pong ball possibilities they received in exchange for Mo Williams, Jamario Moon, and the rights to the gooseneck hand signal, the Cavaliers fell short in the final few minutes.
Had that call on Blake the Almighty stayed a travel and not been flipped to a foul on Samardo Samuels with just over three minutes to go, maybe the Cavaliers would’ve rallied from down 5.
But it wasn’t and they didn’t.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers in every category, with game highs in points (30) and assists (8) and a team high (8) rebounds. He played like the beast that he is. For his part, JJ Hickson just about kept pace on the offensive end scoring 28 of his own to go with a game high (9) rebounds, but it would not be enough.
If Samardo Samuels had kept his torrid pace of 14 early points going, and finished with what have projected out to about a game high 87, then maybe things would’ve been different. But after starting red hot with those 14 he finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 fouls.
He didn’t shoot much to get to that respectable number of 17 either, 6 of 9 from the floor and I appreciate him not taking those fouls to the locker room with him. More on Samardo below, as compared to a guy I knew in college.
Mo Williams, who unlike a lot of guys you in the new jersey of a team they’ve just been traded too, looked kinda like he was supposed to wear the red, white, and blue of the Los Angeles Clippers. There’s no joke there either about Donald Sterling or the Clippers woeful organization or anything like that. He just looked kinda normal in that uniform in my opinion.
Anyways, Mo finished with 11 points and 5 assists as compared to only 1 turnover. He only took 6 shots in about 27 minutes and played a solid game in support of Griffin as well as back-court mate Eric Gordon; who took all the shots that would be allocated to the guards basically (29 points on 9 of 20 from the floor).
The ex-Cavalier that will be remembered as the guy who originated the gooseneck symbol (which then morphed into the “goggle three” thing the college players are doing these days?) known as Jamario Moon caught a DNP-CD. Something after beginning the season as the Cavaliers opening night starting SF, he’s since become adept at catching.
Ramon Sessions, who kinda took over for his buddy Mo until Baron Davis showed up and then left again but then showed up again yesterday only to watch and wear a red blazer, had a solid game personally. After dropping zero dimes in the embarrassment that was the Portland game, Sessions dished off a team high 7 yesterday. He scored 18 points to go along with that, and has now scored 20, 14, and 18 in each of the last three games after going for 4 points in the 20 point loss to OKC. So there is that.
And there is this getting back to Samardo: I can’t help but watch him and think of a guy I used to play basketball with in college. This kid I knew and was friends with scored 20 points per game in high school, but his high school team never won a game during his junior and senior season. They were 0 for 40. But, he did score 20 points a game, and he did play against and lose to some good teams in the process of scoring those points.
People would always say though, for whatever reason, that if he played for a better team in high school, like one that won even 10 games a year, he probably wouldn’t have even averaged 10 points. The thought is, anybody can go out there and just score 20 and lose. I never really knew if I believed that though. You can only play for the team you’re on, and sure if you’re on a better team they’ll be better players taking better shots and you might not have the opportunity to score the 20 that you did on a perennial loser. This is all true. But how do you know for sure?
I suppose you don’t know, really, and this is what crosses my mind everytime I watch Samardo Samuels play these days. What would his production look like as a player on a decent team?
For the month of March, on an awful one, he is averaging a 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He’s played in a sample size of 9 games during the stretch, averaged 29.1 minutes per, and the Cavaliers are 2-7.
How does that translate for the future? I really have no idea. If the Cavaliers add a Kyrie Irving, a Harrison Barnes, a Jared Sullinger, or a Kemba Walker or whoever, and bring back an Anderson Varejao, Baron Davis and Antawn Jamison, does Samardo Samuels have 30 minutes of playing time there?
Could he really get enough shots off to score 14 points per game? I doubt it.
But at least Samardo has worked himself into a spot where these are the types of questions people are asking about him now. As opposed to what they said when nobody drafted him. He’s taken advantage of the opportunity this season has presented him, and hats off to him for being about the only person to do so on this team. Whether he gets opportunities like this ever again though, remains to be seen.
Oh and there was a guy on the floor pregame yesterday with a knife who was shot with rubber bullets. Scary stuff, if you hadn’t heard about that, click here.