After struggling against a Dirk-less Mavs team, the Cavaliers were determined to send a message to their doubters Monday night. Ooh, and who do you think led this charge? Who else but the King himself, Lebron James.
It was determined early in the game, at least by Lebron, that the Cavaliers were embarrassed from their loss to the Mavericks. Cleveland was on a five game winning streak and it was snapped by a Mavs team without Dirk Nowitzki. Lebron made a statement early scoring 12 points in the first quarter, however the Cavaliers were down by one point as both Nash and Stoudemire combined for 18 points.
What really capped off the quarter for the Cavaliers was an embarrassing display of defense for the Suns which led to a highlight dunk for the King. With about three minutes left in the first Lebron stole a loose ball and drove all the way from half court and dunked right over Amar'e Stoudemire. It reminded me a lot of the dunk Lebron put on KG in the Eastern Conference finals a couple years ago. It was the statement play of the game for the Cavaliers and really from that point on Cleveland dominated.
It wasn't only the Cavaliers offensive surge but also their perimeter defense. The Suns are a notoriously good three-point shooting team and the Cavaliers held them to 4-19 beyond the arc. The Suns also struggled without Leandro Barbosa who was sitting with an ankle injury.
The King finished with 29 points, six rebounds, and four assists to lead Cleveland. Following Lebron was Mo Williams with 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
In Shaq's return to Phoenix the big man struggled big time shooting 1-2 from the field and finishing with three points. In the 19 minutes he played he did manage to grab 5 rebounds but also turned the ball over four times. Not an impressive homecoming for Shactus.
Leading Phoenix was Steve Nash with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Amar'e Stoudemire notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and led the Suns in rebounding.
The Cavaliers next game is against the Sacramento Kings and they are not a team to take lightly. Last night the Kings were down by 35 points in the third quarter and went on something like a 50-12 run to win by four points on the road.
Jamario Moon sat again last night still ailing from a left groin injury. Moon did suit up for the game but did not see any action. The Cavaliers next game is on Wednesday and it is not clear if Moon will play. Delonte West has filled Moon's playing time and posted a 12 and 18 point game. West definitely fulfills Moon's offensive, but it appeared the Cavs could have used Moon's defense against the Mavs the other night.