Photo: Jon Fobes/Cleveland.com
It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't easy, but the Cavaliers found a way to break their longest losing streak in the past two seasons with their home crowd behind them. With six guys in double figure scoring and running more diverse offense, they overcame their defensive woes and Marcus Thornton's game of his life to stop the skid at three games heading into a heavyweight bout on Thursday night.
Rotation tidbits: Tonight was a preview of what we are likely to see for the rest of the season: Mike Brown narrowing down his rotation and finding what will work. On this occasion, that meant no Daniel Gibson, Jawad Williams, J.J. Hickson, or Leon Powe. Granted, it was Powe's first game deemed medically ready to play and J.J. was suffering from the stomach flu, but it was a sign that the 10-11 man rotation that Brown has used at times is coming to an end. The new starting of five of Mo, AP, LeBron, Antawn Jamison, and Shaq, Delonte, Andy, and Jamario Moon; 8 guys; that's it. I see that getting stretched to nine eventually, either when Z returns or as J.J. or Jawad Williams is pressed into service. There's still a lot to work out, however, including some of the moves Brown made tonight. For instance, he played Jamison with LeBron for the entire first quarter, then both had to sit at the start of the second rather than having 'Tawn to fill-in scoring with LBJ resting. Furthermore, Coach Brown played his two centers, Varejao and Shaq, together quite a bit. If memory serves me correctly, the team had reservations about Andy and Shaq playing alongside each other when they WEREN'T the only two centers on the team; that's why J.J. made his way into the starting lineups. After playing both Parker and Shaq heavy minutes in the first half, he did even it out a bit in the 2nd half. With that being said, Jamario Moon had just 9 minutes, while Shaq had 31, LeBron had 44, and Antawn had 37 minutes respectively. They need to make this a full eight man rotation or give both Jawad and Jamario 9 minutes. I don't want to see Shaq ramped up to 30 minutes consistently until just before the playoffs. It's fine in the Boston, Orlando, Denver, and Lakers games, but not against lesser competition. We need the Diesel for the long haul.
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