Photo: Gregory Smith/AP
In the final chapter of the 2009-2010 regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were about as timid and punchless as they've been in the last several years. It was mostly by design though, as Coach Mike Brown sat LeBron for the fourth straight game to close out the regular season and added Mo Williams for the second time this week. Shaquille O'Neal's return was postponed for game one of the playoffs, and both Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao played exclusively in the first half. The Hawks, who played only Marvin Williams out of their top six players, had the home energy and role players that responded to it. Seven Hawks were in double digits, and they set out to make a bench highlight film with their third seed in the East already clinched.
Jawad Williams and Delonte West filled the starting spots that they have manned for a decent part of the past week. The wine and gold had just two players reach double figures, led by Jamario Moon's 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 7 rebounds. Hanging tough early, the Cavs trailed by just two at halftime. However, several things compounded on the Cavaliers offensively. First, they were nearly shutout from behind the arc for the first time all season. Moon saved them with a fourth quarter three with the Cavaliers hitting just 1 of their 14 attempts. Coupled with their horrific 20-of-36 from the foul line (56%, wrapping up the worst percentage in the league at 72%), the team was wildly inefficient offensively and shot 43% overall. Taking a team's top four offensive options out of play is the prime cause for this, but there are capable guys on this team who can create, but some of them struggled tonight. Delonte West, usually a top performer in these situations, was held to 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting in 25 minutes. Jawad Williams shot just 1-of-6 for 4 points, and 'Tawn and Andy each had 7 points in their limited first half action. Really, the only two guys doing much of anything offensively were Jamario and J.J. Hickson, who had 14 points and 6 boards. These two were active with highlight dunks and solid cuts to the basket. Other than that, it was pretty vanilla for the Cavalier offense.