Early Season Notebook Scribbles on the Cleveland Cavaliers
Hey Cavaliers fans just some observations after the first couple of weeks of the 82-game grind before the real season begins (playoff time that is) for those who are fortunate to make it.
The starting line-up that head coach Mike Brown is using seems to be playing really well together. He’s going with Mo Williams and Delonte West in the backcourt, LeBron James and Ben Wallace as his forwards, and Big Z manning the middle.
Off the bench Coach Brown has been using the combination of Daniel (Boobie) Gibson, Anderson (The Wild Thing) Varejao and Wally Szczerbiak getting the majority of the remaining minutes.
I must admit I was not a fan of starting West at the off-guard spot, I thought the Cavaliers would be better off starting Wally or Sasha Pavlovic at that spot with West coming off the bench. But Delonte has been a pleasant surprise thus far. West is averaging 33 minutes a night, 10.1 ppg 3.6 rpg 2.0 apg per game and playing solid defense.
Mo Williams the Cavaliers big addition in the off season is still feeling his way in the offense averaging 14.1 ppg and 4.9 apg in 34 minutes a game. He also is still getting use to the style of defense that Coach Brown likes to play.
Big Ben has shown flashes of his defensive prowess that earned him two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Brown has been monitoring his minutes properly in my opinion averaging 22.7 a night to keep him fresh for later in the season.
The player who is benefiting the most from the Mo Williams trade is Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Big Z in 28.4 minutes a night is averaging 15.6 ppg 6.7 boards. The Cavs are actually establishing him more in the post, as well as using him in the pick-and-pop with Williams.
Also figuring to benefit from the trade is King James. In just 36 minutes a night (Bron is usually over 40) the King’s stat line is 28.1 ppg 8.9 rpg 7.0 apg a game, not bad for a person still feeling out his personnel on the floor and fresh off of earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week torching the Chicago Bulls twice for 41 pts in a game.
The bench has provided a big lift when needed, Gibson, Varejao, and Szczerbiak is averaging almost 25 points a night from the trio, playing solid defense and giving the Cavs good energy off the bench.
The bench as a unit has been tremendous, never before in the LeBron James era have I seen the bench play as well as they have and also cheering the way they have for the guys that’s on the floor showing great team chemistry.
So far Mike Brown has pushed all the right buttons with the different rotations he’s been using, resting Williams early and bringing him back when James takes his rest keeping a solid scorer on the floor at all times. Then going with the quick line-up of James or Szczerbiak, playing the power forward spot along with Boobie and Mo as the guards and The Wild Thing in the middle, giving the Cavs a nice change of pace.
Usually the Cavs start slow, but at 5-2 and leading the Central Division they have been playing solid basketball here in the early going of the season. Last year, I believe they probably would have lost more games than they have won, but the attitude on the team is much better and they have more of a business like approach to the games.
The Cavs are winning the battle in the 1st and 4thquarters of games scoring 99.5 ppg(ranked 8thin the league) and on the defensive end giving up 93 ppg (also ranked 8th in the league) showing that they are starting and finishing games strong. But must correct the sluggish 3rd quarter blues that’s been a thorn in the teams side for whatever reason over the past few years.
With Detroit pulling off a major trade in bringing in Allen Iverson, the Cavs need to continue to play well and separate themselves from their rivals while they learn how to incorporate Iverson into their style of play. Putting away the teams they suppose to beat and not letting any games slip away by taking the lesser teams for granted.
We’ll see if their stellar play continues on this home stand against Milwaukee, Denver, and Utah then back on the road against New Jersey and Detroit before coming back home to play Atlanta. By continuing to produce victories in the win column, the Cavs will be on track towards the road to a championship.
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