All I could think about during the first half of tonight’s game was, “Oh no. Here we go again.” The Cavs were getting beat to lose ball after lose ball and the Hornets just seemed to have their engines in a different gear. Behind rookie reserve Marcus Thornton, New Orleans tossed in 40 points in the second half and was absolutely tearing Cleveland apart with fast break points.
The perimeter defense was poor (again) and it just seemed like Darren Collison and Thornton were going wherever they wanted, when they wanted in the first 24 minutes.
Coach Brown was visibly steamed at the break and I’m sure he lit into those guys in the locker room for their lack of energy. And Cleveland came out a completely different team in the second half.
After allowing 40 points in the second quarter, the Cavs only allowed 39 points the rest of the way and a late surge gave them a 105-95 victory.
We got a little taste of Brown’s playoff rotations as he went with an eight man crew tonight (unfortunately leaving JJ Hickson out of the lineup altogether) and six of the eight scored in double figures.
The King scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and chipped in 13 assists in the winning effort. Shaquille O’Neal put on a clinic early in the game and finished the game with another impressive 20 point and 7 rebound performance. Anderson Varejao contributed 14 points and 7 boards while Delonte West added 13 points of his own. Anthony Parker shot 3 of 6 from downtown for 13 points on the night as well.
And rounding out the Cavaliers in double figures was Antawn Jamison. I am a big Zydrunas Ilgauskas fan and miss seeing him out there as much as the next guy. But Tawn has been fun to watch the last two games and gives Cleveland a completely different dynamic to their offense. Jamison scored 18 points and gathered six boards for the Cavs highlighted by a sweet posterization of Mr. David West (see, that’s why I gave AJ the advantage in Tuesday afternoon’s preview!). Check it out:
Man, it feels good to get back on track. The Hornets shot the heck out of the ball but the Cavs stayed the course and came away with the solid victory. My thirst is quenched! Now we get one day to take this one in and get back to it against the Celtics on Thursday night. And I strongly dislike the Celtics. So let’s get to it!