After Wednesday night’s loss in the tail-end of a home-and-home series against the Nets, one thing is certain: the Cleveland Cavaliers need Mo Williams on the floor to be successful. He is one of two proven All-Stars on this team and he will need to play a more consistent brand of basketball if the Cavaliers are going to win games this season.
Williams left early in the second half with a strained adductor – a muscle located somewhere around his groin – and never returned. Upon his exit, the offense fell apart. There was very little motion and guys weren’t getting the clean looks they were in the first half. If Williams is going to miss any time, guys like Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions will, again, have to step up their game to give the Cavaliers a shot at winning.
Anderson Varejao also left the game early with bruised ribs. However, he would later return and contribute eight points and five rebounds in more than 35 minutes of work. Hollins filled in for Varejao in the first half while the Wild Thing was back in the locker room and added a steady 11 point effort in 12 minutes of playing time. I’d like to see Andy move back to playing the four spot sporadically throughout games and let these two big men run the floor together. Both are athletic. Both run the floor well. Andy’s a great pick-and-roll kind of player while Ryan Hollins adds more of an offensive post presence. I think it’s a perfect fit.
Antawn Jamison played another solid game off the bench. His 14 point-nine rebound effort barely missed his first double-double of the season. And, overall, it was a very steady performance from Jamison. He is still attempting way too many three-point attempts per game, though. His four attempts were the most on the team last night and I’d go as far as saying that he may not even a top-5 perimeter shooter on this team. He needs to attack the rim more aggressively.
Most importantly, the Cavaliers have 48 assists over the last two games. They have passed the ball very well and have done a particularly nice job creating easy shots for one another. Believe it or not, this team is getting better. They certainly have the potential to make some noise in the Eastern Conference this season. I will take team basketball over a superstar-based offense any day.
I’m having fun this season, Cavs fans! Perhaps more fun than I did in the previous seven years. What about you?