Sunday, February 24, 2008

Defending LeBron 5 on 1 - no more of that

Keep in perspective, this is the memphis Grizzlies. They're 14-41, so they're not the best team to use as a measuring stick.

But the Cavs/Grizz game is midway through the third quarter, and it's already completely obvious that this is a whole new Cavaliers team.

No longer are there four guys standing around waiting for LeBron to do something. Players are slashing to the rim, setting up for open 3-point shots, setting picks. On defense, the Cavs have more options inside, and LeBron is not constantly forced to crash the defensive boards.

What this trade means to Cleveland is that opposing teams will actually have to devise a REAL defense against the Cavs. No more "double-and-triple team James and force somebody else to play basketball."

As I'm writing this, Delonte West just dribbled around the right wing and came off a pick by Ben Wallace. West quickly passed it to Wallace, who delivered a sky-high one-handed slam dunk. It was gorgeous.

Now, imagine what these guys will play like when they've actually practiced with each other.

UPDATE - The Cavaliers won this one easily, 109-89. Here's the major statistical figures;

-LeBron James had a near triple-double with 25 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds
-Zadrunas had a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds
-Ben Wallace had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds
-Joe Smith had 14 points and 6 rebounds off the bench
-Szczerbiak had 10 points off the bench
-Damon Jones had 11 points off the bench

This team looked like it wanted to find an open man FIRST, rather than shoot the ball, and it showed. They had 27 assists on the night.

Best moment of the game - With three minutes to play in a game that was out of reach, Wallace scored an easy bucket, then quickly jumped on the Grizzlies point guard on defense. He successfully forced Memphis into a 5-second violation.

Chicago Bulls fans should be piiiiiiiiiised........

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