After a very slow start from the Cavaliers, they came on strong to blow out the Mavericks, 102-74. The Cavs came out slow by shooting poorly and playing soft defense. Mo Williams went 0-for-8 and Lebron James was almost non-existent in the first quarter. After the poorly planned team introduction (Shaq might be right about this intro) where the team was acting like the were playing baseball. The team then got dominated by the Mavs in the first quarter, trailing 30-20. Where at one point the Mavs had a 15 point lead and Erick Dampier was looking like an all-star. The Mavs had a game plan to use a bunch of pick and roll at the elbow. This worked for the 1st quarter where Kidd and Dampier hooked up multiple times.
After the Cavs woke up in the second quarter, they cut it two point lead for the Mavericks at the half. Lebron was handing out assists making them look easy as usual. He had double digit assists in the first half. Joe Smith really carried this team this quarter which lead to his best game since rejoining the Cavs. Smith ended up with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 assists. He inspired the team in the 2nd quarter and I really believe was the turning point in the game.
1st Half MVP – Joe Smith
The third quarter is really where the Cavs defense shut down the Mavericks, outscoring them 30 to 11. The Cavs looked like they were having fun while playing tough defense and the Mavs looked tired. Mo Williams found his shot and Lebron started to takeover the game. There was a very scary part in the third quarter when Lebron collided with a referee. James was down for a minute or so. He returned to the game to see a little more action.
Anderson Varejao made a couple of nice steals and finishes (he had to make up for Ryan Collins cowboy ride). The game was pretty much over after the third and both teams gave their bench more playing time. I do remember in the fourth quarter JJ Hickson threw down a nasty dunk and rejection.
The Cavs need to be better coming out of the gate because against better younger teams it won’t be as easy to comeback as it was against Dallas. The defense again was outstanding holding Dallas to 36% shooting and below 30% behind the arc. Joe Smith and Anderson Varejao really helped spark the Cavs at times, while Big Z was consistent. This has to be an exciting win for Cavs fans because not only are we the first team to 60 wins, they also set a franchise record for winning streak with 12 wins.
Game MVP – Joe Smith – Why not? Dude came to play today and really help this team get back in the game in the second half. He was hustling all over the place and finishing plays.