Tonight was ugly. Let’s just get that out of the way right from the start. Mo turned his swag down to a minute 2.0 and it’s only that high because I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. He re-aggravated a finger injury early in the first quarter and was out of sync from that point on. He did nail all eight of his free throw attempts and finished the night with 12 points and six assists. Not a poor performance. But certainly not swag-o-rific.
And the other reason I’m not being so hard on Mo tonight is because a guy by the name of Jamario Moon stepped up big time for the Cavaliers. His Swag-o-Meter was off the charts as he netted 4-of-5 deep range attempts and was absolutely huge down the stretch. So huge, in fact, that he finished the night with an impressive +14 efficiency rating – LeBron’s was +6.
Shaquille O’Neal was not the dominate force that he was in Game 1 but still managed an eight point-seven rebound, near double-double performance while Antawn Jamison added a steady 14 point effort. Delonte West and Anderson Varejao led the charge off the bench (as usual) and combined for 14 points, six rebounds and six assists on the night. And Anthony Parker knocked down some big shots early in the game as he was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in a solid nine point game.
And I know it’s cliché and possibly rather annoying but I’m going to do it anyways. Just because it was that worthy of a performance from LeBron James:
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, LeBron James was unstoppable on Monday night. He hit nearly every shot he threw up in the second half and finished the night 16-of-23 from the floor (6-of-6 from the charity stripe). Highlighted by the posterization of Mr. James Johnson (see below), James went off for 40 points and once again proved to the Bulls that he cannot be stopped. Chicago’s bench seemed to be jawing with LeKing at one point during the game so James responded with an impressive And-1 finish which was followed by a simple wink at Vinny Del Negro’s crew. After the game, LeBron was asked about the trash-talking initiated by the Bulls bench and his response was: “They asked for me to shoot the jumped and I did over and over and over and over.” Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
The bad news is, as Charles Barkley said in the post-game show, you are not going to beat good teams going one on five. And that’s virtually what the fourth quarter was on Monday night. Jamison, Mo and Shaq need to step their game up and get it going as the Cavs’ Round 2 opponent could quite possibly be the Boston Celtics.
Game Three will be on Thursday evening. Good news for Bulls’ fans: Chicago looked much better in Game 2. Bad news: You’ve only got two more games left in this season.