Momentum is huge in the game of basketball. As Cavaliers fans, we aren’t used to getting excited over victories over teams like the 76ers and the Washington Wizards. We have grown accustomed to running over those teams on our way to a 60-win season. But that is not going to be the case this season. Every win is a big win for this team. We are lacking a superstar on our roster so it is going to take a complete team effort to come away with a victory.
But I am enjoying this brand of basketball much more than I enjoyed last season’s model. It is a lot of fun tuning in to watch guys like Daniel Gibson and JJ Hickson make the necessary progression from good role players to impactful players.
Tonight, the Cavaliers will travel to New Jersey for the first half of a home-and-home, back-to-back set with the Nets. Avery Johnson had his team rolling to start off the season as they rattled off two quick victories. However, the Nets have gone cold as of late and will be seeking their first win in five chances.
Unfortunately, they’ll be matched up with a streaking Cavaliers team. Last weekend, Cleveland returned a familiar face to the floor in Mo Williams who made an immediate impact. Williams was huge in DC as he took over the offense in the fourth quarter. Though he tried to do a little bit too much at times, Williams was (and is) a crucial piece to this team. He’s the one proven All-Star – outside of Antawn Jamison – that has the ability to go out and win a game on his own this season.
Gibson and Hickson have doubled their career scoring output this season and are only getting better as the season progresses. Anderson Varejao is playing typical Wild Thing basketball and is making an incredible impact on both sides of the floor. Most surprisingly, Ryan Hollins is showing signs of maturity under Coach Scott. He has been a force under the basket on the defensive end and has contributed rather nicely on the offensive end. He’s a long, athletic center that seems to be fitting in very well with Scott’s Princeton-style offense. Keep an eye on him; I think he is going to play a major role in the Cavs’ success this season.
It has been a long time since this franchise has really had to work hard to beat the New Jersey Nets. But, after this weekend, I cannot see the Wine & Gold warriors dropping tonight’s match-up with the Nets.