What second half struggles?
Throughout the first nine games of this season, the Cavaliers suffered from a complete lack of focus in the second half. They had been outscored 226-164 in third quarters this season.
Not on Tuesday night.
Cleveland stole the show with an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter and maintained a similar deficit throughout the rest of the game. Twice, the 76ers pushed the game within seven points but Daniel Gibson answered with a clutch three-pointer and a jump shot to push the lead back to 13.
Gibson was absolutely incredible all night. He was 6-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from downtown, in an 18 point performance. Perhaps more impressively, Gibson handed off eight assists, snagged four rebounds and swiped two steals in the contest. He played more minutes than nearly everyone on the team. And he was called upon in the fourth quarter to carry the load for this team.
Anybody still want to tell me that Daniel Gibson’s game has not improved drastically over the last few years?
Jamario Moon and Joey Graham paced the Cavaliers with 13 points apiece. Moon came up huge on the defensive glass. And Graham seems to have moved into Jawad Williams’s place in Byron Scott’s rotation. I’m not the biggest Jawad Williams fan but I certainly do not want to rely on Graham to produce. Like I said before, he’s the Cavaliers version of David Dellucci – you Indians fans will know what I’m talking about.
Anthony Parker came up with a rather steady performance on both ends of the floor. As you all know, I’m a big supporter of AP. I like what he brings to the team – length, versatility, defense, shooting and veteran leadership – and I believe he is only going to get better as the season goes on. He still seems to be feeling out his new, heavier role on this team. 10 points, four assists and three rebounds isn’t a bad night. But I’d like to see him start hitting open jump shots more consistently. I’m confident that will come as the season progresses.
And, as I have made very clear this season, I really like what Ryan Hollins brings to the team. He is both tall and athletic. But he and JJ Hickson are bothering me right now. I can’t seem to grasp how in the world the two of them can come up with a mere four rebounds between the two of them. Four rebounds. Daniel Gibson, who is significantly shorter, grabbed four by himself. Jamario Moon had eight. The Cavaliers cannot afford to just give teams second-chance opportunities. Rebound the basketball!
Regardless, it was a solid win for the Cavaliers. Prior to the match-up, the Cavs were in the midst of a two game slide. And they were in dire need of a victory before they hit the road to take on New Orleans, San Antonio and Indiana in a tough five day road-trip.
Stay easy, BELIEVELAND!