Sigh of relief
Man, oh man, that felt good. Almost as if Santa Clause decided to come to Cleveland a full week before Christmas. And Santa Clause revealed himself in the form of six feet-ten inch Anderson Varejao.
Statistically, Varejao was way overmatched heading into his battle with Amare Stoudemire on Saturday night. Stoudemire has been one of the hottest scorers in the NBA over the last month and is in the running for the early-season MVP award. He’s been that good. I mean, the guy is averaging better than 26 points and nine rebounds a night for the overachieving Knickerbockers.
But, on this particular night, Anderson Varejao was better. He canned seven of his 13 field goal attempts in a 14 point performance. He snagged 17 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. And, most impressively, Anderson Varejao was everywhere. He came up with seemingly every loose ball. He swatted a career best four shots. And he annoyed the heck out of Stoudemire throughout the entire game, forcing the New York superstar to take difficult shots and pick up ill-advised fouls. I cannot say enough about Anderson Varejao tonight. He was just incredible.
Mo Williams, too, was an absolute superstar. He played the best brand of basketball that I have seen Williams play all season. He came up with some big baskets at the end of the game and he distributed the basketball in a way that reminded me of John Stockton. In fact, he and Varejao showed signs of Stockton and Karl Malone back in the late 90s. Williams finished the evening with a game-high 23 points and a game-high 14 assists. He was an absolute stud in overtime. And, as a matter of fact, he was an absolute stud throughout the entire game.
The rest of the Cavaliers starters played a significant role in the outcome of this one as well. Anthony Parker knocked down five of his nine attempts for 17 points. Antawn Jamison poured in 21 points to go along with his nine rebounds. And Daniel Gibson, who struggled shooting the basketball, contributed a steady 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in what was a rather disappointing performance.
Coach Byron Scott got perhaps the best performance of the month from his bench, too. Ramon Sessions contributed a much needed 12 point performance. And Jamario Moon played a very solid game off the bench. He managed just three points and five rebounds. But his impact on the basketball game was tremendous. He blocked two shots, stole a pass and did all the intangibles in his 20 minutes of work.
Overall, it was an outstanding victory for the Cavaliers. But any victory at this point is outstanding. The Cavaliers are going to have to bring that kind of effort every night if they want to avoid another ten game losing streak this season. They have certainly showed that they have it in them. They can be a competitive team in this league when they’re firing on all cylinders. Heck, they beat a reeling team and still didn’t play their best brand of basketball.
Let’s see if we can string two wins together, beginning with Monday’s meeting with the Utah Jazz.
Until then, let’s soak in this victory and see if we can’t build on it. Keep on keepin’ on, Believeland!