There is nothing that I love more than when a coach puts a team before himself and ends up being thrown out of a game for it. After getting two quick technicals after getting into a slight altercation with referee Kane Fitzgerald, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott made an advance toward Fitzgerald in an attempt to fire up his team. It worked.
The Cavaliers ended their nine-game losing streak, their longest this season, with a thrilling 84-80 win against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre on Friday. It was one of the toughest games Cleveland had played all season, crawling back in the fourth quarter after a sluggish third quarter in which they scored 12 points.
Between the third and fourth quarters the Cavaliers scored 21 more points in the final 12 minutes than they scored in their petty third quarter performance. 16 of those 33 four-quarter points came from Mr. Fourth Quarter himself. Yep, Antawn Jamison went off. Cavaliers fans are used to watching Kyrie Irving put together double-digit fourth quarters consecutively, but it was Jamison who stepped up to deliver the Cavaliers a much-needed win.
To kind of put Jamison’s clutch performance into perspective, just take a look at Jamison’s past seven games (not counting Friday’s game). In tonight’s fourth quarter Jamison outscored his point totals in five of those last seven games. In 10 minutes and 18 seconds Jamison outperformed himself in five recent games. Just a scale of how notable his performance was Friday night, but also just how much he has struggled as of late.
As stirring as it was to watch Jamison help the Cavaliers crawl back from a 13-point deficit, which seemed impossible for a team that has struggled so much down the stretch, the true star of the night is actually as far away from a star that one can get. At least when talking about the NBA.
Playing for Tennessee Martin in his collegiate years Lester Hudson, who has been with the Cavaliers on a 10-day contract, recorded the only quadruple-double in NCAA history. Drafted in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, Hudson has had to scrap his way through the NBA on four teams to try and survive in the very competitive Association. Hudson, who’s 10-day contract is coming to an end soon, knew that his time with the Cavaliers may be over and did everything he could to impress the team one last time.
How could Hudson do this? Simple. By shooting the ball. His fourteen shots and numerous trips to the free throw line allowed him to record a career-best 23 points. He also added seven assists to his stat line, which may have been one of the most important of Hudson’s young career. There’s more. Hudson finished the night with a +/- of +14. Only Alonzo Gee’s +25 topped his on the night.
If Friday’s performance could be summed up in one word it would have to be “promise.” The 27-year-old Hudson was the third oldest player on the Cavaliers roster tonight. Cleveland, stay faithful. There’s a lot to look forward too. Patience brings good things.
The Cavaliers will have the day off Saturday but will be traveling to the Prudential Center to take on the New Jersey Nets on Easter Sunday at 6:00 p.m.