Two valiant road efforts yielded different results for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the weekend. Led by Antawn Jamison’s 16-point fourth quarter performance, the Cavaliers staged a late comeback against the Toronto Raptors in Canada on Friday. On Sunday against the New Jersey Nets Jamison once again delivered a team-carrying performance, but the late game heroics came from a less familiar face.
Despite losing 122-117 in overtime against the Nets, Cavaliers guard Lester Hudson connected on a crucial trey late and then connected on another one with three seconds to go to extend the game five extra minutes.
In overtime Jamison connected on a three-point shot with 13 seconds to go to decrease to two points. After that the Cavaliers would have to foul to keep the game competitive, as MarShon Brooks was fouled, but missed on one of his two free throw attempts increasing the Nets lead to three. Almost everyone knew that the Cavaliers would do their best to get the ball to the red-hot Hudson. They did, and Hudson missed on a 27-foot three-point attempt.
Nets bench player Gerald Green, who gave the Cavaliers problems all night long, iced the game by making his two free throw attempts with three seconds to go. Green shot close-to lights out Sunday night, shooting 11-18 from the field with 32 points and four rebounds. Anthony Morrow, who troubled the Cavaliers down the stretch and at many other points in the game, accounted for 24 of the bench points.
The Nets benched scored a total of 58 points, with Green and Morrow accounting for 56 of those points. That’s not to say that the Cavaliers bench didn’t keep up with the Nets bench. Hudson shot 9-22, 6-12 from three, scoring 26 points, four rebounds, three assist and two steals. That was a career-high in points for Hudson, topping his career-high of 23 points on Friday night.
The Cavaliers are scrapping, that’s for sure. Cleveland knows that it’s way out of playoff contention, but still these players fight, but it being Jamison and Lester carrying the load makes it more interesting.
Jamison admitted that he wants to play two more years in the NBA, be it on any team. What I can infer is that Jamison is fighting to stay on the Cavaliers, maybe as another veteran beside Anderson Varejao to show the young guys the ropes. Having a sage or two around isn’t a bad idea at all.
Hudson, who earned another 10-day contract Monday, has seemed to pick up his play as soon as his contract was about to be expired. Hudson may have possibly been auditioning in a sense for a spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. A three-year deal may be in the future for Hudson if he keeps up the good play. He could jump Manny Harris for a starting job.
The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from trey land. And whom account for 11 of the 12 made threes? None other than Jamison and Hudson. It’s good to see the Cavaliers being competitive. It keeps them healthy.
Other superb performances by Cavalier players included Donald Sloan, who dished out 14 assists, and Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson, who both had double-doubles. Gee scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Thompson had 15 rebounds and 15 points. These young guys are developing into role players. Gee could be huge off the bench next season.
But the Nets starters reigned supreme, with Kris Humphries scoring 16 points, Deron Williams scoring 18 points and Brooks scoring 14. It was a well-balanced attack that the Cavs couldn’t contain for 53 minutes.
But this story has a happy ending. The Cavaliers are facing the Bobcats Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. I expect Hudson to drop 50 on the Bobcats awful defense.