Well, it’s simple – they’re quick, they can shoot, and they’re fearless as rookies. It’ll be interesting to see how they fit in when Paul returns, but you’d have to imagine one of them needs to be a starter instead of Morris Petersen, who barely counts as a mediocre NBA player right now.
2. This was a much-needed win for the Cavs, not to be confused by a “must” win. Cleveland lost three in a row: once, to Denver (who the Cavs never beat, and playing in the first game without Z/Jamison yet to arrive); once, to Charlotte (second night of the back-to-back, on the road, Jamison was abysmal); and once on the road at Orlando. I don’t see a bad loss in there.
Still, it was important to get this one if only to quiet the pessimists around the nation (and in Cleveland) who viewed a three-game stretch in an 82-game season as life or death. Relax.
3. Quarters one, three and four: Cavs outscore New Orleans 80-55. The Cavs actually played pretty well for about 40 minutes of this one. The Hornets scored 31 points in the last 8:44 of the first half…wow.
4. LeBron’s improved three-point shooting this year has been both a blessing and a cursing. Counting tonight, 33 of the 109 shots he’s taken in the last five games have been threes. I pulled out my calculator to do the math, and it told me that’s not a good percentage for someone who is so good attacking the basket and has improved his skills in the post.
I liken it to whenever Kenny Lofton hit a home run in the mid-90’s. My dad and I always groaned when that happened. For the next few games, Lofton would always think he had turned into a magnificent slugger and start hitting pop ups a la Willie Mays Hayes.
LeBron’s in the same mode now. Tonight, he took six threes and four free throws. Not good.
5. That being said, his numbers in February are staggering: 31.9 ppg, 10.9 apg, 6.9 rpg, 2.3 spg. Even with his ineffectiveness beyond the arc (29.8 percent), he’s still shooting over 50 percent from the floor (96-of-191) and is at 79 percent from the free throw. Hello, Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the nine billionth time in a row.
6. Read an interesting article on HoopData.com breaking down Antawn Jamison’s game compared to Amare Stoudemire: http://www.hoopdata.com/recent.aspx?aid=153. Basically, the article shows Jamison’s shooting percentages don’t really warrant him being labeled as a “stretch” power forward.
And hey, the numbers don’t lie. But after watching him play against Orlando and New Orleans, you see how he can score in so many different ways and is not just a jump shooter. He’s very crafty on the floor, and hopefully J.J. Hickson – whose playing time is going to suffer – will benefit from watching how Jamison can score from all over the court.
7. The Celtics had a home battle with the Knicks, much like the Cavs did with New Orleans tonight. Boston seems to have righted itself after a sluggish stretch, and both teams will have a day of rest going into Thursday’s showdown in Boston. Can’t wait.