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Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 9:09 am  |  70 responses

Post Up: Cavs Dominate 4th

And Steph Curry… Really, really good. Even in a loss.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

It’s a Friday and the Cavs are in town. It’s going to be a good night. No, I don’t want you to think of that God awful song when you hear that sentence, you know the one that every arena still insists on playing, even though it’s beyond overkill. It’s just really going to be a good night. Sure, LeBron is in town, but, um, so is Leon Powe and you know how we feel about Mr. Powe around here. Can’t wait.

Okay, so the Cavs are in town, perhaps without Shaq after he sprained a thumb in the first quarter of the Cavs 108-88 victory over the Celtics.

I’m not kidding. After the C’s shot 60 percent for the first half and led throughout the first three quarters, the Cavs were within one going into the fourth and then Boston fell apart on their home floor. Getting outscored 35-14 over the final 12 minutes, it was ugly. Ugly, ugly.

LeBron was unstoppable when he decided to leave the threes alone and drive to the hoop. He finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and nine assists and the only thing slowing him down was his inability to put two free throws together. In 15 attempts, he connected on 11, but it felt like he missed a free throw every time he went up to shoot a pair.

Wonder how the C’s fans felt without Eddie House to come into the game late and jack threes while Mo Williams nailed five of them for Cleveland?

It felt right to watch Leon Powe finish the game off by draining two free throws in his old home arena. So happy he is back and looking good.

Can’t believe how bad the Celtics have been at home this season. At least, when they’re playing teams other than the Raptors. If Shaq has to miss time with that sprained thumb –which was called “significant” on the TNT broadcast– perhaps it will become even more important for the Cavs to get Big Z back. I guess I should also keep in mind that the C’s were without Paul Pierce, kinda a big part of the equation, but wow, did they fall apart in the fourth.

In Indy, it looked like there were as many players as people in the stands by the end of it. While the Bucks controlled most of the way, the ending got a little interesting as Danny Granger was fouled behind the 3-point line with 10 seconds remaining. After he made just two of the three, the Bucks led by two and then Brandon Jennings made it four, hitting two free throws. With 1.5 seconds remaining, TJ Ford was fouled shooting a three, and made his first two foul shots, intentionally missing the third, trying to get the rebound and putback, but the Bucks grabbed the rebound as the clock sounded.

New Buck John Salmons scored 20 points, Brandon Jennings added 18 points and seven assists and Andrew Bogut scored 15 points to go with 10 rebounds. For the Pacers, Danny Granger scored 21 and Ford added 17.

In Golden State, Steph Curry tried his best to keep his team into it, but the Nuggets were too good and too explosive down the stretch. JR Smith was huge, knocking down seven 3-pointers and finishing with 25 points off of the bench to go with the smattering of red stars on his neck, a new tattoo that was supposedly done over UStream and that made his neck look like it was bleeding. Just ask Jeff Green’s Twitter, he ageed.

The Nuggets were without head coach George Karl who missed the game due to chemo treatments as he battles throat cancer. Thoughts continue to be with him.

Curry finished with 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting go to with seven rebounds and 13 assists. Just two turnovers to go with two steals and a blocked shot, too. He was awesome. I was going to go to bed early because I’ve been feeling a cold coming on, but dammit, kid’s too good to turn away from.

Speaking of good, Chauncey Billups led the way for Denver with 37 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Melo added 27, Ty Lawson scored 12 off of the bench, and well, we already discussed JR. Nuggets just have so many weapons.

Something I appreciated: Rookie Steph Curry on the bench after being taken out of the game in the final minutes as the Nuggets took the game, cheering on teammate Anthony Morrow as he scores a meaningless layup. He gets it. This may not be a winning season, but it’s been a learning one for Curry and he’s taken every challenge, knock and lesson with stride.

And while some Raps fans will be pumped if Shaq is out of the game, JJ Hickson scares me quite a bit, too. Amir Johnson is used to being able to out-hustle and out-energy the other reserves, with Andy V and Hickson, he’s going to have his hands full. He’s also going to have to work very hard not to pick up 800 trillion person fouls.

Okay, bedtime for me as the wind is blowing like mad outside and there’s a whole lot of snow out there. Brrr!

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  • vongustedt

    roar!

  • Justin

    Is Bosh back? If not then the Cavs will kill the Raptors unfortunately, Shaq or no Shaq. Losing Shaq is obviously not as big a deal as losing Bosh is for the Raptors. It will be interesting to see how many people are at the game with Team Canada playing the semi-finals tonight against the Slovaks. They should play the game on the big screen for those in attendance. lol GO CANADA GO!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    My hope is that Steph wins ROY just so we can get gratuitous shots of his mom sitting in the crowd. So fine. Kid’s game is pretty nice too.

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    thinking about the C’s and their window of opportunity rapidly shutting made me wonder: would it possible to use through historical data to determine which ‘type’ of player is the most likely to win a championship in the NBA? is it the superstar? is it the specialist (rebounding, 3point shooting etc)? is it the journeyman? the glue guy? i know it’s not really useful but give me a break, i came up with it during one of those long trains of thought in the toilet

  • theojoseph3

    yeahhhhhh go steph! this guys plays with heart

  • keegan

    steph curry for ROY

  • vtrobot

    oh, celtics. that’s bad. holly i love your love for leon. we miss that dude in boston. we miss eddie too.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Stephen Curry has catapulted his name into the ROY race. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyreke, Jennings and Curry ALL won Co-Co-Co-ROY! LOL

  • http://Slamadamonth.com Mvp23100

    Cavs on business as usual It seems like we havent seen the cavaliers squad as a whole yet this season and still busting heads

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    Jennings has fallen to rhird imo. he hasn’t been doing much in 2010

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    *third

  • riggs

    it was a celtics loss, not a cavs win.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    That Stephen Curry Dream Shake was sublime. I never thought I’d see a POINT GUARD execute a perfect Dream Shake. That being said, while Curry and Brandon Jennings both deserve recognition, the ROY is Tyreke Evans and it’s not that close.

  • LA Huey

    Good win for the Cavs but can’t read too much into it. Pierce was out.

  • A.

    Your statement is only half true riggs. The Cavs did win no matter what you say. Pierce was out, and Shaq was also out. So it kind of evens it out. Cleveland had no real center in the game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Hisham….would Robert Horry be considered a specialist, cause he’s got the most in the modern game?

  • http://Slamadamonth.com Mvp23100

    Yeah riggs a 20 pt loss that they got locked down In the 4th by one of the top defenses word it how you want @la huey i feel you but thats not an excuse weve beaten teams injured as well as la and bos and den if your elite thats what you do

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    @Tariq, Tony Parker’s done this move pretty nicely a couple times as well. I do feel sad for Birdman though, he got him good

  • LA Huey

    @Mvp23100, I agree. I’m just an anxious Cavs fan. =)btw, anyone else think Cavs should go small more often against the Cs. Boston lacks the kind of bigs to counter teams going small and athletic (see: ATL Hawks). I love the flexibilty CLE has now.

  • letsmotor

    @ riggs: couldn’t agree more. the celtics have lost A LOT of games due to fourth quarter collapses. if they can start playing for forty-eight minutes the way they play in the first half (which i think they’ll be able to do when healthy) i say they still have a great shot at getting to the finals and even winning it all.

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    Celtics led the Cavs the whole game and then decided not to defend in the fourth quarter, not to mention fail to score (only three made field goal attempts?). It was ugly.

  • http://www.another48minutes.com Gerard Himself

    watching the game i thought two things: welcome back Leon Powe, and man, that kid JJ Hickson shouldn’t be benched for an entire game. A joy to watch.

  • Rob

    Man, Mo killed the Celtics in the 4th quarter, but he has one game like that and then he has 3 or 4 sh*tty games, and when he has step up during playoffs, the guy just disappears.

    Curry is so good, if it wasn’t for Tyreke, Steph would win ROY easily.

  • Rob

    @niQ you gotta be kidding about Jennings

  • Logues

    Had no idea how good of a passer curry is. He was making some real nice one handed passes even with his left hand, and that move on birdman was sick. Dude is gonna be a really good player. If curry can keep playin like he did last night he should get ROY, but right now its def tyreke. 20,5,5. only 3 rooks in history to do that. hard to argue with those numbers. cant wait to see curry on a SLAM cover in the future.

  • Logues

    also, a little worried about the celtics, but not too much. first, paul pierce was out. and like jalen rose said when playoffs come around the c’s will be right there with orlando and cleveland. their intensity and energy will be where it needs to be, and beating the celtics in 4 out of 7 times will not be easy.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Predicting Holly will see a VERY close game tonight. Cavs on the second night of back-to-back roadies will not run away with this one.

  • Hangtime Hec

    At the end of the year steph and Rekes numbers are going to be identical. I bet on it. In the last 7 games Curry has avereged, 23 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. If he keeps it up its going to be a showdown for who wins it. Jennings is out of the race. That double nickel game has now distorted his expectations. He was playing so well before that game. The field goal percentages that he had were absurd for a rook.

  • roman

    Make no excuses for Boston. Pierce wouldnt of matterred in this game. It’s a wrap for Boston. Blow it up- Where is Rondo in the 4th

  • Hangtime Hec

    And not to forget Darren Collison Ty lawson, Johnny flyn. Man this year was LOADED with Point guards. And the Knicks STILL couldn’t get one.

  • Hangtime Hec

    Celtics 2008= Heat 2006. Only the collapse on the celtics part is a slower to the end.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3pIsA0Q0d0 Joey E.

    that move Steph had on Birdman was crazy. little crossover, then a dream shake. juked Bird twice
    Click my name for the link. or just copy it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3pIsA0Q0d0

  • riggs

    @the idiotic cavs fans: um they led the whole damn game, it was their loss not a cavs win.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    K my bad about Jennings. But don’t sleep on Curry!

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    Tariq: C’mon dude… Rondo, Parker, and even Goron Dragic have been doing that more than once this season. Check out highlights of the Pheonix v Phili game to see Dragic’s sick dreamshake fake.
    Nash also likes to take that fake and shake but more in the fadeaway sense, probably not what you are talking about.

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    riggs: uhmm… A Boston loss is a Cavs win

  • Joey E.

    ROndo’s fakes are wack. no one falls for them anymore. i really get annoyed watching rondo. i love that he’s a pass first and second player, but when you got a shot, take it. he really has to work on that jumper. even pass first pg’s like JKidd can still shoot when need be

  • A.

    @riggs: They led the whole game? If that were the case they would have won. After the first quarter, Cleveland started slowly but surely chipping the lead away. In the second half, it was all Cavs. Not because they C’s went into the 4th up 1 meant that they were in control. The C’s got outscored 87 – 57 after the FIRST QUARTER. Give credit where credit is due. After the first quarter, the game changed. The Cavs’ defense tightened up, and the C’s ball movement slowed down to a halt. The second half was just a disaster. But it started in the second quarter. In my eyes it was a Cavs win. A convincing one at that.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    -Cavs are hella dangerous when they play small ball. It will take 17 games for Mike Brown to realize this
    -Mo has been demoted to 3rd or 4th option
    -Salmons takes shots away from Jennings but still makes the Bucks slightly better overall
    -Jarret Jack has no eyes

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    @Anton – Cavs have been dangerous playing small ball since 2004…..I give Mike Brown till the week after LeBron leaves to figure this out

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Anton lol I saw the Raptors game. They had a side to side comparison of Andre Miller and Jarret Jack. And (besides the fact that Dre’s pic looked like a mugshot), he looked like Ronald McDonald. And yes, Jarret Jack had no eyes in his pic.

  • nastierthanu2

    Steph Curry is a very smart ball player. He gets it. I think he will be special. It’s crazy that I remember his pop playin and I believe his dad played baseball as well anyway he’s nasty in a fundamental way. JJ Hickson is like a dunk a minute. He’s got the best role in the league. Cut back door & mojo

  • T-Money

    Guys, chill with the small ball. Yeah, it’ll work to get a few more regular season wins but championships are never won playing small. Never. Ever. They’ll need a steady diet of Shaq and Z to beat Orlando, LA, Dallas, Denver.

  • LA Huey

    @T-Money, I just mean use a small lineup against teams that are vulnerable. No need to change the starting lineups but its about match-ups. Boston clearly has problems against the more mobile lineups. From the Cavs standpoint, if they can save some miles on Shaq/Z during the playoffs, shouldn’t you do it?

  • fizzrocket

    Is anyone else fed up with Varejao acting like LeBron’s personal bodyguard? Every time someone so much as pokes him, Varejao picks a fight. It’s pathetic. It’s not like he’s very intimidating either (he literally has no pit hair, you can see when he shoots free throws).

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    fizzrocket: You must hate Charles Oakley and Dennis Rodman pretty hardcore then.

  • Hulihee

    Kind of off-topic, but the Cavs wearing LeBron’s shoes just doesn’t work. I don’t know, when Shannon Brown/Trevor Ariza rocked the Kobe IV/V it seemed more like a sign of respect (or wanting some actual quality kicks haha). When you see Andy Varejao sporting Soldier IIIs it just seems kind of dumb and clingy.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    Jukai:
    I don’t know if any of those guys do a DREAM SHAKE, but the move Rondo pulls all the time is not a Dream Shake. He kinda fakes the behind-the-back pass and then goes for the lay-up. Not the same thing.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    The above comments poked my curiosity:
    Who would win in a fight between Charles Oakley and Dennis Rodman?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    Also, regarding Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans being head-to-head, I’ll say this: there were stretches in the season when Curry hasn’t played this well, but Evans has been consistent ALL season. So basically the ROY is his to lose. The only way he doesn’t win is if he doesn’t play well down the stretch.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    Teddy:
    Are you high? Oakley.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    And I hate it when people poke my curiosity. It tickles.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    You laughing at my malapropism? Jerk.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    LOL. Just playing.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Lol I know, it’s all good.

  • J

    great win. 1 thing though hopefully more plays are set for Jamison. i like the flexibility we have we can go big, small, 3 or inside. i love the defense on 2nd half. we played best in the start of the 4th quarter when bron was on the bench. lol. welcome back powe.

  • J

    curry’s a great pg. but i’m still rooting for reke. and casspi’s also a great rook. who’s said this class is weak?

  • Hangtime Hec

    The “experts” J. The so called experts.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    @Ryan: Nice prediction, man. You know your cavs.

  • A.

    “Hulihee Posted: Feb.26 at 6:02 pm
    Kind of off-topic, but the Cavs wearing LeBron’s shoes just doesn’t work. I don’t know, when Shannon Brown/Trevor Ariza rocked the Kobe IV/V it seemed more like a sign of respect (or wanting some actual quality kicks haha). When you see Andy Varejao sporting Soldier IIIs it just seems kind of dumb and clingy.”

    That’s just stupid. Real stupid. I guess you’re trying to say that LeBron doesn’t command respect from his teammates. You haven’t been watching any Cavs’ games have you?

  • Shem

    A while ago, I posted that I think the Celtics can overthrow the Cavs if they’re healthy. I take it back. I saw last night’s game and Cleveland is just a better team..

  • letsmotor

    @Shem: why would you take back your “if they’re healthy” statement when the team’s best on the ball defender had the flu and their best scorer (who’s also a very good defender) was out with a sprained thumb?

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    Tariq: that move is totally different than the one I’ve seen Rondo do. It isn’t a moving layup, he drives, stops, spins around and lays it up. Not that dumb swing around while still moving, carry the ball, lay it up

  • markymark

    Sorry Jukai, but there’s no comparing Anderson “I’m on the poster of the year” Varejao to The Worm

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    markymark: Except for the way I compared them, which is 100% correct. They pretty much protected the living hell out of Jordan, making the dude even more untouchable, the same thing Anderson does to Lebron. Watch some game footage, kid.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    except what anderson utterly lacks in intimidation he more than makes up for in annoyance. If I were in the opposing team I’d mess up with Lebron so I can get a chance to chop varejao in the throat. Hmm, I guess it does work as a diversionary tactic huh?

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    Melvin Ely: If that’s gonna happen, it better happen soon. I don’t think anyone wants to mess with a team where potentially, Big Z and Shaq are also going to be on the floor.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Jukai: Why be worried? Not like they could catch you if you darted away ala ‘Melo.

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    Hursty: Well, they technically could surround you…

  • http://slamonline.com RayintheBay

    STEPHEN CURRY:THE REAL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!!

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