Final Dime: Cavaliers 99, Bobcats 89
Daniel Gibson notched 10 points off the bench in Tuesday's win at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
1. In a difficult season, the Cavaliers haven’t had an easy game like Tuesday’s in some time.
The Wine and Gold jumped all over the Bobcats, running out to a 34-16 lead after one quarter and not looking back – taking the convincing 99-89 win over the Bobcats at The Q.
Less than a week ago, the Bobcats’ frontline overpowered Cleveland – with Boris Diaw dismantling the Wine and Gold to the tune of 26 points and 11 assists. But in their rematch at The Q, the Wine and Gold returned the favor – with J.J. Hickson and Ryan Hollins teaming to frustrate Charlotte’s bigs all night.
Diaw finished with just three points in Tuesday night’s affair.
“This is a very good win for us, especially after the way we played them last time and the way that Diaw and Kwame Brown really dominated us in the paint,” said Coach Byron Scott. “I thought our guys did a heck of a job taking the challenge.”
Hickson, on the other hand, finished with 16 points and a game-high 19 boards. J.J. was the Cavaliers’ catalyst in their critical first-quarter surge – notching nine points and nine boards in the opening period. The third-year forward went 7-for-18 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the stripe with a pair of assists.
Hollins tallied 16 points of his own, going a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor, leading everyone with 11 of those points in the fourth quarter.
“(I have been) learning Coach’s system, getting better at this NBA game and learning how to play with my new teammates,” said Hollins. “That’s a big thing. People might take chemistry for granted, but knowing where each other are on the floor and doing the small things really pays off.”
Ramon Sessions once again came off the bench on a mission – attacking Charlotte’s defense with 18 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Sessions added four assists and three assists in the win.
Alonzo Gee stayed strong with 13 points and six boards in an efficient 32 minutes of action. Luke Harangody and Baron Davis added 11 points apiece, with Davis adding five assists. Daniel Gibson had five helpers of his own off the bench, pitching in with 10 points and a pair of stellar defensive plays in the third quarter.
That third quarter saw the Bobcats cut a 21-point Cavaliers edge to just four with under three minutes remaining in the period. But Sessions was perfect in four free throws to close the quarter strong. Cleveland improved its lead back to 17 midway through the fourth before coasting to the finish line.
The Cavaliers shot 45 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the stripe – outworking the Bobcats in the paint, 48-34, on the break, 20-15, and on second-chance points, 17-6.
Overall, it was one of Cleveland’s most complete games of the 2010-11 season.
The Cavaliers hit the road for the second half of a back-to-back on Wednesday night in Toronto – wrapping up their final five games in the next seven days.
2. The Cavaliers offense has made some big strides in the five games since Baron Davis entered the Cavaliers starting lineup. Compared with their first 72 games, Cleveland is up in points (103.3/94.7), field goal percentage (.515/.429) and three-point shooting (.400/.342).
3. Baron Davis has the longest streak in the NBA of players hitting at least two three-pointers – at seven and counting. In 11 games with the Wine and Gold, he’s shooting .454 from beyond the arc.
4. Since the start of February in the Eastern Conference, only Orlando’s Dwight Howard (410) has more rebounds than J.J. Hickson, who has 310 including Tuesday night’s effort.
5. In three games against the Bobcats this season, Ramon Sessions averaged 21.3 points, 4.3 boards and 4.0 assists per contest.
6. J.J. Hickson has now scored recorded a double-double in six of his last eight games. It was J.J.’s 23 double-double of the season and 27th of his young career. He’s also shooting .810 from the stripe over his last 11 games.
7. Paul Silas made his first coaching appearance at The Q since being relieved of his duties back in March of 2005. Silas went 69-77 in part of two seasons in Cleveland.
“It brings back memories, it really does,” said Silas. “Just being back in downtown Cleveland brought back a lot of memories. But it’s been a long time now and it’ll be interesting to see how we can do. My reaction is about the same – I want our guys to come out and play well and see if we can get a victory.”
8. Ramon Sessions has made 26 straight free throws and has been perfect from the stripe in six of his last 11 games.
9. After returning from three games on the shelf with a right wrist injury, Samardo Samuels was forced to sit out Tuesday’s matchup after suffering a left groin strain in Sunday’s loss to the Knicks.
10. Where do some of the Cavaliers’ five freshmen rank among the league’s rookies? Three rank among the top 16 in scoring: Samardo Samuels (9th, 7.8 ppg), Christian Eyenga (13th, 6.8), and Manny Harris (16th, 6.3). Samuels is 8th in rebounding (4.3 rpg), Harris is 5th in free throw percentage (.762) and Eyenga is 8th in steals per game (.83) and 9th in blocks (.65).