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Cavs Dial Long-Distance, Drill Nets

by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer
Boobie Gibson canned five treys in Sunday's win over New Jersey.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE/Getty Images

The Wine and Gold didn’t have a three-point shooting performance like Sunday’s all of last season. Maybe they turned over a new leaf for 2012.

Led by Boobie Gibson’s five triples, the Cavaliers bombarded the Nets with 16 treys – exploding in the second half to hand New Jersey a 98-82 New Year’s Day drubbing at The Q.

The Wine and Gold looked a little hungover in the first half on Sunday, with the Nets taking a 49-43 edge at half. But Antawn Jamsion, Kyrie Irving and Gibson caught fire after intermission and Cleveland went 5-for-6 from long-distance, outscoring New Jersey, 30-18, in the third.

Apparently the speech Coach Byron Scott gave at halftime did the trick.

“(Coach) just told us, straight up, either we’re just going to go out there and play or we’re going to play to win the game,” said Gibson. “We came out with a changed attitude on the defensive end, which made our offense a lot easier because we were able to get out and run.”

In the fourth, Cleveland’s bench took over – with Alonzo Gee and Gibson combining for 16 points in the final period. Rookie Tristan Thompson did the defensive work, swatting three shots in the fourth quarter.

Jamison scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter – going 10-for-15 from the floor on the night, netting all three three-pointers he attempted. The 13-year vet added five boards, two helpers, three steals and a pair of blocked shots.

Gibson followed up with 19 points off the bench, with Gee adding 11. Kyrie Irving had another solid outing, going 5-for-11 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from the beyond the arc.

Ramon Sessions (five points) and Anderson Varejao (two) didn’t have big offensive outputs, but Sessions did dish out a game-high eight assists in just under 20 minutes, with the Wild Thing leading all rebounders with 11.

As a team, the Cavaliers went 16-for-26 (62 percent) from three-point range and 6-of-11 (55 percent) from the stripe.

“I’m still not convinced totally that we’re a three-point shooting team, but I think we have some guys that are capable of knocking down some three’s on a consistent basis,” said Coach Scott following the win.

The Wine and Gold welcome the Bobcats to Cleveland on Tuesday night before departing for their longest road trip of the season, beginning the next night in Toronto.

  • Alonzo Gee, who worked diligently on his shooting in the offseason, set a career-high in three-pointers made – going 3-of-5 from deep.

  • The Cavaliers may have really turned over a new leaf on New Year’s Day. In Sunday games last season, the Wine and Gold took the collar – going 0-for-12.

  • Some of the 15,000 romantics at The Q were apparently unhappy with Chris Humphries nuptial difficulties with Kim Kardashian, lavishing the Nets forward with a smattering of boos during opening introductions.

  • The Cavs’ 16 three-pointers made is an NBA high-water mark this season and it ties their team record at Quicken Loans Arena.

  • Out of curiosity, I asked Stan Kellers, Cavs Strength and Conditioning Coach, who he felt was pound-for-pound the strongest Cavalier. He named 6-9, 260-pound big man Samardo Samuels, who he called “country strong.”

  • The Cavaliers have six players averaging at least 10 points per game – one of four teams to share that distinction.

  • Before Sunday’s game, former New Jersey resident Kyrie Irving was asked if he was a Nets fan. He replied that he was until they fired Coach Byron Scott after the 2003-04 season. Two locker stalls down, Anthony Parker scoffed: “What were you? Six years old?”

  • Both Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving are among the rookie leaders in blocked shots. Tristan has blocked a pair of shots in each of the last three contests and, along with Boston’s Greg Stiemsma leads all freshman with seven swats on the season.

  • Coaches, players and staff would all probably agree – nothing gets done without Director of Team Operations, Mark “Cobra” Cashman. From travel arrangements to uniform issues, Cashman is the Cavs version of Red from “The Shawshank Redemption” – he’s “the guy who can get it for you.”

    I asked him about the genesis of his cool, well-known nickname. Cobra explained that the story is totally underwhelming. He was given the moniker while eating Fruit Loops by an older fraternity brother in his college days at the U. of Minnesota. Cobra also estimated that probably less than 50 percent of the players on any given Cavalier team know that his actual name is Mark Cashman.

  • The Cavs came into Sunday’s game surrendering the fewest fast break points allowed in the NBA at 5.O per contest. On Sunday, they gave up exactly five, tallying 11 themselves. They've outscored every opponent on the break this season.

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