The Cavs may be the most inconsistent team in the NBA this season, but they continue to intrigue Clevelanders. And tonight, unlike many previous nights, the intrigue had nothing to do with losing.
Tonight the Cavs defeated the struggling – but still defending champion – Lakers in a 104-99 victory.
The Cavs had a great first quarter, jumping out to a 29-21 lead. The Lakers gained some ground in the second, but the Cavs held a 51-46 lead going into halftime. The crowd was very excited and so was I.
The game became a great one in the second half, especially leading into the fourth quarter. Christian Eyenga had a thunderous dunk over Pau Gasol at the end of the third quarter. Kobe tried to come down and answer with a three, but he couldn’t on two tries. In the fourth the Cavs never gave up their lead, which was at three points for most of the quarter. After taking an 8-point lead the Lakers quickly cut it down to two with 24 seconds left. Anthony Parker and Ramon Sessions made free throws en route to the victory.
The MVP for the Cavs was Ramon Sessions. Interestingly enough, he was not even in the starting lineup. Mo Williams started at point guard, but was pulled after playing three minutes. It is being reported that he tweaked his ankle, the same one he injured earlier this year, and that he was being held out as a precaution. Ramon did not disappoint. He finished up with 32 points and 8 assists. He also made his first three of the year.
This game was clearly one of revenge for the Cavs. They were embarrassed in Los Angeles when they scored a franchise low 57 points. They reached 57 at the beginning of the third quarter tonight. It is tough to criticize the Cavs on their performance in LA because they were playing with three rookies, including Manny Harris playing point guard. It is tough to beat the defending champs in their arena with an undrafted rookie point guard.
Byron Scott is happy with the Cavs’ performance but still probably upset at the same time. He knows that if they brought that kind of effort every night they would not have such a poor record. He watches them play an inspired game against the Clippers and then get beaten badly by the Wizards then come back and beat the Lakers. It is tough for any coach or fan to understand. Either way, he is very happy about his team beating his former and hometown team.
An interesting result of this game is that the Cavs have swept the two Los Angeles teams at home in the past week. A win against the Clippers in L.A. will give them a 3-1 record against the two teams from the Staples Center.
Final note: the second most exciting play besides Eyenga’s dunk came from Antawn Jamison. He put up a three from the “C” on the floor at Quicken Loans Arena and knocked it down. It brought the crowd into the game and gave them and the home team momentum.
* – Kobe / Steve Blake photo credit: AP photo Amy Sancetta via ESPN.com