The Jekyll and Hyde act continues with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Alternating between outstanding and out of sorts all afternoon against Indiana, the Cavs were good enough to emerge from Saturday afternoon's game with a 103-95 win against the Pacers.
‘Emerge' may be a bad choice of words given the weather conditions Saturday in Northeast Ohio. While the play may have been inconsistent for the wine and gold, the weather never changed and given the amount of snow falling outside the two teams may be forced to spend the next few days in Quicken Loans Arena waiting for a thaw and eating DiGiorno Pizza and popcorn from the concession stand.
On the court, the Cavs got what they always get from LeBron James. James scored 38 points that included five 3-pointers and he also grabbed 11 rebounds. James was spectacular when he needed to be including a gorgeous drive and reverse dunk at the end of the first half and on a fall away 3-pointer right in front of the Pacers bench late in the 4th quarter.
James got a ton of help from starting center Anderson Varejao. AV scored 15 points and hauled down 16 boards. Varejao had 10 points and 5 boards halfway through the first quarter of play. The Brazilian also dished out a game high 6 assists in what was his best ballgame in months.
Delonte West, Joe Smith and Wally Szczerbiak all scored in double figures to lift to Cavs to 36-27 on the season.
Even with the newly acquired foursome of Szczerbiak, West, Smith and Ben Wallace it looked like this team had put in a lot of time on the practice courts and knew where to find each other on the floor. The Cavs also hit the boards en masse and out-rebounded Indiana 54-37. Multiple offensive rebounds gave the Cavs some easy hoops and dampened the enthusiasm of the Pacers from time to time all afternoon.
Against Indiana the Cavs had more than a couple possessions that ended in turnovers or shot-clock violations due their unfamiliarity with each other. West occasionally presses the action right into a double team and isn't able to recover, Smith occasionally receives a pass in an uncomfortable spot from which to operate and Szczerbiak continues to struggle with his shot selection. When James leaves the floor and the ultimate bailout guy in the NBA is not an option the guys left on the floor can go multiple possessions looking like the Washington Generals. That's the main reason the Pacers were able to cut that 21-point lead down to a 4-point lead late in the 4th quarter.
After three games in four days the Cavs get only one day to rest, relax and recover before facing the Portland Trailblazers Monday night at ‘The Q'. That's a 7pm tip and another chance for this club to run together and iron out some of the issues they need to address before the playoffs