Sometimes there's just nothing like a loss to clear the head and bring about clarity of purpose. Couple that loss to Miami a couple nights back with the news that your 7' 3" All-Star center is down for at least the next two weeks with a small fracture in his ankle and it was time to rally the troops and get back to Cavalier basketball; defensive intensity, excellent ball movement and a step up game from the King.
The Chicago Bulls stepped in front of a focused and motivated Cavalier club last night and they will have the tire tracks on their chests to prove it for the next few days.
LeBron James picked up his first triple-double of the season as the Cavs threw the hammer down on the Bulls Friday night in ‘The Q' 117-92. James had 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Cavs to their 27th win of the season.
Anderson Varejao was the beneficiary on a number of LBJ's passes en route to the biggest scoring night of his career. Varejao did what he does around the basket in picking up loose balls for points and keeping possessions alive but he also moved extremely well without the basketball and converted a number of dunks and lay-ins off James feeds. AV also showed a nice touch from the 10 foot range in scoring 26 points to go along with 8 boards.
You also can't overlook the man's work that Ben Wallace did on Friday night. Big Ben chipped in a season high 13 points, yanked down 9 rebounds, blocked two shots and said zero words all night long. There are some reports circulating that he may have mumbled to himself a few times but Wallace continues to bring the effort and defensive intensity as well as an intimidating inside presence.
Ben Gordon led the Bulls with 22 points. Larry Hughes led the Bulls with 8 missed shots from the floor. Had he taken 20 shots this would be acceptable. But he took only nine, made only one and was basically invisible Friday night.
Not happy with just being perfect, James was creative Friday night as well. Whether it was a behind the back wrap-around bounce pass to a cutting Varejao for a lay-up, a bouncing skip pass to shooters open behind the arc or a one handed, snapping look-away through the paint James had it all going on.
They Got Next
It's a matinee in the nation's capital on Sunday afternoon for the Cavaliers. That's a 1pm start against Antawn Jamison and a Wizards team that gave the Cavs all they wanted and then some on Christmas night.
After that one it's a Wednesday home game against Charlotte and then the much anticipated showdown with the Celtics on Friday at ‘The Q'.