Now THAT'S what we're talking about.
Avenging their first two-game losing streak of the season (and raise your hands, all of you out there who thought that sentence would be typed in mid-February), the Cavs thrashed the Phoenix Suns last night at Quicken Loans Arena by a 109-92 final score. The game was even more of a blowout than the score indicated: the Cavs led by as many as 24 points before removing the varsity from the game for good midway through the fourth quarter.
(Disclaimer: The Suns' Steve Nash did not play because his back was acting up.)
A Cavs All-Star led the way. That's right - Mo Williams (you thought it was going to be somebody else?), who was selected for the honor because Toronto's Chris Bosh is injured, showed that the love for him was justified. With 44 points on the night, Mo became the first Cavalier, other than those named "LeBron James", to score 40 or more points twice in one season since Ricky Davis (!) did it in the 2002-03 (!!!) season. Speaking of LeBron, he added 26 points, six assists, and six rebounds to the cause. Amare Stoudemire, in what may have been his last game as a Phoenix Sun (I like that kind of over-the-top drama), led Phoenix with 27 points.
It's the NBA. Where starting another home winning streak happens.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE GAME:
Out Of The Gate: The first time the Cavs touched the ball, LeBron grabbed a rebound, then threw a half-court-length pass to Williams, who went in for the layup. It was at approximately that point that the Quicken Loans Arena started redeeming their game tickets for free chalupas.
Take That, Rest Of The NBA: After Williams was initially denied an All-Star spot, some observers wondered whether the snub would motivate Williams, putting the proverbial chip on his shoulder to prove that he really belonged among the NBA's best.
Then he was selected for the game earlier this week.
Guess what? The chip's still there. Williams made 18 of 26 shots from the field, including a ridiculous seven of nine from three-point range, to amass his 44 points. (Interestingly, the only place he did not impress was from the free throw stripe; the normally automatic Williams missed two of the three free throws he attempted.)
The shot of the night was Mo's three-pointer in the third quarter. He jumped almost as if to pass, seemed to get a bit of a nudge from a Phoenix defender, flung the ball at the basket ... and swish. He may as well have turned to Cavs announcer Austin Carr and bellowed, "THERE'S your GD heat check!"
Uncle Austin (Bon Mots Edition): After that three-pointer, AC exclaimed: "Detroit is on the other side of the lake, but this is Mo town tonight!". Nice.
Uncle Austin (Bon Nots Edition): Earlier in the game, AC provided the secret to the game: "If you can't score on a consistent basis, you'll get behind, just because you're missing shots." Nice, but for markedly different reasons.
Hey, #24, What Say You Put The Ball In The Hoop: Here at the GBS, we pride ourselves on finding obscure players before they become ... well, slightly less obscure. Two years ago, we jumped on the Walter Herrmann bandwagon before anybody else came aboard. (Okay, it's still relatively empty; someday, somebody will rescue him from the end of the Pistons' bench.) Earlier this season, Tarence Kinsey became well-known (among the estimated six readers of this column) as the leader of the Brigade that bears his name.
It's time to expand the family once again. Trey Johnson, welcome aboard. And evoking shades of the Dwayne Jones/Scot Pollard/Ira Newble "race" to see who would be the last Cavalier to score (that was back in the 2006-07 season for you newbies), we're going to start TreyWatch. As of this moment, Trey has taken five shots this season (including four last night). As of this moment, he has made exactly zero of them (including zero last night). (He's not scoreless; he did drain four free throws in the game's waning moments.) We need to get behind Trey, and see him through to his first field goal of the season (and, by extension, his NBA career).
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THE GAME:
I got nuttin'. The one point I was really going to reinforce - the shaky defense (the Suns scored 29 points in the first quarter, had 52 at the half, and rattled off nine consecutive points in the opening minutes of the third quarter) - became a non-issue as the Cavs clamped down at the defensive end and held Phoenix to 27 points over the final 22 minutes of the game.
I do want to point out one set of statistics that may explain why the Cavs' defense has slipped in recent weeks:
Draw your own conclusions.
NOT THAT YOU ASKED, BUT...:
The Good, The Bad, And The Attention Whore: Facebook. You can't stop it; you can only hope to contain it. So by popular demand, there is now a GBS Facebook group . I'm not sure whether it will become "thriving Internet community" or "the last visit was two years ago", but at least the ball is rolling.
The Good, The Bad, And The Show No Readers Care About, But I'll Write About It Anyway: Just one brief comment about Top Chef's Fabio : that guy needs his own TV show. Now. (And you have to love him channeling Ronnie Lott after suffering a broken finger: "I'll chop it off, and sear it on the flat-top to stop the bleeding, and then tomorrow I'll worry about having nine fingers.")
WHAT LIES AHEAD:
Woo hoo! It's the All-Star Break! A weekend of exhibition games, slam dunk contests, and HORSE awaits. The next game isn't until Wednesday, when the Cavs take on the Raptors. See you then.