The NBA schedule maker is a sick, twisted, sadomasochistic piece of work. A night after the Cavs played the Portland Trailblazers in Portland they were right back at it on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland.
I bet the schedule maker penciled that one in while blindfolded and wearing an inverted studded collar with one of those red balls in his mouth.
He was giddy because the Warriors aren't exactly a slow, plodding and deliberate group. Golden State uses Oracle Arena as an indoor track with hoops at each end and apparently with the mantra that you can't score what you don't shoot.
They may not dazzle you with execution but they can overwhelm you with sheer volume of shots and a dizzying pace. And that's not exactly the second game of a back-to-back set that you're looking for on the road.
That makes the Cavaliers 117-114 win over the Warriors all the more impressive.
Despite getting out to and nearly blowing a 14-point lead that included seeing the Warriors erase all but three points of an 11-point lead in less than a minute of play down the stretch, the Cavs ultimately took care of business to win their second game in as many nights.
It was another night of excellence for LeBron James. James threw in 37 points to go with 11 assists and 8 boards.
Corey Maggette scored 32 and Monta Ellis 30 points for the Warriors.
- It's on nights like this, when you're facing a high energy, young and fast breaking team that you really need your own Energizer Bunny to call on. Thankfully the Cavs have that guy. This Energizer Bunny is Brazilian and is need of a hair net but on Monday night Anderson Varejao checked in late in the first quarter and infused the Cavaliers with some energy. More than just that though, Varejao directly and positively affected the bottom line.
- It takes a total team contribution to win a game against a bunch of greyhounds a night after playing a tough ballgame in Portland. The Cavs knew going in they were going to have to get contributions from the bench to beat Golden State on Monday night.
- The Cavs had a bit of a block party in Oakland Monday night as well. On the night the Cavaliers swatted 10 Golden State shots including four from LBJ. When the bench contributes you can rest the legs of the starters. That played a big role in the Cavaliers blocking six Warrior shots in about a three minute stretch in the 3rd quarter.
- The Cavaliers ran their season record to 30-10 with Monday night's win. They also picked up a game in the race for the Eastern Conference top seed when the Celtics were beaten at home by the Atlanta Hawks.
Varejao came off the bench to score 15 points, haul down 9 rebounds and block 2 shots while also disrupting countless Golden State possessions with his frenetic but effective style of play.
None of it should come as any surprise. Varejao is no longer just an unskilled 5-Hour Energy shot. He's averaging better than 8 points and eight rebounds per game. You can quantify those point and rebounding totals but it'd be hard to put a price on the value that AV gives you in just being AV.
And what they got from the bench on Monday night was 52 points and 23 rebounds. In addition to the critical contributions from Varejao Cleveland gladly watched Zydrunas Ilgauskas score 14 points and grab 9 rebounds. Jawad Williams scored a career high (for the second night in a row) 11 points as he continues to get some meaningful run while Jamario Moon continues to recover from a strained abdominal muscle.
The previously forgotten Daniel Gibson hit a monstrous three pointer with two minutes left that helped provide the final margin of victory.
They Got Next
It's another national television tilt for the Cavaliers as they head to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Jazz Thursday night. TNT will do the honors with a 1030pm tip.