The mighty Thunder gave a valiant effort on the road against the top team in the East and come home on the down side; however earning a split on the roadie at 2-2. How’s that for a little sunshine on a rainy night?
I just wrote last night in the recap that I was done with moral victories; that was for last year. I was spoiled by the recent success and I want wins. With that said, I actually need to contradict myself and say that I am not too upset about this and that I was pretty happy with the effort if not the outcome. Does that mean I am taking away the moral victory? I don’t know. Whatever. But either way, Cleveland is one hell of a good team and we did a very good job coming back from 14 down and hitting our stride with that 21-8 run in the third. To be right there with the Cavs on the road at crunch time is better than a win over the Nets at home I say.
Cleveland just amazes me. The sheer amount of talent on that team is hard to get your arms around. I guess if money is no object you can buy whatever you want and Cleveland has signed up tons of quality players. Shaq? Well he is a shell of his former self, but he is still a hog in the paint and he changes shots and has a little mojo. He is still a game changer in his reduced capacity and increased girth. They didn’t have their first or second option at PG because Delonte and Mo were in the MASH unit? No worries, just trot out Boobie Gibson. He can hit some shots as you probably noticed. He doesn’t need to assist on any shots because Lebron does all of that. Big Z, Varajao, Parker, it’s just a bit mind boggling.
I think the big picture view of the game however was defense. The Thunder and the Cavs are both top five defensive teams in the association depending on how you want to measure it. They are both tied for league best at FG% allowed with 43.6%. The teams are number 4 and 5 in points allowed per game. The Thunder are number 4 in defensive rating and Cleveland is number 6. The Thunder are number 1 in eFG% allowed and Cleveland is number 3. Yet tonight Cleveland held the Thunder to 38% on field goals and 41.3% eFG, while themselves shooting 49% on field goals and painful 58% eFG. The Cavs got it done defensively and the Thunder didn’t.
The little things matter and this game could’ve been had. The Cavs left the door open for us to steal by shooting a ridiculous 50% from the free throw line and committing 17 turns. But the Thunder couldn’t even get a third of their shots to fall in the fourth quarter after some brilliant play in the third.