Cavaliers win in rough and tumble contest against the Lakers

Hello Sports Fans!

On Christmas Day, the Cleveland Cavaliers accomplished what they couldn’t do last season by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 102-87 at the Staples Center. The Lakers stared the game with a 6-0 lead early on but after the Cavaliers countered with a 9-0 run midway through the first quarter, the Cavaliers had the momentum in a game that was marked with great Cavaliers defense, great plays from both the Cleveland starters and the bench, and inconsistent officiating.

Leading 23-19 after the first quarter, the Cavaliers continued to pound away at the Lakers in the second quarter. On defense, the Cavaliers shut down the Lakers big men up front, took away passing lanes and created opportunities for themselves off turnovers. Cavaliers starters LeBron James and Mo Williams helped spread the Lakers defense apart as Shaquille O’Neal and Jamario Moon were left wide open at times for easy dunks. Anderson Varejao, who came off the bench, wasn’t afraid to get physical underneath the basket and the Lakers could not penetrate inside like they did last year against the Cavaliers. Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest were unable to get into a rhythm and were pretty quiet in the 2nd quarter and the entire game.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant did finish the game with 35 points to his name but Bryant’s frustration with the officiating spread like wildfire to his teammates and the crowd starting in the 3rd quarter. Bryant and his teammates started mouthing off and were physically frustrated with the officiating in this ball game and as a result, led to a few technical fouls. Andrew Bynum ended up being tossed from the game as a result of two technical fouls and the Cavaliers were able to convert on free throws that resulted from the fouls. Lakers fans started throwing foam fingers and water bottles on the court but that did not help the Lakers regain the lead. The Cavaliers were able to maintain the lead and go on to win 102-87.

The Cavaliers defense, their ability to shut down the Lakers big men, and each player stepping up played key roles in this ball game. The Cavaliers created many opportunities of Lakers turnovers, held Bynum, Gasol, Artest and Odom to quiet numbers in the game, and both starters and bench players played key roles. Lebron James finished the night with 26 points while teammate Mo Williams finished with 28 points. Off the bench, Anderson Varejao had nine points while teammate Jamario Moon was a key factor in this ball game. Moon went 6-7 from the field, 1-1 from behind the three point arc and finished the game with 13 points. Moon is not known for being an offensive threat but put the biscuit in the basket when needed. Moon helped create some alley-oop opportunities that slowed down the Lakers momentum and kept the Cavaliers focused and to the level they needed to play at.

When viewing replays of many of the foul calls, it was understandable that the Lakers were frustrated with the officiating. The officiating was inconsistent, many of the calls looked wrong on instant replay and it was blatant in most cases that the officials did make the wrong call. Replays of a foul called on Bryant when he was guarding Cavaliers Anthony Parker showed that Parker made an initial push at first and should have been called for a foul. Not too long after this incident, Lebron drove down the court and to the wing and replays appeared to show that the Cavaliers guard pushed off first. Bryant was called for the foul in a series of calls that seemed lopsided. Even replays of an Zydrunas Illgauskus foul in the 3rd quarter seemed as if Z touched the ball and not the player driving to the net. As a result, players, coaches and fans became frustrated and led to objects being thrown on the court, trash talking and technical fouls.

When looking at this game, both teams were evenly matched but the officiating really helped determine the outcome of this game and things worse then fans throwing objects on the court could have occurred. Both teams were playing very physical and were becoming agitated with one another as a result. It wasn’t until both teams picked up the trash talking between each other late in the third quarter that the officials started assessing technical fouls to settle both teams down. The inconsistent foul calling caused the Lakers to become less tolerant of almost any foul called and resulted in trash talking towards Cavaliers players. The officials were probably trying to let both teams play but almost let it get out of hand. Lakers fans definitely responded by throwing objects onto the court and it could have gotten a lot worse.

That’s it for now. Keep it real.

Jeff

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~ by jeffrsabo on December 26, 2009.

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