Cavs 365 Columns

Fueled by home crowd and smothering defense, Cavaliers pull a rabbit out of the hat vs Wizards

Greatness is something we often take for granted and something we cannot fully comprehend in the moment.

After another dominating performance by LeBron James, it is time to fully understand how great James has been in his 15th NBA season.

Down 17 points in the 4th quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers came together and erased the deficient in a matter of minutes.

This charge of course was led by LeBron, who scored 13 of his game-high 33 points in the final eight minutes of the game.  Rodney Hood and Jeff Green also contributed 6 points each in the final frame, while Kyle Korver hit a timely three-pointer to tie the game at 113-113.

However, the Cavaliers should not have been in the situation in the first place.  Cleveland came out the gates on fire, shooting 73.3 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Meanwhile they held the Wizards in check, allowing them to shoot just 38.5 percent from the field.

John Wall, who recently returned from injury, made his presence felt throughout the night.  Wall, who can be an inconsistent jump-shooter, had his jumper going and scored 28 points and shot 50 percent overall.

Wall’s running mate Bradley Beal also had a solid game, dropping 19 points on 4-6 shooting from behind the arc.

The Wizards ball movement and offensive flow was spectacular in the second half, and took command for much of the final two quarters. Cleveland did not help their cause much as they committed eight turnovers in the second half.

But down 17 points, there was still a scent of determination throughout Quicken Loans Arena.  Possession by possession the Cavaliers began to get stops on the defensive end, which turned into easy baskets on the other end.

There was little resistance on defense for the Wizards, as LeBron took the ball to the hoop on several straight possessions and got their with ease.

With each made bucket the crowd got louder and more intense and the Cavaliers fed off this raucous energy.

Then Mr. Energy himself, Cedi Osman, provided the final nail in the coffin as he stole the ball and calmly sank two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining.

The final buzzer sounded and a roar went through Quicken Loans Arena that hadn’t been heard in quite some time. This Cleveland team definitely has their flaws, and many of them rose to the surface last night.

But the Cavaliers also showed they will not back down or throw in the towel when faced with adversity. LeBron did what all the great players do, rally the team and battle until the final buzzer.

Green added a much-needed 21 points and Kevin Love scored 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. It was a total team effort all night long.

Wins mask what teams do wrong, that is obvious.  Had the Cavaliers been unable to come back last night we would be looking at this game in a totally different way. Granted it is only a regular season game, but a gritty win like this should go a long way in preparing this team for they hope to be a deep postseason run.

One thing is for sure, with LeBron on this team, the Cavaliers are not a team anyone wants to see in the playoffs.  James is playing at the highest level of his career and is more motivated than ever to prove the doubters wrong yet again.

Last season James became the first player to average 26 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and shoot 54 percent from the floor. In year 15 of his career James is about to accomplish the same feat.

His line on Thursday night of 33 points, 9 rebounds and 14 assists is commonplace at this point in the season, but is still unbelievably great.

The Cavaliers now face the Philadelphia 76ers tonight in Philly in what will be their final regular season game against a playoff team this year. With the Cavaliers only holding a half-game lead over the 76ers for the third seed, a win tonight is important for the Cavaliers to get.

We already know LeBron will show up and dazzle the Philly crowd with another spectacular performance, but it remains to be seen if his teammates will show up for what is a big regular season game.

Three more wins for the Cavaliers this season will give them more wins than last season, which is a testament to how great LeBron has been all season.

With the playoffs around the corner, LeBron is getting ready to display his greatness yet again for the world to see.  His ‘haters’ and doubters will likely be out in full force and doubt the King’s abilities.

But when push comes to shove those same critics will likely be shaking in their boots when James and company come rolling into their building for a playoff game.

NBA be warned, even in year 15, the greatest player of all-time is getting better by the game and I would hate to be the team or player standing in his way on his quest to the top of the basketball mountain.

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