NBA Roundtable

Game Time: Orlando vs Cleveland

In Game Log / Recap on November 11, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Big game tonight between the Cavs and Magic. Good opportunity to see how the new look Cavs, Shaquille O’Neal in particular, defend Dwight Howard and company.

  • Magic lineup — Shaq + Hickson + James + Parker + Williams
  • Cavs lineup — Dwight + Bass + Barnes + Vince + Nelson

First Quarter

  • Delonte West is inactive tonight. The team hasn’t released the reason why … only to say there needs to be accountability for all players.
  • Nice help defense by Nelson coming over from the weakside to break up the pass by LeBron to Hickson under the rim.
  • Mo Williams knocks down a jumper. Jameer Nelson replies with a pull up J of his own from 18 feet on the right elbow extended.
  • James isolation on the right wing against Barnes, James settles for the jumper, hits a 22 footer. He can beat Barnes for speed all night long. Look to drive.
  • Cavs post up Shaquille O’Neal, foul on Howard in the post. His first. Sideline ball, Cavs post up Shaq again, he turns middle, hesitates, gets himself in trouble, takes a one handed short shot in the middle of the paint, misses.
  • Nice push by Mo Williams on the fastbreak to get himself a layup. Aggressive play from Mo, the Cavs need more of that.
  • Dwight fouled, splits a pair at the line.
  • Cavs post up Shaq again, backs down Howard, pushes him patiently, now gets him off balance, goes up through him, foul. Soft foul. 2nd against Howard. Gortat checks in for him. Shaq makes the first FT but back irons the second one.

Cavs lead 7-5 after two and a half minutes. Howard sits in foul trouble.

  • Nice drive by Vince Carter to get himself a layup.
  • Shaq posts up Gortat, very good defense, forces Shaq away from the rim and into a tough fallaway jumper, miss.
  • Bass knocks down a jumper
  • Mo Williams runs a pick and roll out on the right wing, pops off from three immediately, hits it!
  • James short on a jumper in transition. That was never close to going in but the long rebound comes right back to him. Pick and roll with Mo, nice dump by Mo, James dunks.
  • LeBron deflects the ball away from Carter, gets the rock, goes coast to coast, gets teh layup and the foul. Lousy call. James makes the FT.
  • Vince Carter high pick and roll with Gortat, bounce pass, too low for Marcin, loose ball, turnover, Cavs steal it.
  • JJ Hickson finishes well inside off the nice feed.

Cleveland leads 17-9 after five minutes

  • Vince Carter drains a triple off a high pick and roll.
  • Cavs post up Shaq again, Gortat does a wonderful job denying Shaq the middle of the paint again, but Shaq has too much time (4-5 seconds backing down on the dribble) and gets into a rhythm, hits the jump hook over Gortat. Very good defense.
  • Brandon Bass knocks down a nother midrange jumper
  • Cavs post up Shaq again, Gortat denies the middle again, Shaq has the baseline open if he spins, elects to pass out, nothing comes from it. Very good defense again from Gortat.
  • Pietrus and Moon check into the game for Barnes and Parker respectively.
  • Vince Carter toys with Moon on a post up along the baseline. Draws a foul and hits the FTs.
  • Nice replay off Shaq’s behind the back pass out of the low post to a cutting LeBron James for a layup.

Cavs lead 21-17 as Shaq takes a seat with five minutes left in the first quarter.

  • Mo Williams blows by Nelson, into the paint, defense collapses, Mo finds Varejao for the dunk.
  • Jameer Nelson comes right back down and hits a jump shot.
  • Orlando’s defense is scrambling right now. They left Hickson wide open along the baseline but he fails to punish them.
  • James gets inside for another basket in the paint for Cleveland. They lead 18-2 in points in the paint.
  • Steal, Nelson, breakaway layup, good!
  • Mo Williams aggressive again, takes it again (jumper from 16 feet over Gortat off the pick and roll), hits it! Nice mano-o-mano battle at the point.
  • Timeout
  • Vince Carter catch and shoot from 22 feet on the right wing, misses.
  • Clevland leads 27-22 with three minutes to play
  • Offensive rebound pulled down by Ilgauskas, fouled by Bass as he tries to go back up, hits both FTs. Cavs up seven.
  • Carter moves across the baseline, posts up 14 feet out, Pietrus gets him the ball, Moon on Vince, Vince backs him down and scores easily.
  • LeBron James posting up Pietrus on the other end, turns middle, Vince comes over from behind and tries to block the shot, foul. James hits both.
  • Final two minutes – Vince head fake, beats his man easily, drives to the rim, Gortat cleans up inside.
  • LeBron has 13 points in the first frame
  • Nice ball movement from the Cavs to find Gibson off the James double team, three pointer, good!
  • Moon snares a defensive rebound. Nice two man game between LeBron and Varejao. James picks up his dribble top of the key, surveys the floor, doesn’t like what’s on, gives it to Varejao 22 feet out on the right wing, runs by for the hand off, Vince trails him, Gortat stunts down to deny the baseline drive, Varejao cuts hard to the rim, James hits him, foul on the layup attempt. Varejao makes his FTs. Nice one two play between James and Varejao.

Cavs lead 35-26 with under 40 seconds left

  • Nelson high pick and roll, nothing on, runs it again, Nelson turns down the jumper, instead gets caught with Varejao draped all over him on a contested fadeaway J which he hits.
  • James dribbles down the clock, works on Pietrus top of the key, Pietrus backs off and baits him into a long jumper, James misses from 22 feet. He settled there.

Second Quarter

Cleveland leads 35-28 after one. The Magic are doing alright considering Dwight’s foul trouble. The second quarter will be interesting.

  • Magic go big with Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat on the court together. SVG must be attempting to get his team focused on defense.
  • Dwight immediately gets caught in the post by a strong double team, bad pass, turnover.
  • Mo Williams hits a three pointer … and then bags another one. Cavs up 13.

Timeout SVG. Wow, 70 seconds it took before the first timeout of the second quarter. Cleveland start the quarter on a 6-0 run and now lead by 13.

  • Orlando is getting no penetration in the halfcourt offense. Cleveland effectively keeping the ball in front of them and out above 17 feet. Ah, at the final moment Mo Williams is beat one-on-one by Jason Williams who then slithers into the paint for a layup. Breakdown at the final moment.
  • Loose ball foul on Ilgauskas
  • Cleveland lead 12-5 on the backboards
  • JJ Redick gets free for a layup inside. Cavs sleeping defensively there.
  • 3 second violation on Ilgauskas. Turnover. Four consecutive mental mistakes by Cleveland.
  • Turnover Orlando, the game is getting sloppy now.
  • Jesus! Mo Williams steps out of bounds as he tries to drive baseline. Turnover.
  • Shaq checks into the game … Orlando immediately go to Howard who faces up and drives hard against Shaq, draws the foul, misses both.

Cleveland leads 41-32 after three minutes

  • Mo Williams pick and pop with Ilgauskas on the left wing, drives baseline, hits Gibson in the opposite corner, three pointer, miss.
  • Dwight Howard hits the offensive glass, gets the rebound, hits the putback, draws the foul, hits the FT. Six point game.
  • Mo Williams pick and pop with Big Z on the left wing again, dances on Williams, nice crossover dribble going away from the pick to setup the three point attempt, Williams hits it!
  • LeBron James checks back into the game.
  • Mo Williams has 18 points tonight. James has another 13. That’s 31 of Cleveland’s 44 points.
  • Dwight Howard scores inside again … cancelled out by Shaq’s short shot in the paint on the other end.
  • Did Marcin Gortat just take and make a face up jumper from 15 feet? I think he did.
  • Shaq catches the ball on the left post, turns, drives, draws a foul, makes one of two from the stripe.
  • Jason Williams hogging the ball, doesn’t pass, takes a jumper off a pick, misses.
  • Mo Williams pick and pop with Big Z, misses the 18 foot jumper.
  • Howard left post, turns, drives middle, goes up through Shaq, Shaq’s arm was stretched out, goes up through the arm, foul. Howard makes one of two. He’s struggling from the line.

Cleveland leads 47-40 with a little under seven minutes remaining in the first half

  • Mo Williams runs off a screen, James finds him curling to the left elbow, Williams hits the jumper.
  • Vince Carter has been sitting for a long time. SVG trying to get him some rest after riding him in the first quarter.
  • Cavs get another basket. They’re up 11. Mo Williams again. 22 points for Mo.
  • Pietrus misses the pull up J from 23 feet out on the right wing
  • Cavs post up Shaq on the left post, nice defense from Gortat, forces shaq off the spot on the drive, forces him wide, contested six footer going away from the rim, hits it.
  • Timeout
  • Vince Carter comes off shooting off the pick, hits the 19 footer from the top of the key.
  • Mo Williams penetrates, dribbles along the baseline, finds a cutting James for the dunk.

Cavs lead 57-42 with under four minutes to play

  • Mo Williams left corner, dribbles up top to a 1-3 pick and roll with LeBron, goes away from the pick, beats Nelson with the deception, three second call off the ball on the drive.
  • Vince Carter wheeling and dealing, fadeaway J off the dirbble going away from the rim, hits the tough shot.
  • James post up Pietrus, backs him down, knocks him down, 5 footer, miss. Offensive rebound Cavs, timeout. No sorry, that was a loose ball foul on Iglauskas and they’re in the penalty. Tough call, bad call.
  • Howard splits a pair at the line.
  • Cavs lead 12-5 in fastbreak points.

Cavs lead 57-45 with under three minutes to play

  • Howard checks out. Good service from Howard while avoiding his third foul.
  • Cavs post up Shaq, Gortat denying him the middle again, Shaq called for a travel on the post up. Turnover.
  • Matt Barnes has Mo Williams on him, stunts to the low post, Pietrus finds him, four feet from the rim, turns and shoots over the top, hits the short shot. Nice matchup (switch) there for Barnes.
  • Offensive foul on Shaquille O’Neal, moving screen, third foul on Shaq.
  • Vince Carter drains the pull up J off the high pick and roll from 15 feet.

Timeout Cavs — Cavs lead 57-49 with 1:25 left to play in the first half

  • Good 7-0 run here from the Magic to close out the half strong.
  • LeBron drives hard to the rim, draws a foul, and makes his FTs. Cavs back up 10.
  • LeBron posts up Pietrus on the left block, draws the foul, makes one of two. Cavs up 11. LeBron has 20 points.
  • Pietrus picks up another foul, loose ball foul, Hickson back to the line for Cleveland and hits two. Cleveland got six free throws in twenty seconds there. Odd sequence of plays. They made five of six FTs.
  • Vince Carter drive and kick to Barnes in the left corner, he misses the three.
  • James on the fastbreak, pull up jumper from 17 feet top of the key, miss, foul on Matt Barnes as he tries to keep Hickson off the glass. Hickson takes two more, hits one of them.
  • Cleveland back up 14 points with 43 seconds left in the half.
  • Nelson high pick and roll, Nelson goes away from the pick, one dribble, pull up J from just inside the arc, hits it!
  • LeBron James dribbles down the clock and hits a three pointer from the top of the key


Cleveland leads 66-51

Mo Williams was red hot in the first half. He was 9-9 from the field, 4-4 from downtown, for 22 points. LeBron James added 23 points of his own. That’s 45 of Cleveland’s 66 points.

Third Quarter

Tuning in halfway through the third quarter. Cleveland is leading 79-64.

  • Vince Carter catch and shoot baseline jumper, misses.
  • James dribbles out, gets a clearout, works on Bass, drives by him, to the rim, Dwight meets him up high, blocks him, turnover, fastbreak, Orlando turn it over in the open court, LeBron gets it back. Pick and pop with Big Z, missed jumper. Nice steal by LeBron from behind on Vince to stop that fastbreak.
  • Mo Williams slithers into the paint, takes the floater, hits it! 24 points for Mo.
  • Lot of action off the ball trying to free Vince Carter up. Some tempers flare after some holding off the ball. Blah, nothing to it. Stop running your mouth.
  • Pietrus forced into an off balance fadeaway J off the dribble going away from the rim jump shot against the shot clock, misses.
  • Nelson high screen and roll with Bass, goes away frmo the screen, then loses control of the ball, turnover.

Cleveland leads 81-64 with three minutes to play

  • Carter rips it away. Nice steal, dribbles upcourt, gets it to Bass who scores. 15 point game.
  • Big Z gets fouled going to the rim. Nice pass to setup by Ilgauskas.
  • Orlando post up Howard, double team, kickout to Vince, headfake, one dribble in, ugly runner from distance, misses.
  • Bass picks off Parker’s pass, fastbreak, one-on-one with James, Bass to the rim, layup, missed. Did LeBron get a piece of that? Tough to see. Bass missed badly if he didn’t.

I’m going to call it a game here. Cleveland are leading 83-66. I don’t see the Magic making up a 17 point deficit in the final quarter. Anthony Parker just nails a three pointer out of the right corner to push the lead to 20.

Thoughts on the game


  • Orlando missed Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson tonight. Without their shooting prowess the Magic failed to space the floor well enough.
  • Early signs on the Bass + Howard combination aren’t great. They’re fine alongside one another but not as potent as Anderson/Lewis + Howard. Still, it’s too early to call it a day there. I want to see how those two do while playing alongside Vince, Nelson and Lewis on the perimeter. That’s the lineup that interests me the most.
  • I haven’t been watching the Magic much here in the early season … but what I have seen … I’m not impressed with Jason Williams. He’s had one good game and three bad games. Similar to his inconsistency and regular poor performances from his final season in Miami. It does look like his jump shot is back in form though.
  • Orlando shouldn’t start Vince Carter + Matt Barnes alongside one another. Both players are defensive liabilities. If Orlando wants to get Vince to play to his full capacity defensively then they have to protect him better on that side of the ball in the early goings … and then they’ll see gradual improvements on his effort + focus defensively as the season progresses. Coupling with a liability like Barnes threatens that.
  • Orlando’s defense should improve once Rashard Lewis returns.
  • Vince Carter had a lousy game against Cleveland. I like him to score freely against Moon and score well against Parker in the future … but if James switches onto him? Not sure how well Vince will sustain his effectiveness. Something to watch out for in future matchups.
  • Marcin Gortat played excellent post defense against Shaq + Shaq doesn’t look anywhere near as comfortable changing directions in the post as he has in the past.
  • Matt Barnes cannot defend LeBron James one-on-one


  • I wouldn’t read anything into their victory tonight. Anytime Cleveland gets a performance like that from Mo Williams they should be favourites to win the game (that performance combined with usual production from others is very difficult to beat).
  • Shaq did defend Howard better than Big Z did last spring but Howard looks capable of beating Shaq. The quickness issue is still alive, and the pick and roll defense will become more important as Orlando gets back it’s shooters. Some improvement here but not convinced it’s of the game changing variety.
  • I like JJ Hickson in that starting lineup. He’s more talented offensively than Varejao and it’s provided more flow to their offense. I also think it’ll help him develop faster (being counted on to deliver on a nightly basis).
  1. Dave,

    1. Apparently Mr. West missed the team’s flight to Orlando.

    2. Moving Hickson into the starting line-up; using Varejoa off the bench; and, using Moon as a wing sub for either Parker or James, is a MUCH better rotation for the Cavs.

    Kudos to Mike Brown!

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