Cavaliers

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Varejao?

clutch.JPGI don’t know what got into Anderson Varejao, but I wish it would happen more often!

I feel so alive
For the very first time
I cant deny you
I feel so alive
I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly
– P.O.D. Alive

What a rush! Kevin Garnett may have been awarded the Defensive Player of the Year, but Andy Varejao gave him a lesson in second half defense tonight. Varejao held Garnett to only 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting in the final half, and scored 6 points himself down the stretch. To punctuate the performance, LeBron James blew by two defenders and threw down on Garnett with a thunderous dunk that essentially ended this one. League of Clutch??

The Cavaliers clamped down on the Celtics in the fourth quarter, holding Boston to only 12 points by denying them access to the paint. Boston in fact shot only twice in the painted area all 4th quarter! The Cavaliers didn’t shoot quite as well as game 3, but 45% was good enough to get the job done Monday night. The Cavs limited their turnovers, and racked up 24 assists in the game. In addition to Varejao, Joe Smith and Daniel Gibson were huge off the bench for the Cavaliers. In fact, Varejao and Smith finished with more playing time than Zydrunas and Wallace, including more minutes in crunch time. Gibson hit 2 huge three’s and a long two to keep the Cavs out front of Boston when they were trying to make a run in the fourth.

Honestly, all the Cavs played well, even with Zydrunas Ilgauskas having his worst shooting night of the playoffs. This was a total team win. Just a quick look at the rebounding totals can attest to that. Wallace and Big Z had 7 each, LeBron, Gibson, Smith and Varejao all had 6 as the Cavaliers out-rebounded Boston 42-38. The Cavaliers took advantage of the smaller Celtic line-up, despite what TNT’s moron announcing crew had to say about it. Numbers don’t lie, and when Posey was playing the 4 and Garnett the 5, Cleveland outscored Boston by 18. Go ahead. Go small again.

Varejao has been rather abused for his ‘offense’ throughout the blogosphere, and deservedly so. Nobody expects him to go toe to toe with Garnett for a whole series or even game, but the energy and presence he brought tonight was enough to pester Boston’s MVP into a bad night, and gave the Cavaliers the opportunity to get the win. That’s the Andy Varejao we saw last year in the playoffs, and that’s the Varejao we need if we’re going to get a game in Boston!