LeBron and the youthful Cavs get a taste of winning
(Sports Network) – After starting the season with five straight losses, the youngsters in Cleveland have won two in a row.
Rookie sensation LeBron James, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, led the way on Monday as the Cavaliers knocked off the New York Knicks, 94-80, at Gund Arena. Cleveland had defeated Washington, 111-98, on its home court Saturday for its first win of the season.
The 18-year-old James continued to impress his critics on Monday, scoring 17 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. He was a solid 7- of-12 from the field, a scorching 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and committed just two turnovers in 34 minutes of action.
James has lived up to the hype in Cleveland’s first seven games. He is second on the Cavs in scoring (16.9 ppg), leads the team in assists (6.6 apg), is second on the squad in rebounding (7.3 rpg) and is averaging a team best 1.57 steals per-game.
The one knock on James’ game so far is that he needs to improve from the foul line. James, who is shooting a respectable 45 percent from the floor, is 15- of-24 (62.5 percent) from the stripe so far this season.
“I think LeBron will be a great shooter and I thought he shot the ball very well tonight,” said New York head coach Don Chaney after Monday’s game. “But I think I can make a couple of shots if nobody is in my face.”
James does have a supporting cast that seems to be starting to mesh on the court.
Ricky Davis, 24, who has been criticized in the past for his selfish play seems to be turning into a little bit more of a team player.
“He’s (Davis) playing such unselfish basketball right now that everybody is picking up on that,” Cleveland head coach Paul Silas said. “He’s almost coming up with a triple-double every night. That’s what we need from him.”
After seven games, Davis leads the Cavs in scoring at 17.1 points ppg and is second on the squad with 5.7 assists per-game.
Carlos Boozer, who had a decent rookie season in 2002-03, is emerging as a solid NBA player. The 21-year-old Boozer, who was selected out of Duke in the second round (35th overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft by Cleveland, leads the Cavs in rebounding at 9.7 boards per-night.
Boozer, who is averaging 14.9 points, forms a respectable starting frontcourt with veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and 22-year-old Darius Miles.
Cleveland, which won back-to-back games for the first time since March 23 and 25 of last year when it defeated the Knicks on Monday, play its next two contests on the road against Miami and Boston.CLE