(Too bad Larry Hughes had to be a throw-in.)
That was a very fun game to attend. The only downer was that it's so hard to boo Ben Wallace since he never does anything on the court worth booing. The old bastard couldn't even get to the line, which would've been a nice moment.
Although, why boo him, Ben was great for the Bulls tonight, and I was delighted whenever he entered the game. After all, he allowed his successor, Joakim Noah, to grab 20 rebounds in 32 minutes. Noah was so good, my "what are you Boylan, a goddamned idiot?" moment(s) of the night was the overextended breaks he was giving Noah, especially to end the first half and before his final stint in the fourth. Boylan even managed to mess up Noah's exit, taking him out during a timeout when he could've waited until the upcoming free throw was taken, giving Noah the deserved standing ovation for a fantastic night. Luckily I doubt Noah cares, although when he bizarrely wasn't getting in at the end of the first half, I did joke "guess who's blowing off the next practice?"
Two other great performances were from Gordon and Deng, which is a long time coming, especially in the same outing. Gordon didn't get to the line much but despite that statistic I thought he was attacking the basket well, especially in transition. Of course, being 4-5 from three helps too. He even added 4 assists with just 1 turnover in 33 minutes. Pay the man his money! (well, you can let him have a few more good games first)
Deng overcame an abysmal first stint where he missed a half-dozen layups to join Gordon in taking over a 3rd quarter where the team outscored the Cavs 34-16. The Cavs made the curious defensive assignments of putting LeBron on Gordon while someone smaller (usually Devin Brown) took Deng. And the Luol-post option was there nearly every possession. Either Deng got to the rim (and was finishing, unlike the first half) or he'd open things up for teammates (usually Gordon, who LeBron would lose). Deng even made some pretty tough shots coming across the lane.
He also deserves credit for guarding LeBron, although between him, Nocioni, and Hughes(?), they just get a participation award (oh, and a hacking Hinrich, who roughed up LeBron a bit). I have a feeling LeBron was a bit gassed after his 50 point Wednesday and having to carry his chump teammates for the first half of this game. Seeing Ben Wallace get abused by the man he suspended likely didn't inspire him either. But it did inspire me.