Grizzlies' Rally Sinks Cavs
Wrap-Up – Once again, the Wine and Gold took a Conference heavyweight to the wire. And once again, they couldn’t close them out in the final quarter. On Monday, it was the Grizzlies, who trailed Cleveland almost the entire night before clamping down in the fourth quarter – holding Cleveland to just nine points in the period and pulling away for the 84-78 win.Anderson Varejao had another monster game, finishing with 15 points and 22 boards. Dion Waiters added 15 points of his own and Daniel Gibson came off the bench to tally 11 in the loss.
Turning Point – Varejao’s 20-footer at the 3rd quarter buzzer put the Cavaliers up seven, 69-62, heading into the final period. But the Grizzlies scored the first six points of the fourth, energizing the crowd and putting the young Cavaliers on their heels. Gibson scored Cleveland’s next five points, but momentum had shifted and Memphis had tied the game less than a minute later.
Game Ball – Anderson Varejao – There’s no way to overestimate the value that Varejao has to the Wine and Gold. He seemed to get his hand on every rebound, pass and loose ball. And of course his stat line was stellar. Going against possibly the toughest frontline in the NBA, Andy went 7-of-11 from the floor, eight of his 22 rebounds were off the offensive glass and he added three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – 545 … Number of three-pointers Daniel Gibson has hit as a member of the Cavaliers, moving him past Danny Ferry for sole possession of fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list. He needs five more to catch Wesley Person and move into the top 3.
Quotable – Daniel Gibson, on the young Cavaliers and their growth …
“Our record doesn’t show it, but I’m extremely excited about our direction. We haven’t been able to finish games, but the competitiveness, fight and growth – game-by-game – it’s coming. I’m extremely excited about where we’re heading. I hate losing, so that part hurts. But just seeing the direction makes me that much more hungry to continue to help the team work our way there.”
Seen and Heard – A pair of old Cavalier teammates from the rookie class of ’97 – former center and now Cleveland’s Special Assistant to the GM, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and former Cavs point guard and current Grizzlies’ TV color analyst, Brevin Knight – sitting on the bench, reminiscing before Monday’s game.
Up Next – After closing out a three-game trip in Memphis, the Cavs return for the second-half of the back-to-back on Tuesday night when they welcome the Suns to The Q. The Wine and Gold has played just three home games over the past four weeks and, in December, don’t play two consecutive home games all month.