LeBron James registered his first double-double of the season with season highs of 37 points and 10 rebounds against the Wizards on Tuesday night.
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Cavs guarding against complacency
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Mary Schmitt Boyer
Plain Dealer Reporter
For the Cavaliers, it was business as usual on Wednesday, and that's just how coach Mike Brown likes it.
Their early season success doesn't seem to be going to their heads. Instead of taking a day off after improving to 6-2 overall or easing up after running their home record to a tidy 4-0 with a 114-99 victory over Washington on Tuesday night, the Cavs were in the gym 12 hours later, as usual.
"We split the team into halves, and the first group shot while the second group lifted, and then we switched," Brown said. "But before we broke from the locker room, LeBron said, 'Gentlemen, let's go to work.' That's what they did."
That would be the same LeBron James who registered his first double-double of the season with season highs of 37 points and 10 rebounds against the Wizards. James' attitude is exactly the same as his coach's.
"My approach has always been one game at a time, one practice at a time, one quarter at a time, and for the most part, everybody has been on the same page," Brown said. "It's only human nature, especially when you haven't been in this situation a lot, to get comfortable.
"So it will be interesting to see if that happens to us. I haven't seen that yet. Guys have been working hard. They're focused. We're working on the things we feel like we need to work on."
Brown said he was not the kind of coach who looked at the schedule and tried to predict wins and losses. He had no preconceived notions of what his team's record would be at this point. But asked if he was surprised with the Cavs' 6-2 start, Brown said, "Not with the way we've competed. . . . We've found a way to compete just long enough and hard enough to give ourselves a chance to win some of these ball games."
Since losing back-to-back games at San Antonio and Memphis, two playoff teams last season, the Cavs have won five straight against all kinds of opponents in a variety of ways. They crushed winless Toronto on the road and beat a bad Seattle team at home. They avenged the loss at Memphis, gutted out an overtime victory at Orlando and then soundly defeated the Wizards, who are better than the team that made the playoffs last season.
During the winning streak, the Cavs are outscoring opponents, 105.6 to 89.4, and outrebounding them, 46.6 to 31.8. The Cavs are shooting better than their opponents from the field, 49.2 percent to 42.8, and from the line, 84.9 percent to 69.6. They also are averaging two more blocked shots a game during the streak (5.6 to 3.4.)
Clearly, even though it's early, there is reason for optimism. But lest the Cavs get carried away with themselves, perhaps they should keep in mind that the last time they started 6-2 was in 2000-01, Randy Wittman's second season. That team would improve to 15-9 before Zydrunas Ilgauskas suffered his last foot injury. The Cavs went 15-43 the rest of the season.
How's that for a reality check?