Buzzer beater brings joy, relief as Cavs snap losing streak
By Zac Jackson
FOX Sports Ohio
November 24, 2010
CLEVELAND -- It took a while Wednesday night, but the Cavaliers showed an offensive pulse. Waiting 'til the last possible second to actually win it didn't bother anyone clad in Wine and Gold in The Q.
Mo Williams' fadeaway 17-foot jumpshot at the buzzer broke a tie and a three-game losing streak as the Cavaliers defeated Williams' former team, the Bucks, 83-81.
An uninspired, hard-to-watch first half became a competitive, entertaining second half. The dramatic ending included Williams jumping on the scorers' table to celebrate.
For the Cavaliers, it was time to exhale.
"We needed this game," Williams said.
The Cavs improved to 6-8 and won for just the third time at home. The 5-9 Bucks have now lost four in a row.
Williams led all scorers with 25 after struggling his way to 2-of-7 shooting in the first half. The Cavaliers' offense as a whole was a first-half no-show as they shot 36.6 percent and were 0-for-5 from beyond the arc in scoring a season-low 34 points.
The Cavaliers made two significant rallies in the second half, one in the third quarter that awakened the home crowd another in the fourth sparked by Anderson Varejao and Williams. A 31-point third quarter, led by 12 points apiece from Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson, got the home team back into it -- but the Bucks, sparked mostly by journeyman guard Keyon Dooling, kept the Cavaliers at arm's length.
The pace slowed in the fourth, and the Cavaliers inched back in it. A blocked shot by Varejao led to a coast-to-coast driving layup by Williams and an 81-79 Cavaliers lead with just over three minutes to go.
The defense really tightened from there, and Varejao had 3 rebounds down the stretch. Gibson, who'd left with a shoulder contusion early in the fourth but returned, missed a pair of clean looks but Williams sank the one that ended up counting the most.
"I had no worries about Mo bouncing back after a tough one last night," Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott said.
"I'm not afraid to miss," Williams said.
Parker's 14 were a season high, and Gibson had 12. Gibson said both of his late shots "looked good and felt even better" but didn't fall, and he credited Varejao for hustling to rebound one of them.
"We got another chance and Mo did the job," Gibson said.
Varejao's 13 rebounds were a game high. The Bucks got 10 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points despite playing without starting center Andrew Bogut (back spasms). But the Cavaliers allowed just 13 points in the final quarter, giving Williams a chance to complete the rally.
"I thought both teams were playing with a sense of urgency," Scott said. "I thought our defense was fantastic, and I thought Andy had some big rebounds.
"This was a good way to stop our skid. The key is to take it and keep going forward."