With about 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Cavs trailing by 11 and playing even worse, Cleveland needed a lift.
Enter Mo Williams.
After stealing an errant Rajon Rondo pass, Williams raced down the court with LeBron James to his left and Paul Pierce ahead ready to go up for a block. I don’t know about you, but as this play unfolded I was thinking: “Alley-oop to LeBron. Alley-oop to LeBron!” But Mo Williams had a different idea in mind. Completely disregarding the taller Pierce awaiting him near the basket, Mo Williams rose up and threw down a dunk, effectively posterizing Pierce.
It pumped up the crowd, it pumped up the team, it even pumped up Mo himself, who decided to go on a tear that third quarter by putting up 14 points. Most importantly, it sparked a Cavaliers comeback to beat Boston and take the series opener.
Actually even more importantly, it triggered one hilariously unintentional comedic response from Mike Brown. Seriously, Cheech and Chong could have come up with a response that sounded less stoned. Check out the dunk + Mike Brown reaction here:
Now when this play happened, I knew it was a big deal. But I didn’t grasp how big of a deal it was. Here are some cool tidbits about the Mo dunk:
- It was only Mo Williams second career dunk. As in ever. As in he’s only dunked twice in the NBA. Ever! I couldn’t get over that. It’s also his first career dunk as a Cleveland Cavalier. It couldn’t have come in a better time.
- Not only did the dunk feel like the turning point of the game, it literally was the turning point of the game. For proof, I’ll provide this little stat bubble, courtesy of ESPN.com:
- That little box really says it all. Before the dunk, the Cavs were shooting poorly, playing bad defense and were down 11. After the dunk, the Cavs played better offensively, defensively, and outscored the Celtics by 19.
- Mo’s stand out performance in Game 1 wasn’t limited to one play either though. He played well throughout and put up a pretty solid statline: 20 pts, 5 rebs, 6 assists, 1 steal, and only 1 turnover.
- Interesting note about Mo’s night: Zero. That’s the number of 3 pointers Mo Williams made in Game 1. That’s right. The three point shooting point guard had that big of an impact while going 0-3 from beyond the arc. Normally when Mo has a big night, he is on fire shooting threes. Saturday night, he found other ways to do it. Impressive.
- Now, I normally could care less about the +/- statistic, but Mo had an impressive +23 on the night. I couldn’t ignore that. It was more than double the second highest +/- number (Antawn Jamison had +11), and was more than triple of LeBron (+7)!
In my Round One in Review, I wrote that Mo Williams needed to step it up. In Game 1 against Boston, he answered the call. He didn’t just step it up, he bought a stairmaster.