The Key to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Surge Is…J.J. Hickson?

November 26th, 2009 by Tom Delamater Leave a reply »
Following their relatively easy 98-88 win over Detroit on Thanksgiving Eve, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in their customary spot atop the NBA’s Central Division with an 11-4 record.

LeBron James, the reigning MVP, is also the current Eastern Conference Player of the Week after a four-game stretch in which he averaged 34 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

Mo Williams continues to complement James’ scoring, tossing in 17 points a game. Anthony Parker is converting more than half of his three-point attempts.

As one might have expected, the team has risen to the challenge of playing without Shaquille O’Neal, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. The Cavs have won five of six without O’Neal, after going 6-3 to start the season with him.

The pleasant surprise in the midst of it all is the emergence of second year pro J.J. Hickson at power forward. In fact, Hickson may end up being the unexpected piece to the championship puzzle for Cleveland—as much, or even moreso, than O’Neal.

The Cavs are 8-1 since Hickson joined the starting lineup. He’s averaging a shade under 13 points and five rebounds since the ...

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