Cavs Surge With Hughes At the Point
After Eric Snow proved to be ineffective and rookie Daniel Gibson appeared overwhelmed, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to fix their point guard problems by handing the role to Larry Hughes on March 3. “ I think for this team, it fits me,” Hughes said.
The move, which finally engaged Hughes in the offense, was long overdue, as evidenced by the eight- game win streak that followed the switch. Hughes had a season- high 10 assists in a win over Minnesota last week, and the Cavaliers are 17- 4 this season when he has at least five assists.
In his last season in Washington, Hughes was at his best when sharing the playmaking duties with Gilbert Arenas. But for his first 11⁄ years in Cleveland,
2 Hughes was miscast as a catch- and- shoot player — which could be a problem for player with an inconsistent jump shot. “ It’s easy for me to be more productive with the ball early in the shot clock rather than being a spot- up shooter,” Hughes said. “ I think I’ve always wanted the ball more.” ...
After mostly getting spot duty off the bench in the first half of the season, rookie Tyrus Thomas is coming on at the right time for the Chicago Bulls. The 6- foot- 9 high flier from Louisiana State is a spark with his acrobatic dunks and blocks, but he also gave the Bulls quality production in the absence of Andres Nocioni.
In the past three weeks, he also has come through with a game- winning putback with 0.2 of a second left against the Denver Nuggets; a 23- point, nine- rebound effort in a win over Boston; and a career- high 27 points, with eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks, against Cleveland on March 31. Coach Scott Skiles had no problems using him in crunch time over veteran P. J. Brown, but when asked if he expects to give Thomas heavy minutes down the stretch, Skiles kept the rookie in check: “ Depends on how he plays.” . . .
New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul, who missed 18 games with a severely sprained right ankle, has been trying to keep his team’s faint postseason dreams alive despite having a stress reaction in his right foot that might require offseason surgery. He doesn’t expect the injury — or surgery — to have an impact on his participation with the U. S. national team this summer. “ I’ll do it again if the opportunity presents itself again,” Paul said. “ I have to have surgery, [ the doctors] say it’s a three- week time frame, so I would be fine.”