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5 Cleveland Cavaliers
Elizabeth McGarr
October 29, 2007
A second-year guard works to prove that his playoff heroics were no fluke
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October 29, 2007

5 Cleveland Cavaliers

A second-year guard works to prove that his playoff heroics were no fluke

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FT%: 80.7

KEY BENCH PLAYERS: F Donyell Marshall, G Damon Jones, G Devin Brown*, F Cedric Simmons*, C-F Dwayne Jones *New acquisition

Record: 50-32 (2nd in East) Points scored: 96.8 (19th in NBA) Points allowed: 92.9 (5th) Coach: Mike Brown (third season with Cavaliers)

Going into the 2007 playoffs, Daniel Gibson was a nondescript rookie hoping to stay in the rotation, having quietly averaged 4.6 points during the season and remained fairly anonymous off the court. But now? "Pretty much everywhere I go, people recognize me," he says with a laugh. That's because Gibson, once known as Boobie only to his mother, endeared himself to LeBron James-obsessed Cleveland fans with his 21- and 31-point performances off the bench in Games�4 and�6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pistons.

His ability to make Detroit pay for sagging off him gave the Cavs, who relied heavily on James in the postseason, another offensive weapon and a way to confound double-teaming defenses. "If he's open when he shoots the ball," coach Mike Brown says of Gibson, "I believe it's going in every single time."

During the summer the 6' 2" Gibson worked mostly on what to do when he's not open, training in Houston with former NBA coach John Lucas and focusing on improving his runner in the lane and his shot-clock management. Every time Gibson, wearing a 20-pound weight vest, didn't feed the post properly or settled for a jump shot, he owed Lucas one lap around an outdoor track after practice. He ran five on his worst day.

Brown was pleased with Gibson's fearlessness on defense ("He just stuck his nose in there") and his maturity ("He never panics") last season, but the coach wants him to take more command of the offense. That will come with time, says Lucas, who has known Gibson for 10 years.

Gibson's one rookie regret? Letting slip his childhood nickname to teammate Eric Snow early in the season. But now he doesn't mind so much being called Boobie, especially after hearing 20,000 Cavs fans chanting it over and over. "That," says Gibson, "is what you work for."

ENEMY LINES

An opposing team's scout sizes up the Cavs

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