He knows struggle. He knows hard work. He wants to win as badly as we do. Here’s why a 7-foot-3 Lithuanian is as true a Clevelander as any of us will ever be. Jeannie Roberts
Sometimes it looks like Zydrunas Ilgauskas is just standing there, waiting for something to happen, as if perhaps a stray basketball will come sailing his way.
And sometimes one does — but not because he’s just standing there or because, like LeBron James, he has been granted the gift of flight or because he’s wound tight with energy like Anderson Varejao and his springy Brazilian hair. With Ilgauskas, it’s something else entirely.
The Cavaliers are leading Toronto 53-47 with a little more than two minutes left in the first half, when Ilgauskas squares up Raptors forward Jermaine O’Neal a few steps below the foul line. Toronto has the Cleveland defense spread at the edges — leaving the two big men alone in the lane.
Near the Cavs’ bench, Raptors guard Jason Kapono rises up for a 3-point jumper over a lunging Delonte West. The shot is going to be long.