April 18, 2014

Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast
Coast To Coast is your bi-weekly (as in, twice a week, not every other week…or does that mean it’s semi-weekly?) look at the NBA outside of Cleveland through the perspective of the Cavaliers. Because we are all witnesses.

The Cavaliers no longer have the best record in the Eastern Conference. But are they the best team? If not Cleveland, than it must be Boston, right? Not so, says one scout who talked to ESPN’s Marc Stein:

“I absolutely think they’re that good. They’ve got so much offensive firepower and they’ve improved so much defensively. Everybody on that team is a 3-point shooter spaced around the big monster [Dwight Howard] down low. How many teams have 6-9 guys [Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis] who can handle the ball in a pick-and-roll? Hedo’s game has just gone to another level. He’s making the game look easy.

“The East is going to hinge on who gets Orlando in the second round. And if it’s Cleveland, I’m going to pick Orlando in that series. I might be crazy, but Cleveland likes to go small when they really want to score. But Orlando has Hedo at the 3, Rashard at the 4 and Howard at the 5. I’m going to have to pick the Magic just because of their size.”

I just can’t wait to see how these two teams match up once the Cavaliers get healthy again. There’s no doubt the Magic’s size would allow them to abuse the Cavaliers right now just like the Lakers did. Plus, much like the Lakers, the Magic are an underrated defensive team. They are definitely not a team to be taken lightly whatsoever.
[Daily Dime]

In case you forgot how insanely nuts Ricky Davis and his ego were, this should serve as a nice reminder. Lowposts, an NBA blog, compiled a fantastic list of some of the best quotes ever from NBA players. Amongst some beauties like Drew Gooden talking about how much “diversity” he’s had to overcome in his life and Bobby Simmons expressing his concern about playing in Japan because he doesn’t like Chinese food, this quote naturally caught my eye:

19. “I thought LeBron James was just going to be another addition to help me score.” — Ricky Davis. Yeah, the Cavs really blew that one, didn’t they?

That right there is pure Ricky Davis madness. Most of the quotes on that list where people accidently mis-quoting common phrases or having funny slips of the tongue, but you know Ricky meant every single word of that quote.
[You Can Quote Me On That]

The Jermaine O’Neal experiment sure didn’t last long. There were always people saying the Cavaliers should try to acquire the former All-Star center, but I was always staunchly opposed to it. I don’t often say ‘I told you so’ (no, really, I don’t), but I was never a huge fan of the Raptors move to get him. Granted, I thought the Raptors would be much better than they are, but I was never sold on O’Neal being the missing link in Toronto. Now, it sounds like he’s on his way out the door already:

So it’s agreed: unloading O’Neal before the trade deadline, which comes one month from today at 3 p.m., is a necessity. This club isn’t any good as constructed, after all, and its window to get better is rapidly closing. Bosh, of course, can become a free agent in the summer of 2010, when there is expected to be a glut of attractive-market teams wielding salary-cap space to woo high-profile free agents.

Moving O’Neal, whose mammoth contract doesn’t expire until 2010, moves up the timeline for a major shakeup. With Marion’s salary of about $17-some million (all figures U.S.) coming off the books after this season, the deal would help put Colangelo an estimated $14 million under the salary cap to make creative trades or sign free agents from a class that could include the substantial talents of Hedo Turkoglu, Ron Artest, Carlos Boozer and Lamar Odom.

Let’s all just hope that Danny Ferry doesn’t get any (not so) bright ideas.
[Dealing O’Neal Could Prevent Raptor Implosion]

Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes, only moving pictures will suffice. We are all witnesses:

[Video: LeBron James – Flight 23]

Beating the Lakers is easy. You just have to follow the handbook. Kurt from Forum Blue and Gold put together an impressive rundown on the best ways to beat the Lakers, complete with input from ESPN.com’s David Thorpe. I’ve been praising the Lakers’ defense a lot lately, and so here’s how to beat their defense:

While you need to focus on defense, your team still needs to put up 90+, and the Lakers defense can make that hard some nights. That said, there are ways to attack the Lakers.

One good way is to have bigs that can shoot from 17-feet or more out. The Lakers struggle with Sacramento because their bigs can do just that, pulling our zone apart and our shotblockers away from the basket. Cleveland could not do this last night without Big Z in the lineup and the Laker bigs at home slowed LeBron James, maybe the best dribble-penetration guy in the league.

That says it all. Boy, it sure would have been nice to have had Z in that game. Regardless, this information would have been nice before the Lakers dismantled the Cavaliers.
[The Blueprint For Beating The Lakers]

A new era of Deeee-troit Basket-balllll is upon us. Richard Hamilton is no longer in the Pistons starting lineup. The Detroit News has the story:

Pistons coach Michael Curry announced Tuesday that he will begin using guard Rip Hamilton off the bench, with guard Allen Iverson and forward Amir Johnson starting.

Curry toyed with a smaller lineup, with guards Rodney Stuckey, Iverson and Hamilton as starters, joining front-court players Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace.

Curry said Hamilton, who has never come off the bench as a Piston, will start the second and fourth quarters.

Man is that going to look strange seeing Rip coming off the bench instead of starting. After facing a backcourt of Billups-Hamilton for so many years, now seeing Stuckey-Iverson just won’t feel quite the same. Desperate times –> desperate measures.
[Curry Says Hamilton Will Come Off Bench]

The Kobe vs LeBron debate asks the right questions the wrong way. Trevor Smith of Hoops Addict wrote a brilliant piece looking at Kobe and LeBron and what they both mean to the game of basketball. I particularly enjoyed this passage:

James’ rise came at a time when we wanted someone to make us reimagine what might be possible. Even when Bryant scored 50 points in umpteen straight games, or planted 81 in one night, he did so without the mystique of someone bigger than the game itself. Jordan had done that even if the individual feats he performed were actually less impressive than some of Bryant’s.

James’ genius is that he makes it appear as though his game has no ceiling, even though we know that is impossible. He is on par with Bryant as the game’s best player yet he still somehow has infinite potential to improve.

You’ve heard arguments similar to this one before, but Smith puts a lot of new spins on it. It’s a really long read, but you won’t be bored or disappointed with it. This article sums up a lot of what I love about the NBA.
[LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and the Power of Tomorrow]

I wonder if Mark Cuban voted for John McCain. I have no idea where Cuban’s political affiliations lie, but in the interest of self-preservation of the Dallas Mavericks, he might have been well served to be pulling for McCain. The Wages of Wins explains:

Let me close by noting that this trip to the lottery might be pre-ordained.  Looking at the franchise index over at Basketball-Reference.com I noted an odd fact about the Mavericks.  This team has never made the playoffs when a Democrat was President.  With a Republican in the White House, though, they made the playoffs in fourteen out of twenty seasons.  So if Obama manages to stay in office for eight years, fans of this team should expect a very long drought.  That is, if we believe this last set of numbers.

My first thought was to wonder how one just happens to notice that fact. My second thought was, perhaps it’s not coincidence the Mavericks are struggling a bit this season. And I can think of no finer way of ending this edition of Coast To Coast than that.
[A Decline In Dallas and an Odd Link Between The Mavericks and the White House]

  • MaimLarry

    I think people forget that the Cavs play WAY over their heads every year in the playoffs. Last year at this point, we were barely over .500 and we took the eventual champs to a 7th game. Also, the Magic choked big time in the playoffs last year, who says they don’t do that again?

  • Tom

    This is also the Cavs with regular season LeBron playing 36 minutes.

    We all know what happens when LeBron plays close to 48 in the playoffs.

  • mgbode

    @1: John Hollinger wrote about this last year in the postseason and during the year a few times already. It is not that the Cavs play over their heads in the postseason. It is that LeBron goes from playing 38minutes to 48 minutes in the postseason, which makes the team that much better.

    Which is fun to buy into when you think about this year since we already are a very very good team and LeBron is playing far less minutes than in previous years.

  • RandyOSU

    HUGE win last night, particularly with Delonte and Z still out. That win will do wonders for team confidence as well as roster depth. Points out again that the Cavs don’t need to do anything to alter team chemistry-when Delonte and Z get back to form this team is loaded. Surely another veteran post player would help-but only to augment. Joe Smith would be the ideal pick-up if it gets to the point where his contract is bought out-he can provide quality minutes (the kind that Lorenzen Wright can’t) and depth, without sacrificing chemistry or future cap space. If we can get a Brad Miller type which won’t be a detriment to future cap space, sure.

    Forget about something like A. Jamison-the Cavs won’t sacrifice future cap space. The Cavs as they are constructed right now are playoff experienced, deep, and really bond together. Look out NBA, here come the Cavs.

  • Ricky

    The Magic rely too much on the jumper, and it is hard to win on the road in the playoffs playing that way. Granted they have been great on the road thus far this season, it is still a different game in the playoffs. The teams that succeed in close games in the playoffs have go to guys that can drive and attack the rim. The Cavs, Celtics, and Lakers have that but the Magic don’t. Tayshaun Prince dominated Hedo in the playoffs last year every time he tried to attack the rim

    I wouldn’t say the Magic choked in the playoffs last year, but rather the Pistons were just a better team. Although I guess the Pistons won without Chauncey in some of those games, so maybe they did. Jameer Nelson has gotten so much better and it will be up to Delonte (since Mo will probably just guard their 2 guard, Bogans, since he isn’t as good at driving) to shut him down

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    By the way, if anyone knows a way of getting that LeBron video into a video file, well, hook a brother up. I want a hard copy of that thing.

  • ryan
  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    Thanks Ryan!

  • JM

    The Magic got owned by Boston. Sorry until they beat them or us they are not a contender.