April 23, 2014

Cavs 105, Pacers 95: Cavaliers Follow Script In Win

APTOPIX Cavaliers Pacers BasketballStop me if you’ve heard this before. The Cavs offense was sharp early on, scoring 30+ in the first quarter. The defense was just as poor, allowing their opponent to stay in the game despite shooting better than 50% for the first half. A poor third quarter ensued as the movement on offense stopped and the Cavs played one on one basketball. More troubles with the pick and roll defense and suddenly the Cavs found themselves trailing. I know you said stop a while back.

Let’s start with some facts. The Cavs are still without Shaq, and even though Delonte West was active for this game, he didn’t play. (Really Mike? On the front half of a back to back? With the defense struggling early on?) The Cavs also struggle in Indy. They dug deep in the end and won this one with defense. (Indiana didn’t make a field goal in the last 3:00.) LeBron played team basketball for the most part, and still finished with 40 points.

I do have to question LeBron about one thing. While announcers might wax poetic about it being a dagger, and teammates chest bump and high five him, that three point shot with under a minute left was a terrible decision. I don’t care that it went in. Doesn’t matter that he was able to get his legs under him, square to the basket and shoot in rhythm. He wasted shot clock then rose up 3 feet behind the arc. Nobody was in rebounding position because the floor was spread anticipating a drive to the rim. What kind of percentage shot is that? Is that even a 30% chance of going in? No way he gets criticized for it though…

J.J. Hickson won his battle against ACC foe Tyler Hansbrough. Zydrunas was dreadful shooting the ball, missing 11 of his 12 shots, and 4 of his 6 free throws. The depressing thing about those numbers is how many times Z is just wide open on those shots. Mo struggled to hit his jumper, but made up for it at the free throw line.

As alluded to earlier, the Cavs utilized only an 8 man rotation, which could hurt them tomorrow against the Sixers. Darnell Jackson, who had a strong performance against Washington played less than a minute. Delonte didn’t see the floor, and Jamario played only 18 minutes, but may have tweaked his ankle.

Last season the Cavs had several games in which they played intense defense for the majority of the game. We are still waiting to see that kind of effort from the current squad.

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • mgbode

    I love Z….if anyone has seen him, please switch out the current zombie playing in his jersey.

  • S-Dub

    Yes, that was a terrible shot in the sense of basketball. BUT, he’s one of the greatest of all times. And, the greatest players take those kind of shots. How many times did Barry Sanders not follow his blocks to hit a cut back but only gain 2 yards? But, when he hit that cut back to go 80 for the TD, it was worth it (would’ve used a Browns reference, but I’m too young to have seen a great RB here). Just saying.

    Z is terrible at this point. He did have eleven boards, but JJ and Andy were the better combo of bigs out there tonight. I don’t see how we don’t use this contract at the deadline, and I fully expect him to be bought out because he isn’t going to step in and help any other team either.

    JJ might just be that young, athletic, banger PF that we’ve all wanted since Boozer. It’s early but I think Ferry might have picked the right guy. LBJ loves him and he seems to have a knack for how to play with him. We need that.

    Mo has seemingly gone back to not running the offense or he’s tired and his shot isn’t falling or something. Gotta watch some tape and get his shot back on.

    I don’t think most of these guys are taking games seriously, it’s why I think we’ll only win about 55-60 games this year and rest a bit more fore the playoffs. I can say that we do miss Shaq though. We’re learning how to play with him and come playoff time, it’ll pay off.

  • http://www.60bpm.com Robbie

    When he took that shot at the end, I just about lost it. He made it, but I agree with this assessment. It just wasn’t a smart shot. Sure, great players take shots, but every night in situations like that? I’d like to see the team play smart for an entire game, so we could see LeBron sitting on the bench for the 4th quarter. Then again, maybe it’s just that they’re learning to play together. That’s what this regular season will be about.

  • Dave

    LeBron needs to learn that if he lives by the jumper he dies by the jumper. I’m reminded of how 2-3 years ago his offense consisted of running right through the defense and taking a layup or dunk in the lane. The jumper should be his third option, after an easy shot inside or a smart pass to a teammate while the defense is busy watching at him.

    And what I’ve been really liking about Shaq’s play for the Cavs so far is that it is encouraging LeBron to give up the ball and move without it. That and Shaq having extremely good interior passing.

    On Z: I don’t think they trade him. I think they let him go the way of Eric Snow, spending a lot of this year on the bench but popping in on occasion to fill in. What is interesting is that with the rise of Hickson we could be looking at Andy being the center next year.

  • JM

    FINALLY someone says LeBron’s jumpers are ridiculous. Indiana isn’t exactly a defensive powerhouse so he could have drove to the hoop. Granted it didn’t cost us but he does that way too often.