July 23, 2014

Cavaliers at Thunder: Open Thread

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7)
@ Oklahoma City Thunder (12-9)
Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK
7:00 PM EST FSN, WTAM 1100-AM

The Cavaliers look to collect another W tonight on the road against the suddenly above average Thunder in Oklahoma City. Still weird to consider there is a basketball franchise in that state, but it is definitely acceptable to refer to them as the Zombie Sonics, as popularized by ESPN’s Bill Simmons. Kevin Durant is absolutely tearing it up yet again this season for them, averaging 28.3 points per game while Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and James Harden represent a very young and productive core overall. This will not be a given for the Cavs and they need to recapture some of their fire and intensity from a few weeks back.

As mentioned on various sites today, Shaquille O’Neal is questionable today with his eye bruise that he suffered in the contest against Portland on Friday. Without the Big Aristotle in the middle, it will be important for the road team to constantly find positive matches against the quicker Thunder rotation. We should see plenty of Andy/LeBron at the 5/4 today along with significant minutes for forward/guards like Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker. Oklahoma is getting better by the day but the Cavs still have the firepower offensively to match up with everyone, and with Shaq possibly out it will be vital to out-hustle the young Thunder. INJURY UPDATE: Brian Windhorst tweets that Shaq will play while Boobie Gibson will sit a second straight game with his finger injury.

Leave your thoughts on tonight’s game here in the comment section. Look back to my article earlier in the day today for a brief description of the team’s December schedule. This is an important game to focus on for the Cavaliers if they do intend to be a championship contender in 2009-2010. A loss here tonight would possibly be more devastating than the back-to-back defeats against Memphis and Houston earlier in the week.

Other previews from around the web:
[Brian Windhorst/Cleveland Plain Dealer]
[Brendan Bowers/Stepien Rules]
[Royce/DailyThunder.com]

  • Fern

    Is there any NBA team with less effort put into their logo than the Thunder with their OKC inside of random lines look?

  • Jack

    MrCleaveland, I think you’ve found your soul mate!

    Fern, meet MrCleaveland. MrCleveland, this is Fern.

    And Fern, the answer is no. Although the Rockets ‘R’ graphic isn’t exactly matching the Sistene Chapel with its level of detail.

  • Jack

    They are really frustrating to watch this year.

    Lebron is so self-righteous. And Anthony Parker has officially descended to Wally World status. Sad.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Jacob

    Crazy game so far. Check out all of our live comments on Twitter.

  • Fern

    Hooray 4th quarters!

    Jack… I guess there’s lots of minimal logos out there, but I’m sticking with the OKC as the most lame.
    And your matchmaking is lost on me…

  • Jack

    Fern, MrCleaveland is seen posting pretty frequently at WFNY. On most open threads he will make some lame joke about the origination of various NBA logos as a means of insulting their ugly or bizarre computer graphics. I’m hoping he will step up and chime in here.

    Lame as they are, I rather enjoy seeing what he comes up with.

  • Jack

    Fog Raw takes match-up one on the season versus Velvet Hoop.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiY6CydourA

    This campaign never got enough love…

    …go Mo.

  • Natty The Dog

    Jack,

    you happy with Shaq? Consistently makes the team worse when his slow [WFNY Edit: burro] is on the floor.

    But sure…you want to keep him to play against ONE player.

  • Jack

    Natty,

    I want to keep him to beat teams with size…i.e. the two best teams in basketball, Orlando and LA.

    Natty, I still don’t know what you are arguing about. Please try to understand that my argument that we NEED Shaq does not indicate that I think he is a cure-all, or that I am ‘happy’ with his play thus far, or that I ever will be against anyone except ORL/LA.

    If we can get a quality big back for him, then by all means. But I don’t see that happening. I know we need to add a starter. That’s abundantly clear. But we have a lot of trade chips to use before we throw away the player who can neutralize the one big threat to the Cavs making it to the finals. I wish we wouldn’t have to have this argument. No one agrees with you if you think we should get rid of Shaq at all costs. We all agree with you that if we could get a quality big in return for Shaq then we should consider it. I’m just not sure what your point is. I’ve already said I think Shaq hurts the team much of the time he is on the floor. But yes, if we can’t get a quality big for him and we need to struggle some until the playoffs, I’m keeping him. Because, we are just not beating Orlando without him, or without a quality big to replace him.

    Again, if you know of any quality bigs on the market that we could obtain, please let Danny Ferry know. One of my best friends was his PA last season and has his cell…you want his number?

    Hope you’re just as adamant in praising Shaq against the Magic in the playoffs.

    Much love, Natty.
    Jack

  • mike

    natty – there is no reason to trade shaq for the sake of trading him. if an offer comes along that would clearly make the team better and includes the cavs getting someone that can handle howard, then go for it. but yes, there is nothing wrong with having shaq on the team because it makes them better against a particular team.

  • jack

    Hey guys, the other Jack here, you know, the one that lives in OKC. Just a couple thoughts on the game as we were there:

    -Shaq is just done. I think the best possible thing we could do with him is shut him down until February, and then work him and Powe in together for the playoff run. They tried and tried and tried to go down to him with very minimal success, some of which I’m sure could be attributed to his early foul trouble, but he just looked slow with no lift. He hurt the team tonight.

    -We would have won the whole damn thing if Mo had shot in the playoffs like he shot and played tonight. Lights out, especially on the amazing half court shot.

    -I love watching Andy in person; so much of his hustle plays don’t translate to television, and you just get such a better glimpse of the player he is watching live.

    -Don’t sleep on OKC, they may be the Zombie Sonics, but I will guarantee they win a series in the playoffs next year. As Isis would say (haven’t heard/read anything of his in a while), book it!

    -Last thing, I know Lebron’s line was great with 44 or so, but they were reverting to the stand around and watch Lebron, who was then settling for these stupid 20 ft j’s, and the rest of the offense picked up on this even when he left the game, and started to pull the same crap. A win is a win, but if they play this way late in the season, they will not beat Boston or Orlando, and forget about LA.

    Just some observations I came away with, being 1 of the maybe 3 games I’ll see this year. Browns win, got to see a Cavs win, pretty damn fine week.

  • Jack

    jack, what are your thoughts on the Ford Center?

  • S-Dub

    The problem is that their isn’t a good enough big man to get in return. We could get Bosh, if he forces and trade, BUT then the Raptors would make us take turkeyglue and his terrible contract. It would strap us even worse than what we have going forward now.

    Do you want Boozer, Millsap? Boris Diaw? Shane Batter, Tracy McGrady? There are NO quality bigs that are available that can play with the likes of Boston, Orlando, LA, Dallas, San Antonio, and Denver. Like it or not Shaq gives us a nice match up on the defensive end with those teams, and they just so happen to be the best teams in the league.

  • jack

    I think it’s great for Oklahoma city and that it wasn’t built with an NBA team in mind. Does it compare to the Q or the Palace, not really, but I’ve been in the bottom bowl and literally in the very last row, and there is not a bad seat in the house. It’s pretty personal, and the fans are so happy to have a franchise, it’s a very friendly place. Best part, it’s cheap! $5 parking, $6 beers, and you can get the cheap seats for less than $20 easy. I’m in for a shock when I move back up North and have to pay “regular” prices.

  • Natty The Dog

    Ok Jack.

    No more Shaq trade talk. After really thinking about it, I propose this as the solution. I agree that shaq is an important piece, and the only time he will make us better is when he can play one on one with the superb bigs, ie. LA and ORL. Can we atleast put him on the bench more often? Lets give him one night on, two nights off.

    1. Shaq should never be in during the closing minutes of the 4th in a close game. I really think he takes away that swag the Cavs have in that situation.

    2. I like Shaq in the second unit in situations where the Cavs are playing an inferior opponent. Playing through him when Lebron is on the bench slows the game down, and limits how out of control leads can get, or get taken away.

    3. Lets just leave it where you left it. Shaq is here for one reason, and that is not playing 30 minutes against Houston or Memphis. We also know we have to get better. Much better. A second scoring option solves that.

    Ok City is going to be an awesome team.

    Natty The Dog (Jake In Ohio City)

  • Mike D

    There’s a special room reserved in hell for Clay Bennett, and he has to share it with Art Modell.

  • Painesville

    THIS IS WHY WE WONT WIN THE RING THIS YEAR!

    http://www.youtube.com/v/H3S2E9cw4sk

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    @Natty

    Definitely need to limit Shaq’s minutes. Phoenix was never really able to integrate him into their scheme, but they had the right idea about holding him out of back-to-backs. I’m also a big fan of only situationally starting him, i.e. against Orlando or L.A. I feel like part of the reason Mike Brown is forcing this right how is because he wants the team to figure out how to use Shaq now as opposed to in the first round of the playoffs.

    Also, OKC is now where the Blazers were not too long ago and the Nets are now where the Thunder were not too long ago. I love watching young, talented teams develop together.

  • Jack

    Natty (aka Jake in Ohio City): ESPN rumors has Marcus Camby becoming available. Now there is a man with some size that we may want to look at.

    Sure, he’s old too. But he’s only signed for this year. I think his presence would be the perfect piece to compete against Boston and LA.

    I feel like we could hook this up.

  • Natty The Dog

    Jack.

    I like Camby. I am all for it, BUT, the only thing I think about with a trade is it needs to compliment our future. We can’t bring in a guy for a year because next year the $$ isn’t there.

    That is why I’ve been harping about Shaq so much. I know how critical he is against certain line ups, but I want some guys for the next 4 years here. Some guys locked up so Lebron knows who he has going in to 2010.