April 20, 2014

Cavaliers Continue Fourth-Quarter Routs

Over the last three contests, the Cleveland Cavaliers have provided the highest average of fourth-quarter points in the entire NBA.

Let that marinate for a minute. 

Without LeBron James, historically one of the best crunch-time players to ever play the game, the Cleveland Cavaliers are at the top of the league through said three-game time frame.  On the road for all three contests, the Cavs have averaged 35 points in the final 12 minutes, all resulting in tally marks among the win column.  For comparison, the typically high-powered offenses of the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks have averaged 19.7 and 16.7, respectively.

Through 2009, the Cavs averaged 24.0 points per fourth quarter.  Thus far in 2010, the Cavs are putting up 27.9, good enough for second in the entire NBA through the first two full weeks of play.  If one were to look down team-based stat lists, however, the Cavs are not among the top in almost every specific list. 

The Wine and Gold are 19th in field goals made, 10th in three-point field goals made, 15th in free throws made, and 14th in eFG%.  But, as has been preached by Byron Scott on multiple occasions this season, the whole continues to be greater than the sum of the parts.  This perceived rag-tag bunch of “guys” - a troop without their leader of the last seven years – continues to get it done during the most important time of the game.

Among the best in the fourth quarter thus far is guard Daniel Gibson.  Entering Tuesday night, Boobie was second in the entire NBA in fourth-quarter scoring.  Fittingly, Gibson chipped in with eight more points in the fourth quarter in the form of two huge three-pointers and the shot that was considered by many to be the “dagger” in the form of an Allen Iverson-like jab and step-back jumper from the elbow. 

But while we can lament on one guy getting the job done, fact of the matter is that this Cavaliers team is getting contributions from everyone.  Not only did the Cavs receive 52 points from the bench, but they are a team that shares the ball so well that opposing teams cannot rely on double-teaming or planning for one single clutch-time player.  In Tuesday night’s win over New Jersey, the Cavaliers received points from the abovementioned Gibson, but also Antawn Jamison, Jawad Williams, Anthony Parker and Ramon Sessions. 

Of their 27 total assists on Tuesday night, 10 led to field goals at the rim (five of which were from Mo Williams alone) and nine led to three-pointers. 

Like the previous two road wins, both featuring strong fourth-quarter play, head coach Byron Scott continues to applaud the defensive effort in getting stops.  However, from a fan standpoint, this team has played pretty solid defense for most of the last seven years.  To see them execute on the offensive end, especially to the tune of nearly 30 points per game, speaks volumes to Scott’s conditioning work as well as his focus on ball movement and execution.

Beats the heck out of clock-killing dribbles any day of the week.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

  • http://www.twitter.com/azv321 Amin

    Routes or routs?

  • Chris

    A) I always thought it was kind of silly how when a-certain-someone left, we went from the deepest team in the NBA to cellar dwelling do-nothings.

    B) We always knew Boobie was a stone cold killer in the clutch. That makes his absence last season all the more puzzling.

  • http://www.twitter.com/azv321 Amin

    “Beats the heck out of clock-killing dribbles any day of the week.”


  • Roosevelt

    You mention that the Cavs will be able to look in any of several directions when they need points, unlike in years past. For a team with no superstars, like the Cavs, it’s a strength. As much as I hate to say it, I do care how the Heat will do this year. The Heat, meanwhile, have a similar situation. As of today, Lebron James is averaging 20 pts. and 8 assists, squarely in Steve Nash/Tony Parker territory. Meanwhile, it took a 39 point effort last night for Wade to get on the top 10 scoring list. Sure, the Heat have two potential superstars, but if they get used to sharing, will they be able to shift into superstar mode on demand?

  • JNeids

    “the whole continues to be greater than the sum of the parts”
    Proof: Wade scored all 10 of the Heat’s points in Overtime last night…and they lost.

  • Mortimer

    Amen to the no more dribbling down the shot clock offense…

  • stin4u

    @2 – Yes just because they subtracted ELbj the rest of these guys couldn’t play? Not so much.

    Meanwhile the Heat’s bench is absolutely atrocious….glanced at the box score from last nights game and the entire bench +/- was -. I think the way the Cavs are structured (even talent all over starters/bench) may be an advantage over a team like Miami (totally top heavy with starters). Not sure yet but we’ll see as the season plays out I suppose.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    What I like about Byron Scott’s coaching is that it features an up-tempo offense, but has a greater emphasis on defense than the Mike D’Antoni or Don Nelson styles. It allows the team to wear down the opposition and if it’s close by the 4th quarter, we have the edge.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    This Cavs team reminds me of that scene from Dodgeball…

    “Your best player thinks he’s a pirate!!!”

    “How do you know he’s our best player? That could be any one of us at this point?”


  • Dave

    JNeids: An even more dramatic example of “good whole team beats 1 really good player” – 1986 EC first round, Michael Jordan scores 63 points, and loses to the Celtics.

  • TSR3000

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The heat are going to win a lot more games than us.

    Just take pride in the fact that we have a good coach, a hungry team and a few pieces to build around (JJ, Mo and Andy).

    Otherwise, get ready to become the worlds biggest Celtics and Magic fan come playoff time. As long as we have a respectable season and the heat don’t win it all, I will be content.

  • Harv 21

    @11/TSR3000: well said and amen, brother.

  • http://serandez.blogspot.com Ezzie

    What 11 said.

    @7 – You generally want the starters more than the big spread, because the starters play 36-42 minutes (especially come playoffs). But with the Cavs giving this many minutes to its bench (note last night 20+ for 4 bench players) and the bench this effective, if they can hang tough with other teams’ starters and take advantage of fresher legs, it could be interesting.

  • mgbode

    we have an incredibly easy opening schedule. i was thinking to make a serious run at going .500 or better we needed to be over .500 at XMAS time (do-able).

    so far, outside a toe-stubbing at the hands of the horrific Raptors, we have done our job (then again, we balanced that off with the upset of the Celtics).

    I am also not buying the Bulls hype. I don’t think they are all that good. I think the Central Champ finishes around 47/48 wins. That is a little over what I think the high water mark is for our team, but it’s at least still plausible.