July 28, 2014

Semih Productive

My wife and I had company over for dinner and games during Tuesday night’s Cavaliers game, which meant the DVR was on duty and I would be watching later. (Had a great time by the way, FANTASTIC steak fajitas and then Ticket to Ride, if you are curious.)

After seeing the final score I wasn’t sure that I’d get around to watching this game. Seriously, did I really want to watch a game knowing we turned the ball over 25 times? And then I saw in the box score something that made me do a double take.

Semih Erden- 14 points. Wait, what? Erden with 6 field goals? That would be 6 more than his season total.

I have been watching intently, trying to figure out what exactly the Cavaliers’ front office sees in Erden that makes them think he has a future in this league, other than being tall. So far this season, I have seen nothing. So in the interest of getting some sort of positive perspective I had to go back and watch, at least his 15 minutes of playing time. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Blast From the Past, Schafering Will Work for Food and Skyenga!

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Our latest at Still WFNY- “That said, WFNY thought it would be a masochistically entertaining exercise to see just who comprised the Cavaliers roster that was led by the duo of coaches John Lucas and Keith Smart to an overall record of 17-65, and see just what each of the 14 men are doing today.” [Scott/Still WFNY] [Read more...]

Cavaliers Bench Comes Through Again

The Cavs beat the 76ers 101-93 at the Q last night to put an end to a three game home losing streak. With the win the Cavaliers pulled even on the season with a 5-5 record.

Once again, the story for Cleveland was the strength of the bench play. Daniel Gibson led everyone in scoring with 18, but reserves Antwan Jamison and Joey Graham (Joey Graham!) both had double digit scoring nights. The only starters for the Cavs to record at least 10 were Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker.

It was a back and forth kind of game for the first half. The Cavs had emphasized making the extra pass in practices leading up to this one, but it wasn’t on display early. Fortunately, Cleveland’s front court kept them in the game early. Varejao, who didn’t miss a shot against the Sixers earlier this month, made 4 of his 5 shots and grabbed 5 boards in his return to the line-up. Wearing protective rib pads that we were told came from the Browns, Andy was a welcome sight. The Cavaliers are just a different team when he is in the game. They are so much better defensively, and even offensively in this system with Varejao. [Read more...]

Cavalier Quick Hitters

The Cavaliers need Andy Varejao. They needed him against San Antonio. They really could have used him against the Kings. Heading into tonight’s game against Milwaukee they sure could use his hustle and rebounding. But I for one am more than glad that he will likely sit this one out. The bigger picture here is obviously the playoffs, and I don’t think the Cavaliers would get out of the second round without Andy- do you?

If you go back to last summer, I bet few would have thought that way about Varejao. Nobody has ever doubted his heart or hustle. I remember very clearly hearing many say that Andy wasn’t worth a big contract and that he was simply a role player for the Cavs. He is a role player. His role is second most productive player on the team.

The Cavaliers held Andy out of practice yesterday, prompting notions that he probably would sit against Bogut. Like when LeBron was hurt a few weeks back, I’m completely in the camp that says sit him. There is no reason to risk a further injury for the final 8 games. In fact, if it were up to me I’d give Varejao the next 3 or 4 games off. Perhaps more playing time will help Zydrunas get back into the flow. Perhaps we’ll see more small line-ups with Jamison playing the 5. It could even mean more playing time for Jamario Moon. [Read more...]

Cavs 99, Pacers 94: Central Division Champs Again

For the third time in franchise history the Cleveland Cavaliers are the champions of the Central Division. Last year the Cavaliers made a pretty big deal out of this. This year they didn’t even mention it over the public address system. I think maybe the message is loud and clear here- they won’t be satisfied with anything less than the NBA crown this year.

The Pacers were short-handed and like the Cavs playing on consecutive nights. Much like the game against the Pistons, the Cavs seemed to cruise until a burst in the third quarter and a swift finish by LeBron James who came just 3 points shy of 15,000 for his career. He will be the youngest player to achieve that milestone on Friday against the Bulls.

Here are some bullet points and questions I had while watching this one…

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Grading the Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao

Andy Varejao report card.001While the Cavaliers use the All-Star break to rest up (well most of them anyways) we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the season so far, and issue some grades. In addition, we will detail what the Cavaliers will need from each player in order to hoist some team hardware this summer. Today the last grades in the series- First of the last?  Anderson Varejao

There have been many positive things said and written about Varajao this season. He’s gotten some national recognition for his defensive ability and contribution to Cleveland’s success. We’re probably all aware of his outstanding +/- stat, which currently has him the third highest rated player in the league behind only LeBron and Kobe. As we all know, statistics don’t always measure what Andy brings to the table- still let’s take a look.

Relevant Stats:

Games: 53 GS: 6 Min: 29.6 FG%: .550 FT%: .656  Reb: 7.90 Off Reb: 2.60 Ast: 1.0 ST: 1.00 Blk: 1.00 Pts:  8.4 [Read more...]

Happy Birthday LeBron: Cavs Win*

LeBronAndyEmbrace*unless of course they don’t, because there just may be some league intervention because of that shot clock incident. More on that in a minute…

This one smelled like a let-down game from 245 miles away. (I caught wind of it in Northern Kentucky around noon.)

First, you have the older Cavs playing against the younger Hawks on a back-to-back. Factor in the Cavs’ recent travel schedule, and potentially some over-confidence after dominating Atlanta recently. Throw in an LBJ birthday game (something the Cavs always seem flat for) and this one was easy to spot.

The Hawks came out early on a mission to prove me right. They out-hustled the Cavs en route to a 64 (!) point first half and a 12-point halftime lead.

That lead would get pushed to 17 early in the third quarter. Cleveland cut it to a mere two points in the period, with great energy and aggressiveness, but lost the momentum and fell behind again by 10. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t think the Cavs had the legs to come back from another double-digit deficit. [Read more...]

Cleveland’s Big Man Rotation

58891992Other than boos and protests against Eric Mangini and the Browns’ QB derby, the loudest noise coming from Cleveland fans is directed at Mike Brown’s use of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Shaq on the floor at the same time. This ‘twin towers’ line-up was exposed against Toronto for its shortcomings, but has had limited success as well. Witness last night’s game against the Magic.

Both Cleveland and Orlando’s centers found themselves in foul trouble throughout the game, but were able to rotate defending each other so as to avoid getting the knock-out foul. One thing that the twin towers rotation did was force Orlando out of it’s normal offense. Gortat and Howard played together on the floor longer than they ever have in their careers. Their offense seemed fairly clueless how to operate with both centers in the game. Of course, this is multiplied when Orlando time after time fails to get Dwight the ball on the block. [Read more...]

Finally, A Cleveland Team To Get Excited About!

It seems like an eternity since the last time the Cavaliers left the court. Much has changed since that night. One thing that hasn’t: the Cavaliers are the top sports organization in the city. In case you missed it the season tips off tonight against the Boston Celtics. Rock will be by later with his game preview. For now, here are 10 reasons to love the Cavs’ chances of winning it all this season.

jerseycavs-copy

1.) We have LeBron. It all begins with the MVP. LeBron gets better every year. He adds a new wrinkle to his game, or tweaks a ‘weakness’. Even through all his public appearances this off season LeBron was busy finding gyms all around the world to work on his game. Chris Jent often accompanied him. As did JJ Hickson. LeBron says he worked on his post game this time around. That is excellent news. LeBron is such a freakish athlete that the only players quick enough to stop him have no chance against him in the paint. He should overpower smaller opponents this season. I wouldn’t have called it a weakness before, as he really wasn’t a post-up kind of player. This could be the begining of an incredible run for LeBron. Jordan didn’t become the most dominant player in the league until he perfected his outside game. The same might be true of the post for LeBron.I can’t think of a player that has the ability to dominate from the outside and the inside quite like LeBron could. That is excellent news for Cavalier fans. [Read more...]

Andy Varejao, Take a Bow

Anderson Varejao banner

Cavaliers 117, Chicago 92 (Box)

In the absence of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cavalier big man Anderson Varejao had a banner game. (Sorry, I couln’t help myself.)

The Wild Thing scored a career best 26 points and grabbed eight boards. (His previous high was 18 points.) More than just the points, Andy supplied his usual hustle and toughness over 31 minutes. With Zydrunas out for at least three weeks, the Cavs will need more of the same from Andy on a regular basis. Now, I don’t expect Varejao to score in the 20′s every game, but they will need him to play more minuites than his season average.

Not lost in the Varejao love-fest at the Q was LeBron’s first triple-double of the season. [Read more...]

Varejao Mending Fences

Andy Varejao Playing For BrazilCleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao Not Playing For Team Brazil In The Upcoming Summer Olympics

It’s been no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers organization does not want Zydrunas Ilgauskas to play for Lithuania in the summer olympics in Beijing this August. Worried about his health and the ability of his infamous feet to withstand such little rest, the Cavaliers would prefer he just stay at home this summer.

What was a bit of a secret, though, was that the Cavaliers also didn’t want Anderson Varejao to play for his native Brazil in the Olympics (Brazil has yet to qualify, so he would have been playing in qualifiers as well). According to Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon Journal, Varejao has agreed to not play for Brazil this summer, but instead rest his weary knees. He writes,   [Read more...]

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Varejao?

clutch.JPGI don’t know what got into Anderson Varejao, but I wish it would happen more often!

I feel so alive
For the very first time
I cant deny you
I feel so alive
I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly
- P.O.D. Alive

What a rush! Kevin Garnett may have been awarded the Defensive Player of the Year, but Andy Varejao gave him a lesson in second half defense tonight. Varejao held Garnett to only 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting in the final half, and scored 6 points himself down the stretch. To punctuate the performance, LeBron James blew by two defenders and threw down on Garnett with a thunderous dunk that essentially ended this one. League of Clutch??

The Cavaliers clamped down on the Celtics in the fourth quarter, holding Boston to only 12 points by denying them access to the paint. Boston in fact shot only twice in the painted area all 4th quarter! [Read more...]

Good Morning Mike Brown…

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That was a great win last night huh coach? LeBron, Damon Jones, Zydrunas, Devin Brown, heck even Eric Snow gave you everything they had. It helps that Washington wasn’t making the extra pass, but a great team effort none the less.

Now you have some work to do. All of Cleveland will be watching Sunday night to get their first glimpse of this new team. We want to know how the pieces are going to fit. We want to know what your line-up is going to be. We want to know who’s playing with who. We can offer our suggestions if you want…

LeBron and Zydrunas are no-brainers to start. Let’s just move on, we know what they bring to the floor. You’re going to need someone to bring the ball up the court Mike, and Delonte can do that for you. Not only that, but these pesky little speed demons that have been running you out of the building, he can slow ‘em down. Steve Nash averages 28 points, 9.5 dimes against the Cavs. Chris Paul is good for 20 and 9 against Cleveland this year. Jameer Nelson (a possible first round opponent by the way) puts up 21.5 and 7.5 assists. The only team he performs better against is Golden State, but they don’t even claim to play defense. West shut him down to the tune of 7 points and 4.5 assists. Surely you still have nightmares about Tony Parker weaving his way through your defense. You get the point. [Read more...]