August 1, 2014

Game One: Cavaliers vs Nets Behind The Box Score

They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Opening nights are generally fun regardless, but there’s simply nothing better than getting that first win under your belt in game one.

The Cavaliers got off to a slow start, but after a Mike Brown timeout with the Cavs trailing 10-2, both teams settled into a nice groove and for 3 quarters this a pretty solid, well played basketball game. Then the 4th quarter happened.

In the 4th, things devolved into an ugly defensive grind-fest which carried with it an almost playoff like atmosphere. The crowd was into and the game felt like it hinged on every single possession for the last 4 minutes. In the end, though, the Cavaliers were able to make plays to get the needed baskets and they were able to get defensive stops when they needed them.

And defense was the story of this game for the Cavaliers. Lets get into the numbers.

[Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Open the Season with Hope, Excitement, and Something New….Expectations

Cleveland Cavaliers

Season 44 of Cleveland Cavalier basketball tips off tonight at 7:00 at The Q when the Wine and Gold host the new-look Brooklyn Nets. That much we know for sure. Beyond that, so much of this upcoming season is a mystery. But the nice thing about the unknown is that it can offer equal parts hope and excitement.

Hope is nothing new for Cleveland. People often mistakenly assume that Cleveland sports fans are miserable and hopeless. Well, we might be miserable, but for some reason we never let go of hope.

There was hope that the post-LeBron Cavaliers would still make a playoff run with the likes of Mo Williams, JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison, and Daniel Gibson. There was hope that Byron Scott would bring a fresh, new, exciting brand of basketball to Cleveland. There was hope that Brandon Weeden in his 2nd year would make the leap into a competent QB and lead the Browns to a meaningful season. There was hope that an overachieving Indians team could ride their hot streak into the playoffs and make an improbable run at the World Series.

So maybe our hope isn’t paid off very often. But this unrequited hope is what makes Cleveland sports fans so great. And never is hope more abundant than on opening day of any season. None of this is new. I feel like every year on opening night I write about the hope of a new season and the quality of the unknown and blah, blah, blah. It’s all a fine sentiment, but all it’s ever done recently is precede a gut-wrenching season of miserable basketball. [Read more...]

Box Score: Cavaliers 101, Nets 114

Anderson Varejao started this game on fire, setting the tone for what would be a monster game for him. He ends this one with a career high 35 points and added 18 rebounds to go with it. Kyrie Irving was huge in the 2nd half and he finished with 34 points of his own to go with his 8 assists. It wouldn’t be enough for the Cavaliers, though.

The Cavaliers were actually winning after the 1st quarter, 30-29. They would follow with a 12 point second quarter, though, and they were never within single digits of the Nets from there. Kyrie and Anderson’s combined 69 points was impressive, but there just wasn’t enough help in this one.

The Nets routinely were able to get seemingly whatever basket they wanted inside the paint, taking advantage of some poor defense and countering with excellent ball movement all night. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez looked the part of a Big 3 in this one, scoring 26, 25, and 23 points respectively  Andre Blatche scored 13 points off the bench to easily outscore the Cavaliers bench by himself. Jon Leuer had 4 points, Donald Sloan hit 2 FTs, and nobody else off the bench scored a single point. In almost 18 minutes Daniel Gibson attempted one shot, a 3 pointer he missed.

A lot of recurring themes in this game for the Cavaliers, and Anderson Varejao’s frustration with the team’s performance was palpable. To their credit, though, the Cavaliers never gave up and fought with everything they had to close the deficit to 10 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Nets simply had too much down the stretch and the Cavaliers just aren’t a team capable of getting enough big stops when they need them at this point.

The Cavaliers now have 3 days off to work on defense and maybe find something to help the bench performance before they return home to face the Mavericks on Saturday.

Cleveland

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
K. Irving G 37:44 9-19 2-6 14-14 -1 1 4 8 4 3 0 2 2 34
D. Waiters G 35:48 3-16 1-5 1-2 -10 0 4 2 2 2 0 1 2 8
A. Varejao C 37:29 16-21 0-0 3-3 +4 11 18 3 1 2 0 1 2 35
A. Gee F 37:57 2-7 0-1 0-0 +6 0 1 2 1 0 0 1 4 4
T. Thompson F 30:49 6-11 0-0 2-5 -5 3 5 0 1 1 0 3 4 14
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 38-87 3-14 22-26 16 35 16 12 10 0 10 26 101
Percentages .437 .214 .846 Team Rebounds: 13
D. Gibson 17:45 0-1 0-1 0-0 -9 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 4 0
J. Leuer 17:05 2-7 0-0 0-0 -13 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 2 4
S. Samuels 10:37 0-3 0-0 0-0 -12 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
L. Walton 5:57 0-0 0-0 0-0 -8 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0
D. Sloan 5:44 0-2 0-1 2-2 -9 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
O. Casspi 3:05 0-0 0-0 0-0 -8 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
C.J. Miles DNP – Coach’s Decision
J. Pargo DNP – Coach’s Decision

Brooklyn

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
J. Johnson G 38:37 9-16 3-9 4-5 +18 0 5 6 3 1 1 0 2 25
D. Williams G 35:55 10-20 1-6 5-5 -7 1 2 10 3 1 0 0 2 26
B. Lopez C 28:47 10-14 0-0 3-5 -2 2 7 1 2 1 4 0 4 23
K. Humphries F 27:13 4-5 0-0 4-6 +4 3 6 1 1 0 1 0 5 12
K. Bogans F 10:49 0-3 0-3 0-0 0 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 1 0
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 42-77 5-22 25-31 12 39 27 13 5 10 0 23 114
Percentages .545 .227 .806 Team Rebounds: 7
C.J. Watson 28:16 2-7 1-3 2-2 +10 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 3 7
R. Evans 20:47 0-0 0-0 2-2 +9 3 8 1 1 1 0 0 1 2
A. Blatche 19:13 4-7 0-0 5-6 +15 1 5 1 2 0 3 0 2 13
J. Childress 15:01 1-2 0-0 0-0 +6 1 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 2
J. Stackhouse 14:52 2-3 0-1 0-0 +10 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 4
T. Shengelia 0:30 0-0 0-0 0-0 +2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Taylor DNP – Coach’s Decision
M. Teletovic DNP – Coach’s Decision

Cavaliers Head to Brooklyn to Finish First Road Trip of the Season

The bad news for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-5, 12th in the East) is that once again, they are playing on the road. The good news is the game is in the Eastern Time Zone and closer to home. The even better news is that this one is  this is the final game of a debilitating and demoralizing road trip.

Yes, mercy comes to the Cavaliers as they head to Brooklyn to check out the Nets’ (3-2, 4th in the East) new digs. This road trip has seen heartbreaking buzzer beaters, tough injuries, bouts with sickness and food poisoning, bitter collapses, and in general, lots of losing. I won’t be sad to see it come to an end. I’m eager to see MGK’s face on my TV again1.

This may be broken record time here again, but if you want to know why the Cavaliers are 2-5 despite playing what seems like better basketball, look no further than the defense. The Cavaliers are dead last in opponents eFG% and 23rd in the NBA in opponents FTs per FGA. Essentially, the 2 most important factors on defense (not letting the other team get good shots and not fouling them) are the 2 areas the Cavaliers have been terrible at. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg_TZk45b84 []

Some Thoughts on the NBA on the Eve of Season Tip-Off

Happy NBA Season Eve everyone!

Tomorrow the NBA season kicks off with a TNT double header featuring prime matchups between the Celtics and Heat, and the Mavericks and Lakers. But there is one other game tomorrow night, and it’s the most anticipated and sure to be the most watched game of the three.

That’s right, tomorrow night one of the great “rivalries” in the NBA resumes when the Washington Wizards visit our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers. Ok, yes, I’m being facetious. Nobody outside Washington and Cleveland cares about this game, and the Wizards and Cavaliers are not “rivals”, and they never were. But that doesn’t mean we Cavalier fans shouldn’t be filled with excitement over another season about to tip off.

We’ll cover more on the Cavaliers specifically tomorrow, but for today, I wanted to kick off general NBA coverage with some overall generic thoughts on the NBA as a whole. There’s been some huge moves in the offseason, and another monumental shift occurred this weekend when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. So lets get into some of the main storylines of this NBA season (along with some musical interludes to enjoy as we go along). [Read more...]

Wojnarowski: Cavaliers Out of the Dwight Howard Trade Situation

Much of the past couple days have been spent focusing on the potential 3-4 team trade to get Dwight Howard from Orlando to Brooklyn. The Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to be the 3rd team involved in the trade, looking to acquire Kris Humphries and a first round pick for their troubles.

According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, though, the Cavaliers are no longer involved in the trade discussions:

Not only is Cleveland out, but it sounds as if the trade itself seems to be falling apart, with the Magic and Nets now trying to focus on a deal just between the two teams:

As always, the Cavaliers have not and will not comment on this trade. Despite some ridiculous speculation that the Cavaliers were looking to facilitate this trade to “stick it” to LeBron by creating another Eastern Conference power, the reality of the situation is the Cavaliers were merely looking to add assets for nothing. When it became clear, though, that Kris Humphries wanted a longer deal than the Cavaliers were comfortable giving him, the Cavaliers walked away from the table.

[Related: Irving, Waiters, Thompson and Zeller Headline Cavs’ Summer League Roster]

Cavaliers Preview Game #25: Nets at Cavs

Cavaliers vs NetsNew Jersey Nets (2-22) vs
Cleveland Cavaliers (17-7)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
7:00 PM EST
NBATV, FSOH/WTAM

Remember when LeBron James said he wasn’t going to talk about free agency anymore? So far he’s stuck to it like a champ and we haven’t heard a peep out of him about it. Tonight could be a temptation, though. The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the New Jersey Nets in the Q tonight. You know the story by now. LeBron is friends with Jay-Z, Jay-Z is a minority owner of the Nets, the Nets are moving to Brooklyn in 2009 in 2010 someday, Brooklyn is a NY borough, LeBron loves New York, LeBron loves the New York Yankees, CC Sabathia pitches for the Yankees, Sabathia used to pitch in Cleveland, therefore LeBron will play for the Nets next year. So it’s only reasonable to expect the NJ media who travels to Cleveland tonight to want to ask LeBron what it’s going to be like when he’s playing for them next year. We’ll see if LeBron bites.

As for on the court, the Cavaliers are going to be playing one of the worst basketball teams ever assembled. I mean, this team is historically bad. I think we all knew they would be bad, but I don’t know as if anyone knew they were going to be quite this awful. You might be tempted to think this is a trap game, with the Cavs playing a 2-22 team at home before having to travel to Philly tomorrow, but if the Cavaliers allow this game to be even interesting, let alone if they lose this game, then they have no business considering themselves contenders. After a couple solid wins in a row making up for a couple tough losses, it would be an awful shame for the Cavaliers to have another letdown so soon.    [Read more...]

Lenny Barker’s Perfect Game – The Musical

Here at WFNY we have some weird audience members.  Knowing the sports history of Cleveland I guess I don’t expect much different.  Well, now I want to introduce you to one of these audience members.  Alex Battles is a one man musical anomaly.  Alex is responsible for bringing music that can usually be characterized by cowboy hats and big buckles to the unlikely borough of Brooklyn New York.  Alex has a musical experience that he calls the Whiskey Rebellion and his music pretty much worships Johnny Cash and Hank Williams at all times.

So Alex took all his old-school country chops and wrote a song about Lenny Barker’s perfect game.  Enjoy.

New Jersey Has Cap Space, The Sky Is Falling: Part I

LeBron on Fortune MagazineWith the story of LeBron’s “inevitable” journey to New Jersey in 2010 being such a popular story in major media outlets and blogs alike these days, we take a grim look into the eye of the beast and examine the ramifications of a LeBron James exile to Jersey. This is Part I of the “Sky Is Falling” series out of however many articles is necessary between now and D-Day.

There’s this Great Lie that permeates NBA media and blogging circles. It’s everywhere you turn. It’s suffocating. It’s pollution. It’s founded solely in rhetoric and innuendo. And it’s demeaning to a city, a state, a player, and a collection of fans who follow all 3 (city, state, and player). The Great Lie is that LeBron James is leaving Cleveland in 2010. The Great Lie tells the city of Cleveland that it’s not worthy of a person like LeBron James. The Great Lie tells the state of Ohio that it’s too backwards to qualify for housing a star of LeBron’s caliber. The Great Lie tells LeBron James that he’s an idiot if he isn’t scheming his escape from Ohio’s backwoods wilderness now already. The Great Lie tells us Cavaliers fans that we shouldn’t bother. The NBA isn’t for us. We aren’t good enough to watch our own homegrown hero succeed. The Great Lie is evil. The Great Lie is counterproductive. The Great Lie needs to stop.     [Read more...]

Public Enemy No. 1?

LeBron and Jay-ZLeBron James and Jay-Z Host First Annual “Two Kings” Dinner

A lot of times it’s much easier to dish out the advice than it is to follow your own advice. I literally just wrote a couple days ago that we need to all collectively just sit back and enjoy the LeBron show while we can and stop frantically worrying about where LeBron may or may not go in the summer of 2010. “Every time I think I’m out….they pull me back in!”

Henry Abbott at TrueHoop wrote a blog entry this week called “The Boys of 2010″, in which he discusses all the great players who will be free agents in 2010. He writes, [Read more...]