- Commuting from Columbus to Cleveland
- The underwhelming NFL draft
- The Colt McCoy trade
- Joe Banner and accountability
- Mike Lombardi’s hiring
- The Cleveland Cavaliers’ abysmal defense
- The silence from Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert
- Byron Scott’s future
- Hiring a defensive coordinator for the Cavs
A day after the Cavaliers blew a fourth quarter 20 point lead to the Pacers (then 48-29), the Cavs returned home to take on the 26-52 Detroit Pistons. The Cavs had lost five straight games to the Pistons, including all three match-ups this season. Not to spoil the surprise, but they didn’t get the job done on Wednesday either.
Coming out of the first half down 4 points, the Cavaliers closed the gap and took a 1 point lead into the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving, after struggling a bit in the first half, scored 10 points and dished out 3 assists in the period. The teams traded baskets and the lead until Will Bynum hit 3 consecutive shots and put the Pistons up 4 with six minutes to play.
That’s when the Cavaliers employed a new defensive strategy.
Detroit’s rookie center Andre Drummond is having a good first season, but not from the free throw stripe. Entering the game, Drummond was hitting 34% of his free throws. At the six minute mark, Drummond had made 3 of his 5 free throws in the game. With the Pistons already in the bonus, Byron Scott decided to employ the hack-a-Drummond strategy until the two minute mark when an intentional foul would mean free throws plus possession. For most of the next four minutes, the Cavaliers grabbed Drummond as soon as the ball reached half court.
Did the strategy work? Well, in a way yes. Drummond made half of his remaining free throws, hitting 6 out of 12. In that time, the Cavaliers regained the lead. With a 2 point lead at the three minute mark the Cavs played normal defense and watched as Bynum drained a three. This sent the Cavs back to fouling Drummond. [Read more...]
The Cleveland sports scene has managed to take an otherwise unifying bond and turned it into a polarizing chasm of considerable proportions. As fans of the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers, Clevelanders experience every bump, every The, together—we celebrate the occasional win, and collectively grieve through the latest loss. But as the Browns offseason wraps up and the Indians’ regular season just begins, it is the Cavaliers who have provided the most hand-wringing and polarization.
While it can be reasonably assumed that all Cavalier fans have an identical ultimate goal, the avenue best taken can be debated. As the NBA Draft nears, fans can discuss who would be the best piece for Chris Grant to add to the puzzle. But as the losses pile up—many of which have been after 20-point leads—the Cavaliers are forcing fans to take sides, each one feeling that they are fighting for the greater good.
Big news in the podcast world. Scott Raab has agreed to be a regular weekly guest. So other than a few exceptions, I’m sure, we will have Scott’s perspective on a weekly basis. I can’t tell you just how happy it makes me that he wants to contribute every week. Please consider subscribing on iTunes.
- Indians home opener
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Travis Hafner
- John Sterling
- Free agency and MLB
- Swisher and now appreciating his “bro dude” attitude
- Replacing the guy who replaces the guy
- First Energy Field
- Making money on bad teams
- Byron Scott and silence from Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert
- Shaq and his bloated contract
- Rutgers and Mike Rice’s firing
- Putting a mic in front of the mother of a player
- Roger Ebert and the online reaction to him
- Journalists worshipping journalists
- The meaninglessness of apologies
- The word police send Scott a letter
I’ll be honest. Until Jason Lloyd’s “Scott’s seat may not be safe” article and the debacle that was Wednesday’s game versus Brooklyn, I hadn’t been paying close attention to the day-in, day-out happenings of the Cavaliers. I knew that they were in a bit of a free fall, but that’s not entire surprising given both Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving were missing time due to injuries. Even though I wasn’t a huge Byron guy, it hadn’t even occurred to me that Byron Scott’s job could actually be in jeopardy. Everyone knows they’re tanking, no?
Hell, before Byron’s Teflon coating wore off last week, the biggest late-season story of this Cavaliers season has been whether or not the Lakers can make the playoffs1. Instead of watching horrible losses to the Rockets or Hornets (and really guys, you lost by 20 to the freaking Hornets?), I’ve spent these last few weeks following the Lakers and hoping they can hold off Utah and (suddenly hot) Mavericks for that final Western Conference playoff spot. If the Lakers can find a way to sneak in, the Cavs would be well positioned to have a monster offseason2. I was happily biding my time waiting for the draft lottery (Tuesday, May 21st!) and wondering if any of these people I watched (for the first time) in March Madness were any good.
But now that the Cavs had a gut wrenching collapse against Heat, followed it up with a loss to the Celtics in which they gave up a game winning layup, and suffered through a double digit losing streak that ultimately culminated with the non-competitive laugher versus Brooklyn, people are (finally?) starting to question Byron Scott and all of my focus is firmly back on happenings at The Q.
Let’s see what’s going on, shall we? [Read more...]
- allowing Chris Grant to swap the Lakers’ mid-first rounder with Miami’s late first acquired in the LeBron trade. If they miss, Cavs don’t get to swap and the pick goes to the Suns [↩]
- I’m fairly confident that the Lakers will get in, even though their record sits at 40-36, just a half game ahead of Utah at 40-37. But I fully expect the combination of the Lakers Hall of Fame talent an the NBA’s, um, big market bias, to push the Lakers over this final hump. I’d be shocked if Kobe, Dwight and Nash weren’t in the playoff promos. Shocked [↩]
Everyone take a deep breath. The losing streak is over. We can all relax. Well, at least a little bit.
Cavaliers bounced back from (possibly) their worst loss of the season, beating the Boston Celtics 97-91 and snapping their season-long 10-game losing streak. Tristan Thompson led everyone with 29 points and 17 boards (both career highs) and Alonzo Gee finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, as the Cavs improved to 23-52. The Celtics were paced by Jeff Green’s 23 point, nine rebound, four assist evening and got 16 points and seven boards off the bench from someone named Shavlik Randolph. Boston, firmly rooted in the 7th seed in the East and playing without Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, saw their record fall to 39-37.
This wasn’t Cleveland’s most impressive win of the season, but it was possibly their most important. Following a week of coaching speculation and the debacle that was Wednesday’s loss to the Nets, it was nice to see the Cavs bounce back and win on the road in Boston. Yes, the Celtics were missing key players on Friday night, but when has that foretold a Cavalier victory? The Nets were without Joe Johnson on Wednesday night and the Cavs lost by roughly a billion. That they played hard and didn’t overlook a hobbled Celtic team is (sadly) itself a minor victory.
A win is a win. But a bounce-back win after a week of “have the Cavs quit on their coach” speculation is even better. The Cavs played a fantastic third period, holding the Celtics to just 16 points and ending the quarter on a 19-6 run that (coupled with their 8-0 run to start the fourth) put them in firm control of the ball game. Cleveland’s lead ballooned to as many as twelve during the fourth (82-68) and while the Celtics made their requisite run, the Cavs never let them get closer than four points. There would be no repeat of last week’s loss to the Celtics at the buzzer. The young Cavs kept up their defensive pressure in the final period (and Boston did their part by missing open treys and stumbling into some unforced turnovers) and Cleveland went 7-8 from the free throw line in fourth quarter to keep their hard earned victory.
Oh, that Kyrie Irving guy played too. It wasn’t Irving’s best night, as he finished with just 11 points on 4-20 shooting (though also eight assists and five boards), but it was enough. The young All-Star set up Tyler Zeller for an easy layup to increase Cleveland’s lead to 93-87 with two minutes to play and he followed it up thirty second later with his only basket of the fourth, a step back jumper to put the Cavs up 95-87 and essentially ice the game. [Read more...]
Let me just start off by saying that I have no idea if Byron Scott should be fired or not. I mean that too. I think compelling arguments can be made both ways from people with varying degrees of knowledge of the situation. I think it’s more important to leave that flag waving at the door because even as much as even beat writers are around the team and talking to players, they still don’t have as much perspective as Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert should have on the situation. With all that said, I think it’s important to lay out the whole situation to understand what analysis should take place.
First, let’s start with expectations. Byron Scott was never going to take this group to the playoffs in all likelihood. Sure, it might have been possible if everyone had stayed healthy and everything went just right, but let’s not pretend like that was ever an organizational goal this year. So just looking at the win-loss record isn’t a compelling argument to say Byron Scott needs to be fired or kept.
The NBA has become a league of timing and if you sign your free agents too early before your young core is ready to compete for the playoffs, it becomes a waste of resources and your team will probably peak too early and most likely short of its goals. (Larry Hughes, anyone?) This isn’t even to mention the implications in the draft lottery. I don’t think the Cavs are intentionally “tanking,” but this was always expected to be a development year for the team. Argue all you want that this is bad for the NBA and its fans. I’ll gladly listen to that argument and might even chime in, but let’s not pretend like we don’t get it. [Read more...]
The locker room had the aura of a funeral home. Suited men stood at the entry way, greeting—watching. Silence echoed off of the maple, those impacted by the loss slowly shuffled about with their heads hanging and faces oozing disappointment. Some sat, some leaned; others came and went without saying a word. Laid to rest was the last 48 minutes of basketball, the Cleveland Cavaliers being brutally beaten in front of a home crowd by a team missing two of it’s starters in the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets. As if any loss is well-timed, this one was especially tough due to the nature—an insurmountable 30-point halftime deficit—as well as the timing and fact that the 18-point loss was the 10th straight game which resulted in a similar outcome.
Also not aiding matters from a timing perspective is that this most recent defeat comes on the heels of rumors and speculation—coupled with crowd-sourced ire on social media platforms—surrounding the future of Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott. Following a victory, Scott can be found joking with his players, sharing laughs with his wife and gathering a few bites of sushi for the road. Following the latest loss, the parting words were Scott saying that he was not concerned with his future—”Whatever happens happens,” he said—the overriding narrative being that a rebuilding process has morphed into a toxic culture fueld by countless instances of implosion1. As has happened all too often in the city of Cleveland, with accountability varying in terms of direction and level, questions of quitting and locker rooms lost are being lobbed.
- Say what you want, asking a high-ranking individual if he’s afraid of being fired is a pretty tough inquiry within a live environment. Answering it candidly is that much harder. [↩]
Last week in The Diff, I brought you inside the numbers of the Sweet 16. With no more March and no more college basketball for Ohio sports fans, it’s time to move back to the pros. Although the current excitement surrounds the Tribe’s Opening Day win, I’m back for Cavs talk today.
During the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ongoing season-high eight-game losing streak, much of the media talk has been directed toward head coach Byron Scott’s future with the organization. I covered the beginning of the talk about 10 days ago. Anonymous players then shared their frustrations with the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd over the weekend. And our very own Scott threw his hat into the ring on Monday. But looming large in these murmurs is this largely unreported fact: The 2012-13 Cavaliers are currently the worst third-quarter and second-half team in the National Basketball Association. By far. [Read more...]
Always a fun time talking to Scott Raab. You never quite know where the conversation is going to go. I especially love talking to him about his Esquire Q&As. This time we talked about his recently published one with Patton Oswalt. Then we talked a bit about Louis CK as well.
- Sports talk radio
- Mike Holmgren and his defensive rant
- Colt McCoy and his concussion
- The act of incompetence of putting him back in the game
- Patton Oswalt in The Fan
- Ratatouille vs. The Fan
- Oswalt and his hunger and desire to be good
- Louis CK and his thoughtfulness
- Kevin Ware and his injury
- Kim Jong Un
- Cleveland Indians roster not inspiring confidence
- Tony Grossi and accountability
- Mark Shapiro and his break
- Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers
Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com beat writer Jason Lloyd wrote a very interesting piece on some internal criticisms of Cavaliers coach Byron Scott. The anonymous complaints really run the gamut; there’s the “run too hard of a practice session” complaint, the “team hasn’t played defense in three years” complaint, the “please use your time outs” complaints, the “why does Kyrie play only half of the fourth” complaint and finally, the rarely seen “give Tristan Thompson more push-shot opportunities” complaint.
The piece is all encompassing.
Most, if not all, of these seem pretty minor. I find it hard to believe that the fabled “Camp Scott” is really having an effect on their legs at this point in the season. And it’s telling that the veteran player quoted dismisses the “hard practices” stuff.
While I do feel that players like Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters have made strides under Scott, the concerns raised with regard to playing time and the use of time outs have been troubling. Also, it’s not good that after three seasons, the team still has no defensive identity.
That being said, I do think that Scott deserves a shot to coach a Cavalier team that both their full compliment of players and an organizational backing to make a playoff run. Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao keep getting hurt and his best players off the bench are Luke Walton a guy who was waived by the Wizards. That doesn’t explain some of the in-game decisions, but it sure can help explain the dismal record.
I’m not going to go back and have regrets on things after I see it. The only one I wish I would’ve used now if I could go back would be to call a timeout [before the final shot]. The biggest thing with doing that is you give them a chance to set up on defense, and sometimes just having that spontaneity, just letting guys go, is sometimes the best thing to do. But sometimes with the group we have now, it might not be the best thing to do. That’s one of the things I probably learned [Wednesday] night. We get in that situation again [Friday] or any other game, maybe I’ll just go ahead and burn that one and set up something, especially for that person to try to get a better shot.
— Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott, Thursday afternoon, discussing how he managed the end of the team’s recent loss to the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers lost by one point after squandering a double-digit lead and had three timeouts remaining.
[Related: Cavs do it again…]
When taking into account the playing field that is the National Basketball Association, it is relatively easy to see how the Cleveland Cavaliers can blow a large lead to the New York Knicks. Even clearer, the way that an injury-ridden version of the same team could cough up a historical lead to the defending champion Miami Heat. But when the Boston Celtics come to town without All-Stars Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett and find themselves down double-digits late — the Cavaliers with a boat load of timeouts and a rabid base of 20,000 fans willing them to the final buzzer — it is difficult to envision just how the Wine and Gold found themselves losers once again.
Certainly, the players who were tasked with winning said game played a factor; even when you strip away the injured stars for both franchises, the Celtics have a deeper roster. Yes, the lack of Garnett allowed Boston head coach Doc Rivers to deploy a smaller lineup, (allegedly) forcing Cleveland’s Byron Scott to play Luke Walton in points of the game where he would otherwise be a casual observer. And yes, the final 2.1 seconds were a complete farce — the Celtics, out of timeouts, were allowed to reconvene for a final play while officials reviewed Alonzo Gee deflecting a ball out of bounds after some incredibly stout defense on Boston’s Paul Pierce. But in the end, it is the Cavaliers who were on the wrong side of the ledger as the clock struck zeros.
They had led by 14 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Bad news gets worse for the falling-apart Cavaliers. From today’s Akron Beacon Journal about the status of Dion Waiters’ knee, here’s Byron Scott via beat writer Jason Lloyd:
“I don’t think he’s even close. I’m just going by what I’ve seen,” Scott said. “Every time [team physical therapist George Sibel] touched it this morning, [Waiters] seemed to be making all these moves like it was hurting. Just from that, I don’t think it’s close.”
Back on March 19, we shared that Waiters’ injury could need surgery to heal. He last played the day before against the Indiana Pacers, but left after playing the entirety of the first quarter.
In last Tuesday’s update, the Cavs determined that Waiters had small, loose cartilage fragments in his knee. He is undergoing additional observations and examinations and is being evaluated for proper next steps early this week.
His treatment plan could potentially include the removal of said loose cartilage via arthroscopic knee surgery, which would end his season. According to Lloyd in the Beacon Journal, Scott said there still remains to predetermined date for final decisions on Waiters’ possible surgery or return to the court.
Over the course of his rookie season, the 21-year-old from Syracuse is averaging 14.7 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 57 games. He ranks second among rookies in both points per game and third in assists. After a largely inefficient star to the year, he had showed signs of significant improvement in 2013.
In addition to the music podcast, we spent a few minutes talking about the NBA, specifically the Miami Heat streak. We also talked about the Cavaliers and Byron Scott and losing big leads with inferior teams.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our friends at The DiaTribe had a neat opportunity of a sit-down with Mark Shapiro. Here is Shapiro’s first quote: “‘Yeah, if you define active by spending money. This is my 22nd season with the team, and there’s never been anything of this magnitude. It’s clearly both a statement and effort by ownership. This isn’t just a front office effort. We identify players, make recommendations and provide alternative plans and they ultimately make the decisions. With both Swisher and Bourn, Paul Dolan was extremely involved and assertive in our efforts to get those players.’” [Al Ciammaichella] [Read more...]
Any time your team is having a 22-47 season, it’s certain to elicit negative reactions from fans about the organization’s head coach. But it’s a very nuanced type of negativity when it deals with Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott.
Multiple times this year — notably, after the team started 5-23 — fans have questioned whether he’s the right coach to lead the Cavs into their hopeful playoff seasons down the road. Many have questioned his rotations. Others have questioned his overall toughness. Some have recalled how previous New Jersey and New Orleans teams started to ignore him by the end of his reign.
Whatever your Byron Scott-related point of view du jour, it’s likely that you displayed it on Twitter as the Cavaliers suffered their worst loss of the season, 118-76, on Friday in Houston. This of course followed Cleveland’s loss despite a 27-point lead against Miami on Wednesday. Placed within the context of Scott’s 186 games with the organization, it’s just been another tough week on the job. [Read more...]
A bizarre thing occurred through the duration of Monday night’s telecast of the Cleveland Cavaliers and their home contest against the Indiana Pacers: The wonderful individuals at FOX Sports Ohio began tabulating how many dunks had been executed by each team. Dunks have become the go-to highlight for NBA fans; above-the-rim play is the reason why driveway-ready basketball hoops come with adjustable heights. But in the same, said shot type is worth two points. Kyrie Irving’s 416 field goals this season carry no less individual weight than any converted by Blake Griffin or LeBron James simply because Irving has only been credited with two dunks on the season.
Yet every time the Clippers come to town, someone — obviously fascinated by ”Lob City” — inquires as to who on the Cavaliers could replicate such a feat. And each time, Byron Scott is forced to say that outside of Alonzo Gee, his team is comprised of face-up players who thrive on ball movement and positioning rather than mid-air theatrics and exclamation point conversions. Nevertheless, as the Pacers recorded dunk after dunk — transition slams, a posterization of Tyler Zeller by All-Star forward Paul George — the ticker kept inching upward as if signaling that one team is better than the other simply because they had made physical contact with the rim more often than their opponent.
[San Antonio] didn’t give it to us easy. In the fourth quarter especially in the last five or six minutes and that’s about it. They’ve won four championships. [...] I think [the Spurs] are the best team in the league. I don’t know if they’re going to win it. They have the best talent and the best coach, so they have a great shot at winning another championship. I think for us, we played this game really well. I think if we would have had this type of effort last night we would’ve won that game. Again, this is another growing experience. We have to come with this effort every night. We have to continue to learn from our mistakes and get tired of losing. We just have to bring it.
– Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Bryon Scott following the team’s Saturday evening loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are presently 24 percentage points behind the Miami Heat for best record in the NBA. The Heat, conversely, are also in the midst of a 22-game winning streak and will visit Cleveland on Wednesday.
Following the Cavaliers’ loss to the New York Knicks, the defeated members of the Wine and Gold sat in front of their lockers, echoing the words of their head coach — we’re not good enough to merely flip a switch and expect to win. The league is tough, full of talented players who are perpetually out to prove their worth. To coast at any point in a contest is to allow changes in momentum, changes that are often never regained.
And then Wednesday happened.
The Cavaliers were lackadaisical. Their attempts to attack the rim were qualified as “going through the motions,” which directly led to multiple double-digit deficits and plenty of head scratching. Then following a third-quarter time out, Byron Scott, in his head coachly way, told his team that they were showing zero interest in their current habitat and that if they wanted to not be embarrassed in front of 13,000 Cleveland fans, that it was going to be a now-or-never approach to the game’s final 15 minutes.