August 15, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers End Latest Road Trip in Memphis Tonight

The Cleveland Cavaliers had an interesting Thanksgiving weekend. Last Wednesday they got things started with a big win at home against Philadelphia to end their losing streak. Jeremy Pargo had an absolutely insane breakout game in filling in for Kyrie Irving.

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers had to follow that up with another road trip. This one a three-game trip, and they have already lost the first two. Now they have to recover and try to beat one of the best teams in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies.

The good news for the Cavaliers is that they’ve been playing pretty decent basketball without Kyrie. I know, giving up 108+ points in consecutive losses hardly sounds like decent basketball, but really, it hasn’t been so bad. The team has stepped up and been able to get really even scoring distribution and have had their chances to win each of the last two games.

In fact, against the Heat the Cavaliers had eight (EIGHT!) players score in double digits and picked up 21 assists to just 10 turnovers. The problem, as always, is defense. The Cavaliers just can’t help themselves and routinely give up 50%+ from the field and 100+ points like it was nothing. [Read more...]

Buckeye Basketball Brief: Time for Thad to extend the bench

I’m far from the only person who thinks that Thad Matta should extend his bench. In fact, it’s a point that’s been discussed ad nauseaum by every analyst during the last two tourney runs and this season as well. However, the reason why I think Thad should play more Buckeyes might differ a little bit from popular opinion.

Last season, the Buckeyes were picked by many to win the NCAA Tournament. Regardless of whether or not people picked the Bucks, the common denominator was the sole identified weakness: depth. It’s not rocket science. With a lack of depth comes fatigue and the risk of foul trouble stinging that much more. Only while that was a constant risk for OSU, that was far from their downfall.

Does anyone honestly believe that depth played any significant role in the Buckeyes’ tournament loss last season to Kentucky? The Buckeyes ran into a young, talented Wildcat team that played one of their best games of the season. They matched up well with Ohio State (Josh Harrellson attacked Sullinger on the offensive end among other things), and as we’ve learned, the NCAA tournament is less about the best team winning and more about matchups, momentum, and a little bit of luck. Ohio State got a 2-for-16 shooting performance from William Buford and still had a shot in the air to win the game. In that game, Dallas Lauderdale logged five minutes and Deshaun Thomas played just three minutes. The rest was the unit of Craft, Diebler, Lighty, Buford, and Sullinger.

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Big Sunday in the NBA: OKC / Memphis Game 7, Chicago / MIA Game 1

It all comes down to this. Win or go home.  Who wants it more? 

These cliches and many others like them, while annoying, are to be expected frequently today from television pundits everywhere.  

Whenever Game Seven’s emerge, like today’s when Memphis travels to OKC for a winner moves on tip at 3:30, these are the things people say to describe the event. 

All true though I suppose, and after Memphis forced the issue with a Game 6 win on Friday we should have a good one today as a result. 

Kevin Durant v. Zach Randolph.  Mike Conley v. Russell Westbrook.  Tough, gritty, defense and inside play colliding with an young, emerging team built on star power.  A team originally from Vancouver going head-to-head with a team originally from Seattle for a right to play in the Western Conference Finals.  Should be fun. 

As will the 8pm game in Chicago, when the Bulls and Heat get underway for Game One of the ECF.  Not as cliche-filled of a match-up seeing as how it is only a Game One, but exciting nonetheless. 

I wish it started around 5pm ET though, but oh well.  I wasn’t up at 5 am tweeting about how excited I was for the game tonight like LeBron was this morning, so I should be able to make it to the end.  An end that would certainly produce more storylines should the Bulls somehow pull this one out.     

A primer of sorts on each game after the jump:

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David Lighty Steals the Show Against Illini

David Lighty is a cagey NCAA veteran at 22-years of age. He has seemingly been in Columbus forever.  

We’re talking about a guy who played with Mike Conley and Greg Oden in a losing effort against Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators.  That age and experience is certainly paying off for the Buckeyes right now.  Behind the efforts and leadership of the Cleveland VASJ alum, the Buckeyes knocked off Illinois 89-70 last night in Columbus.

In a tough stretch including losses to Wisconsin and Purdue after becoming the #1 team in the nation, Lighty has provided the steady hand.  The Buckeyes appeared again to be especially susceptible to the long ball on Tuesday night in Columbus.  The Buckeyes had a fifteen point lead at halftime 47-32, but the Illini bombed in eight three-pointers, four of which were knocked down by Mike Tisdale*.   [Read more...]

B.J. Mullens Declares Eligibility for NBADL

NCAA Siena Ohio St BasketballLast season, the front court of the ultimately NIT-bound Ohio State Buckeyes featured a seven-foot big man by the name of Kosta Koufos.  A native of Canton, Ohio, Koufos had a reasonably successful season, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds per game and was actually named the NIT MVP (yes, that exists) after leading the Buckeyes to the “title.” 

Koufos, a freshman at the time, then decided that his stay in Columbus was going to come to an end and declared eligibility for the NBA draft.  You know that things aren’t all they are cracked up to be when Clevelanders are adamant against drafting players from Ohio State in any sport, but such was the case with Koufos and the Cavaliers having a late pick in the first round.  Danny Ferry chose J.J. Hickson and Koufos wound up in the hands of the Utah Jazz.  And after 48 games this season, the Jazz have opted to send Koufos to the Utah Flash – the team’s Developmental League franchise.

And after a season of nine points and five rebounds per game, this year’s freshman big man, B.J. Mullens, believes that he too is ready follow his predecessors footsteps and take the leap to the next level.  The Columbus Dispatch reports that Mullens will be the latest one-and-done of the Ohio State Buckeyes as he declared his eligibility for the NBA.

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While We’re Waiting…

While We’re Waiting aims to be the round-up of the recent WFNY-esque information for your morning viewing.  Have something you think we should see?  Send it to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Does anyone else see the irony in Louis Isaac winning this season’s “Good Guy” award? [Plain Dealer]

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The Cavs Trade Rumors Continue

Mike MillerNow, while I realize that Chad Ford is the same guy that rumored Larry Brown to be locked and loaded to coach the Cavaliers not all to long ago, his latest bit has me at least a little intrigued.

“The deal, as described to me by a player agent, would send Miller, [Brian] Cardinal and [Kyle] Lowry to the Cavaliers for Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Shannon Brown, Cedric Simmons and Dwayne Jones along with cash and at least one first-round pick from Cleveland.”

You read that right.  Not only would we add a solid scoring option, but a point guard as well!  Mike Lowry is no Jason Kidd, but he has been one of the more underutilized guards in the league – and given the recent addition of Mike Conley to the Grizzlies, there is little to no use for him in Memphis.

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