April 24, 2014

Cavs vs Timberwolves Behind The Box Score: Another Blowout

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.

Kyrie IrvingI’ve been staring at a blank page for about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to start writing about a game like this. I rarely second guess myself when it comes to basketball. I watch a lot of basketball and it generally makes sense to me. That’s not to say I’m never wrong about things. I most certainly am. But I never doubt my understanding of why things happen and how I came to the conclusions that I have.

Yet tonight I find myself questioning a lot. I don’t have any answers for what’s wrong with the Cavaliers this season. I can’t figure out whether this is just a young team going through some early season growing pains, or if this is a serious problem. I find myself questioning if I was wrong about Byron Scott. Is it possible that this is just a collection of players who don’t care and who give up at the first sign of things going sideways?

I generally try to trust my instincts, so here’s what I think after a game like this. I think outside of Indiana and probably Miami, the Eastern Conference is filled with nothing but flawed basketball teams. I think making the playoffs is still something the Cavaliers will be fighting for all season. I think the Cavaliers will eventually start playing better basketball and go through some stretches of winning basketball. I think Mike Brown is doing everything he can to get through to this team. Whereas Byron Scott was content to sort of just let games like this play out, Mike Brown was continuously calling time outs, mixing up lineups, and searching for anything to spark this team. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Still Searching For First Road Win of the Season

Dion Waiters vs Minnesota“Are the Cavaliers at home or on the road tonight?”

If you ever find yourself pondering this question, there’s a simple exercise to help you figure out the answer.

Step 1: Look at a Calendar and notice the month

Step 2: If the calendar says “November” the Cavaliers are almost certainly playing on the road.

The end. The Cavaliers are basically living out of suitcases in November thanks to an unfriendly schedule draw to start the season. On Wednesday night the Cavaliers must travel north to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves for what feels like about the 20th road game of the season1. While playing on the road obviously isn’t preferred over playing at home, it certainly isn’t the end of the world for most teams. For the Cavaliers, it has been.

The Cavaliers join the Utah Jazz as the only 0-5 teams on the road this season2. Cleveland could certainly use a road win to get this monkey off their back, but breaking the streak in Minnesota is no small task. [Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. it’s actually “only” the 6th road game of the season []
  2. there are a few 0-3 road teams as well…Brooklyn, Detroit, Chicago, and Memphis…Orlando is 0-4 on the road []

Game 4: Cavaliers vs Timberwolves 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.

David Liam Kyle/NBAE

David Liam Kyle/NBAE

A win is a win, right?

Blowing 20 point leads is a sore subject for the Cavaliers and their fans. After blowing many 20 point leads the last few seasons, as things began to fall apart in this games, the inevitable seemed to be closing in around the Cavs.

But outcome is all that matters, really. When the final record is tallied at the end of the season, this will count as a W, same as if the Cavaliers won this game by 20. While Byron Scott had to live with the record of losses after holding 20 point leads, Mike Brown will carry this one as a win on his record. Never mind that the Cavaliers did indeed blow a 23 point lead and had to rely on Minnesota not converting on the final possession of the game. When people tally the number of times that this year’s team blows 20 point leads, they won’t count this one. That’s why winning is the only thing that really matters. The Cavaliers beat a hot 3-0 Minnesota team. That’s the only thing that counts.

But you better believe Mike Brown is going to have a few things to say to his team about this game. I know I sure have a few things to say as well. So let’s get into the numbers… [Read more...]

Box Score: Timberwolves 100, Cavaliers 92

Another frustrating defensive evening for the Cavaliers.

After having their 3 game winning streak snapped Saturday night, the Cavaliers were hoping to hop back on the winning train facing an injury depleted Minnesota Timberwolves team. Instead, the Cavaliers were left scratching their heads, more questions than answers as to how to get stops on defense particularly in the 4th quarter.

The Cavaliers made a nice 1st quarter run and lead for much of the 2nd quarter before Minnesota came back and stole the lead at the half. In the 3rd quarter the Cavaliers looked out of sync and Minnesota appeared on their way to victory. But the Cavaliers bench unit came back and tied the game in the 4th quarter before the Wolves finally pulled away for good. The Cavaliers tried to make one last run, cutting the deficit to 3, before their inability to stop the Wolves came back to haunt them.

Luke Ridnour killed the Cavaliers all night and the Wolves, the NBA’s worst 3 point shooting team, caught fire going 8 of 14 from distance to put away the Cavaliers. Ridnour finished with 21 points and Nikola Pekovic added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Dion Waiters was aggressive early and finished with 12 points on 6-6 shooting from the field despite surprisingly not playing down the stretch. Tristan Thompson had a nice game with 16 points and 9 rebounds and Wayne Ellington scored 10 off the bench against his old team. Kyrie Irving, who gave the Cavaliers a scare late in the 2nd quarter when he rolled his ankle coming down on an opponent’s foot after hitting a three, lead the team with 20 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. Irving didn’t look physically hobbled by the ankle in the 2nd half, but he was noticeably less aggressive in the 2nd half.

This was by no means the worst game the Cavaliers played this season, but it was frustrating none the less falling at home to a team missing Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko, and Chase Budinger. The Wolves had lost 4 in a row, 10 of 11, and 8 straight on the road coming into this game. Circle this one as a winable game that the Cavaliers let slip away by poor 4th quarter defense. It’s a recurring theme for this season, but until the Cavaliers can force defensive stops in crunch time, these results will continue to repeat themselves.

 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 25 24 23 28 100
CLE 27 19 19 27 92

 

Minnesota

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Luke Ridnour
G 37:25 9-14 1-2 2-2 +6 1 4 3 3 1 0 0 2 21
Ricky Rubio
G 33:14 5-9 1-1 2-2 +3 0 3 10 7 5 0 1 5 13
Nikola Pekovic
C 40:28 6-14 0-0 4-6 +12 5 10 2 2 2 0 4 0 16
Mickael Gelabale
F 28:24 3-4 3-3 2-2 +16 2 6 2 1 0 0 0 2 11
Derrick Williams
F 16:13 4-9 1-2 3-4 +1 0 5 1 1 0 1 0 4 12
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 39-75 8-14 14-17 10 36 25 20 10 6 7 17 100
Percentages .520 .571 .824 Team Rebounds: 5
Dante Cunningham
31:47 4-9 0-0 0-0 +7 1 4 1 1 1 2 0 2 8
Alexey Shved
30:13 5-9 1-3 1-1 +5 0 0 3 2 0 2 1 2 12
J.J. Barea
14:53 2-4 1-3 0-0 -6 0 0 3 3 1 0 0 0 5
Greg Stiemsma
7:23 1-3 0-0 0-0 -4 1 4 0 0 0 1 1 0 2
Chase Budinger
DNP – Inactive
Chris Johnson
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Andrei Kirilenko
DNP – Strained Right Quadriceps
Malcolm Lee
DNP – Inactive
Kevin Love
DNP – Right Hand Injury
Brandon Roy
DNP – Inactive

Cleveland

Starters Pos Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Kyrie Irving
G 35:49 9-20 1-3 1-2 -14 2 4 7 3 1 0 2 3 20
Dion Waiters
G 21:09 6-6 0-0 0-0 -6 0 1 1 6 1 0 0 2 12
Tyler Zeller
C 25:00 0-2 0-1 0-0 -13 0 8 0 2 0 1 0 2 0
Tristan Thompson
F 33:51 5-12 0-0 6-7 -14 5 9 1 1 4 2 1 2 16
Alonzo Gee
F 27:26 5-10 1-5 0-2 -11 0 4 2 2 2 0 1 1 11
Bench Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
Totals 40-79 5-18 7-11 10 32 24 20 12 7 6 15 92
Percentages .506 .278 .636 Team Rebounds: 9
Wayne Ellington
24:49 4-7 2-3 0-0 -3 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 1 10
C.J. Miles
21:10 4-9 1-5 0-0 -2 0 0 2 1 2 1 1 3 9
Marreese Speights
20:12 5-9 0-0 0-0 +6 2 3 1 3 0 1 1 0 10
Shaun Livingston
16:25 2-2 0-0 0-0 +11 0 0 4 1 1 2 0 1 4
Luke Walton
14:09 0-2 0-1 0-0 +6 0 0 4 1 1 0 0 0 0
Omri Casspi
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Daniel Gibson
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Kevin Jones
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Josh Selby
DNP – Inactive
Anderson Varejao
DNP – Inactive

Big Ten Basketball – The Bizarro World

Tyler GriffeyIn case you have been all football all the time and have not paid the least bit of attention to what is going on in College Basketball so far, your old friend and College Hoops Honk is here to get you up to speed with the best conference in America.

My man @ClevTA (a must-follow on Twitter) said it best last night – Big Ten Basketball is the bizarro Big Ten Football right now. We watched all fall as mediocre team after mediocre team played boring, uninspiring football. Yes, your Ohio State Buckeyes came out undefeated under Urban Meyer, but even the most ardent OSU supporter would tell you this was far from a National Title type team. The next best thing in the league was probably either a Michigan team that was throttled by Alabama, scored nine points against a Nebraska team that allowed 70 to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and needed a miracle bomb with less than a minute to go to force OT with Northwestern at home. An argument could be made for four loss Penn State as well, but two of those losses were at home to Ohio (not Ohio State, Ohio) and a bad Virginia team.

The bottom line – in the glorious history of the Big Ten conference, 2012 was as bad of a season as the league has ever had. [Read more...]

Cavaliers-Timberwolves Preview Q&A

Jim Mone, Associated Press

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15, 13th in the East) travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves (8-9, 11th in the West). Once again this is another battle of two teams without their starting PGs. This is getting to be a theme for this season with the Cavaliers recently playing Memphis without Mike Conley and Chicago without Derrick Rose. Tonight they take on Minnesota without Ricky Rubio while Kyrie Irving remains out for the Cavaliers. Dion Waiters did not travel with the team and will also miss this game.

For this preview, we’re going to do something a little different. We were approached by John Flesta of the Wolves blog TimberPups.com to do a collaborative Q&A. John and Big Al from TimberPups answered 3 questions about the Wolves that I submitted and I answered 3 questions about the Cavaliers from John. Hope you enjoy the insight from some guys who follow the Wolves on a daily basis. [Read more...]

#1 Buckeyes Roll Through #20 Gophers

In a very long NCAA basketball season there will be games where a lot of luck is seemingly involved.  Such was the case when the Buckeyes outlasted Northwestern.  That was one of those games where the Buckeyes clearly had a target on their back and Northwestern was on a mission to try and prove that they could be more than who they are, at least for one game.  The Buckeyes found a way to get it done winning 58-57.  By comparison, yesterday’s 82-69 victory over Minnesota was a yawner, and probably a relief for the Buckeyes who never seemed to be operating on all cylinders.

The whole game felt pretty uneven in terms of pacing and sloppiness, but the second half was particularly bad.  The referees in this Big Ten contest were pretty horrendous both ways.  Offensive fouls where there shouldn’t have been any.  Aaron Craft, particularly couldn’t seem to get a break.  He fouled out on at least three foul calls that left most watching pretty perplexed.  As I said, the refereeing was bad both ways.  Not Butler vs. Cleveland State bad, but noticeable nonetheless. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #47: Timberwolves at Cavs

Cavaliers vs TimberwolvesMinnesota Timberwolves (9-37) vs
Cleveland Cavaliers (35-11)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
7:00 PM EST
FSOH/WTAM

Rarely am I truly shocked when I do a statistical breakdown/analysis of a team in preparation for writing up a preview. If I’m being honest, though, I was truly shocked at just how awful the Minnesota Timberwolves are at all aspects of the game. They literally do next to nothing well. They’re pretty good at offensive rebounding and they’re ok at getting fastbreak points and points in the paint. That’s about it. Here are just some of the categories they are in the bottom 5 in the NBA in: PPG, Opp PPG, FG%, Opp FG%, 3P%, Opp 3P%, assists per game, opponents assists per game, turnovers per game, blocks per game, opponents blocks per game, Off eFG%, Def eFG%, Off TOV%, Off FT Rate, Off Efficiency Rating, and Def Efficiency Rating. Oh, and the Wolves opponents average a biggest lead of 18.7 points against them while their average point deficit at the end of the game is –10.2 points. So, yeah, this is not a good basketball team the Cavaliers are playing. Having said all that, we all know by now how frequently the Cavs play down to their opponents. We’ll see if the Cavs can stop that trend tonight. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #3: Cavs at Timberwolves

Cavaliers vs TimberwolvesCleveland Cavaliers (0-2) vs
Minnesota Timberwolves (1-0)
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Friday, October 30, 2009
8:00 PM EST
FSOH/WTAM

Ok, now that we’ve all gotten our cathartic musings on the decline of Cavalier civilization out of our system these last two days, it’s time for the Cavaliers to get on the court and make us forget about this insufferable start to the season. Quite frankly, there’s not too many opponents I would rather see right now than the next 2 the Cavaliers have on their schedule. If the Cavs can get right over these next 2 days, it will go a long way to help get everyone through the upcoming stretch that includes games against good teams like the Wizards, Bulls, and Magic as well as the team’s only trip to New York this year. Fun times ahead! Tonight’s game against the Wolves isn’t a must win game…..but the Cavaliers better win. This city will likely implode upon an 0-3 start.   [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #25

Cavaliers vs TimberwolvesCleveland Cavaliers (20-4) vs
Minnesota Timberwolves (4-20)
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
8:00 PM EST
FSNOH/WTAM

The Cavaliers continue their mini road trip tonight when they head north to take on the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves. As far a road trips go, this one isn’t too bad. 4 games, none of them back to back, and 2 of them against a couple of the worst teams in the NBA (Minnesota and Oklahoma City). In fact, in the last 3 weeks of December, Cleveland has only 7 games, and none of them are back to back. There are a couple moderate tests in Miami in there, as well as tough games against Denver and Houston, which will make the easy games against Washington, Oklahoma City, and tonight’s opponent, Minnesota, that much more important for Cleveland to not get complacent and to take care of business. The Cavaliers will still be without the services of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Daniel Gibson, and Minnesota has a couple tough offensive players in Mike Miller and Al Jefferson, but this is still a game the Cavaliers should be able to control. The Cavaliers are facing injuries, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak are slumping majorly with their outside shooting, LeBron’s minutes are rising, and the offense isn’t running as smoothly as it once was. There’s some adversity facing the Cavaliers tonight, and it will be a good sign for them to come out and take care of business against a team they should beat.     [Read more...]

Just Another Wasted Effort

Paul ByrdIndians Waste Another Stellar Pitching Performance

What a summer of discontent this is shaping up to be. April is barely halfway over and already the Indians are baffling all of their followers, as well as themselves, as the team has now frustratingly sputtered to a 7-12 start this year. Sunday was just par for the course, as the Indians dropped yet another game and yet another series as they fell to the Twins 2-1 in 10 innings.

After taking the opening series against the division leading White Sox, the Indians had not won another series since. The closest had been a split of a 2 game series with Detroit, but overall they had dropped or tied 5 straight series. So Sunday was a big game for the Indians as it was the first game they had which could clinch a series since April 9th against the Angels (a game they also lost, of course). Paul Byrd was outstanding again for the Tribe, as he pitched 7 innings of 6 hit ball, and just gave up one run on a solo home run to Brendan Harris in the bottom of the 3rd. Byrd walked zero and struck out three. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #59

Minnesota Timberwolves LogoMinnesota Timberwolves (12-44) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (32-26)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Friday, February 29, 2008
7:30 PM EST
FSN OH/WTAM

Minnesota, Chicago, New York, Chicago, Indiana, Portland, New Jersey, Washington. Tonight begins a stretch of very winnable games for the Cavaliers. Coming off back to back bad losses (I know, Boston is a better team right now….what I mean is that the team played horrible down the stretch in that game), now is the time for the Cavaliers to make their push. The grace period is over. It has to be. Not that the new guys don’t deserve more time to get things figured out….they do. The problem is, the Cavaliers don’t have that kind of time to spare. Nobody wants to see this team go into the playoffs as a 4 or 5 seed, especially not the 5 seed. If the Cavaliers want any chance of trying to catch Orlando for the #3 seed, they need to take care of business over the next 2 weeks, beginning tonight against the rebuilding Timberwolves. [Read more...]