April 23, 2014

NBA Summer League: Cavs fall 82-76 to Heat in quarterfinals

The vaunted NBA Summer League schedule has come to an end for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Missing their best players on Saturday — second-year regulars Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller were given the day off — the hapless Cavs were no match for the similarly anonymous Miami Heat, falling 82-76 in Las Vegas.

Forward Justin Harper (21 points), guard Jermaine Taylor (20 points) and guard Cory Higgins (17 points on nine shots) led Cleveland in their continued efforts to find a NBA roster spot. But without Waiters’ above-average scoring ability and Zeller’s presence in the paint, there were hardly any familiar names on the court and the Cavs trailed throughout.

Miami’s James Ennis, D.J. Kennedy and James Nunnally all had very efficient scoring games (38 combined points on 18 shots), while big men Jarvis Varnado and Damion James each recorded double-doubles in leading the Heat to a 35-24 rebounding advantage for the game.

The Cavaliers finished 3-2 overall in Summer League action, highlighted by Thursday’s narrow 72-66 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. In the contest, Waiters had 27 points and 6 assists and was commended for his impressive defensive performance.

Zeller was the team’s most consistent performer in the circuit’s first three games, as he finished with averages of 10.5 points and 8.3 rebounds. Carrick Felix, the No. 33 pick in last month’s draft, also showcased his skills as an hustle-prone wing with impressive rebounding and shooting abilities. Harper and Kenny Kadji, two other forwards with decent college experience, proved that they have NBA-caliber mid-range shooting and rebounding as well.

On Twitter during today’s game, many NBA beat writers broke out in a pun contest poking fun at the name of recent Cavs Summer League roster addition Scoop Jardine, a former Syracuse guard. For more, just check out Fear The Sword’s Sam Vecenie’s excellent collection of the best of the best.

[Related: The Boots: Talkin’ Cavs long-term upside and the 2014 East Playoffs]

NBA News: Cavs’ Dion Waiters to play only at shooting guard

Over the last few days, Cleveland Cavaliers fans have seen a more demonstrative head coach Mike Brown out with the team over at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Yesterday, Brown shed some light on how he views second-year guard Dion Waiters.

“I’m viewing him strictly as a 2-guard,” Brown said to the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd.

In Lloyd’s article, he shares Brown’s point of view that he wants Waiters to focus on just being a guard. That includes “championship level basketball” on both ends of the court. Per Lloyd, the coach has been reviewing tape individually and emphasizing hustle plays with Waiters and fellow second-year player Tyler Zeller, who both are playing for the Vegas team.

According to Fear The Sword’s Conrad Kazcamarek, Brown was visibly pleased with how Waiters performed defensively in Thursday’s playoff victory over the San Antonio Spurs. In that game, Waiters scored 27 points with six rebounds, but Lloyd remarked how he seemed more aware and talked more defensively.

In college at Syracuse, Waiters came off the bench and played almost exclusively with the ball in his hands offensively. In his rookie season, then-head coach Byron Scott tried multiple times to have Waiters just play as a shooting guard, but he eventually relented to letting him control the ball in spurts, especially when All-Star Kyrie Irving was out of action.

With the free agent signing of combo guard Jarrett Jack, the Cavaliers have a much more proven option at the point guard position behind Irving this season. Jack is expected to play both guard positions, freeing up Waiters to spend more time as a shooting guard only. Last year, the only other potential point guards on roster were Shaun Livingston, Daniel Gibson, Jeremy Pargo, Donald Sloan and recently-released Chris Quinn.

[Related: The Boots: Talkin’ Cavs long-term upside and the 2014 East Playoffs]

The Boots: Talkin’ Cavs long-term upside and the 2014 East Playoffs

tristan dunkIn my usual half-rapid fire, half-prose form, I’m back with another edition of The Boots. For those unfamiliar with this feature, I assign loosely defined “Boot Up” or “Boot Down” votes to trending sports topics. With a disappointing Indians loss last night, let’s get excited about the Cavs.

Boot Up: Tristan Thompson’s potential – The NBA Summer League appears to be a dream work spot for a NBA writer. It’s not really free time or a true vacation of any kind since there are players everywhere, games all day everyday and boatloads of storylines for a writer to address. Oh, and it’s Las Vegas too, so that’s fun.

Throughout the Cavs’ Summer League jaunt into the quarterfinals, we’ve gotten lots of cool nuggets of information from the Cleveland writers out in Vegas with the team. My favorite of the bunch? It might just be what the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd shared from Mike Brown in two tweets last night. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Andrew Bynum’s new home in Cleveland

While We’re Waiting is the daily morning link roundup that WFNY has been serving up for breakfast for the last several years. We hope you enjoy the following recent collection of yummy and nutritious Cleveland sports-related articles. Anything else to add? Email us at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Is another change of scenery enough for the All-Star center to turn his career around? “Andrew Bynum smiled and spoke confidently. That’s probably more than Bynum did last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, and for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s a pretty good start.” [Sam Amico/FOX Sports Ohio] [Read more...]

NBA Summer League: Cavaliers beat Spurs 72-66, advance to quarterfinals

The Cavaliers’ Summer League team beat San Antonio in Las Vegas today, 72-66, to advance in the 22-team Summer League Tournament.

Cleveland was led by Dion Waiters, who scored 27 points on a respectable 12-23 from the field. He did go 0-4 from behind the three point line. Tyler Zeller struggled offensively scoring a single point and gathering five rebounds in 20 minutes. He added five personal fouls as well. Rookie Carrick Felix had nine points and six rebounds.

Defense was again the key for the young Cavaliers holding San Antonio to under 20 points in three of the four quarters.

With the win Cleveland faces the winner of the Miami/Chicago game on Saturday.

[Related: Cavaliers earn 7th seed in NBA Summer League Tournament]

NBA Summer League: Cavaliers fall to Pelicans 66-62

The Cavaliers lost their first Summer League game Monday to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Cavs (2-1) were paced by Dion Waiters who had 16 points on 5-16 shooting. Tyler Zeller had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Jermaine Taylor (D-League) added 10 points and  was the only other Cavalier with more than 6.

The Cavaliers again started slow offensively again, but played decent defense down the stretch. In the third quarter, Cleveland held New Orleans to only 7 points. Unfortunately for Jamahl Mosely’s bunch, they were ice cold from the field. For the game the Cavaliers shot 37.5 percent. Dion Waiters was 1-6 in the final quarter.

The game was tied with a minute and a half left, but New Orleans’ Austin Rivers went right down the lane on consecutive possessions off of screens at the top of the lane. Perhaps that will be addressed in practice tomorrow.

Following the game, second round pick Carrick Felix wrote in his Summer League blog about his struggles to score-

“Right now, my shot’s not falling, but that’s OK. I just have to make sure I keep playing solid defense. I know I can shoot the three, I know I can play defense, and right now, that’s the biggest thing our team needs: defense and energy. So I’m just going to try to come out in the next couple games and bring that and see where it takes me.”

Felix was 2 for 8 on Monday and 2 for 7 on Sunday in the win against the Grizzlies. In the three games combined he is 9 for 24 and 2 for 8 from behind the three point line. He is a perfect 5 for 5 from the free throw line.

[Related: Cavaliers cruise to 11 point win over Grizzlies]

NBA News: Cavaliers announce Summer League schedule

The Cleveland Cavaliers will once again participate in the Las Vegas Summer League. This year the league will be run a bit differently. Each team will have three ‘preliminary’ games in order to be seeded in the first Summer League tournament. The Cavs three preliminary games are-

Friday, July 12 vs. LA Lakers 8 p.m. EST COX Pavilion

Sunday, July 14 vs. Memphis 8 p.m. EST COX Pavilion

Monday, July 15 vs. New Orleans 6 p.m. EST COX Pavilion

The tournament will begin on July 17th.

Twenty-one of the NBA’s franchises will participate this summer, along with a team composed of select D-League players.

The Cavaliers are 18-23 in summer league play since it’s inception.

Cleveland currently has four picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, including the first, nineteenth, thirty-first and thirty-third selections. The Cavaliers traditionally send all their healthy draft picks to the Summer League.

[Related: Cavaliers to host McLemore, Porter, Oladipo and Franklin]

Portland Trail Blazers Claim Justin Holiday Off Waivers

One of the great stories of this year’s NBA Summer League for the Cavaliers was a forward from the University of Washington. Well, even though he signed on to be on the team’s preseason roster, he is now heading back west to join a new team. Here’s the report from The Oregonian:

Justin Holiday, a former University of Washington player, will join the Trail Blazers after they claimed him off waivers, the team announced Friday.

Holiday was waived by Cleveland on Wednesday, and Portland got him during the 48-hour waiver period. The Blazers say Holiday will join them Sunday, when they practice at their Tualatin facility before leaving for a Monday preseason game at Sacramento.

Holiday, 23, is a 6-foot-6 guard/forward who gained the reputation of being a good defender for the Huskies. In four years at Washington, he averaged 5.3 points and 3.6 rebound, including 10.5 points and 5.2 rebounds as a senior in 2010-11. He is the younger brother of Philadelphia starting point guard Jrue Holiday.

Even though Holiday is an intriguing young wing, there likely was never going to be space on the Cavs’ final roster for him. Hopefully he can get some more opportunities in Portland and maybe we’ll see him back in Cleveland when the Blazers come to visit on Dec. 1.

[Related: Cavs Add Kevin Anderson, Justin Holiday to Training Camp Roster]

Kyrie Irving Injury Update

From the Cavaliers-

“Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving experienced a fractured bone in his right hand during a summer league practice in Las Vegas Saturday. He traveled back to Cleveland on Sunday with Cavaliers Head Athletic Trainer Max Benton and was seen by Cavaliers Head Team Physician Dr. Richard Parker and Dr. Thomas Graham at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health today. The results of the exam today confirmed the injury. Irving will undergo a surgical procedure Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic to address the fracture. His status will be updated as appropriate and he is still projected to be ready for the start of training camp at the end of September. “

The rest of the Cavaliers summer league team is in ‘action’ against a D-League collaboration tonight.

[Related: Zeller shines in summer league opener]

Byron Scott on Kyrie Irving’s injury: “It just really alters all the plans we had this summer…”

“It just really alters all the plans we had this summer as far as summer league was concerned with him and Dion getting a chance to jell with Tyler and those guys,” Scott said. “That was Plan A. We didn’t have a Plan B going into this because you just never imagine that happening. Obviously very unfortunate, not only for us but for Kyrie. All the work that he’s put in. He was pretty hurt by it. But he’ll be ready for training camp and hopefully a couple of weeks before training camp where we can get him out there and get him playing with some of the guys anyway before we get started.

“Obviously it’s a blow to us because it was something we really looked forward to, getting these young guys together for an extended period of time so they can kind of jell. All the stuff that we didn’t have a chance to do last year with summer league and before training camp and in September when guys start coming back to town, those were the things we were looking forward to.”

– Byron Scott on the impact of Kyrie Irving’s injury, as reported by The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer. In the article, Scott also shared his thoughts on Irving’s “stupid” injury, saying that the rookie knew it was a freak accident right when it happened.

The Cavaliers begin summer league action at 8:30 p.m. tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats. The game will be broadcast on NBA TV.

[Related: Cleveland Cavs Notes: Kyrie Irving’s Injury, Luis Scola, Andrew Bynum, Start of Summer League]

Cleveland Cavs Notes: Kyrie Irving’s Injury, Luis Scola, Andrew Bynum, Start of Summer League

What a hectic week to be a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It seems that almost every single day brings along a new news cycle, and this week has brought along its fair share of hectic news.

From the Kris Humphries-Brooklyn Nets rumors to the possible Luis Scola waiver claim, to the more recent Andrew Bynum murmurs and recent Kyrie Irving injury, there’s been plenty to talk about in Cavs town lately.

Tonight, the Cavaliers begin summer league play in Las Vegas at 8:30 p.m. against the Charlotte Bobcats. With this in mind, I thought this would be a great time to round up some of the recent rumors and my thoughts on the team for this Sunday afternoon. [Read more...]

Report: Kyrie Irving Breaks Hand, Will Need Surgery And Miss 6-8 Weeks

The WFNY staff has been processing this tweet for the last half hour or so, and has decided to post it to the site. This latest report comes via SLAM’s Tzvi Twersky ‏and it doesn’t appear too good:

Twersky later posted an article to SLAM’s site, citing sources that report the injury took place during a Cleveland Cavaliers summer league practice. They said that the injury is likely a broken bone, but didn’t provide specific details of what occurred.

We’ll have the latest when we actually know some more details in this peculiar late-night story from Las Vegas. No local beat writers have commented yet on Irving’s possible injury.

10:47 p.m. Updates: And finally, we have confirmation from the local Cavs writers. Let’s start off with Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s duo of Mary Schmitt Boyer and Josie Valade also tweeted similar details.

Yikes, yikes. There ya have it, folks. Not really some great news to get on a late Saturday night for all of you Cavs fans out there.

Update #2: Lloyd of the ABJ followed up his initial report by adding some details on just how exactly Irving broke his hand. Apparently, Kyrie slammed his hand against a thinly padded wall in frustration after turning the ball over in practice today. He continued to practice but then came out and was seen with ice on the hand. X-rays later revealed the fracture, which will require surgery and six to eight weeks on the shelf. Here’s what Irving had to tell Lloyd about the accident:

“I’m a little disappointed for a freak accident like that. I have to be more responsible about my health. It was crazy. It happened so fast. That thing I did, hitting the padding on the wall, I’ve done it so many times. This time it was just a freak accident.”

That’s twice in the past two weeks that a Cleveland athlete has been injured taking their frustrations out on insentient objects.

[Related: NBA Trade Rumor: Cavs Discussing Trade to Land Andrew Bynum in Magic-Lakers Deal]

While We’re Waiting – Trade Jhonny, First summer league game, Cavs looking at another Raptor

Jhonny JhumpingWhile We’re Waiting is an agglomeration of nifty internet items that we find through various ways.  There’s nothing like a fresh set of internet links to start your day.  Happy Sunday, here’s what I found!  We like to share with you, so share things you find with us by emailing our tips account.

“For Jhonny Peralta, this is 2006 all over again. He started slow and just slogged along, hitting .257 with 13 HR, 68 RBI and drawing criticism for his effort and defense from manager Eric Wedge, who wrote Peralta’s name into the lineup 149 times. The Indians should seriously look into trading Peralta, who has not liked the switch to third base or much of anything else about being with the Tribe these days.” [Terry Pluto, Plain Dealer]

[Read more...]