April 25, 2014

Cavs 105, Grizzlies 89: Nine Straight Wins for the Wine and Gold

lebronmemphisIt’s actually harder to write a recap after a game like this. They Cavs played so well, and the Grizzlies looked so out of it that there is hardly anything to discuss. It would be nit-picking to try and find negatives . Let’s look at a few numbers-

6- As in six wins in a row without Mo and Delonte both in the lineup. This was the game that I thought we might not extend the streak. Coming up the Cavs play the Heat, and even though the Cavs beat Miami just last week without Molonte, the Heat have a quick strike back court. The Cavs should still expect to win, and I’m sure that we’ll see Delonte continue to rest that hand. After the Heat we play the Knicks and Nets. This is a great opportunity for West to get healthy.

15- As in LeBron’s assist total for the night. The Cavs have gone big due to the injuries and with LeBron playing the point we haven’t seen a team that can match. The Grizzlies are perhaps the biggest team in the league, but they were no match tonight.

66- LeBron’s assist total the last six games, eleven per contest. It would be even higher if not for a four-assist night against the Thunder. [Read more...]

Cavs 109, T-Wolves 95: Just Like Old Times

90043374_DLK019_CAVS_V_TIMBRemember all those blowouts last year? Well, things were just like old times at the Q last night. And that suites LeBron James just fine.

“A win is a win,” said James.  “We’re okay with having ones where our starters don’t have to play a lot, and we’re okay where we have to finish the game off in a heart pounder for our coaches and fans.”

The Cavaliers matched the Wolves early on, then pulled away in the second quarter with LeBron playing the point guard position. We saw a little bit of everything offensively from the Cavaliers, including the return of the “Twin Towers” line-up. Shaq and Zydrunas shared the floor for a while, though that didn’t really deter Minnesota from running their offense through Kevin Love during that stretch.

[Read more...]

Cavs 92, Heat 91: MVP, MVP, MVP

Since this is what you want to see, let’s just lead with the dunk…

Here’s the caveat for last night’s game against the Heat. We were  playing a Miami team that had won 5 of their last 7 games. We were playing a team with outstanding guard play down our top 2 PGs. After big wins over the Lakers and Thunder, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see a little bit of a let down.

And truthfully we saw one. Even still, the Cavs had enough in the tank to pull it out. [Read more...]

Shaq Likes Numbering Centers These Days

shaqballcrushIf you head over to Cleveland.com you will find an interview with Shaq in which he lists his top five favorite centers. The list is excluding Shaq himself, and starts with Hakeem Olajawon. Following Hakeem is Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell and Moses Malone. Shaq describes his favorite part about each of these centers, and is quick to point out that there will not be another center in this mold again. He says the game is changing and that big men want to step out and shoot more these days.

After the Raptors game on Monday, Shaq made another list. In a post-game interview he was asked about being more aggressive on the defensive end, particularly when it came to fouling in order to stop an easy basket. Shaq replied that unlike previous years in his career he didn’t feel like he had to save any fouls like he did previously. He said that he had “the second best center in the East backing him up”. He made the statement twice in fact that Zydrunas was the second best center in the East.

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Shaquille O’Neal: A Legend With No Home

Shaq 28,000 pointsBy now, most of you are probably aware that in Tuesday night’s game against the Raptors Shaquille O’Neal became just the 5th player in NBA history to score 28,000 points in his career. This is no small accomplishment. Just look at the company he now keeps: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain. By all sound reasoning, the night should have been a night of joyous celebration for an icon of the sport. Instead, the milestone went by quietly into the night.

The reason this historic accomplishment went by so quietly is because of Shaq’s legacy as a journeyman who has a bad habit of burning bridges wherever he goes. Milestones on their own tend not to mean much beyond giving writers/analysts/talk show hosts something to talk/write about. What gives an event like this true meaning is when it represents a bond between players and fans.

There is always this giant wall between the two sides of sports, and only something unique or special allows us to truly cross that bridge. [Read more...]

Cavs 108 Raptors 100: James + Mo + Shaq= Win

LeBron dunks over RaptorsOnly three Cavaliers finished with double digit scoring, but those three were pretty impressive. LeBron James led the way (of course) with 28 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Not a bad stat line, especially since his jump shot wasn’t really working in this one. Shaq joined a very exclusive club early on registering his 28,000th point, and Mo Williams gave us all a scare when he sprained his shoulder in the third quarter reaching in to try and strip a ball.  Thankfully, Mo would return to the game just in time.

The Cavs pushed an eight-point lead after three quarters to ten points with a pair of free throws in their first possession of the fourth, but had a lineup on the floor that I’m pretty sure was never designed to be together to start a quarter: Delonte West, Anothny Parker, Shaq, Jawad Williams, and J.J. Hickson. Lebron’s usual rest and Mo’s hurt shoulder had forced this strange grouping. It led to this tweet from yours truly… [Read more...]

Cavaliers/Warriors Open Thread

Cavaliers vs WarriorsThe Cavs go from one of the slowest teams to one of the quickest in terms of game pace as they take on the Warriors tonight on the road. The Cavaliers are smack in the middle of this five game road trip, and although Golden State is just a game above .500, they are a tough test for the Cavs on a back to back.

The last time these two met the Cavs were without Shaq and Delonte, and Jamario Moon turned an ankle early in the game and did not return. The Warriors were also missing a few key components in Biedrins and Turiaf, both of whom will play tonight.

Probable Starters- For the Cavaliers: Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, LeBron James, J.J. Hickson, Shaquille O’Neal.

For the Warriors: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Corey Maggette. [Read more...]

Cavs 106, Blazers 94: Where LeBron vs Roy Happened

Lebron Different Colored Shoes Sam Forencich Getty ImagesIf you didn’t stay up to watch this one, you missed a pretty entertaining game. The game was much more in doubt than the final score indicates. LeBron finished the game with 41 points to best Brandon Roy’s 34. Those that went to bed at halftime might be wondering how LeBron scored only 10 points in the second half after 31 on perfect shooting in the first half. Chalk that up to some great defensive adjustments by the Blazers.

LeBron was deadly in that first half and Portland had seen enough. They trapped LeBron nearly every possession in the fourth quarter. LeBron did a good job of passing out of it, but the whole team was on the opposite side of him and so the defense could recover quickly. When passing out of a double team it isn’t always the first man that is the scorer, it’s the second or third swinging the ball around the court. Cleveland never found a way to get the second or third pass around the arc, and so they put the game on the shooting shoulders of Mo Williams, Delonte West and Jawad Williams. Guess which one had the most production in the waning minutes of this one? [Read more...]

A Few Trade Proposals For Danny Ferry

jerseycavs-copyEveryone’s an expert these days. if you have access to a computer and the internet, the ESPN Trade machine awaits. Throw in a little research at 82games.com and HoopsHype, and viola! You are Bill Simmons without the fat contract and book deal. The problem with this of course is that we usually end up with completely one-sided deals or trading with teams that have no interest in trading. We are inspired by actual events however, because you just never know what crazy thing a GM will do in this league. (I’m looking at you Memphis and Minnesota!)

So before you go screaming at me in the comments saying I’m crazy because so and so team would never do that deal, I am not disagreeing with you. I’m saying let’s at least see if they’ll pick up the phone on some of these before we commit to any trade.

Trade #1- Cleveland trades J.J. Hickson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Minnesota for Al Jefferson. [Read more...]

Cavs 121, Wizards 98: Never Close

shaqjamisonAfter laying down against Charlotte the Cavaliers came out aggressive and put the Wizards away. Washington was without it’s big gun of course (did I really just go there?) as Arenas sat out the first of his many games due to suspension. Without Gilbert the Wizards looked a bit lost. They played a lot of one-on-one basketball which is a recipe for disaster against the Cavs.

Cleveland’s offense looked good, with plenty of movement and passing. On more than one occasion all 5 players touched the ball before the shot went off. There were still sloppy possessions and unforced turnovers, but those were hardly noticeable against Washington.

Shaquille O’Neal had one of his best games in a Cleveland uniform scoring 17 points in 17 minutes on 9 shots. That’s pretty efficient. Anderson Varejao and LeBron James padded their +/- totals in this one, keeping them in the top 3 in the league. (Andy had a +22, James a +16. If you want to know how strange that stat can be, Shaq had a -1.) [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Pavlik Returns, Shaq wins NBA _____ of the Month, Chiefs-Browns Worst Matchup Ever?

 Pavlik

Looking at Kelly Pavlik as he returns to the ring tonight in Youngstown after a long layoff: “In a weird twist of reality Pavlik went to Las Vegas to train for this fight, because it provided a much calmer and private atmosphere to train as opposed to Youngstown. Weird, huh? But by all accounts the left hand, specifically the knuckle of the index finger is back to 100%.  What also appears to be back to 100%, by Kelly’s own account, is his hunger and passion for boxing. Something many in his hometown were starting to question. I personally never looked at it like that. It appeared to be more of a year to put the boat in neutral and recharge the batteries. Kelly had a lot of irons in fire outside the ring this year, including opening a restaurant back in August. The crazy thing is the break and hand problems just may have come at the best time, in a business sense.  Boxing has a lot of momentum heading into 2010 with the headlining super bout of Pac-Man vs. Money Mayweather.  So their is money to be made across all weight divisions. As an American World Champ in a highlight division, it should be a big healthy and productive year in the spotlight for the man know as The Ghost.” [DiNunzio/Thunder Treats]

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12 Days of a Cleveland Christmas: Day 10

ornament1 copyCongratulations to GMoney who was randomly selected as the winner of yesterday’s prize pack! (Remember, if the email address you provided  in order to comment isn’t real, then you have disqualified yourself. GMoney was the second one selected actually.) Patrick Willis would be his Christmas gift to the Browns, which was a popular answer. I would love to see Willis and Jackson teamed up in the middle of the Browns’ defense. That could be a Pro-Bowl tandem for years…but it’s not gonna happen so let’s just move on shall we?

Today’s prize is another set of tickets. Cavalier tickets to be exact. We already gave away a set to see the Cavs play the Raptors on January 19th, but we’ve got one more set. Up for grabs 2 tickets to see LeBron, Mo, Shaq and the gang take on Chris Bosh and the Raptors.

Once again, here’s the skinny… [Read more...]

Cavs 99, Nets 89: Nothing to See Here

Shaq on LopezThis one isn’t difficult to recap. The Cavaliers won because they are a lot more talented than New Jersey. Filling in the details seems almost irrelevant. The Cavs showed some energy early, but ended up in foul trouble and let the Nets stay in the game because of free throws.

The Cavs made Brook Lopez look like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the first half, as they were seemingly helpless to shut down New Jersey’s big man. Lopez scored 20 points in the first half by using a variety of low post tricks to score and get to the free throw line. Shaq had a good start offensively as well, scoring 9 points quickly. The short hook shots were falling for Shaq, which has been a rarity lately. It’s hard to really tell if Shaq was on his game or if Lopez is that bad of a defender. Zydrunas had his way with Lopez as well. The two-headed center monster finished with a combined 32 points and 6 blocks split right down the middle. [Read more...]

Cavs Do Their Best Toddler Routine Losing to Rockets

LeBron WorriedIf the Cavaliers could have taken their ball and gone home last night, they might have just done it. A night after losing to Memphis in overtime, the Cavaliers seemed tired, irritable and ill-tempered. The technicals mounted as the Cavs began to lose any semblance of cool. The Cavs weren’t getting a lot of calls, sure, but these refs were pretty bad both ways. The Rockets handled it better than the Cavs did though. Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal and Delonte West all got technicals. Mike Brown even got himself ejected before the end of the first half after he stomped his way onto the court.  I don’t know if Mike Brown lost his mind, was trying to get the refs to make better calls, or fire up his team.  Maybe he just sensed how bad this team was going to look and decided not to watch it so up close.  Make no mistake though, the refs did not cost the Cavs this game.

Cavaliers vs Rockets: Open Thread

Cavaliers vs RocketsLess than 24 hours ago the Cavs walked off the court in Memphis with a nasty taste in their mouths. Today they find themselves in Houston for an always tough match-up with the Rockets.

The first quarter could be very important tonight. We know that the Cavs have been getting off to solid starts this season, and with the OT game yesterday, coupled with Houston’s rest the Cavaliers might not have it in the tank to come back if they find themselves trailing big in this one. LeBron has been tremendous in the first quarter this season, but not in the scoring column. It is in first quarter assists that LeBron is King. In fact, Lebron has either scored or assisted on 48.8% of the team’s first quarter field goals. That’s a crazy stat! It is by far tops in the league. (Thanks Cavs media notes!)

Last season the Cavs and Rockets split the season series with each team winning on their home floor. The Rockets have the 4th best offense in the league statistically at scoring in the paint, while the Cavaliers boast the best defense against points in the paint. Of course, Memphis had the best offense in that category, and they certainly got to the basket against us. [Read more...]

Cavs 109, Grizzlies 111 (OT): LeBron Comes Up Short

James on five“Every eight games or so the Cavaliers have one of these games.” Austin Carr

What kind of game are we talking about Austin? You are absolutely right by the way. I don’t know if you could put a number on it, but every couple of weeks the Cavaliers have an absolutely ugly game like this one. They have a game where LeBron feels like he has to do everything in order for the team to win, and nobody tells him he’s wrong.

Now, they often win these games. That might just be part of the problem. LeBron actually IS good enough to beat some teams by going to the one on five offense. Last night they committed too many turnovers and had too many defensive lapses to overcome. [Read more...]

Averaging Out? Hickson Cools Off After Hot Streak As Starter

HicksonCavsJazz.jpgJ.J. Hickson has now started 11 games for the Cavaliers this season. The first eight of those starts were fairly impressive, as Hickson provided a spark to the starting line-up and allowed Varejao to come off the bench in a familiar role. Hickson averaged 13.6 points (on almost 67% shooting) and 4.5 rebounds in those first eight games. He set career scoring marks in three straight contests, and seemed to be learning his place defensively quicker than some expected. So where has that production been the last three games?

Since that hot start, Hickson has averaged 5.3 points and three rebounds per game. (In the last two contests Hickson grabbed only a single board.) So, what changed? [Read more...]

Cavs 105, Pacers 95: Cavaliers Follow Script In Win

APTOPIX Cavaliers Pacers BasketballStop me if you’ve heard this before. The Cavs offense was sharp early on, scoring 30+ in the first quarter. The defense was just as poor, allowing their opponent to stay in the game despite shooting better than 50% for the first half. A poor third quarter ensued as the movement on offense stopped and the Cavs played one on one basketball. More troubles with the pick and roll defense and suddenly the Cavs found themselves trailing. I know you said stop a while back.

Let’s start with some facts. The Cavs are still without Shaq, and even though Delonte West was active for this game, he didn’t play. (Really Mike? On the front half of a back to back? With the defense struggling early on?) The Cavs also struggle in Indy. They dug deep in the end and won this one with defense. (Indiana didn’t make a field goal in the last 3:00.) LeBron played team basketball for the most part, and still finished with 40 points. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Defense Starting To Get Offensive

of⋅fen⋅sive /əˈfɛn sɪv /   [uh-fen-siv]

–adjective

1. causing resentful displeasure; highly irritating, angering, or annoying: offensive television commercials.

2. unpleasant or disagreeable to the sense: an offensive odor.

3. repugnant to the moral sense, good taste, or the like; insulting: an offensive remark; an offensive joke.

While the 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers have begun to show some signs of life over the last couple weeks, particularly on offense, something that has gone unnoticed for the most part is the unraveling of the defense.

I mentioned in the recap of last night’s game that the Cavaliers have now given up 100+ points in an astonishing four straight games, and five times total on the season. Lets try to put this into perspective. Last season, the Cavaliers didn’t give up their fifth 100+ point game until January 19th, almost 3 months into the season. They didn’t give up back-to-back 100+ point games until February 4th and 8th. They never once gave up 100+ points in three or more consecutive games.   [Read more...]

Cavs 111, Heat 104: LeBron, Mo and JJ?

For the second night in a row Mo Williams was hitting his shots and scoring in bunches. For the second night in a row LeBron James led the team in scoring and assists paving the way for a win. And for the second night in a row the player with the best +/- was JJ Hickson. Hickson, starting his third straight game had a career high with 18 points and played a whopping 31 minutes. But before we go heaping praise on the 21 year old, let’s remind him and ourselves that he still has A LOT to learn about playing NBA defense.

Speaking of defense, the Cavs must have left it back in Orlando. This was an ugly game. Way too many fouls. Way too many open looks and playing out of control. (I’m looking at you Jamario and Hickson.) Michael Beasley wasn’t that open since high school.

If you want to call this a ‘breakout’ game for Hickson I won’t really argue, as this was the first time as a pro we really saw JJ’s ability put to the best use. Funny thing is that JJ should consider himself fortunate to get the chance. [Read more...]