First, I’d like to thank a certain, unnamed source in the Cavalier business office who kindly hooked me up with four tickets (surprisingly, though, not through my blog connections!)
Happy Thanksgiving, campers. This Thursday, since it’s a holiday, I’ll spare you my weekly 2,000 word screed on what I’d like to see the Cavs doing and just show you a perfect example of the Cavs doing exactly what I’ve been begging them to do all season long.
Hopefully, the above video above (which comes from @DawkinsMTA, who runs the best NBA YouTube channel out there) is set to the appropriate time, but since I have no idea how to do that, skip to the 3:55 mark if it starts from the beginning. This is how a 2014-15 Cavalier offensive set should look.
STEP 1: The play here is a simple 3-1 pick and roll, which was a staple of the Heat offense when LeBron played there and has been an attempted staple of the Cavalier offense this season. It’s a very effective set, since not many teams can have a 250-pound man as the ball-handler on the pick-and-roll. The problem with it so far for the Cavaliers has been that Kyrie has been setting nonchalant screens, so instead of a 3-1 pick-and-roll it’s “Kyrie and LeBron waste 8 seconds of the shot clock while standing near each other.”
On this play, however, Kyrie sets a screen like a guy who was born in Australia, not like a guy who went to Duke. LeBron’s man can’t fight over the screen fast enough, and LeBron has a lane to the basket. Now the Wizards are on the back foot, and good things can happen organically. That’s what a successful offensive set does.
STEP 2: Marcin Gortat makes a nice rotation to keep LeBron from getting an easy finish on the drive, and Kris Humphries rotates down to keep LeBron from having a pass to Thompson for an easy dunk. This leaves Joe Harris open for an above-the-break 3, and LeBron fires the pass to him.
STEP 3: Since Harris is a 3-point threat who has to be respected, Kyrie’s man leaves him to contest what would be a wide-open 3. Harris, without so much as putting the ball on the floor, swings the ball to Kyrie, who’s open at the top of the 3-point arc. This forces Dion Waiters’ man to leave Waiters alone in the corner and close out on Kyrie at full speed.
STEP 4: Kyrie now has two options: Hit Waiters with a pass that would set him up with an open 3, or decimate the ankles of a defender who has to run at him full-speed, and thus has no real chance of staying in front of one of the best ballhandlers in basketball. Kyrie goes with option B, and goes from left to right with a behind-the-back dribble on his man.
STEP 5: Kyrie is now between the top of the key and the free throw line, with options. He can pull up on his man for a mid-range jumper, which isn’t a terrible shot, but isn’t a great one. There’s still enough room between Waiters and his man for a three if Kyrie fires a pass to his right side. But the best option is the one Kyrie goes with — since Kyrie’s crossover forced Humphries to step into the middle of the lane to prevent Kyrie from getting a layup on a potential blow-by, LeBron is now open just under the basket, on the left side. In a flash, Kyrie picks up his dribble and hits LeBron with a bullet pass in one fluid motion. Now LeBron’s got a layup, and he even gets an and-1 out of the deal.
That’s what we’re talking about here — spacing, guys working together, multiple good options created by actions, and LeBron and Kyrie using their respective talents to make life easier on each other. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! The Cavaliers gave the hometown faithful plenty to cheer about during a thorough dismantling of the Washington Wizards. The Wine and Gold were eager to build on their big victory over Orlando. More importantly, the Cavs wished to avenge the bad loss they suffered in DC. Cavalier energy was turned to eleven in some defensive sequences leading to 13 steals. The Clevelanders killed it in transition outscoring the Wiz 17-2. LeBron led the way with 29, 10 boards, and eight assists as the point man. Let’s break it down for those who were busy catching up with old friends at the local bar.
Only five days after getting crushed in our nation’s capitol, the Cleveland Cavaliers have an opportunity to exact revenge on a very balanced Wizards squad. The Cavs were held to 36% shooting in the first meeting. Kevin Love had a game to forget notching a mere eight points while committing four turnovers. The Wizards have a beautiful blend of youth and veteran savvy. Professor Andre Miller and Paul Pierce provide fantastic leadership to the explosive Washington backcourt(we won’t get into superlatives with Dion in earshot).
Washington comes off a tough loss to the Hawks at home. They will again be without the services of their Brazilian bigman, Nene. The Cavaliers pulled themselves out of the miserable four game losing streak by thumping the Orlando Magic. Will the Cavs avenge last weeks’ loss? Fire away.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanks so much for reading this year, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday with your families and friends (and Go Cavs! tonight). We put together a 5 on 5 that you can read when you’re bloated from over-eating and sick of football.
1.) Who’s the biggest turkey of the past four years?
Robert: Me, for constantly believing that this team has turned the corner and I’ll actually get to see good basketball again. Yes, me. Clearly… biggest turkey… me.
The Cavaliers held the Orlando Magic under 37% shooting in a quintessential “get well” game. The Wine and Gold played with far more sustained intensity on both ends of the floor en route to a 32 point victory. LeBron James scored or assisted on 32 of the Cavaliers’ first 48 points. The Cavs racked up 30 assists on 42 field goals. It was the type of win that makes coaches sleep well at night.
The Orlando Magic come into The Q feeling relatively good about themselves. Montenegrin center Nikola Vucevic continues to develop while averaging nearly 20 and 12 on the young season. New teammate Evan Fournier, acquired in the Arron Afflalo deal, has provided surpringly effective playmaking at guard. Second leading scorer, Tobias Harris will be a gametime decision after missing Saturday’s loss to the Heat. Harris is one of the few wing players who has the size to match LeBron. Cavs: The Blog favorite, Victor Oladipo has been quietly solid since his return from the facial fracture surgery.
Much has been made of the Cavaliers’ three game losing streak. The Cavs should be absolutely desperate to bounce back at home. Fire away!
After outscoring the Raptors by thirteen in the first quarter because of ball movement, passable defense, and transition play, the Cavs abandoned most of those things for the next three quarters. This helped the Raptors claw their way to a two point lead by halftime and a seventeen point win at the end of 48 minutes. The Canadian guard were led by Lou Williams who insta-offensed himself to 36 points and lots of smiles from Dwane Casey. Let’s jump right into the game.
The Raptors come to town tonight after feasting on the Bucks yesterday to earn a 41 point win. Toronto currently looks like one of the top teams in the East, and they have both a top five defense and offense. The Cavs, however, aren’t looking too hot after being beat soundly by the Wizards less than 24 hours ago. The rotation inconsistencies, defensive lapses, and lack of ball movement make me worry that Mike Brown has somehow hacked into David Blatt’s body and is trying to make Cleveland fans re-experience last season. Hopefully I’m wrong about that, and this game changes my thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »
Well that game sucked. Cleveland passed poorly, shot poorly, defended poorly, rebounded poorly, were poorly coached, and generally played selfish basketball. I’m sure I left some things out that the Cavs did poorly that game, but it’s hard to list them all. The game was not nearly as close as the 13 point deficit might indicate, either. Cleveland had a 13-8 lead about halfway through the first quarter, after a sequence where LeBron scored off a Kyrie fast break assist, and then Irving stole the inbound, missed a three, and LeBron cleaned up the trash. That was as good as it got for the Cavs for the rest of the game. Cavs made two stupid turnovers and Bradley Beal stole the ball twice and fed John Wall for two straight far too easy baskets to tie it up at 13. Washington never looked back after the first quarter.