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Double Feature: Podcast and Reflection

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

1. Podcast:

I got to celebrate the Cavs’ glorious Game One victory in Mark Neal’s studio this afternoon.  We talked all things Cavs, the Conference Finals, the trade for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, the draft, and even got into some discussions about the one-year-of-college requirement.  Give it a listen, and tune in each Thursday between 5 and 6 EST.  I’d love to have some of our regulars call in with a question, put a voice to a name.

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Podcast Episode 67: Delly of an ECF Preview

Monday, May 18th, 2015

First,  check out this morning’s excellent post, “on toughness” by EvilGenius.  Second,  EG, David, and I blew right through our self-imposed “half hour” to deliver our thoughts on the Cavs/Bulls series, the Eastern Conference Finals, the toughness the Cavaliers have exhibited, and living in an alternate universe where Matthew Dellavedova is a villain and an assassin.

Enjoy above, on Soundcloud, or on iTunes.

Quickhit: Cavs 94, Bulls 73 (Or, The Delly Game)

Thursday, May 14th, 2015
We're heading that way, to the Eastern Conference Finals.

We’re heading that way, to the Eastern Conference Finals.

(This article was written by Tom Pestak but the subtitle won’t cooperate)

On November 20, 2013, the Cavs lost an embarrassing home game to the Washington Wizards.  They trailed by 18 at halftime while locked in a sedated malaise.  After what must have been an unpleasant speech from Mike Brown, the Cavs almost immediately saw their deficit balloon to 27.  Brown called a rage timeout, fired off a hockey substitution, and what happened next will forever remain in the minds of the few masochistic passionate fans that continued to watch.

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QUICKHIT: Cavs 106, Bulls 101

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

That game had EVERYTHING.  I’m not sure how I’m going to recap it and get any sleep.  LeBron played possibly his best playoff game in a Cavs uniform since 2009.  He completely dominated in the first half and finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks (including a highlight, series-saving block on D Rose) and ZERO, (count them…wait you can’t) ZERO Turnovers.  Incredible.  He was dominant in the half-court from mid-range, backing down Jimmy Butler and tossing socks into a laundry basket from every angle.

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Recap: Cavs 86, Bulls 84 (No Bank Necessary)

Monday, May 11th, 2015

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This series has become a full-on war of attrition.  The Cavs and the Bulls are nearly evenly matched and the drama has been overwhelming.  And I’m only talking about the on-court drama.  There are enough stories (real, embellished, manufactured) off the court to fill a small library.  Game 4 was a dogfight from start to finish, an often unsavory spectacle befit two midwestern teams.  Both squads had prolonged periods of drowning in quicksand: After harnessing all the momentum and looking to stomp on the Cavs’ throat, the Bulls suffered through seven minutes without a point in the second quarter.  A 16-0 run by the Cavs during this stretch tipped the balance towards the Wine and Gold.  In the third quarter, the Cavs went scoreless for just over seven minutes.  The Bulls’ 13-0 run during this stranglehold gave them a double-digit lead, which, in a game like this seemed insurmountable, especially given the battered Cavaliers’ roster.  But there would be one more period of sustained “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”-ery, and it was the Cavs defense completely stifling the Bulls pick-and-roll attack in the middle of the 4th quarter.  The Bulls managed a measly six points in the first eight minutes of the quarter, and the Cavs regained control of the battlefield behind some timely pipe-laying by Earl Smith III.  The final moments of the game will be discussed for a very long time.  In the end, Jimmy Butler hit a huge 3, and Derrick Rose turned back the clock a few years, blew by Iman Shumpert, and squeaked a contested layup past the help defense to improbably tie the game at 84, setting up a grueling overtime.  But with 1.5 seconds left, Delly pitched the easiest inbound pass of his life to one LeBron James who drilled a line-toed, long-2 off one leg as the buzzer sounded and the United Center crowd gasped for the wind that had been knocked out of its lungs.

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Preview and Live Thread: Cavs at Bulls (Game 4)

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

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News is that Pau Gasol will not play today after injuring his left hamstring in Game 3.  They are calling it a “strain” which means he could be back in a game or two.  The Bulls finally went to their bench in game 3 and Nikola Mirotic showed how dangerous he can be.  He scored 12 points and grabbed eight boards in just 22 minutes.  He was a game high +19.  Obviously, losing Gasol hurts the Bulls, but the “small-ball” lineup of the Bulls is dangerous if only because it features a lot of streaky outside shooting in a series that has been mostly a half-court grindfest.  I’m not sure I agree with the sentiments in these tweets that the Bulls will be “better” but they will present a different look that the Cavs need to be prepared for.

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Quickhit: Bulls 99, Cavs 96

Friday, May 8th, 2015

pow

This game brought the pain.  It was fantastic drama and became a war of attrition.  It made sense that the game was won on a buzzer-beating, banked-in 3 by Derrick Rose (that was very well defended by Tristan Thompson).

EG will have a full recap shortly.  The refs set the tone early by swallowing their whistles and allowing the rule of verticality to thrive.  While LeBron stuffed the stat sheet and made a number of outstanding passes, his half-court execution has been severely lacking.  With no confidence in his jumper (until late in the 4th quarter when he buried two) he sought to back down Jimmy Butler in the post or drive right down Michigan Ave to make something happen.  It mostly lead to turnovers, missed shots, and the occasional kick-out.

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Podcast: Talking Cavs with Mark Neal

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

cavs_allin

http://www.wingam.com/Talking-Cavs-NBA-with-Tom-Pestak-from-Cavstheblog-/17320024?pid=486299

Mark and I talked about all sorts of Cavs/Playoffs topics:

-LeBron’s approach to the game

-LeBron the passer vs LeBron the scorer and what the loss of Kevin Love means

-All the injuries

-Update on the 2nd round

-J.R. Smith’s return and how it will help

-The Warriors meet a team that plays meaner than them

-Mozgov’s mental fortitude

-Shumpert’s amazing playoff run

-The NBA changing the rules on seeding

-Hack-a-Shaq!

-LMA going to San Antonio?

-Adjustments David Blatt made between games 1 and 2

-Tristan Thompson’s value

-The Cavs promotions and skit video

-Nate calls in to offer his shooting tips for DeAndre Jordan

Live Thread: Cavs vs Bulls G2

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

rose_drive

Tristan Thompson gets the start tonight for the Cavs.  We’ll see if Mike Miller, James Jones, or Shawn Marion factors into the rotation.  You’d have to imagine at least one of them will play more than five minutes.

I don’t want to say this is a “must-win” for the Cavs because the definition of “must-win” should be reserved for “if you don’t win this game you don’t advance” which logically only occurs when you’ve already dropped three games.  So let’s just say a split would leave the Cavs feeling pretty good given the absence of J.R. Smith and a loss will make advancing seem insurmountable.  (A chasm, basically)

Still trying to figure out if Tom Withers is pulling a prank with this.  If it’s true….I mean come on that is AWESOME.  Why would you cancel the giveaway?!  I mean this is Ted Stepien tossing softballs off the Terminal Tower-level stuff (minus the injuries and lawsuits).  I love it.  But I loved this and I’ve been told it betrays our politically correct sensibilities.

Here’s a pre-game scouting report from our man on the scene, Big EZK

There’s a buzz in the air of excitement and anxiousness as I’ve arrived in the Q. The crowd is loud but I’m overhearing some doubt and lack of confidence given the situation. Everyone is of the mindset that if we lose tonight, it’s a wrap. I do think that as a fan base, we have been spoiled to believe that is it this easy to improve this quickly and expect there to be Finals appearances without some trials.

Granted, losing Kevin Love and JR is a tough pill to swallow. Especially after a relatively healthy regular season.
Based on the reports, it seems Tristan will start which to me is a blessing and a curse. The offense may be harder pressed to score with a lack of spacing. Defensively, I think Pau is enemy number one. Picks will probably be switched and match ups are better but one thing people need to keep in mind is that Chicago did change to match up with the Cavs, leaving only Noah or Gasol in for most of the 2nd half. Noah also did not score a point last game, which I doubt will be repeated.

Make your predictions, bring your hard hat to the comments section, let’s get this win.

QUICKHIT Bulls 99, Cavs 92

Monday, May 4th, 2015

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Mike Miller started.  Mike Dunleavy started.  Mike Miller “defended” Mike Dunleavy.  Mike Dunleavy’s first five shots went in. The experiment didn’t work.

Derrick Rose drilled multiple bail-out shot-clock-beating 3s (contested).  Kyrie Irving had a 10-2 run of his own.  The Cavs trailed by 15 in the 1st, but tied the game at 53 early in the 3rd.  Fans and bloggers alike spoke of “sustainability” so much I wondered if we were live blogging a greenpeace press conference.  Once all the craziness subsided it was just the Bulls reeling off 15 straight points in about two minutes.

The Cavs chipped away, with Kyrie leading the charge.  LeBron checked back into the game with the Cavs down just four.  He spent much of the night looking unsure of what he wanted to do offensively.  Lots of hesitation, lots of jump-passes, lots of turnovers, lots of out-of-sync offense that could not keep pace with the surgical Rose/Gasol PnR.  The Cavs had a chance to win, but they became impatient down the stretch, launching a lot of quick shots.  Then, with time actually pressing them to hurry up, they dribbled the clock down to single digits and took awkward shots.  LeBron and to a lesser extent, Kyrie, were no closers tonight.  The Cavs lone buckets in the final five minutes were a TT tip-in off a sub-optimal baseline drive and oop from Delly of all people.  The other was a Iman Shumpert bucket.  Jimmy Butler scored seven of the Bulls final 11 points, icing the game with a banked in short-jumper.

In the end the Cavs attempted more field goals, more threes, more free throws, grabbed more rebounds, and committed less turnovers.  That’s usually a recipe for a W, but the Bulls offensive execution was superior all night.

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