Last week Mark and I lamented the sorry state of the Cavs [Listen Here] and wondered aloud how hot David Blatt’s seat must have been feeling. The Cavs have won four straight since – so we got a chance to talk about the new trade pieces and viability of a Hawks vs. Warriors NBA Finals.
The Cavs lost on the road to the best team in the NBA. The final score doesn’t really indicate how competitive the game was – it was a 5-point game midway through the 4th quarter. GS blew it open in the final four minutes. The Cavs hung in there despite some abysmal outside shooting from the guys brought in specifically for that purpose. J.R. Smith had a strong game at both ends, and Timofey Mozgov really made a difference in the limited minutes he received. Kyrie Irving was like a quiet assassin at times. Ultimately, the Cavs couldn’t stop Klay Thompson and the Warriors got so many easy baskets there was just no way the Cavs were going to overcome being without LeBron.
Kevin Love scored 27 points on 15 shots, Dion Waiters came alive in spurts, and the Cavs came back from an early double-digit deficit to get a gritty road win against the struggling Hornets. They shrugged off a terrible shooting night from Kyrie Irving (8-27) and survived a take-your-breath-away scare when Kevin Love’s knee seemed to buckle early in the third quarter. Both teams shot horribly, but the Cavs took care of the ball and the Hornets didn’t. The Cavs scored 23 points off turnovers and only coughed up seven points – more than enough to account for the diff.
First things first…O-H!…
The Cavs are in Charlotte tonight to take on the Hornets. Both teams are missing critical pieces – LeBron for the Cavs, Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson for the Hornets.
It’s getting to the point where the Cavs need Ws one way or the other. The East is shaping up to be pretty competitive at the top and they certainly don’t want to be without home court advantage to in the playoffs.
David Blatt is talking about simplifying the offense. No offense to him but the offense has seemed pretty simplistic to me all season. Maybe tonight they’ll stop trying so hard and just get the ball in the hands of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The pick and roll/pop is still one of the harder moves to cover if executed correctly.
Let’s talk about it here!
Evil, Arch, the rest of ya’ll: ASSEMBLE!
Recap and Podcast 57: Hawks 109 Cavs 101 (Or, moral victories may not be anything but they sure beat the hell out of getting embarrassed)Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Check out the podcast that Nate and I recorded tonight. It’s available at Soundcloud , and iTunes. (CtB Episode 57!) Here’s a short and sweet recap to supplement your insatiable desire for Cavs analysis. The Cavs moved the ball well in the first quarter and played the Hawks to a draw. They completely choked when the Hawks turned up the intensity in the second quarter and then Kevin Love left the game with back spasms. The Cavs, without LeBron, Love, or Marion, started the second half by watching Kyle Korver drain a couple of threes to push the lead to 17. It looked like the Cavs were going to get blown out of the gym. But they fought back behind the wizardry of Kyrie Irving, the power and relentlessness of Tristan Thompson, and some gutsy-if-not-quite-effective defense throughout the contest. They were within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter in a back and fourth affair where they cut the deficit three on three different occasions, and to two with 4:43 left. The Hawks absorbed the blows and settled into some two-man action between Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, eventually putting the Cavs away.
Kyrie Irving finished with 35 points and nine assists (and almost none of his shots were easy looks) but he coughed it up eight times in a game where the referees refused the blow their whistles for three quarters without a coroner on the scene and flipped the switch in the fourth – needing little more than pantomime routines to stop the action. Irving looked a lot like he did last year – dribbling through double teams, taking a lot of those “why not” 3s from five feet behind the line, and of course, finishing at the rim from impossible angles.
Tristan Thompson had a really nice game. His energy, offensive rebounding, and finishing abilities infected the Cavs in the 3rd and 4th quarters. His alley-oop execution of Jeff Teague was a sight to behold. He finished with 18 points on 12 shots and 13 rebounds. He was old-man-at-the-gym’d by Paul Millsap all night long with the help of the referees, but he played a valiant game.
Dion Waiters and Kevin Love didn’t show up, figuratively speaking, and since LeBron James and Shawn Marion literally didn’t show up this game tested the Cavs’ depth. Joe Harris was 3/4 from beyond the arc and had a few heady plays (and a gut-wrenching layup attempt that licked every inch of the rim before willing itself out).
Someone put on James Jones’ jersey and a Mission Impossible 2 mask because at least three times I had to double take “wait…James JONES just rejected Paul Millsap at the rack!?” He missed a bunch of wide open 3s and was supremely active on defense. Not your mother’s James Jones. Over/under on the number of days until JJ has three steals and two blocks again? I’m going infinity days.
All in all it was nice to see the Cavs dig deep when the dam was about to burst and make a game of it. The Hawks are a really good team and will be a formidable playoff foe. Their offensive talent was too much for the Cavs to stop in the waning moments of the game. Ultimately the Cavs need to play like this every night (a scrambling defensive effort for 48 minutes) and at full strength they will win more than they lose.
The Cavs get a chance to enact revenge after the beatdown they suffered two weeks ago. Unfortunately, they’ll be without LeBron James who is sitting out with knee soreness. LeBron’s 20s were some of the best ever seen. Let’s hope it extends into his 30s. The Hawks have been one of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises. Kyrie Irving is back tonight, Jeff Teague gets another shot at the Cavs (he was absent for the last meeting).
We’re catching you midway through the first half – the Cavs lead 34-33 and Kyrie already has 10 points and five dimes.
Let’s talk about it here.
Mike Miller could be back tonight for the Cavs. It will be interesting to see if they bounce back after that humiliating loss to the Hawks. The Nets are 10-14 and the Cavs are 14-10. The Cavs took over the second half against the Nets in Brooklyn a few games back.
Let’s talk about it here!
If you can believe it, this game was knotted at zero for more than two minutes. Slowly, both teams started to see their shots trickle in. The Cavs then went on a 19-6 run prompting tweets like “that escalated quickly.” As the 1st quarter clock wound down, LeBron elicited wild reactions after he “broke” Thabo Sefalosha’s ankles and hit Matthew Dellavedova on the right wing for three. Brendan Haywood, AJ Price, and Kyrie Irving were shown in a goofy delirium and both teams went back to their respective benches. Longtime Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer handed each one of his boys a P-Wing, Star, and Tanooki Suit and they each swallowed them all at once and chased them with ten 5-Hour Energys (giving them 50 continuous hours of super power energy). The Cavs waddled back and forth like koopa troopas before getting their shells flipped the heck upside down and kicked into oncoming Bullet Bills. Here are the highlights:
Last time the Cavs completely blew out the Hawks – raining fire down from the heavens. They held Kyle Korver to zero 3s if I remember correctly. The Hawks just seemed demoralized by about midway through the 2nd quarter. They were missing DeMarre Carroll (a Tom Pestak favorite) at the time and they’ve been pretty good this season although they’ve had an easy schedule. Should be a tough game!
The Cavs exploded out of the gate to a 21-0 lead, the largest such start in the NBA since…well LeBron was a rookie…uh, Facebook didn’t exist, Anderson Varejao avoided mid-range jumpers like the plague (or, the stomach bug that caused Delly to lose 7 lbs!)… It was a historic start to a game. The Hornets woke up and outplayed the Cavs for about 24 minutes, but the Cavs put them back to bed with a late 3rd quarter run that re-established the proper predator/prey relationship in the Eastern Conference food chain.