Author Archive

The Point Four-ward: The Ballad of the Slow Gunslinger

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA Playoffs and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Nothing about the Cavs overall performance in their first two playoff games against the Boston Celtics really qualifies as reason for alarm. The Cavs have taken care of business winning Games 1 and 2 by 11 and nine points respectively. Some expected the Cavs to steamroll the Celtics a little more than they have, but these games have shown the Boston squad to be made of just the type of pluck and gumption that makes for a good story this time of year.

A good story, though, does not a winning team make.

This doesn’t mean the Cavs have played fault-free ball since the league’s second season tipped off. In fact, one of the things that has been most troubling about this Cavs team so far is that they seem to need to take a good shot from a more spirited opponent before playing their best ball.

The Celtics, it turns out, are in no short supply of shots.

The Cavs have started both games slowly, giving the Celtics shooters (I mean, if that’s what you want to call Marcus Smart…) space and allowing relatively easy access to the rim, while the Celtics have been draped over LeBron James and Kyrie Irving from jump.

So far, this Cavs team is the rare slow gunslinger who may not get off the first shot, but, in the end, is still able to walk away from the showdown.

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Fantasy Notebook: And We Have A Winner!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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This was a spirited first year of Cavs: The Fantasy League, one that pitted your favorite Cavs: The Blog writers against (well, each other… as well as) your favorite Cavs: The Blog readers. There were ups and down, smiles and frowns… but, in the end, there can only be one winner and I come here today to present that winner to you.

Congratulations to Evil Genius and his Team Evil Genius on capturing the first inaugural CtFL championship trophy. In what will surely go down as an Instant Fantasy Classic, EG’s team prevailed over Nate Smith’s Team Stark Delly Treys.

Box Score

 

And, yes, you’re seeing that right: the margin of victory was pretty darn close in some categories: four wins, four blocks, 1.02% in field goals. Heck, they even tied on rebounds. Nate’s gonna be licking those wounds for some time now. But that, as we all know, is how the playoff cookie crumbles.

Take a bow, EG! Nate, you may take a slightly more hesitant (but no less well-earned) bow, as well. These are your bloggers, my friends. And they kept on fighting ’till the end. You can see the road to the final two, here, while you queue up a rendition of “One Shining Moment.”

The battle for third place also came down to the final day of action, with my own Team Waiters Invaders eventually — though, narrowly — edging out Team Grover 13
. (Correction: due to statistical updates, Grover now appears to be the winner. We’ll see if this holds).

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Good job, again, to EG and Nate— and to all who participated in the inaugural CtFL. Now, go rest up, take your family on a European vacation (or several) and I’ll see you back here next October.

Break!

The Point Four-ward: A Merciful End to the Regular Season

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers on the final day of the 2014-15 NBA regular season…

1.) While the Celtics won’t be pushovers in the first round, it’s clear why the Cavs would prefer to play a relatively young Boston team over a resurgent (until the last two games, anyway) Brooklyn team and a Pacers team who have given the Cavs problems all year and just got their star player, Paul George, back for the stretch run and likely beyond.

The Celtics are hot at exactly the right time. Winners of four straight and seven of the last ten, head coach Brad Stevens’ squad ranks third in points per game (111.5), third in assists per game (26.3) and first in steals (13.3) over the ten game span prior to Tuesday night’s game against Toronto.

Also, in the month of April the Celtics have been allowing only 97.4 points per 100 possessions, good for fifth best in the league. They feature a dangerous scorer in Isaiah Thomas (20.7 points and 5.5 assists in April) and some lively big bodies in Brandon Bass and former Cavalier Tyler Zeller to go along with an absolutely dogged perimeter defense led by Avery Bradley and rookie Marcus Smart.

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The Point Four-ward: Looking (Somewhat Ambitiously) Ahead

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) J.R. Smith’s three point explosion against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday (8-17 FGs… all three pointers) had many Cavs fans on Twitter talking about the team’s starting two guard and his contract status. After all, Smith has a player option for just under $6.4 million for next season. If he were playing like he was as a member of the New York Knicks earlier this season, Smith likely would have picked up that option. And, right now, $6.4 million for the type of production Smith is providing is a bargain.

In Cleveland, Smith has thrived and the team has thrived with him. Cavs head coach David Blatt has referred to Smith as “a godsend” and LeBron James has said the 6-8 Smith has been “everything we needed and more.”

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Fantasy Notebook: The Finals

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

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For fans of the real-life NBA, the playoffs are still about a week and a half off. But for fans of Cavs: The Fantasy League, that one shining moment has come. We’ve reached the end point of the inaugural Cavs: The Fantasy League and we’ve got one mammoth of a Finals underway as two very worthy competitors look to get their taste of that gold ring (or… you know, the fantasy equivalent which is imagining what a gold ring might taste like).

Nate Smith’s Team Stark Delly Treys moved into the Finals with a sound spanking of the third seeded Team Grover 13.

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Team Stark Delly Treys has its fair share of star power, boasting the likes of MVP-contender James Harden and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, but also mixed in some new blood like Orlando’s rookie guard Elfrid Payton, the Thunder’s Steven Adams and Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, all of who are having strong seasons both in reality as key contributors to Smith’s squad.

Meanwhile, Evil Genius’ appropriately named Team Evil Genius finished off yours truly and his Team Waiters Invaders.

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EG surged to CtFL’s best record and carried that momentum into the playoffs. With a backcourt featuring the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving and the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan and a frontline sporting names like Gasol (of the Pau variety) and Drummond, it’s easy to see why.

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The Point Four-ward: Delly Roll(ing)?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Matthew Dellavedova may have saved his spot in the rotation with a strong recent six game stretch.

Prior to the trade deadline, the Cavs were known to be looking to shore up their back-up point guard spot. As previously discussed in this column, the Cavs were seriously considering former NBA players then playing in China who would become free agents at the conclusion of the CBA season.

Following an early-season knee injury, Dellavedova was still showing all of the grit and hustle that has made him beloved by each of the last two Cavaliers head coaches. Only now he seemed a step slow(er) and his offense had taken a dip, going from “feisty” to just “showing the occasional twitch.”

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The Point Four-ward: What Is And What Should Never Be

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Not long after Steve Nash announced his retirement last week, this story broke: had Nash asked for a buyout from the Lakers around the trade deadline, the Cavs had interest in bringing the 18-year vet on board to spell Kyrie Irving for limited minutes. The move made some sense because a.) LeBron James has always been a big Nash fan b.) both Cavs GM David Griffin and Director of Player Administration Raja Bell are close with Nash from their time together with the Phoenix Suns and c.) the Cavs, at least at the time they were considering this move, were looking to shore up their backup point guard spot.

Nash, however, chose to stay a Laker, the organization with which he wanted to end his career. And, really, you have to wonder if Nash would have been able to give the Cavs even the 10-15 minutes a night they were looking for, as he has not played in a game all season and has only played 65 games for the Lakers since they acquired him prior to the 2012-13 season.

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The Point Four-ward: More Rest For The Wicked?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Count me among those who were actually surprised to see LeBron James suited up for Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat. After tweaking his knee in Sunday’s game against Orlando, James, who has spoken publicly of his desire to get some more rest before the playoffs start, chose to stay in for this road contest against his former team (and, likely, because of that).

After a couple of months in which James has sat out the occasional game on occasion (most recently, at home against Portland and on the road against Indiana) in order to give his body a couple more days to get right, James played, only to aggravate a wrist injury (in a collision with Hassan Whiteside) for his troubles.

Cavs head coach David Blatt has stated his desire for the Cavs to hold onto the second seed in the East going into the playoffs, so it’s unlikely that James will take off as lengthy a stretch as he did in December into January. Especially with the team resting Kevin Love, the Cavs need James if they are to win enough games to give Number 23 a prolonged rest.

As of now, Love is expected to play tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, though nothing definite has been announced.

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Fantasy Notebook: Playoff Time!

Monday, March 16th, 2015

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It’s been a long, punishing regular season here at Cavs: The Fantasy League.

No one’s body is feeling right. Everyone could use some rest, some time off… a two-week lay-off and a trip to Miami, say… but that ain’t gonna happen. Not here, anyway. CtFL is about fictitious balling and fictitious balling is what this collection of true competitors will continue to do.

It’s winning time, folks.

Before we get to a preview of this week’s match-ups — with the 1-4 seeds receiving first round byes — let’s hand out some of the regular season hardware.

The regular season’s best record — and the team that topped the Gilberts Division at 153-91-3 — is owned by none other than Evil Genius!

Congratulations, EG. And, while it would be foolish to start your coronation before you’ve even tasted playoff action, I think we’ve all seen enough to lobby that you drop the Evil for the more fitting suggestion in the song below:

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Recap: Cavs 128, Spurs 125 OT (Or The Night Kyrie Irving Devoured The World)

Friday, March 13th, 2015

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Okay…

I want to be clear about one thing: this recap won’t even come close to doing this game justice.

It just won’t. I apologize, but that’s just the way it goes. The best recap, CtB readers, was given by you and you can take a look back on it by scrolling through the unspooling of emotions (and the over 700 comments) that make up our Live Thread.

But, this game does deserve some recapping and I will happily oblige.

The Cavs and the Spurs played a game for the ages on Thursday night. With the Cavs down by six with 33 seconds remaining, Kyrie Irving hit two threes to bring the wine and gold even at the end of regulation, including a ridiculous heave as time expired to force the OT. Irving finished with 57 points, the most by any player this season, including going a perfect 7-7 from deep and 10-10 from the free throw line.

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