Author Archive

The Point Four-ward: How Buddy Ball Won Out

Friday, January 30th, 2015

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

1.) This time last season, I couldn’t have expected I’d be uttering the following statement: the two Cavaliers players I most enjoy watching this season are Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.

Now, sure, even before Wednesday night’s Kyrie-a-thon, that’s not the craziest thing in the world to say. It’s not like saying I’m tuning in just for the chance to see three glorious minutes of Mike Miller or James Jones. But this time last year, I was firmly on Team Dion and was more than open to criticizing the highly-susceptible-to-criticism play of Irving and Thompson, a.k.a. Team Buddy Ball.

But here we are now…

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Fantasy Notebook: The Rise of the Evil Genius

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

ESPN-Hoops

If you haven’t already, check out Tom’s recap of last night’s Cavs win over the Pistons.

Now, onto CtFL Notes:

Right now, I’m reading the book Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – the Creators of Superman by Cleveland-based author Brad Ricca. Now, “amazing” might be overselling the adventures of these two Depression Era chums who, over the course of several years of self-publishing, unrequited submissions and trial and error, go on to create one of the most iconic characters of the 20th century, but it does paint an interesting picture of the slow shaping and reshaping that it often takes before even the best ideas take hold.

For instance, did you know that one of Siegel’s early pitches for the comic that would become Superman had its hero come not from the Planet Krypton but from Earth’s distant future? His father sent the young would-be hero back in time to help save the planet Earth which, much like Krypton in the story we all know, is on the brink of destruction.

Interesting. But I think I like Krypton better.

So, what does this story have to do with Cavs: The Fantasy League?

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The Point Four-ward: Backcourt Bliss

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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First off, if you haven’t listened to Nate, Tom and Ben’s mid-season Cavs: The Podcast, what are you waiting for??

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

1.) Kyrie Irving is really winning me back over this season.

While everyone (CtB included) was quick to heap praise on the performance of newly-acquired center Timofey Mosgov in the Cavs 108-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls, Monday night, for me, was all about Irving.

It wasn’t his greatest shooting performance (7-16 for 18 points and only got to the free throw line four times) but watching Irving play surrounded by talent is to remember just the type of amazing plays he’s capable of on an every-time-down-the-floor basis. In fact — and it pains me to say this — he may have already passed LeBron James in that regard.

This is not to say that Irving is a better player than James. The Cavs recent losing streak with James out showed that, no, Irving still does not know how to win in this league. Too often, his brand of hero ball seems to send the Cavs to the wrong side of the win/loss column. He walks the ball up too much rather than pushing it. But, as we saw from Irving in the FIBA tournament this summer, when he seems to feel more trust in the players around him, Irving can look like one of the best players in the league.

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Fantasy Notebook: Where LeBron’s Iso Ball is Just Fine By Me…

Monday, January 19th, 2015

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CtFL Notes:

It’s no 2014-15 NBA Western Conference or anything, but Cavs: The Fantasy League is shaping up to be deeper and more competitive than it appeared as recently as a few weeks ago. The return of LeBron James has resuscitated my tailspinning Team Waiters Invaders, while Nate Smith’s Team Stark Delly Treys, Team Grover 13 and Team Evil Genius have all been putting together some fine fantasy basketball out on the fantasy court. These suddenly spry middle-packers raises questions about the true dominance of David Wood’s Team Alex Dirk just as Wood’s biggest competitor, Ben Werth’s Team The Deutschiest (first time this season I’ve typed that team name without looking at it for reference… We all got goals, people!) has hit the skids.

Along with Cols’ Team Buckets Don’t Lie, CtFL is a legit seven teams deep. Currently in the eighth spot, Mallory Factor and his Team The Factors of Love are on the outside looking in… kinda like Kevin Love watching the fourth quarter from the bench. Ouch. Sorry, Mal. Couldn’t resist.

But let’s get to our Week 12 action…

Wood, surveying the beautiful expanse that is CtFL from atop his ivory tower, was apparently looking past Team Evil Genius. Even as Wood was all like—

—EG was there to stand up for CtFL’s suddenly bulging middle section of talent.

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The Point Four-ward: A Personal Blatt-ack?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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If you haven’t read David Wood’s excellent recap of last night’s loss to the Suns, get on it!

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

1.) The fallout over David Blatt’s comments after the Cavs loss in Sacramento that Kevin Love is “not a max player yet” should come as a surprise to no one. Blatt has always been known as a fiery guy who, thus far in his career (storied abroad, though it may be) hasn’t had to deal with as many of the finer points of player ego-massaging as he has this season, his first in the NBA. While he has ladled freely from the soup of praise when talking about his players, Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, in particular, there was bound to be a moment when Blatt, understandably frustrated following a 19-point drubbing by a Kings squad where his team played unengaged, uninspired and… well, basically un-anything-good, would release a little steam. Unfortunately, his pressure check was in front of the media and at the apparent expense of the player who, should he leave after just one season in wine and gold, would leave the team with a lot of gold — from the yolk running down their collective face — to show for it.

Do I think Blatt thinks Love is a bad player? Absolutely not. I think Blatt believes his starting power forward is a very talented offensive player — one of the more versatile offensive bigs in the league — but to say that Blatt, in his most private moments, is without criticism of Love is probably unrealistic, as well. Blatt later backpedaled saying that what he meant was that Love has not yet signed a max contract with the Cavs and didn’t want to be accused of tampering by suggesting that those kind of discussions were had with Love.

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The Point Four-ward: Wait(ers) No More

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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

1.) Speaking purely from that place where we sports fans can still grow attached to players in purely sentimental ways, I will miss Dion Waiters very much. He was the first professional athlete I ever interviewed face-to-face and I’ll always be a sucker for his unique personality which always seemed to be running on those parallel tracks of inflated self-regard and never feeling properly regarded.

I was firmly in the camp that thought Waiters could experience a real break-through in his this season, his third. But I was also one of the people (along, apparently, with the crossed fingers of everyone else on the Cavs) who thought Waiters would be able to adapt to playing with LeBron James, becoming more of a catch-and-shoot player who could focus on being a stout defender with the starters and sate his appetite for dribble-driving against second units. That, it turned out, wasn’t Waiters game.

So, I thought he could be an offensive spark plug off the bench… and sometimes he was. But if his long-two jumper wasn’t falling, the positives that the team got from Waiters dropped off a cliff. I’d defended Waiters for his whole Cavs career, but even I found myself saying to a friend over the weekend, “This might just not be working [with Waiters].”

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Recap: Dallas 109, Cleveland 90 (or, one of these teams looks like a contender)

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

 

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In what was possibly the most predictable outcome of a game you’ll see all year, the deep, balanced machine that is the Dallas Mavericks made short work of a Cavs team missing its star and still struggling to figure out how to string more than a few good possessions together.

The Mavericks shot 56.4% from the field and 46.2% from three in a game that saw six Dallas players score in double figures, led by Monta Ellis’ 20. The Cavs, meanwhile, managed just 40.7% as a team, but did see Kevin Love continue his recent LeBron-less strong play. Love’s 30 points made this his highest scoring game as a Cavalier (he also pulled down 10 boards) but no one else on the team was able to make enough of an impact to keep the Cavs within striking distance much past the first quarter. The team cut a 15-point second quarter deficit to 10 at the half, but saw the game quickly get away from them in the third.

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The Point Four-ward: New Year’s Daze

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

 

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

1.) A lot of what I’m going to say here is anecdotal rather than analytical. These are points and ideas born from conversations I’ve been having over the last couple of holiday weeks. They are more temperature-taking than anything else but, as with other recent Cavaliers seasons, I’ve found it useful to see exactly at what point the fan base (and myself) go completely off the rails. That point could well be now.

The overriding feeling of those I’m talking to is the same as mine: these Cavs just aren’t any fun.

And it’s not looking to get any more fun if, as reported today, LeBron James misses the next two weeks nursing a holiday cookie tray of injuries (or, more precisely, diagnosed strains to his ailing knee and back).

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Fantasy Notebook: No Fantasy Here…

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

 

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If you’re a Cleveland Cavaliers fan (and I’m going to file that under assumption of you’re reading this) you have had your fill of fantasy. Fantasy was what led you to believe your favorite team would be a world destroyer in LeBron James’ first season back. Fantasy was what led you to dream about an amazing steam-powered offense under the healm of “verging on genius” David Blatt in his first turn through the NBA. Fantasy was the Cavs’ deep and verified roster. Fantasy is on thin ice around Lake Erie these days and so this turn through the pages of the fantasy notebook will be brief.

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The Point Four-ward: Flat Tops and Crazy Eyes

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

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

1.) Two separate reports Tuesday could have bearing on the Cavs’ current search for a perimeter defender. First, Chris Haynes from Northeast Ohio Media Group (via The Plain Dealer) reported that the Cavs had moved on from attempts to trade for Minnesota swingman Corey Brewer. The Timberwolves, hit with injuries to key wing players Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio, are now reticent to move Brewer, their best perimeter defender (though Andrew Wiggins might have something to say about that soon).

The other bit came from Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, who reported that basically the entire New York Knicks roster has been put on the trading block. While the Knicks would prefer to part ways with J.R. Smith (Really?? Nooooo….), the Knick who might actually be a good fit with the wine and gold is fourth year shooting guard, Iman Shumpert.

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