Author Archive

The Point Four-ward: Empty the Bench

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

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First off, if you haven’t read Ben’s excellent recap of the Cavs win in Detroit last night, please do yourself that favor. Then, it’s onto—

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) On a recent Cavs telecast, I heard something that gave me pause. It concerned the overall league ranking for the Cavs bench. Anyone want to guess what it was?

Try 30th overall. That’s right, the Cavs bench is ranked dead last in the league averaging just 23.6 points per game according to hoopsstats.com. That is not something that inspires much confidence when talking about a team whose recent stretch of torrid play has vaulted it back in the thick of the championship contender conversation.

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The Point Four-ward: The Unofficial Stretch Run

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers as they pick back up after the All-Star break…

1.) You may have read the following comment from LeBron James following Sunday’s All-Star Game and raised your eyebrows just a bit.

Asked about his aggressive first quarter of the showcase game (in which he scored 15 points on 6-9 shooting in eight-plus minutes) James said:

It’s my obligation and my responsibility to go out there, if I’m feeling 80 percent or 85 percent or 90, to go out there and give my fans something. Give my fans what they wanted to see. And hopefully I did that.

The good news is that James viewed himself at somewhere between 80-90 percent on a day where he was still looking at several days off before picking the season back up again on Friday night. He also threw out those percentages after he’d scored 30 points on 11-21 shooting with five rebounds and seven assists in a performance that would have surely netted James the game MVP award had the East not fallen to the West 163-158.

So, 80-90 percent of LeBron James is still pretty darned good.

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The Point Four-ward: Fit In, Fit On, Fit Out

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

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

1.) LeBron James loves his teammates.

Sorry… change that. LeBron James loves to love his teammates.

From his days playing at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary with Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and Romeo Travis, to his days as a Cavalier and thier elaborate choreographed pre-game introductions, James has always seemed most comfortable when his team exudes a family atmosphere. When they’re close. When everybody fits in.

So, it wasn’t shocking to see that this weekend, as his new version of the Cavaliers continues to round into form, that James would address what he saw as the team’s squeakiest wheel going forward: power forward, Kevin Love.

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The Point Four-ward: Keep Streak Alive!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

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

1.) Thursday’s game against the Clippers will be a good measuring stick for these Cavs — and it comes at just the right time. The Cavs just played three of the worst teams in the league in the Sixers, Wolves and Kings and, while it would be unfair to say that the team has gotten bored of Avenge-a-palooza 2015, serving steaming piles of roundball comeuppance to a rogues gallery of disheartening losses, finally seeing a team that also plans to be playing deep into May and June (and one looking to avenge its own disheartening loss, a 126-121 Cavs win in L.A. on January 16th) is exactly what the Cavs need to resharpen their focus and keep this winning streak going.

Thus far, the Cavs have had some trouble piling it on against lesser 0pponents. Last Friday against Sacramento, the Cavs managed only 15 points in the fourth quarter, letting the Kings back into a game that should have been well out of reach. The next night in Minnesota, the young Wolves team (sporting the league’s worst defense) were actually leading the Cavs in the second half, before the Cavs defense (still sporting its new car smell) put the strangle hold on in the fourth. Then Monday night, those scrappy Sixers, got within two points in the fourth before Matthew Dellavedova stepped in to blow their candles out.

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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

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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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