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3-on-3: Grind or Go Home Edition

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?

Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. (more…)

Recap: Warriors 103, Cavs 82 (Or, Losing On Their Own Terms)

Friday, June 12th, 2015

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The Cavs’ game plan throughout this series has been to shut down the Splash Bros., and let the Warrior’s role players beat them. Well, they got exactly what they asked for tonight. Steve Kerr switched up his starting lineup for this pivotal game four, and it worked out perfectly. He put Andrew Bogut on the bench and started Andre Iguodala at the four. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 12-26 for just 31 points. However, Iggy, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green combined to go 18-35 for 52 points. They were 10-21 from beyond the arc.

Steve Kerr also started to double-team LeBron James when he was in the post, and trapped him on pick and rolls. LeBron made the correct passes tonight, but it just didn’t matter. The Cavs went 4-27 from 3-point land. Tonight wasn’t one to remember, but let’s remember it anyways.

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Finals Live Thread: Game 4, Warriors @ Cavs

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

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I want to get very specific. Everyone watching the Cavs sort of shutdown the Warriors can recognize what’s going on: the Cavs are protecting the ball, limiting 3-point makes, slowing the game’s pace, making role players perform, and marching the NBA back to a time where games had less than 200 combined points and more than 200 combined hand-checks. Let’s check out some numbers from these playoffs to get a better appreciation for the Cavs 2-1 series lead. (more…)

Recap: Cavs 94, Bulls 73 (Or, Champagne SuperDova)

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Cleveland put away the Chicago Bulls in a decisive manner tonight to earn a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs held Chicago to 37% shooting and just four made threes. Matthew Dellavedova led the way with a podium level-performance to silence all haters. He scored 19 points shooting 7-11 from the floor and 3-6 from behind the arc. Delly defended his Australian pride by covering every single guy on the floor, centers included, and doing it well. He was +21 for the evening and scored the first five of the Cavs 15 points in the third quarter. He was unstoppable for 31 minutes.

Tristan Thompson also helped out scoring ten points in the first quarter, including two And-1s, on his way to 13 points and 17 rebounds. Iman Shumpert, bench man turned starter, rounded out the Mini-3 with 13 points, and a game high +26. His nine second quarter points started a Cavs lead the Bulls couldn’t overcome. The mini-3 stepped up because the remaining two of the Big-3 played hobbled. Kyrie Irving played only 12 minutes after going down in the second quarter, and he scored just six points. LeBron James scored 15 points, but it took him 23 shots and worn out doing it.

David Wood and EvilGenius decided to share their email diary of the game. Here it is:

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Live Thread: Cavs @ Bulls, Game 6

Thursday, May 14th, 2015
Every Cavs fan is ready for this game.

Every Cavs fan is ready for this game.

If the Cavs win tonight, they will see the conference Finals for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. If they lose, the Wine & Gold will play their first game seven in the playoffs since the 2007-2008 season, a game they lost. Either way, this game is going to lead to some flashbacks of sorts for most Cavalier fans.

This game comes down to guys playing the positions they are assigned to on the floor and the positions their physical gifts dictate. And, I mean playing those positions like they were played before guys other than point guards and shooting guards dribbled the ball up the court.

Kyrie Irving needs to dribble up the court because he is a point guard, and LeBron James needs to work in the post, set screens, and cut to the rim because he’s a small forward with the strength of a power forward or center. That game plan works for the Cavaliers. They won game five because the King returned to his rightful throne down by the hoop.

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Who Should The Cavs Put On The Floor?

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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Back in September, I took the time to try and figure out which Cavs five man units would be the most effective for the 2014-2015 season. I used plus-minus data for individual players and plus-minus data for five man units from the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves.  To make some sense of that information, a little math was required.  Plus-minus (PM) numbers don’t take into account how many minutes players and lineups played, so they need to be adjusted to per 48 minute rates.  Once those rates are figured out, they can be used for all sorts of fun stuff.  By comparing players’ expected PM/48 in lineups to their lineup’s actual on the court PM/48, you can see how well the players meshed.  If the numbers match up, then the unit played to the players’ averages, but if the two numbers are drastically different, the unit either under-performed or over-performed. (more…)

Recap: Bulls 99, Cavs 92 (Or, The Bulls Can’t Get Any Better)

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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The Bulls offense showed up last night, and the Cavs defense refused to make any changes to counter it. The Bulls opened the evening on a 10-2 run, and led by 16 and 15 points at different points during the game. Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose combined for 66 points, and the whole Chicago team shot 55% from 3-point land. The Cavs managed to come back from both deficits, while shooting 27% from the 3-line. The Cavs lost, but the Bulls aren’t going to keep playing offense like they did, and the Cavs defense and offense should improve next game. (more…)

Live Thread: Cavs Vs Bulls, Game One

Monday, May 4th, 2015

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What do you wear to watch Cavs games? Do you go shirtless? If so, do yourself, your family, and your friends a favor and buy an official Cavs:The Blog t-shirt. It comes in black and red. Are you wearing a button down shirt to watch the game? If so, you need to relax and get a t-shirt. Again, Cavs:The Blog has you covered, see above. And, finally, if you’re wearing a t-shirt right now, check and see if it has a word cloud on it. It probably doesn’t, so again, I refer you to above. Today is your last chance to get these shirts. Remember all proceeds go to the Lauren Hill, “The Cure Starts Now,” tribute fund. Also, check out the five on five, which was posted this morning.

The Cavs face the Bulls tonight. This marks the rare occasion that the Bulls are healthier than an opponent, as the Cavs are missing Kevin Love and Derrick Rose actually appears to be healthy. The Cavs are also missing JR Smith tonight because he decided to hit someone in the head with a closed fist. He’ll be back in time for game three.

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Cavs: The Duels – Debating the Hack-A-Shaq Rule

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
The friendliest version of Hack-A-DeAndre yet.

The friendliest version of Hack-A-DeAndre to date.

During the second half of Clippers v. Spurs Game 3 (which ironically featured two major players in the the use of the “Hack-A-Shaq” tactic: DeAndre Jordan and Gregg Popovich), the ESPN sports ticker declared that Adam Silver had come out to say that he expects the league to have “full-throated” conversations about the “Hack-A-Shaq” rule in the off-season.

Here was his exact quote to ESPN.com, minutes before the tipoff of Friday night’s Game 3 in the Dallas Mavericks-Houston Rockets series:

“It’s something that I’m on the fence about. My thought used to be that we should definitely change the rule, and then having sat through several general managers meetings, competition meetings and having heard from some of the game’s very best, the view is the players should hit their free throws. That’s changed my view a little bit.

Having said that, when I watch some of these games on television, frankly, it’s not great entertainment for our fans, and that’s important as well. What I’ve said is we have another general managers meeting coming up in May, we have a competition committee meeting in June, and I’m sure it’s going to be a hot topic of discussion.

Then, we have an owners meeting in July, so I think at all three of those meetings we’re going to be having full-throated conversations about what the right rules should be going forward.”

This led to a spirited email debate between C:tB-ers David Wood and EvilGenius (neither of whom shares the Commissioner’s fence-sitting ways) over the merits and detractions of the use of the tactic in the NBA. (more…)

Live Thread: Cavs @ Celtics, Game 4

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

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Game three between the Cavs and Celtics was an all out slug fest. There were tons of bizarre foul calls, lots of hands restricting players’ movements, and even some trash talk. If the Cavs win tonight, they will have a little extra rest before their next game. Their second round matchup is against whomever comes out of the Bucks, Bulls series. The Bucks beat the bulls with zero time left on the clock yesterday to force a game five. (more…)