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Recap: Nuggets 106, Cavaliers 97 (Or, Sniff, Cough, Nothing to See Here )

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

 

Monday night’s NBA game at Quicken Loans Arena featured a streaking home team fresh off a magical shooting display. The Cleveland Cavaliers were rounding into shape. The projected offensive juggernaut increased its scoring output in four consecutive games culminating in the complete annihilation of the Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland’s opponent was a disappointing team which had recently lost six in a row. The Denver Nuggets’ lone victory after opening day had come against an Indiana team featuring Donald Sloan. To say that this had the potential to be a “trap game” would have been a supreme understatement.

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Live Thread: Cavs vs Nuggets

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Remember me?

 

Denver fans miss George Karl slightly more than Cavalier fans miss Mike Brown. The Nuggets come into The Q with a 2-7 record and a particularly boring brand of basketball. Brian Shaw is already on a slightly warm seat after an early season six game losing streak.

The Cavaliers began their four game run in The Mile High City. Though they will probably not make their first 11 threes of the game, the Cavs should extend their streak to five.

Prediction: 114-98 Cavs

Bonus: Randy Foye will drop 25

Recap: Portland 101, Cleveland 82 (or “Continuity Trumps All.”)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

 

If only this were the main problem.

The Cavaliers traveled to Rip City for the first of a three game West Coast trip. Facing a Portland Trail Blazer team that relies heavily on their dominant starting lineup, the Cavs hoped to build on their overtime win against the Bulls. Instead, the Blazers offensive cohesion and strong play in the paint proved too much to handle. Early in the season, Cleveland will likely have trouble against teams with great continuity. After getting throttled by the Blazers at every position, the Cavaliers have nowhere to go but up.

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Preseason Recap: Memphis 96, Cleveland 92 (or, Games are won in the Trenches)

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Cleveland closed its 2014 preseason with an incredibly physical game with the Memphis Grit and Grind. If you like to watch amazingly large athletes slam into each other in the paint, circle December 21st and March 26th on your calender. Though only preseason, it was clear that any meeting between these two frontcourts will be an all-out sumo match. The Memphis style of play gave the Cavaliers a chance to see how Blatt’s adapting system functions in a slowly paced game. Shawn Marion started in place of a resting LeBron James. Anderson Varejao was in the circle for tip-off. Though competitive throughout, the game was clearly an evaluative exercise for both franchises. Starters saw limited minutes in the second half.

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Preseason Recap: Dallas 108, Cleveland 102 (or, how do you beat a Zone again?)

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

No longer!

LeBron James versus the Dallas Mavericks. Some Cavs fans had to remind themselves to cheer against Dirk Nowitzki and the Cuban-ators now that ‘Bron has made his celebrated return home. It’s been more than three years since Rick Carlisle’s genius and Dirk’s brilliance took down the Heatles’ first iteration for the title. The Mavs 2011 championship squad will forever have a slightly confused place in Clevelander’s hearts.

Easing the transition from residual warm feelings to mild disgust was new Maverick and Cavalier nemesis Jameer Nelson(really anyone from that dreaded 2009 Magic squad would do the trick).

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Northwest Division Preview

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Skinny no more.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a six part series of division previews, here at CtB. Ben Werth tips it off with a Northwest Division preview. Key to every team in this series will be the teams’ additions, subtractions, storylines, and most importantly, the threat level they represent to the Cavs championship hopes (on a scale of 1-10).

Oklahoma City Thunder:

Coming off his first MVP award, Kevin Durant is poised to take the next championship step in his NBA career.  At least that is the narrative for an OKC Thunder squad that remains largely intact after a quiet off-season. The 2013-2014 team was arguably the second best team in the NBA after losing a tough Western Conference Finals to the Spurs. A rested Kevin Durant(sans USA play) and healthy seasons from Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka should ensure another 60 win season.

Additions: Mitch McGary (rookie), Anthony Morrow (New Orleans), Sebastian Telfair.

Subtractions: Caron Butler (Detroit), Thabo Sefolosha (Atlanta) Derek Fisher (Knicks coach) Hasheem Thabeet (Pistons)

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Feeling Cavalier in Spain; Opening Weekend

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The inaugural FIBA World Cup is officially underway. Two days of group play has yielded relatively expected results: USA and Spain look dominant, Goran Dragic is hilariously fun to watch, Iran isn’t very good at bringing the ball up and the talented Brazilian frontline will challenge Spain’s for bigman bragging rights. That is all very good. But, as stated in the preview, this series is dedicated to the Cavaliers.

Kyrie Irving PG, USA, Group C

Being a shadow of one’s former self can be a good thing.

Kyrie got the start and played solid ball against Finland. The Finnish guards are so weak that Irving didn’t really have to break out his Team USA defensive stance. To be honest, he looked “regular season Cavs” in this one, but it’s hard to blame him. Kyrie was a totally different player against Turkey. For large stretches of this heavily contested game, Kyrie controlled pace, (perhaps to fault; he still loves walking that ball up) and played hard-nosed all around ball.

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Feeling Cavalier in Spain; FIBA World Cup

Friday, August 29th, 2014

As Spain is rather famous for swashbuckling and suave cavaliers, it seems only fitting that the Cleveland Cavaliers will play important roles for their respective international teams in the Inaugural FIBA World Cup. Let’s hope the young Cavs (let’s just pretend Andy is young) will focus more on crisp ball swings and active defense than seducing a Zerlina or taking out a troublesome commendatore. (Cavs: The Blog: your random source of operatic entertainment.)

In this series of FIBA coverage, I will focus predominantly on the performance of the Cavaliers participating in the Cup. You don’t need me to remind you that Spain’s front court is ridiculously stacked with the Gasols and Ibaka dwarfing the USA bigmen, or that Greece’s backcourt will be ridiculously entertaining with the Greek Freak and Nick Calathes handling the ball. (For more on that, read Grantland’s preview). Instead, this space will be devoted to Cleveland Cavalier performance.

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Not a (Team USA) Recap: Team USA 95, Brazil 78 (or, Yes Please!)

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

We have finally reached the point in the NBA dead season that the venerable Zach Lowe is breaking down Space Jam. I love cartoon Muggsy Bogues as much as the next guy, but I would much rather watch our very own Sideshow Bob take on Uncle Drew, albeit in a game with much smaller ramifications. The friendly scrimmage between Team USA and Brazil provided some real basketball relief and a delightful peak into 2014-2015 Cavalier ball.

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LeBron International (Cleveland’s Eurotrip)

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Forget sausage legs on the beach. My bald head in Sicily.

Forget sausage legs on the beach. My bald head in Sicily.

I rounded the southern tip of Ortigia, the island city center of Siracusa, Sicily. Drinking in the sinking Ionian sun, I glanced to my left at a small sicilian boy rocking a Miami Heat hat. For a split second, my vacation euphoria was replaced by the dull ache of disgust. Then a beautiful thing happened. Almost immediately, the feeling gave way to an open-mouthed giggle that brought the boy’s eyes to mine. “Go Cavs!” I cheered. I don’t think he understood what I said. I didn’t care. What was more important to me in that moment was the realization that this time next year, another little boy’s hat would be displaying a Cavalier’s sword. Or even better, the word: Cleveland.

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