The first round of the NBA playoffs were bananas. So much overtime, so many game sevens. The critical question lost in all that spectacular basketball though is, “what does it mean for the Cavs”? I will briefly look at each series in the Eastern Conference and make one glass half full and one glass half empty conclusion from each first round playoff series.
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Just like the actual Cavaliers, the Cavs:the Bloggers have checked out for the regular season; working on our spring / summer plans, like mowing our lawns, cleaning up the grill, etc.
The actual Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the 25-win Boston Celtics last night. Even worse, they trailed by 31 after three quarters in Cleveland to the 25-win Boston Celtics. It’s a really convenient excuse to say, “these games don’t matter”. But they really have no implications for the Bucks or Celtics either. Those teams & players decided to compete for one reason or another. Pride or competitive drive or the desire to do well at their jobs…something. The previous thirty games had been relatively encouraging, but apparently this team has no interest in sending the franchise / fan base into the summer with any warm & fuzzy feelings. Instead, the team heads into another pivotal summer, again in the lottery, and again potentially suffering from a spectacular array of end of season not-giving-a-crap.
There is one more game. In Cleveland. Against a Brooklyn team that may be resting everyone, trotting out their 9th through 15th men. Hopefully the Cavs show up and play with some pride and beat the Nets’ scrubs. I know the outcome doesn’t matter, but to me, winning seems a lot better than the alternative.
Cleveland Jackson at Stepien Rules, who ranked Austin Carr the #1 Cavalier of all time, gives a heartfelt tribute to Mr. Cavalier:
“He is the living breathing heart that beats again and again for us, with us.”
#20: Mo Williams & Nate Thurmond by Carter Rodriguez, Real Cavs Fans.
#19: Craig Ehlo by David Zavac, Fear the Sword.
#18: Lenny Wilkens by Jacob Rosen, WFNY.
#17: Bingo Smith by Scott Raab.
#16: Ron Harper by Ben Cox, WFNY.
#15: Andre Miller by Kirk Lammers, WFNY.
#14: Jim Chones by Ryan Mourton, Fear the Sword.
#13: Campy Russell by Ryan Mourton, Fear the Sword.
#12: Shawn Kemp by Robert Attenweiler, Cavs: The Blog.
#11: Hot Rod Williams by Kevin Hetrick, Cavs: The Blog.
#10: World B. Free by Scott Sargent, WFNY.
#9: Anderson Varejao by Andrew Schnitkey, WFNY.
#8: Kyrie Irving, Mallory Factor, Cavs: The Blog.
#7: Terrell Brandon, Ben Cox, WFNY.
#6: Austin Carr, Cleveland Jackson, Stepien Rules.
#5: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Kirk Lammers, WFNY. Nate Smith, Cavs: The Blog. Tom Pestak, Cavs: The Bog.
#4: Larry Nance, Robert Attenweiler, Cavs:The Blog.
One of the best Cavs wins this year? One of the best Cavs wins this year. The Cavs lent the Warriors plenty of shovels to help dig them into a big 20-4 hole, but they battled back and ended up coasting to an easy finish. Spencer Hawes and Dion Waiters stood our tonight, but the defense over the last 3/4’s of the game sealed the win
The Warriors are one of the most energetic teams in the NBA, and this year, they’ve managed to balance this on an inner mantle of tough defense. Tonight, they seemed to establish their quick lead without really doing much besides shoot well and position themselves to pounce on Cavs mistakes. The only Cavs points were two Luol Deng jumpers that came on improvisations, not within the offense. Kyrie didn’t look aggressive, and the Warriors continually ran under screens, which compacted the paint and forced turnovers when the Cavs tried to move inside. Cleveland started out not making necessary adjustments, and they couldn’t deal with the Warriors’ pace.
No one signed up to recap last night, and it went unnoticed. The Cavs played the Bobcats tight, leading midway through the fourth, but couldn’t get buckets or stops when needed down the stretch. Charlotte is playing pretty well right now, winning six of their last ten and in their previous game dusting the Pacers by twenty. Al Jefferson is a load in the post and is destroying all comers; tonight it was 28 points on 12 of 18 shooting. Kemba Walker is quietly having a really excellent season and tonight added 20 points and 14 assists, against 1 turnover.
For the Cavs, Kyrie couldn’t get it going, finishing with 13 points on 5 of 17 shooting, with 5 assists and 4 turnovers. Luol Deng tallied 19 points and 6 boards, while Dion pitched in 18 and 3 steals.
The schedule is about to get brutal and it appears only one of these two teams is going to the playoffs. It’s not the Cavs.
Pretty big game tonight for Cleveland. Riding an NBA-long six game win streak, the stakes got higher, as the Wine & Gold head to Toronto to face their toughest game of the last two weeks. Earl Clark and Henry Sims are gone, and Spencer Hawes makes his Cavalier debut. Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett return home to Canada, where AB reportedly had eighty friends and family in attendance. Unfortunately, three of his friends couldn’t make it; Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters and CJ Miles stayed back in Cleveland to recuperate from their various maladies. That makes for a tough win against a good team on the road.
There are not a lot of details, but Cleveland has dealt two second round picks for Spencer Hawes. In order for salaries to work, other players must be involved. Hawes is a 25-year old, floor stretching center. He is a free agent after this season. Cavs:the Blog will update as more is available.
Update: Apparently Earl Clark and Henry Sims are included in the deal, along with the two 2014 draft picks. Through the years, oftentimes I have wished that the Cavs would do more with their second rounders, due to the great value those (typically non-guaranteed) contracts provide if the team finds a gem…or they could stash a few Euros. If no other deals are made and Andy is healthy, the frontcourt is very packed with Varejao, Thompson, Zeller, Bennett and Hawes. Perhaps there is another deal coming, or Varejao is going to be out for a while. At the moment, I am neither excited or upset about this trade.
Can I wait to have an opinion until April?
It’s been a WHILE! Like three months a while. And with Kyrie playing in the All Star Game (and winning MVP, which we obviously all knew was coming…) Tom, Nate, and I decided to hop on the line and chat.
On today’s podcast we discuss the ASG, Kyrie’s recent improvements, Dion’s game, Chris Grant’s firing, and expectations for the rest of the season.
As always, we can be found on SoundCloud at: https://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog
And on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843?mt=2
Sorry in advance about the brevity…behind 15 fourth quarter points and totalling 31 with 14 assists, Kyrie Irving lead the Eastern Conference to an All-Star victory, winning MVP for his efforts. Awesome work, Kyrie!
He and Dion dominated the Friday and Sunday night events of the weekend. Hopefully that level of fun and excellent play carries over into tomorrow night against Philly.
John Krolik wrote about the game for NBC Sports.
Dion Waiters played on Team Hill last night, winning the Rising Stars challenge on Night One of All-Star weekend. Dion lead Team Hill with 31 points on 10 of 14 shooting (4 of 6 from deep, 7 of 8 from the line), 7 assists and 3 steals. Andre Drummond edged Dion for MVP though, with 30 points and 25 rebounds; that is a travesty.
ESPN awarded Dion an “A”, saying among other things “The most entertaining stretch of the game came in the second half, when Waiters and Hardaway Jr. engaged in a prolific shootout.”
The esteemed John Krolik wrote about the game for NBC Sports Pro Basketball Talk, with the story of the game being the Waiters versus Hardaway matchup, of which “Ultimately, Waiters got the better of (Hardaway)…”
There is never a ton of defense in these game, but Waiters was the story of the game and represented the Cavs amazingly. Awesome stuff, Dion!