Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Kyrie Irving and the Context Problem

Monday, January 27th, 2014


Kyrie Irving is a 2014 all-star. He was a 2013 all-star. These two actualities are equal, but the thrill is gone this year. While all-star status always imbues a certain prestige or legitimacy on a player’s season, this go-round it has come on the back of a war of attrition rather than a pyroclastic announcement of intent. Kyrie Irving and the Cavs are sputtering around aimlessly, similar to last year, but trajectory and expectations have created a different environment. With Kyrie at the center of the team, his all-star selection served as a natural jumping in point for writers to consider the intertwined struggles of Irving and the Cavs.

Most prominent was Jason Lloyd’s scorching referendum at the Akron Beacon-Journal. In the piece he takes Irving to task for being overly concerned with his brand and image at the expense of improvement. He calls Kyrie immature and details how he acts as if he is above the team and thus shielded from rational criticism, which could theoretically help the Cavs unmire themselves. Irving deflects, blaming his struggles on team defense or entropy but Lloyd does have a valid point. Kyrie has been aloof for a while.


Recap: Cleveland 90, Phoenix 99 (or, this team is maddening)

Sunday, January 26th, 2014


By the end of a game like this, it is hard to form a coherent story line, or put much effort into a recap.  The first half was exhilarating, the other, frustrating.  Deflating.  Disheartening.


Recap: Trailblazers 108, Cavaliers 96 (Or, There’s the Other Shoe).

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014


The game was tied at 96 with 2:31 left. The Blazers were looking forward to the start of a road trip and the Cavs were eager to end theirs. It felt like the game had set the table for another classic finish between these two odd rivals, but then the other shoe, which had been levitating conspicuously near the Moda center’s jumobtron fell with a thud. LaMarcus Aldridge went off and the Blazers ended the game on a 12-0 run, a run which the Cavs were powerless to stop. The Blazers seemed stifled the whole game, more by themselves than by Cleveland, but after the official timeout when it was tied, they played like their mental block had been lifted and they torched the Cavs.


Recap: Cavaliers 120, Lakers 118 (Or, Mike Brown Gets Revenge).

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


Tristan Thompson splits a pair of free throws with 9.3 seconds left. The Lakers charge down the court, miss a three, but it’s straight into the waiting hands of Pau Gasol! Gasol only has to dunk to beat the buzzer, which he does! What an ending!

Fortunately for Cavs fans, the buzzer beater was inconsequential and only served to make the win look tighter than it was. Despite playing silly basketball on the defensive end for much of the night, the Cavaliers were just good enough down the stretch to beat the Lakers to move to 2-1 on this road trip. Anderson Varejao was the player of the game for the Cavs, grabbing 18 rebounds to go along with 18 points and six assists. He also kept the Cavs in the game during a horrible second quarter with facilitation and timely thumps on a few Lakers big men. Luol Deng shot 5-5 from three to punctuate his efficient 27 points, by far his best game as a Cavalier thus far. The team shot 13-17 overall, good for 77%.


What does Adjusted Plus Minus say about the 2013 – 2014 Cavs?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


Editor’s Note: Comments were accidentally turned off for this article, earlier.  They’ve been re-enabled.

As gets mentioned around here a tad, Nate, Tom and I, in addition to the esteemed Randall Cooper (@laughingcavs), started another website, gotbuckets, largely devoted to Adjusted Plus Minus (APM) and Regularized APM (RAPM).  For a brief discussion of APM, check here. Yesterday, the first update of 2-year APM to incorporate 2013 – 2014 play was posted.  With that, let’s discuss what the results may mean for the 2013 – 2014 Cavs.  Keep in mind that these results include all games from 02/14/2012 through 01/06/2014 (not exactly two years due to strike shortened season), so it’s much more than just this season.  Using reasonably large sample sizes is important for APM though.


Recap: Kings 124, Cavaliers 80 (Or, EVENT HORIZON).

Sunday, January 12th, 2014


The game clock wasn’t functioning for the first four seconds of this afternoon’s game. The refs quickly stopped the game and basically started over from scratch, running the elapsed time off the clock. Maybe, in the alternate universe where that Kings possession continues uninterrupted, the Cavs play coherent basketball and push hard for longer than a quarter and change. Maybe the stoppage dammed their energy and they were unable to get it flowing again. Maybe the team was swapped out for very convincing lookalikes in the first quarter when my TV died for five minutes, because Cleveland was run out of the worst gym in the NBA by one of the worst teams in the NBA.


Brews and Bruises – Another Year, Another Beer

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


In the series Brews and Bruises: Life as a Drinking Cavs Fan, I’ll playfully explore the mixture of pain associated with Cavalier fandom and the glory associated with drinking.  As always, drink responsibly (and legally, ya kids!)

Another year, another reason to drown our collective sorrows in a nice, cold, tall glass of beer.  Bynum is gone, the record stinks, Kyrie and Dion wont stop fighting, Mike Brown is still Mike Brown, and Cleveland is cold.  Lets face it: times are tough.  But with the arrival of 2014, we as Cavs fans can take solace (or hope) in potential improvement.  Right?  If not, what left is there?!

While the typical sports fan would expect improvement to come through the gym; ya know, hard work, tireless effort, etc. etc., I tend to look at things a little differently.  Maybe if our boys could find their magic elixir, their perfect beer, they’d be able to find their groove.

So what should our players be drinking to get their game up?  Lets discuss:


Hope Where Perhaps There is None

Saturday, December 28th, 2013


It was one year and one day ago, that I wrote a Young Player Profile on Tristan Thompson.  At the time, I felt Tristan was receiving an unfair shake.  He was contributing the little things, was still young, and was starting to show improvement.   As another calendar year rolls by, while not an All-Star, there is no doubt that TT can be a solid contributor in this League for a long time.

I have a somewhat similar feeling of optimism about the entire franchise right now.  Again, it feels out of place.  It is possible it is because I am dumb.  Hopefully not.


Not a Recap: Cleveland 125, Atlanta 127

Friday, December 27th, 2013


Due to general holiday weariness, no one signed up for a recap last night, so this will be short.  The Cavs lost a tough one to fall to 10 wins and 18 losses on the season.  They led 95 to 91 with two minutes remaining in regulation.  They led 108 to 105 with seven seconds remaining in the first overtime.  They led by five early in the second overtime.  Alas, the Wine & Gold never closed out the win though, as Jeff Teague hit a buzzer beater that rattled around the rim six times.

Kyrie finished with 40 points on 17 of 33 shooting, with 9 assists, 4 steals and 6 turnovers.  There were portions of the game where he was completely unstoppable, but also portions when it would have been nice to see more ball movement.  Tristan tallied 22 points on 66% true shooting, with six rebounds and two blocks.  Dion scored 20 points on 67% true shooting, aside a handful of nice passes generating buckets or free throws.  His five turnovers were ugly, but his plus-10 on-court / off-court was second best on the team…shockingly, the bench is better with Waiters around.  The team’s defense was poor, and never got the stops needed to pull out a victory for the home-court crowd.

The team heads to Boston on Saturday, hopefully to right the ship and pull out a much needed win.


PSA: Send Tyler Zeller and Anthony Bennett to the D-League

Monday, December 16th, 2013


The early D-League assignments from the Cavs roster have been Sergey Karasev, Henry Sims, and Carrick Felix.  We will see how the season progresses as far as their use of the Charge, but hopefully Tyler Zeller and Anthony Bennett see time in Canton*.