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.
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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:
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.
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.
First off, I am firmly in the camp that believes the Cavaliers should not trade Waiters. This year’s Cavs offense has been 10 points per possession better with Waiters on the court, and he is part of the most efficient Cavs lineup. Since ESPN reported that he was being hawked on the open market, his play has been stellar. Scoring has ticked up, but what’s been most impressive is how he’s improving his shot selection towards the mostly-layups-and-threes prescription and reducing his tendency to fire away from midrange.
You could examine this cynically and come to the conclusion that he is seizing the opportunity to audition for the rest of the league. There are some rumors (which feel pretty true given the soap opera of the past two weeks) about the iciness of his relationship with Kyrie Irving. Signs may point to his desire to get out of Dodge, but punting the most dynamic player of a frustrating Cavs team would be a mistake. He gets a lot of flak, mostly based on his propensity to shoot everything all the time and who the Cavs passed on to take him, but he has shown noticeable improvement. Waiters’ ability to slash through multiple layers of defense provides precious movement for a stagnant offense. There aren’t any other players on the team besides Kyrie who can impose their will to the degree Waiters can, regardless of his deficiencies. He likely has a way to go as a player, and it feels as if he is on the path to realizing this potential, be it as a sixth man (my money is on this) or as a starter.
Many areas plague the early performance of the Cleveland Cavaliers, particularly on offense. Those include poor individual play, a lack of team chemistry, potential redundancy of skills between various players, limited implementation of an offensive system…this list could extend for a while.
Today, I will briefly look at two of those problems. First, the combination of Kyrie and Dion in the backcourt, then the impact of the 2013 free agency haul of Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and Earl Clark.
Author’s Note: This article was conceived on Saturday morning, for publishing early Monday. I hadn’t started as of 7:00 pm Sunday though, as Mallory inquired about posting the podcast Monday. I replied, “Absolutely”. Some of the discussion / questions below about the players only meeting and aftermath are slightly dated. Time moves fast in a basketball hot-spot like Cleveland.
After the fifth game of the season, Dan Gilbert tweeted that if the season were a game, nine minutes remained in the first frame. Now eleven games in, not much more time ticked off the clock. Unfortunately, six minutes and twenty-six seconds into this analogical game, the Cavs initially falter 18 to 11. A Kyrie turnover netted the opposition a transition bucket, as did a long rebound off a Dion brick. Largely invisible for the first half of the quarter, Earl Clark subbed out for CJ Miles, who mercifully drained a long three. Other than that, a Tristan put-back, and-one serve as the only highlights. In this hypothetical game, down ten midway through the first, Kyrie called timeout, where a small tussle appears to break out on the Cavalier bench; upon returning from the brief hiatus, Kyrie spell binds with a dizzying dribbling display into a deep trey.
The Sacreattle Superkings were the subject of a protracted and fairly nasty relocation struggle last year, a struggle which highlighted how highly sought after NBA franchises are since the one in the tussle was a fairly terrible one. The Kings, now of Sacramento for the foreseeable future, have been trudging through 6 seasons of awful basketball. Unlike their elite early-2000’s contemporaries, Sacramento flamed out pretty bad after their highest point, even less gracefully than the Suns. However, their ownership group appears to be of a more (read: not actively trying to sabotage their team’s on court fortunes) supportive kind.