Team USA looked bad during the first half, while Lithuania looked competent. America’s offense looked like a bunch of guys just playing pickup ball, and the defense just didn’t exist much of the game. The score at the end of first half didn’t reflect that though. The talent gap between the two teams was too big for Lithuania to overcome, as they entered the second half of the game down by eight. James Harden blew the game open in the third quarter by scoring 16 points and missing only one shot. Kyrie kept the US lead growing in the fourth quarter scoring 11 points in the period to go with two assists. The US could have ended the game by a larger margin if they had made their free throws instead of going 11-20.
Archive for the ‘Recaps’ Category
Three Cavs continued their FIBA Basketball World Cup march this weekend. First off, Erik Murphy and Finland failed to make it out of pool play. Of course, since Murphy has the same odds of making the opening day Cavs roster as I do, calling him a “Cav” is generous. Kyrie, Andy, and Delly did, however, make it to the elimination round and one of them failed to advance…
When LeBron James called Kevin Love on July 11, just hours after announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, his message to Love was simple: come play with me in Cleveland and let’s win some championships together. Love’s response was simpler still.
“I’m in,” he said.
Actually getting to the point where Love could be photographed next to David Griffin holding up his number zero jersey wasn’t quite so easy as that exchange between the Cavs’ once-and-future star and their brand new one, but the Cavs got there. On Saturday, the trade was made official and, when opening up the floor to questions for Love, Griffin called him a man “who I believe you will be seeing here for a long time.”
Last night, Team USA put on their most dominating performance of the summer so far. The American team led by 22 points after the first half and 35 points after three quarters. They were an unstoppable machine. The Dominican Republic only has one NBA player on their squad, Francisco Garcia (Al Horford is still injured), but that doesn’t explain all of this rout. Team USA is just starting to mesh perfectly, and the effects are awesome. When you check out the highlights from last night, full court passes are being flung behind the Republic’s defense, and alley-oops are prevalent enough you could actually get sick of them. It’ll take a while, but this team may wear out the alley-oop.
After spending a lovely evening watching the Akron Rubber Ducks dispatch the Erie Seawolves at Canal Park, I returned home to discover my DVR had eaten the Cavs game. So no formal recap, sadly. Houston
eliminated beat the Cavs in Summer League play in a game in which Cleveland was without Matthew Dellavedova who’d been excused to join the Australian national team. Will Cherry started in his place and did not disappoint, finishing with 21 points, three dimes, and four boards on 8-14 shooting. His strong play has earned the attention of NBA and Euro scouts. But let’s not kid ourselves, this game was all about Andrew Wiggins.
The Cavaliers remain unbeaten in Las Vegas Summer League play as they defeated a Sixers team featuring Nerlens Noel and 2014 Draft pick, KJ McDaniels. The Cavs, led by Mathew Dellavedova, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins took a lead on the game’s fourth possession that they wouldn’t relinquish. After a relatively even first quarter, Cleveland closed the the first half on a 10-2 run. The Sixers were limited to nine for 29 shooting at the break. The lead swelled to as many as 21 before the Sixers’ full court pressure ignited a 16-2 run spanning the end of the third quarter to the middle of the fourth. But some steady play and a parade of free throws pushed the Cavs to a 3-0 Summer League record.
Heading into the contest there were many questions: How would Wiggins match-up against KJ McDaniels? Will Grant Hill’s pleasant baritone sustain us in his new color commentator role? But really most Cavs fans were focused on Noel vs Bennett and the 2013 Draft debate.
The Cavaliers summertime instructional team raced out to a quick lead over the San Antonio Spurs, building leads of 25-11 after one and 41-23 at the half before fending of a Spurs second-half run to notch an 82-70 victory in Las Vegas, Sunday afternoon. In what will, no doubt, come to be known as the “Crystal Ball Game” sometime around next June when the Cavs’ varsity unit puts a similar smacking on the Spurs’ A-team to win the 2015 NBA Finals and… and…
[experiences shortness of breath ... light-headedness ... reminds self of "marathon, not sprint"... counts to 10... okay, I'm back]
The Cavs Summer League team looked pretty impressive in upping their record to 2-0 in the Sunbaked Classic.
Dan Gilbert was on hand to watch a match-up that featured two of the top rookies from the 2013 draft class (Delly and Antetokounmpo) and the top two rookies (so far) from the 2014 draft class. Cleveland started the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run in the first eight minutes and survived a Nate Wolters three point attempt as time expired to win an ugly game which featured 37 turnovers and sub 40-percent shooting. It was a reported 80+ degree on the floor and both teams had been going through two-a-day practices for the last several days. Fatigue showed for each squad, but still, there was a buzz in the sold out Cox Pavillion.
A quick recap of some of the stuff that wasn’t caught (entirely) on camera…
•If you’re not a Cavs fan or member of the Cavaliers organization, you were not particularly amused by Cleveland’s lottery win Tuesday night. ESPN/Grantland’s Bill Simmons was the most vocal in his disappointment (or, maybe he just had the biggest stage) but he was not alone in his frustration over the same team winning the lottery three out of four years. There was a lot of grumbling by the media when the Cavs jumped into the top three. When they eventually won, I was pretty sure that the Kings writer I’d been chatting with was giving serious thought to whether punching me would make him feel any better. The Cavs win, while great for us, seemed to make two things obvious to those in attendance: 1.) the lottery actually isn’t rigged (unless this leads to LeBron’s return, of course…) and 2.) the current system is failing to do what it’s intended to do, namely to distribute talent evenly throughout the league and serve as a way for the league’s worst teams to have a punchers chance of climbing out from the dregs, if even only for a time. The Cavs win so closely mirrors Orlando’s back-to-back lottery wins in 1992 and 1993 that led to the weighted-odds model (both teams were legitimately bad the first year and less legitimately bad the following … although the Cavs, you know, still more so) that you have to imagine this will speed along whatever changes to the lottery are being bandied about in league offices.
No Nick Gilbert? No problem. General Manger David Griffin is all the magic you need, Cleveland. In a truly shocking bit of ball bouncery, the ping-pongs came up Cavs netting the team the top overall pick in the most anticipated draft since the 2003 Draft which featured game changers like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony (among others) and which the Cavs, coincidentally, also won.
The Cavaliers finished this season at 33-44, the ninth worst record in the league. They had only a 1.7% chance of getting the top pick, but the crowd in attendance at the Times Square Studio in New York City started grumbling when they learned the Cavs had jumped up into the top three. They knew the Cavs had just gotten very lucky. What they didn’t know was exactly how lucky.
An hour earlier, Cavs Vice Chairman, Jeff Cohen, who had been the team’s representative in the sealed-off room where the number combinations are drawn in past years, as well, saw their winning combination of 7-9-13-14 come up. It’s a feeling he’s now known three times in the last four years.