Archive for the ‘Recaps’ Category

Recap: Cavs 94, Hawks 82 (or, “You Smell Something Burning?”)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

In 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman marched his union forces through Atlanta, destroying nearly everything in his path, and leaving the city not much more than a smoldering ruin. A little more than 150 years later, LeBron Raymone James led his rag-tag band of teammates on their own journey to do some damage in Atlanta, but this time it was merely the Hawks and their home court advantage that went up in flames.

With a long list of wounded, including two of his “big three” partners, LBJ found a way to marshall all of the remaining King’s men and exhort them into helping him thoroughly dismantle Atlanta’s once mighty basketball team. The latest casualty was Kyrie Irving, whose legs had finally betrayed him during the initial skirmish of Game 1. However, the Cavs “next man up” philosophy ensured that there would be no drop off in intensity or will. And they would show the Hawks no mercy, torching them on their own floor, in front of their disbelieving fans (many of whom fled for the exits to escape the conflagration).

What began as a fairly hotly contested game in the first half, turned in the third quarter when the Cavaliers cranked up their defense to smothering. Using a 24-9 run to push their lead out to 20, the Cavs blew away the Hawks, and blazed their way to a commanding 2-0 series lead.


Recap: Cleveland 97, Atlanta 89 (or, “You tryin’ to get the pipe?”)

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

JR Smith submerged himself in icewater after the game, just so he wouldn’t set his apartment on fire when he got home. Smith was a human torch, scorching the nets for 28 points on 10-16 shooting, including eight three-pointers (a Cavs playoff record). LeBron added 31 points, Tristan and T-Mo chipped in double digit rebounding performances, and the Cavs’ perimeter defense held the Hawks to 4-23 shooting from behind the arc.

After an 18 point lead in the fourth, sparked by JR Swish, the Hawks cut it to 11. The Cavs reverted to their “ball control” offense with eight minutes left and drained the life out of the shot clock on every possession, and eventually wrung the seconds out of the game clock. The Hawks made it close, cutting the Cavs lead to four points with under a minute left, but a King James drive for an uncontested dunk stretched the diff to +6 with just 37 seconds left. Paul Millsap missed a three, and that closed the door for the Hawks.


Recap: Cavs 94, Bulls 73 (Or, Champagne SuperDova)

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Cleveland put away the Chicago Bulls in a decisive manner tonight to earn a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs held Chicago to 37% shooting and just four made threes. Matthew Dellavedova led the way with a podium level-performance to silence all haters. He scored 19 points shooting 7-11 from the floor and 3-6 from behind the arc. Delly defended his Australian pride by covering every single guy on the floor, centers included, and doing it well. He was +21 for the evening and scored the first five of the Cavs 15 points in the third quarter. He was unstoppable for 31 minutes.

Tristan Thompson also helped out scoring ten points in the first quarter, including two And-1s, on his way to 13 points and 17 rebounds. Iman Shumpert, bench man turned starter, rounded out the Mini-3 with 13 points, and a game high +26. His nine second quarter points started a Cavs lead the Bulls couldn’t overcome. The mini-3 stepped up because the remaining two of the Big-3 played hobbled. Kyrie Irving played only 12 minutes after going down in the second quarter, and he scored just six points. LeBron James scored 15 points, but it took him 23 shots and worn out doing it.

David Wood and EvilGenius decided to share their email diary of the game. Here it is:


Recap: Cavs 106, Bulls 101 (Or, A Return to What We Never Have Known)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Overview: The Cavaliers were able to overcame a slow start and a shaky finish to beat the Bulls in Cleveland and take a 3-2 series lead. LeBron James led the Cavs with 38 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and three steals, with 24 points on 10-12 shooting in the first half alone. Kyrie Irving added 25 points on 16 shots, while Jimmy Butler led the way for Chicago with 29 points as Derrick Rose struggled en route to an 8-24 night from the field.


Recap: Cavs 86, Bulls 84 (No Bank Necessary)

Monday, May 11th, 2015

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This series has become a full-on war of attrition.  The Cavs and the Bulls are nearly evenly matched and the drama has been overwhelming.  And I’m only talking about the on-court drama.  There are enough stories (real, embellished, manufactured) off the court to fill a small library.  Game 4 was a dogfight from start to finish, an often unsavory spectacle befit two midwestern teams.  Both squads had prolonged periods of drowning in quicksand: After harnessing all the momentum and looking to stomp on the Cavs’ throat, the Bulls suffered through seven minutes without a point in the second quarter.  A 16-0 run by the Cavs during this stretch tipped the balance towards the Wine and Gold.  In the third quarter, the Cavs went scoreless for just over seven minutes.  The Bulls’ 13-0 run during this stranglehold gave them a double-digit lead, which, in a game like this seemed insurmountable, especially given the battered Cavaliers’ roster.  But there would be one more period of sustained “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”-ery, and it was the Cavs defense completely stifling the Bulls pick-and-roll attack in the middle of the 4th quarter.  The Bulls managed a measly six points in the first eight minutes of the quarter, and the Cavs regained control of the battlefield behind some timely pipe-laying by Earl Smith III.  The final moments of the game will be discussed for a very long time.  In the end, Jimmy Butler hit a huge 3, and Derrick Rose turned back the clock a few years, blew by Iman Shumpert, and squeaked a contested layup past the help defense to improbably tie the game at 84, setting up a grueling overtime.  But with 1.5 seconds left, Delly pitched the easiest inbound pass of his life to one LeBron James who drilled a line-toed, long-2 off one leg as the buzzer sounded and the United Center crowd gasped for the wind that had been knocked out of its lungs.


Recap: Bulls 99, Cavs 96 (or, Every Rose Has It’s Thorn…)

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Despite a ton of will and effort, the Cavs came out on the short end of an epic instant classic against the Bulls in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. In the end, though it was ostensibly due to the sharp sting of a Derrick Rose banked-in three pointer as time expired, it was the Cavs’ inability to execute their offense in the face of some tenacious Bulls defense that put them in that position to begin with.

The Cavs got stuck in a traffic jam on their way to the game, causing them to be a half hour late to the United Center before Game 3. Fittingly, not much would change to start this junked up game against the Chicago Bulls, with both teams struggling to score worse than a semi-truck trying to cross four lanes on the 405 during rush hour. For Tony Brothers and his crew of whistle-blowers, the “rule of verticality” was in full effect for much of the first half of the game, as they let both teams play the game from the outset. This would set the tone early as the rest of the contest became a pitched battle of attrition in which neither team would break 40% shooting, nor the century mark.


Recap: Cleveland 106, Chicago 91 (or, headband’s back, yo)

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

The Cavs were shot out of a cannon tonight, led by the King in a white headband. As Charles Barkley remarked postgame, “God said I’m gonna make me a perfect basketball player… I’m gonna give him everything but a full head of hair.” The banded one got his butt into the post and led Cleveland to a 13-2 start. Then, they kept a comfortable lead throughout this “must win” game. Even with a 14-0 Bulls run in the third quarter, the Cavs lead remained double digits, and they were able to avoid being gored. Cleveland played Mike Brown 1.0 style basketball: winning with defense, isolations, rebounding on both ends of the court, and limiting turnovers.


Recap: Bulls 99, Cavs 92 (Or, The Bulls Can’t Get Any Better)

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015


The Bulls offense showed up last night, and the Cavs defense refused to make any changes to counter it. The Bulls opened the evening on a 10-2 run, and led by 16 and 15 points at different points during the game. Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose combined for 66 points, and the whole Chicago team shot 55% from 3-point land. The Cavs managed to come back from both deficits, while shooting 27% from the 3-line. The Cavs lost, but the Bulls aren’t going to keep playing offense like they did, and the Cavs defense and offense should improve next game. (more…)

QUICKHIT Bulls 99, Cavs 92

Monday, May 4th, 2015

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Mike Miller started.  Mike Dunleavy started.  Mike Miller “defended” Mike Dunleavy.  Mike Dunleavy’s first five shots went in. The experiment didn’t work.

Derrick Rose drilled multiple bail-out shot-clock-beating 3s (contested).  Kyrie Irving had a 10-2 run of his own.  The Cavs trailed by 15 in the 1st, but tied the game at 53 early in the 3rd.  Fans and bloggers alike spoke of “sustainability” so much I wondered if we were live blogging a greenpeace press conference.  Once all the craziness subsided it was just the Bulls reeling off 15 straight points in about two minutes.

The Cavs chipped away, with Kyrie leading the charge.  LeBron checked back into the game with the Cavs down just four.  He spent much of the night looking unsure of what he wanted to do offensively.  Lots of hesitation, lots of jump-passes, lots of turnovers, lots of out-of-sync offense that could not keep pace with the surgical Rose/Gasol PnR.  The Cavs had a chance to win, but they became impatient down the stretch, launching a lot of quick shots.  Then, with time actually pressing them to hurry up, they dribbled the clock down to single digits and took awkward shots.  LeBron and to a lesser extent, Kyrie, were no closers tonight.  The Cavs lone buckets in the final five minutes were a TT tip-in off a sub-optimal baseline drive and oop from Delly of all people.  The other was a Iman Shumpert bucket.  Jimmy Butler scored seven of the Bulls final 11 points, icing the game with a banked in short-jumper.

In the end the Cavs attempted more field goals, more threes, more free throws, grabbed more rebounds, and committed less turnovers.  That’s usually a recipe for a W, but the Bulls offensive execution was superior all night.


Recap: Cleveland 101, Boston 93 (or, Game and Blame)

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Cleveland’s Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in Boston, Sunday afternoon, and eliminated them from the playoffs, and I was never so angry after a Cavs win. Sadly, the most memorable stories from this game had very little to do with basketball. Kevin Love is in a sling, Jae Crowder allegedly went to the hospital, Kendrick Perkins and J.R. Smith are probably facing suspensions, Isaiah Thomas made a mockery of professional basketball, and Tony Brothers and his incompetent officiating crew let it all happen. Celtics players, Cavs players, both coaching staffs, Tony Brothers and Co., the NBA, and even the announcers let this game and this series devolve into some of the dirtiest and least professional basketball since the “the Malice at the Palace.”