Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks refused to tank, as both teams front offices strived to make the playoffs. Fate had other plans. The Bucks ended with the worst record in the league and the Cavs finished five games back of the eight seed. The cosmic reward for both squads not intentionally losing as many games as possible was finishing first and second in the lottery, with the Bucks landing franchise cornerstone Jabari Parker and the Cavs obtaining a massive trade chip in Andrew Wiggins.
Archive for the ‘Recaps’ Category
Whew… that was closer than expected. While the Cavs were looking to avenge two prior losses to an upstart Pacers team, still missing PG-13 and without David West for much of the night, Indiana fought like a cornered animal for their slightly fading playoff hopes in this last meeting between these two teams (at least in the regular season). It didn’t help that LBJ was almost sick enough to miss this one (he was questionable after missing morning shootaround with a bad head cold), or that Kyrie’s shot looked sicker than Bron felt. But the diagnosis from this game was that claiming a spot in the post-season is the ultimate cure for any ailment.
That’s right, Cavs fans… this wine and gold victory officially ended the drought of the past four years. The Cavs are BACK in the playoffs. It may have been a foregone conclusion for many, if not all, and it’s only the first step on the road toward winning that elusive championship… but do yourself a favor. Stop. Take a moment. Say it out loud to yourself… savor it… enjoy it…
The Cavs… are BACK… in the playoffs!
It’s hard to believe that there are only 12 regular season games left after this one. And it’s hard to believe that there was a time not too long ago when Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez were considered elite players. Cleveland overcame a sluggish first quarter against those guys to eviscerate the Nets to the tune of 45 field goals off of 32 assists, 55% from the field, 52 points in the paint, and 15-29 from three. Seven Cavs scored in double figures as the Cavs looked electric for the final three periods. To be honest, much of this was because Brooklyn’s defense was lackluster at best. But who cares? We have dunks, threes, and dimes to discuss!
After searching for several streams to watch this game and almost giving up, I’m thankful I kept looking for one. This game was all offense, and I love me some bucket-getting. Defense is just so boring. The Cavs shot 59% from the field and 51% from behind the arc to drain 18 long balls. The Magic shot 47% from both the field and 3-line. While the Cavs just didn’t feel like closing out and were amazed a big man like Nikola Vucevic can shoot so well, the Magic played good old ineffective Mike Brown every man in the paint on every drive defense. Vucci Mane had 22 points, 15 rebounds, and three assists for the Magic. The Cavs were led by Kyrie who had 33 points, dropping five of six threes. He also had four assists. LeBron was pretty awesome too handing out 13 dishes, sucking up eight boards, and scoring 21 points on 9-14 shooting. (more…)
I want to be clear about one thing: this recap won’t even come close to doing this game justice.
It just won’t. I apologize, but that’s just the way it goes. The best recap, CtB readers, was given by you and you can take a look back on it by scrolling through the unspooling of emotions (and the over 700 comments) that make up our Live Thread.
But, this game does deserve some recapping and I will happily oblige.
The Cavs and the Spurs played a game for the ages on Thursday night. With the Cavs down by six with 33 seconds remaining, Kyrie Irving hit two threes to bring the wine and gold even at the end of regulation, including a ridiculous heave as time expired to force the OT. Irving finished with 57 points, the most by any player this season, including going a perfect 7-7 from deep and 10-10 from the free throw line.
The Mavericks absolutely steam rolled the Cavs by 29 in their matchup on January 4th at The Q. It was the low point of the season for me. LeBron was in the middle of his rest sabbatical. The following day Dion Waiters was traded for an injured Iman Shumpert and notorious malcontent J.R. Smith. Since that date the Cavs have the best record in the Eastern Conference and the new acquisitions have proved to be the perfect supporting cast for LeBron, Kyrie and Love. If the next five weeks are a playoff primer, the Cavs will be ready for the final coat come mid-April.
The Phoenix Suns visited “The Q” for a Saturday night spectacle. The Cavaliers wanted to rebound after a tough loss to the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks. Phoenix continued their tenuous push for the eighth seed in the West with an overtime victory over Jarrett Jack’s Brooklyn Nets. It was clear from the opening tip that both squads were on the second night of a back-to-back. On more than one occasion, it seemed the teams were playing at Headlands Beach Park and not on the hardwood. Still, the Cavaliers gave the hometown crowd a victory for the 13th consecutive time by owning the paint and fighting off a futile rally. Let’s get to it.
The Cavs ran into the NBA’s equivalent of a mythical nine-headed monster last night in Atlanta. Dangerous because of the ability to kill you in so many different ways, and from so many different places, this Hawks team (like the monstrous hydra) lived up to its lethal label.
The Cavs were determined early to cut off the head responsible for three point shooting, but where one head got severed, two more sprouted in its place… in this case to kill them with pick and roll and guard penetration. And just when they seemed to be getting somewhere, that first head reared up one last time to bite them. Add in a few self-inflicted wounds… and it was a pretty poisonous night all around for the Cavs. (more…)
WOW. If this was a playoff game it would have been an all-time classic. The Cavs caught the Raptors foaming at the mouth with revenge and somehow overcame a 69 point half. They blew a 19-point lead and honestly when the Raptors took the lead 93-91 on a backbreaking Lou Williams’ triple I thought the Cavs might lose by 19. But the Cavs absorbed everything the Raptors had to give, and silenced a raucous crowd over and over and over and over. There were a month’s worth of big shots in the second half alone. The Raptors stayed supernova hot, but LeBron James is the cosmic equivalent of a quasar – and his massive presence overshadowed everything that happened down the stretch.
The Cavs dominated for 36 straight minutes tonight. They could have done so for 48 minutes. However, going into the fourth quarter ahead by 42 points is usually enough. There’s no need to pile on against any team, especially one that started a bunch of young guys and one seasoned vet. The story of the night was the Cavs: The Blog Haiku comment challenge. The commenters committed to the Haiku format and that helped the Cavs win big. And, my fellow blogger Nate Smith was at the game eating all he could (he had all you can eat seats). So we’ll add Haiku-commenting and Nate eating at the Q to the list of ways to help the Cavs win. (more…)