This exhausting game didn’t end until around 1:15 in the morning, and it was an ugly slugfest that saw the Cavs outlast the Lakers. The Cavs didn’t look particularly better as a team, but some things got tightened up and they put up a victory against a bad team. Winning is better than losing.
Archive for the ‘Recaps’ Category
The Suns gave the Cavs solar retinopathy for two and a half quarters from shining so bright. They shot 57% in the first half and kept punishing the King’s Men every single time Cleveland decided that playing defense on pick and rolls was for squares and guys on minimum contracts. Eventually, the Wine & Gold changed their tune; they played a little defense and hit some threes ending the third quarter on an 18-5 to make the game competitive. Markieff Morris led the Suns the whole game and made sure the Cavs still got a little sun burned down the stretch no matter the outcome. He had 35 points on 15-21 shooting to go with 7 rebounds. At the end of 48 minutes, the Suns shot 53%. LeBron James led the Cavs with 33 points, but more importantly, he had some vicious dunks that reminded me of 2010. J.R. Smith had the most timely buckets and shot 8-14 from three to finish the night with 29 points. (more…)
This loss was an especially tough one to witness. My PTSD from watching four years of LeBron James less Cavs triggered some pretty dark thoughts. This one was the scariest: “Pau Gasol scored 46 points for the Bulls two nights ago, and he’s not even their best player. I even lived in Chicago for a few years. Being born and raised in a city doesn’t really mean that much.” I’m here though and recapping, so I guess I’m still a fan.
The Cavs reverted to good old isolation ball as the mode of offense this game, and defensively, they refused to try. It was pathetic. DeMarcus Cousins boogied his way to 26 points on 11-23 shooting, and also had four steals, three blocks, and 13 rebounds. He made hook shots, drained jump shots, and whipped cross-court passes with five guys crashing to the paint to stop him. He even completed more fast breaks than the Cavs guards did. His partner in crime, Rudy Gay, added 23 points and did a little posting up of his own to show his wide range of non-Toronto appropriate basketball skills. When it was all finished, the Kings looked efficient mixtaping the Cavs in transition and letting Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love beat themselves with poor shooting and high turnover performances. This was a well deserved loss. (more…)
The Cavs lost on the road to the best team in the NBA. The final score doesn’t really indicate how competitive the game was – it was a 5-point game midway through the 4th quarter. GS blew it open in the final four minutes. The Cavs hung in there despite some abysmal outside shooting from the guys brought in specifically for that purpose. J.R. Smith had a strong game at both ends, and Timofey Mozgov really made a difference in the limited minutes he received. Kyrie Irving was like a quiet assassin at times. Ultimately, the Cavs couldn’t stop Klay Thompson and the Warriors got so many easy baskets there was just no way the Cavs were going to overcome being without LeBron.
Cleveland hung with the Rockets for three and a half quarters, until Cleveland’s inability score and keep the Rockets off of the offensive boards put Cleveland in a hole. Kyrie Irving was unstoppable for those three three and a half quarters, scoring 38 on a dazzling array of drives, jumpers, and unbelievable dribble moves. J.R. Smith’s debut was full of excitement, misses, and turnovers, but he wasn’t the worst. That was reserved for tonight’s officials who seemed to officiate on reputation more than actuality, and for Kevin Love’s jump shot. But that’s not why the Cavs lost. The inability to focus and effectively defend shooters were the nail in Cleveland’s coffin tonight. It’s about time Cleveland started defending the corner three. Sadly, I can’t play the video from Glengary Glenn Ross that our subtitle references because it’s a profanity laced dressing down of dilatory salesmen. But if I was coaching this team, this is the video I’d make Cleveland’s dilatory defenders watch. Always be closing (out (shooters)).
Let’s be honest. Most Cavalier fans didn’t watch this game very closely. Once Joe Harris got the start for Dion Waiters, fans immediately began to scour the internet for info. Was this another National Anthem thing? Did Blatt decide at the last second to maintain Dion’s 6th Man mentality? Wait, where are Lou and Alex? Is there a Trade!?! When Dion’s cousin began to tweet, things got more interesting away from the hardwood. Check out our emergency pod for more on last night’s craziness. As for the game, I watched this ridiculous affair twice so you didn’t have to. You are welcome.
In what was possibly the most predictable outcome of a game you’ll see all year, the deep, balanced machine that is the Dallas Mavericks made short work of a Cavs team missing its star and still struggling to figure out how to string more than a few good possessions together.
The Mavericks shot 56.4% from the field and 46.2% from three in a game that saw six Dallas players score in double figures, led by Monta Ellis’ 20. The Cavs, meanwhile, managed just 40.7% as a team, but did see Kevin Love continue his recent LeBron-less strong play. Love’s 30 points made this his highest scoring game as a Cavalier (he also pulled down 10 boards) but no one else on the team was able to make enough of an impact to keep the Cavs within striking distance much past the first quarter. The team cut a 15-point second quarter deficit to 10 at the half, but saw the game quickly get away from them in the third.
Kevin Love scored 27 points on 15 shots, Dion Waiters came alive in spurts, and the Cavs came back from an early double-digit deficit to get a gritty road win against the struggling Hornets. They shrugged off a terrible shooting night from Kyrie Irving (8-27) and survived a take-your-breath-away scare when Kevin Love’s knee seemed to buckle early in the third quarter. Both teams shot horribly, but the Cavs took care of the ball and the Hornets didn’t. The Cavs scored 23 points off turnovers and only coughed up seven points – more than enough to account for the diff.
Cleveland got smoked tonight in a game where they just could not put the ball in the bucket. Cleveland shot 34% while Milwaukee shot 44% from the floor, and Cleveland shot 8-31 from three while Milwaukee shot 11-25. The inability get open looks and to convert open three point tries when they did get looks was the difference in a game where Cleveland did not defend terribly, given the talent on the floor. From three, the Cavs were broke. Mike Miller went 1-6; Kyrie 1-7; Joe Harris 0-4 (two airballs!), Dion 0-2 (he did have to chuck one because of the shot clock). Only James Jones (3-6), and Delly (3-5) had decent nights for a team that is desperately relying on threes for points. Miller and Harris’ misses were especially painful. Brandon Knight, Giannis, and Mayo led the Bucks with 26, 14, and 15 respectively, copying the recent formula for beating Cleveland: get the ball inside, and then punish the Cavs lack of rim protection, or pass the ball till you get a wide open three.
I don’t know if it’s Blatt, age, or lack of talent, but something is causing the members of this team to shoot terribly from three. Is Blatt neglecting shooting drills? Is the team practicing too much? All I know is that David Griffin has put together a bench full of scrubs and over the hill players to go along with the Cavs “core.” Lou Amundson is inept on offense, and Joe Harris and Mike Miller are useless if they can’t hit threes. A.J. price was dropping 20 point nights for the Pacers and now looks lost on the court. Combine that with bad shooting and an absolutely awful third quarter that saw Cleveland score a mere seven points, and the Cavs were doomed . Only a heady night from Delly and a takeover attempt from Irving Kept the Cavs within striking distance. Irving had to go 9-23 to get to it, too. 2015, I hope you have great things in store for Cleveland, cause 2014 ended with a whimper.
Recap and Podcast 57: Hawks 109 Cavs 101 (Or, moral victories may not be anything but they sure beat the hell out of getting embarrassed)Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Check out the podcast that Nate and I recorded tonight. It’s available at Soundcloud , and iTunes. (CtB Episode 57!) Here’s a short and sweet recap to supplement your insatiable desire for Cavs analysis. The Cavs moved the ball well in the first quarter and played the Hawks to a draw. They completely choked when the Hawks turned up the intensity in the second quarter and then Kevin Love left the game with back spasms. The Cavs, without LeBron, Love, or Marion, started the second half by watching Kyle Korver drain a couple of threes to push the lead to 17. It looked like the Cavs were going to get blown out of the gym. But they fought back behind the wizardry of Kyrie Irving, the power and relentlessness of Tristan Thompson, and some gutsy-if-not-quite-effective defense throughout the contest. They were within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter in a back and fourth affair where they cut the deficit three on three different occasions, and to two with 4:43 left. The Hawks absorbed the blows and settled into some two-man action between Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, eventually putting the Cavs away.
Kyrie Irving finished with 35 points and nine assists (and almost none of his shots were easy looks) but he coughed it up eight times in a game where the referees refused the blow their whistles for three quarters without a coroner on the scene and flipped the switch in the fourth – needing little more than pantomime routines to stop the action. Irving looked a lot like he did last year – dribbling through double teams, taking a lot of those “why not” 3s from five feet behind the line, and of course, finishing at the rim from impossible angles.
Tristan Thompson had a really nice game. His energy, offensive rebounding, and finishing abilities infected the Cavs in the 3rd and 4th quarters. His alley-oop execution of Jeff Teague was a sight to behold. He finished with 18 points on 12 shots and 13 rebounds. He was old-man-at-the-gym’d by Paul Millsap all night long with the help of the referees, but he played a valiant game.
Dion Waiters and Kevin Love didn’t show up, figuratively speaking, and since LeBron James and Shawn Marion literally didn’t show up this game tested the Cavs’ depth. Joe Harris was 3/4 from beyond the arc and had a few heady plays (and a gut-wrenching layup attempt that licked every inch of the rim before willing itself out).
Someone put on James Jones’ jersey and a Mission Impossible 2 mask because at least three times I had to double take “wait…James JONES just rejected Paul Millsap at the rack!?” He missed a bunch of wide open 3s and was supremely active on defense. Not your mother’s James Jones. Over/under on the number of days until JJ has three steals and two blocks again? I’m going infinity days.
All in all it was nice to see the Cavs dig deep when the dam was about to burst and make a game of it. The Hawks are a really good team and will be a formidable playoff foe. Their offensive talent was too much for the Cavs to stop in the waning moments of the game. Ultimately the Cavs need to play like this every night (a scrambling defensive effort for 48 minutes) and at full strength they will win more than they lose.