Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Eastern Conference Offseason Primer Part Two

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

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Cory Hughey and David Wood teamed up to breakdown the Eastern Conference teams’ needs in free agency. Click on the team names to see a detailed break down of their contract situations. 

I feel a lot better now that Kevin Love has pretty much re-signed with the Cavs. I often acted like I didn’t want him back, but I really just didn’t want to be disappointed. I also loved Kevin Pelton’s Love piece. In short, he said Love was part of both the best defensive and offensive units the Cavs had this season. To celebrate the Love news, I made a dinner that symbolizes Cleveland, and why Love probably came back. I cooked some good old beef hot dogs in beer (Busch Light, if you were wondering) and then whipped up a gastrique sauce with oranges. I’m a chef, sort of.

The point is that a gastrique is supposed to be uppity and hot dogs are the steak of the poor. However, it must also be noted that hot dogs are still delicious. The above meal defines Cleveland. We are a city that knows how to appreciate the finest things in life, but doesn’t decide to be defined or controlled by them. Clevelanders just enjoy what’s delicious.

My sister lives on the West Coast and many of my college friends do too, Los Angeles to be specific. It’s a different world there. People who aren’t girls do yoga, and they have pizza that’s just bread with broccoli on it, aka liar pizza. In Los Angeles/the West Coast, I don’t think a hot dog has been eaten unironically in years, unless you count the ones devoured by tourists who line up at Pink’s Hot Dogs. That’s a tough life to live and Kevin’s choice today showed that he wants to enjoy finely sauced hot dogs without feeling shame. I don’t blame him. Now, here’s a former Angelino to discuss some free agency stuff. (more…)

Eastern Conference Offseason Primer Part One

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

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Cory Hughey and David Wood teamed up to breakdown the Eastern Conference teams’ needs in free agency. Click on the team names to see a detailed break down of their contract situations. Part II will be out later this week.

I often listen to a film or documentary in the background while I write to drown outside noises out. It’s a habit I picked up in LA to ignore police sirens, bums digging through dumpsters for cans, and my neighbor training her dog in Korean (I miss that one ). By chance tonight, I was watching The Men Who Built America, while David and myself took turns putting together this preview. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a terrific miniseries about the unscrupulous titans of industry who created the soot stained ivory tower that is the American empire. They lied. They reneged on deals. They used blackmail. They drowned an entire town. They did anything they needed to, to win.

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The Finals: Game 6 Preview/Live Thread

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Protect this house!

Regardless of outcome, tonight will be the last game of the NBA season played at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt one last valiant home stand in front of more than 20,000 of their loudest fans, in the hopes of securing one more trip out west to settle things for good.

A season that began one memorable night in late October at the Q with Game 1 of the regular season, now reaches an amazing climax 50 home games later with a penultimate Game 6. Despite season-ending injuries to three of the starters from that October opening night, this team has made a playoff push for the ages. They have rejected excuses, embraced the grind, committed themselves to being All-In, and are within two victories of pulling off possibly the most improbable championship run of all time.

The onus has fallen squarely on the shoulders of LeBron James, and he has stalwartly accepted the challenge to lead this band of bench players, castoffs and overachievers into battle for five hard fought contests. And now, in perhaps the toughest task to date, he must draw the proverbial line in the sand and use every ounce of will to refuse to allow the Warriors to celebrate a championship of their own on the hardwood in the heart of Cleveland.

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3-on-3: Grind or Go Home Edition

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?

Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. (more…)

Game 5 Preview: Running on Empty…

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

It’s almost time for the Cavs first Game 5 of the NBA Finals in franchise history!

But don’t expect LeBron James, David Blatt and the rest of Team Intravenous Fluids to be content resting at this cozy mountain base camp when there’s still the rest of the mountain to climb. Here’s some things to look for going into this critical game against the Warriors safely back in their Golden State:

1.) Much of the narrative following the Warriors 103-82 Game 4 victory over the Cavaliers was that the Warriors had finally “figured out” the Cavs defense. How much that lopsided win had to do with the Warriors cracking the schemes that had been frustrating them through the first three games and how much it was the Cavs exhaustion that prevented the Cleveland players from being as effective against Golden State remains to be seen. The Warriors made some adjustments — particularly the insertion of Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup, relegating Andrew Bogut to just a foul-plagued cameo — that gave the Cavs problems, and the team was still only down by one point with under a minute to go in the third… despite their collective legs joining Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in street clothes. Eventually, the Warriors hit some shots, while the Cavs couldn’t get anything outside the paint to drop — and that’s a narrative that could describe a million different basketball losses more than it sounds like one about a clearly superior team jumpstarting a Midas touch that had mysteriously gone missing for the previous two games. We’ll see.

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Preview/Live Thread: The Finals Game 1

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Never before has eight days seemed like such an eternity. But in just four hours, we will finally witness an end to that excruciating wait with the tip-off Game 1 of The Finals. The storylines have been dissected, regurgitated and picked apart ad nauseam. Articles have been written. Pods have been cast. Analytics have been scrutinized. Debates have raged. And now, the games will, at long last, be played.

Can the best player on the planet overcome the best team? Exactly what percentage of Kyrie will be available? Can either the current MVP or the four time MVP be stopped? Who will Delly be accused of knee-capping next? Which “rookie” coach will pull off the unimaginable? Will TT or Draymond be the bigger man underneath? Which “Son of Akron” will bring home the hardware? All of these questions and more will finally be put to the test on the NBA’s two grandest stages.

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Preview/Live Thread: Cavs vs. Hawks, ECF Game 4

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

After 42 minutes of regulation and five more minutes of overtime, LeBron James looked as exhausted as he felt, having carried a team, a series and a city on his back. But it was a good kind of exhausted, because in the end, he and his Cavaliers found themselves just one win away from their second trip to the NBA Finals (and LBJ’s fifth in a row — a feat previously reserved only for players rocking a Celtics jersey).

Now, with Game 4 coming less than 48 hours after the physically draining overtime thriller, the question remains “how much does the King have left in the tank” for the closeout? If history is any guide (he’s 24-9 in 34 career playoff closeout games, averaging 27.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists), there should be plenty. However, it hasn’t stopped some from wondering if maybe Bron should get a day off.

The likelihood of that happening though is probably less than the prospect of Al Horford and Delly deciding to go on a summer vacation together in the off-season.

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Preview/Live Thread: Cavs @ Hawks, ECF Game 2 [UPDATED: Kyrie Out for Game 2]

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

While the Cavs stole home court from the Hawks and jumped out to an early series lead after winning Game 1, 97-89, they head into Game 2 with a great deal of uncertainty regarding without Kyrie Irving due to an aching left knee. Irving missed the team’s morning shootaround, instead spending the time getting a further evaluation on his knee after treatment. The latest news had him getting another MRI on the knee, and he is listed as “questionable” now out for tonight’s game.

“This is obviously one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever dealt with,” Irving said after Game 1. “We do days and days and go out there and it’s nothing like simulating a game so for me, I just have to continue to do what I’ve been doing and do whatever is necessary to put myself out there. I’m all about winning. That’s the only thing that matters.”

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Playoff Preview/Live Thread: Cavs vs. Celtics, Game 2

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Ready for another one? After an off-day to enjoy the afterglow of their first playoff victory since 2010, the Cavs return poised and ready to try and turn the home court double play tonight at the Q, as they look to take Game 2 against the Celtics.

In game one, Kyrie, Kevin, Tristan and Delly all got to experience their first taste of playoff action, and they did not disappoint. Kyrie’s offensive explosion and awesome handle, KLove’s gritty defense and rebounding, TT’s dynamite energy and garbageman skills, and Delly’s hustle and heady play were all on full display in the Cavs 113-100 victory. Old head, LBJ, orchestrated the action, facilitating for the young fellas and preaching patience on the sidelines.

Yes, it was an impressive win for this group’s playoff debut, however, this is the playoffs, where nothing is given and everything is earned. Consequently, there’s still plenty for the Cavs to clean up as they take the floor for Game 2.

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Preview: Potential First Round Match-Ups

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

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First off, if you haven’t yet already, make sure you check out David’s excellent recap of last night’s division clinching win for the Cavs over the Bucks.

And with that victory, the Cavs have also officially locked up the second seed in the Eastern Conference, giving them more than a week to finally take a few moments to rest and start thinking about the first round of the playoffs.

Normally, with four games left to play, it would be fairly apparent who they might be facing in that first round. However, there are still no less than five potential foes in the mix to be the first opponent for the Cavs in their return to the playoffs after a four year drought. Some may have better odds than others of winding up in the seventh spot, but we’ll break them all down with impunity, and according to threat level they pose to the Cavs…

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