Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Preview: Heat at Cavaliers, December 2nd

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Miami Heat (11-8) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-10)

Relevant Statistics:

Offensive Efficiency: Miami 107.5 (6th) vs. Cleveland 99.0 (28th)

Defensive Efficiency: Miami 98.8 (4th) vs. Cleveland 105.1 (18th)

Pace: Miami 93.4 (21st) vs. Cleveland 95.3 (14th)


The Heat are going to be playing five-on-six tonight, and that’s the key to the game. The longer the game stays close or the Cavs have the lead, the louder the crowd is going to get and the bigger the chances the Heat will fold become. The Heat are a jump-shooting team still figuring out how to play with one another — they do not want to have to perform under pressure.

I have a bad feeling that LeBron is going to go into destruction mode tonight and start attacking the rim, and I have a worse feeling that the Cavs aren’t going to be able to stop him if he does. This team has struggled to stop penetration, protect the paint and guard wings all year long, and that is not a good thing with LeBron and Wade coming to town. Still, it might just take a couple of stops or a couple of missed jumpers for LeBron to lose confidence and start deferring/launching jumpers. The first quarter is going to be crucial in this one.

I actually feel good about the Bosh/Varejao matchup. Andy should be able to contest Bosh’s jumpers, and he will make CB4’s life miserable every time he steps foot in the paint or goes for a rebound.

I don’t see how the Cavs can possibly contain Wade. Fortunately, the Heat have done a pretty good job of containing Wade and James all by themselves this season. Hopefully that continues.

Offensively, the Heat defend the paint well and are very mobile on the perimeter. The matchup to exploit is Mo vs. Arroyo — Mo should be able to beat Arroyo off the dribble and hit some jumpers before the bigs can step up to contest. Moving the ball will be so important — I actually think the crowd will help the Cavs a lot if it becomes a jump shooting contest because of the confidence factor. Pack the paint and force the Heat to make shots with the crowd dying to see them fail.

Alright, that’s all for now. I’m ready for this thing to get started already. I’ll be doing the dime, so stop by and say hi.

Preview: Cavaliers at Spurs, November 20th

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

San Antonio Poster - Click to View Extra Large Image

Cleveland Cavaliers (5-6) vs. San Antonio Spurs (10-1)

Relevant Statistics:

Offensive Efficiency: Cavaliers 101.2 (22nd) vs. Spurs 107.8 (4th)

Defensive Efficiency: Cavaliers 105.3 (20th) vs. Spurs 99.6 (7th)

Pace: Cavaliers 95.3 (16th) vs. Spurs 98.3 (7th)


– The Spurs are 10-1, and they’re doing it by playing fast, scoring in bunches, and getting a ton out of the Parker/Ginobili/Jefferson triumvirate. Duncan’s only averaging 14 a game, and the team is 10-1 anyways. This will not be an easy game, especially since transition defense and wing defense have been major issues for the Cavs.

– Hickson needs to get back on track tonight. He needs to be aggressive early and use his speed advantage on Blair to open things up — he might be tempted to shoot over him, but I think he’d be better served making Blair move.

– Tim Duncan might not be the featured guy on offense anymore, but he’s still the key to the Spurs’ defense. Cavs have to keep the ball moving, because Duncan still shuts down the paint as well as just about anybody. Some threes would be nice as well.

– Stopping penetration and locating shooters in transition aren’t easy things to do, but the Cavs are going to have to do them if they don’t want to get whooped against the Spurs. That’s all I have for now — check back here after the game for the recap.

Preview: Cavaliers at Hornets, November 19th

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Cleveland Cavaliers (5-5) vs. New Orleans Hornets (9-1)

Relevant Statistics:

Offensive Efficiency: Cleveland 101.2 (22nd) vs. New Orleans 107.0 (8th)

Defensive Efficiency: Cleveland 105.0 (20th) vs. New Orleans 98.1 (4th)

Pace: Cleveland 94.8 (18th) vs. New Orleans 92.7 (25th)


– This one could get bad. Mo still out (edit: he’s expected to play tonight), team on the road, Hornets playing really great basketball. The Cavs are currently .500, but according to Hollinger’s rankings they’ve had the easiest schedule in the league thus far. Now it’s time to see what this team is really made of.

– There’s no real way to stop Chris Paul. He’s too fast, too good of a ballhandler, too good of a shooter, too good of a passer, and too good of a finisher to shut down. The best the Cavs can do is show hard on those pick-and-rolls and then recover back to the bigs like their lives depend on it — even if they do that, they’ll need some luck to stop Paul from killing them. Paul is my clear MVP choice at this point in the season, and there’s a reason why.

– The Hornets flat-out play defense. They love to collapse on you at the free-throw line area, and only Orlando allows less buckets at the rim per game. (Kind of a fun fact, when you consider that Howard and Okafor helm both paint defenses). The Cavs have to move that ball and hit some shots from outside — no isolation, and please limit the Sessions-ball.

– The Cavs’ advantage over this team is speed — Ariza’s a great athlete, and Paul is a freak, but if the Cavs swarm and recover on defense and move, move, move, move on offense, they could frustrate the Hornets and bridge some of that talent gap. I’m just hoping for a tough performance from the Cavs tonight, but this is basketball and anything can happen — remember Boston? See you after the game.

Preview: Pacers at Cavaliers, November 13th

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Pacers (3-4) vs. Cavaliers (4-4)

Offensive Efficiency: Indiana 103.1 (18th) vs. Cleveland 102.1 (22nd)

Defensive Efficiency: Indiana 105.3 (21st) vs. Cleveland 105.8 (22nd)

Pace: Indiana 98.3 (8th) vs. Cleveland 94.8 (19th)


First of what could be a few games without Mo Williams — Boobie and Razor Ramon will have to show up, and it’s going to be very important to get those Princeton sets working. Hickson must be patient from the high post.

Hibbert will be a load inside. No Varejao, so that could be a real problem.

The book on Danny Granger is to run him off that three-point line. If the Cavs fall asleep on him the way they fell asleep on Morrow in the 2nd New Jersey game, it could be a long night.

Collison is fast and wants to get to the basket. Cavs have to keep him out of transition and do a better job than they did with Devin Harris in the half-court.

Hansborough has actually been pretty effective in limited minutes — Cavs should watch out for that 2nd unit and make sure they don’t let him get them in foul trouble.

Alright, that’s all. Let’s see if the Cavs go above or below .500 tonight.

Preview: Nets at Cavaliers, November 11th

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

New Jersey Nets (2-5) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3)

Offensive Efficiency: New Jersey 97.3 (26th) vs. Cleveland 103.0 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: New Jersey 106.2 (22nd) vs. Cleveland 106.0 (21st)

Pace: New Jersey 92.8 (28th) vs. Cleveland 95.4 (18th)


Well, more of the same would be nice, right? After beating New Jersey on the road on Tuesday, the Cavs are looking to improve to 5-3. Here’s some of what I’ll be looking for:

– Brook Lopez can’t be happy about his 6-18 showing on Tuesday. I predict that Avery Johnson will look to get him going early — if he makes his first two or three and gets some confidence against Varejao, this could be a very different game than the one the two teams just played. If he can’t get settled and Varejao stays in his head, it’ll be good news for Cleveland.

– Mo Williams will also be looking to bounce back — hopefully the home crowd can help him forget about his abysmal shooting last night.

– I’m really, really, really hoping that Ramon Sessions builds on that epic fourth quarter — everything just works so much better when a real point guard is running the show.

– That said, I’d like to see Varejao, Hickson, and Jamison keep working that Princeton offense and getting comfortable from the high post/the perimeter in half-court sets.

– If Outlaw has another huge night tonight, it will be time to take a look at how this team defends swingmen. However, I think there’s a good chance Tuesday night’s performance was a fluke.

Alright, let’s see if this team can improve to 5-3. I’ll be in the Daily Dime, so come say hi.

Preview: Cavaliers at 76ers, November 5th

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Relevant Statistics:

Offensive Efficiency: Cleveland 96.6 (26th) vs. Philadelphia 99.8 (21st)

Defensive Efficiency: Cleveland 105.6 (20th) vs. Philadelphia 98.5 (6th)

Pace: Cleveland 94.3 (22nd) vs. Philadelphia 97.0 (18th)


-The keys to this one will be slowing down Philadelphia’s frontcourt (Elton Brand is actually not sucking, like, at all, and Thad Young is a good player), keeping Lou Williams from doing too much damage in the limited amount of time the 6ers give him, and finding ways to score on Philly’s surprisingly stingy defense.

It’s an athletic team, so every mistake the Cavs make is going to bite them. Hopefully Mo will start to settle in tonight, J.J. can take it right to their frontcourt, and the Cavs can get back to fundamentals on defense. I’ll be in the dime tonight, so come say hi.

Preview: Hawks at Cavaliers, November 2nd

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Alright, undefeated Hawks coming to Cleveland. Let’s see if the Cavs can get back to .500 tonight. Some things to watch for:

— Another really athletic team in the Hawks. Smith is going to be a tough matchup for JJ, and Horford will take it right at Andy down low. I like both of their chances, though.

— Mo’s back! And he gets to face Mike Bibby! That’s a welcome-back present if I ever saw one.

— The key here is finding something defensively — the Hawks haven’t been doing much on defense, but they’ve been scoring at will so far this season. Make Joe Johnson work, don’t let the Hawks get out and run too much, and stick to Crawford and keep him from getting himself a mini-run. See you after the game.

Preview: Cavaliers at Toronto, October 29th

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Alright, let’s see if the team can keep this undefeated thing going. First road game of the year, against a Raptors team coming off a terrible first outing. If you believe in momentum, things look good for the Cavs. Some notes:

-This team likes to run. Even in a loss, the Raptors outscored D’Antoni’s Knicks on the fast break. Like the Cavs, it’s an undersized team with some solid guards and athletic wings trying to make the thing work as best they can. This should be a good test for Cleveland’s running game.

– No Varejao this game, and that’s going to hurt. That the Raptors have no true centers (Amir Johnson is the closest thing) should soften the blow — I don’t think the Cavs will get killed if they play Jamison and Hickson together for extended minutes.

– If DeRozan and Weems get going, the team can be dangerous. Bargnani can be a tough matchup, and Jack is solid. Outside of that, this isn’t a very scary team. The Cavs should come out aggressive tonight.

Alright, open thread. I’m doing the Daily Dime Live tonight, so stop by and say hi.

Preview: Celtics at Cavaliers, October 27th

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Here we go. First game of the regular season. Some things to watch out for:

-The way the Celtics played last night, they look like a terrible matchup for this team. Miami tried to play the kind of swarming defense you have to imagine the undersized Cavaliers will be playing, and Boston calmly picked it apart with ball movement, Rondo diving into the lane when he had space, and quality three-point shooting. They’re an extremely patient team offensively — 78 of their 88 points came from the paint, the three-point line, or the free-throw line on Tuesday.

– Defensively, the Celtics are just scary. The more the Cavaliers can push the break instead of facing their half-court defense, the better. Hey, maybe the Cavs can run Shaq off the floor.

– If Shaq beats up Andy inside, doesn’t settle for hooks, and makes a major impact on the game, I will throw something.

– Gotta find Pierce on the break, gotta keep Rondo from grabbing long rebounds and stopping the break, can’t lose Ray Allen in the half-court.

– This is J.J.’s first game as a key piece — I can’t shake the feeling Kevin Garnett is not the guy he wants to see.

Alright, open thread. Let’s start this season off with a bang. I won’t be doing the Daily Dime Live because of class, but check back here later tonight for the recap. It’s time.

Preview: Cavaliers at Celtics, May 13th

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Well, here we go. It’s a three-game series, and the Cavs are down 0-1. They’re 48 minutes away from tying this series up and going back to Cleveland for the deciding game. It’s not over. At least not yet. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not ready for LeBron’s last game as a Cav.

This game can be won. The Cavs have the talent. They won easily in Boston not that long ago. If they believe they can win this game, they can do it. LeBron says he knows what the stakes are. He needs to play like it, now more than ever. This entire team needs to hit the boards like their pride is on the line. No sloppy turnovers. Every possession could mean everything. Play defense on everyone, for the full 24 seconds, and get the ball if they miss.

Limit transition opportunities. Contest KG’s catches. Try to stop Ray Allen from getting it going. Hope Pierce doesn’t have one last bullet left in the holster.

On offense, play aggressive and confident. LeBron needs to come out early attacking and make the game his. Guys need to shoot when they’re left alone, and know when to reset when they don’t have the looks. Use Shaq to get in the bonus, then play matchup ball. Delonte’s gotta provide a spark. A lot of things need to go right. They can. The Cavs have won 67 games this season. They need two more right now.

A loss will hurt. If the Cavs go down fighting, I can take it. This team needs to play with pride. They need to play like they want another couple weeks of this. I do. I’m sure all of you do as well. This can happen. It is not over. But it needs to start right now. Not next game, not next quarter, not next possession. This is it. Having your back against the wall isn’t an excuse to quit. It’s an opportunity to leave everything out there. Any iota of effort this team doesn’t give will stay with them until their graves. 48 tough minutes, or a lifetime of infamy. It’s their choice.

Regardless of what happens, I love this team. I’ve loved watching them. I’ve loved talking about them. I’ve especially loved writing about them. It’s been a great journey. Let’s keep it going.