The Point Four-ward: Then and Now

May 28th, 2015 by Robert Attenweiler

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Okay, confession time. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers. Still. To this day.

In particular, as these playoffs have continued, I’ve found myself increasingly suspicious of the narrative that LeBron James is pulling along his current crop of overmatched Cavalier teammates kicking and screaming on his one-man mission to return to the Finals. Clearly, James has been huge for the Cavaliers. No one is arguing against that. It just seemed like there was a difference between this year’s team and James’s previous Cavaliers squads, particularly the one that made the 2007 Finals — that even if the Cavs were leaning on James more in these playoffs (and your can’t argue that James’s 2015’s playoff usage rate of 36.4% is a substantial uptick from the 29.7% usage he posted in the 2007 playoffs) that his teammates this year were performing better in support of James.

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5-on-5: Your Eastern Conference Champs! — Updated

May 27th, 2015 by Robert Attenweiler

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Still buzzing after the Cavs 118-88 Game 4 Win over the Atlanta Hawks that moved the Cavaliers four wins away from the city’s first major professional sports championship in 51 years, Cory, Tom, Nate, Mallory and I had a little chat about your Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) At what point in the season did you start to believe that this team could return to the NBA Finals?

Nate: It happened twice. The first time was when the Cavs dismantled Memphis on March 25th to win by 22 points. The Grizz were the second best team in the West at the time, and the Cavs gave them one of their signature third quarter floggings. Kevin Love scored 22 on 13 shots; Irving, 24; LeBron, 20; Moz, 14… After Kelly’s killer armbar, we all had our doubts, but David Wood’s revelations about the Cavs super D lineups (featuring TT, Delly, Bron, and Shump) gave me faith. I was fully aboard the Finals bandwagon again after Game two versus the Bulls. I knew if the Cavs could get a split at home without J.R., they’d be OK. Cleveland jumped all over the Bulls, racing out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter, and LeBron rediscovered his post game. Cleveland turned into a team that’s impossible to beat with a lead in the fourth, and I knew the Bulls were hosed.

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Recap: Cavs 118, Hawks 88 (and, “WE’RE NOT DONE!”)

May 27th, 2015 by EvilGenius

That’s a lot of confetti… Fortunately, the Cavs brought their brooms…

Cavs fans… After 82 regular season games, and a scant 14 playoff games, including one last evisceration of the number one seeded Atlanta Hawks… we can finally say the six words we hoped we could following a summer of lottery luck, midnight signings, Love, and The Return of the King… THE CAVS ARE IN THE FINALS!!!

And now that we have that primal roar out of our collective systems, it’s time to embrace the four word subtitle of this recap, so sagely given during the euphoric post-game ceremonies by the first “rookie” coach to reach the NBA Finals since Paul Westphal (who did it in 1992 with the Phoenix Suns), David Blatt, with a preamble about the Land, its players and its people…

We’re in Cleveland. Nothing is easy here… But there’s a lot of love, and the best support in the world… and the people care… and the players give everything they have… And we’re not done.”

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Quick Hit – Cavs: 118, Hawks: 88 – Coming up next, The Closer…errr…the Warriors

May 26th, 2015 by Mallory Factor II

tears of joyWell, that series went exactly as expected, right?  4-0 sweep, TT and Delly (and some guy named Lebron) the heroes of the series, and a game 4 that saw the Cavs winning by as much as 31.  I mean, we ALL saw this coming, right?

What, really, is there to say about game four?  Plenty – EG has that coming up later.  For now, here are a few quick hits about the ECF and the NBA Finals.

-Has any player earned himself more money these last four games than Tristan Thompson?  The guy was a rebounding machine (especially on offense!), did a nice job scoring inside, and played stellar D.  The guys and I were debating whether TT was a max guy or not come the off-season.  I wont go that far (yet), but he’s definitely worth a lot, especially on this team.  I am fully, 100% ready to admit it – I could not have been more wrong about his importance.

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

May 26th, 2015 by EvilGenius

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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#BlameDelly

May 26th, 2015 by EvilGenius

[Are we sure that Delly wasn’t in Houston last night? That city was also flooded today forcing the Texans to cancel practice…]

Did anything bad happen to you today? Did anything ruin your Memorial Day weekend? Have you seen any unfortunate disasters or annoying mishaps befall people you know or places you go? Chances are… it was all Delly’s fault.

Yes, this pesky Australian spit-fire, recently dubbed practically Public Enemy #1 in these NBA playoffs by any number of talking heads and Atlanta Hawks, should likely be the culprit in everything from your burnt morning toast to the real cause of global warming…

Who knew at the start of the season (heck, even at the start of these playoffs) that the man once derided as “Dellava D-League” would become known as the dangerous and infamous “Aussie Assassin”?

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Podcast Episode 68: Superman and the Wombat

May 25th, 2015 by Nate Smith

First, check out Cory Hughey’s superior recap of last night’s game. Once you’ve done that come back and listen to John Krolik, Tom, EvilGenius, and I as we tried to stay sane after an epic Cavs overtime win against the Hawks. We couldn’t do it. We were all a little giddy and punchy as we recorded a late night pod during the middle of a holiday weekend. Who could blame us? It was a thrilling game that featured an ejection, a team full of villains trying to destroy Matthew Dellavedova (The Wombat), and the greatest player in the world (or not, according to some of our podders) giving a Kal-El-ian like performance that resulted in an all-time triple double and a Cavs win. The podcast includes highlights, lowlights, too much Delly analysis, haberdashery criticism, a probable finals preview, and so much more.

Enjoy above, or on SoundCloud or iTunes.

Recap: Cavs 114, Hawks 111 OT (or There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South)

May 25th, 2015 by Cory Hughey

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The Atlanta Hawks franchise proved that the New South still has the same sensibilities as the Old South with their duo of race scandals during the preseason. Many, including myself, assumed that the distractions off the court would affect the performance of the team, and they proved all doubters wrong, posting a franchise record 60-22 season. An overlooked stat of the Hawks was that they had the lowest point differential in league history for a 60-win team. They fielded four all-stars, but no superstars in a sport dominated by them and come late Tuesday night, their 2014-15 season will probably be swept away like red clay dust from the back porch and they’ll be Gone with the Wind.

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Live Thread: Hawks @ Cavs, Game Three

May 24th, 2015 by Mallory Factor II
I hate internet Memes more than anyone, but I'll be darned if this doesn't sum up game three.

I hate memes more than anyone, but I’ll be darned if this doesn’t sum up game three.

We can almost taste it.  That is, everyone except for Tom (love ya, buddy).

In our email chains since game one, I will openly admit that pretty much everyone involved in C:TB has spent far, FAR more time talking about the Warriors than the Hawks.  Actually, I’m not sure I can remember a single instance of any of the bloggers discussing the Hawks for any extended period of time.

But, and I don’t think I’m too far off-base here, I’m guessing that’s where most Cavs fans are right now.

Really, is that surprising?  I think we can be forgiven if we’re not terrified by the name “Kent Bazemore” in the starting lineup.  Nor are we intimidated by a hobbled Demarre Carroll.  Long, long gone are the days of us worrying about Kyle Korver going off, and it would appear that the offensive rebounding tandum of Tristan and Mozzy are too much for what we can now understand to be an undersized Hawks front court.

Still, it seems naive to look too far ahead.  For one thing, a year ago even being at this point seemed way outside the realm of reality – maybe it’s time to enjoy the trip we’re on.  For another, the Hawks certainly aren’t dead yet.  Just ask the Clippers.

Finally, there ain’t no way ANYONE is matching up with GS with a hobbled point guard.  Fingers crossed that brace works, Kyrie!

I don’t want to be a Debbie downer – I still have complete faith of where this is going.  JR is the man, TT and Timofey are WAY more than we thought they were, and Lebron is finally back to being Lebron; those things (especially the last) will always give the Cavs a chance.  I’m just here to put it all into perspective – lets not get ahead of ourselves, take this one day at a time, and enjoy awesome basketball as long as we can.

And for God’s sake, lets pray Draymond Green can’t shut the King down in a seven game series!

 

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

May 23rd, 2015 by EvilGenius

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.

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