Well here we go. You have to think that David Blatt is coaching for his job tonight as the Cavs take on the moribund Lakers, who’ve lost four of the last five. Kobe Bryant has only played in two of those games, and is only 5-31 in those two contests. Let’s hope that Kobe can go tonight, and that the bone broth that is succoring him in his twilight years has its desired effect. The Lakers are coming off one of the ugliest games in years, a 78-75 suckfest that they dropped to Miami. Let’s hope the Cavs rebound tonight, in every meaning of the word. If you haven’t checked out my article from earlier today, I gave Blatt tips on coaching from my years in Youth Girls Basketball. You can read it at halftime.
We’ve all been thinking a lot about David Blatt, lately. Questions float around in our head… Why isn’t this working? Is it the players? Is it the coach? Is it the waning moon? Did I move my life-size cutout of LeBron too close to my stuffed Moondog, and thus cancel out their energies? It’s true that there’s no single reason the Cavs are struggling. A new person is assigned as blame tampon each week…. Mike Miller, Delly, Sir C.C., Kevin Love, and this week, David Blatt. Having a little bit of coaching experience, myself, I thought I’d offer some advice. You see, I’ve coached girl’s basketball for the last three years as my oldest has matriculated from third to fifth, so I can empathize with what coach Blatt is going through. Coaching in the NBA is a lot like coaching fifth grade girls, right?
If you haven’t read David Wood’s excellent recap of last night’s loss to the Suns, get on it!
Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) The fallout over David Blatt’s comments after the Cavs loss in Sacramento that Kevin Love is “not a max player yet” should come as a surprise to no one. Blatt has always been known as a fiery guy who, thus far in his career (storied abroad, though it may be) hasn’t had to deal with as many of the finer points of player ego-massaging as he has this season, his first in the NBA. While he has ladled freely from the soup of praise when talking about his players, Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, in particular, there was bound to be a moment when Blatt, understandably frustrated following a 19-point drubbing by a Kings squad where his team played unengaged, uninspired and… well, basically un-anything-good, would release a little steam. Unfortunately, his pressure check was in front of the media and at the apparent expense of the player who, should he leave after just one season in wine and gold, would leave the team with a lot of gold — from the yolk running down their collective face — to show for it.
Do I think Blatt thinks Love is a bad player? Absolutely not. I think Blatt believes his starting power forward is a very talented offensive player — one of the more versatile offensive bigs in the league — but to say that Blatt, in his most private moments, is without criticism of Love is probably unrealistic, as well. Blatt later backpedaled saying that what he meant was that Love has not yet signed a max contract with the Cavs and didn’t want to be accused of tampering by suggesting that those kind of discussions were had with Love.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
The Cavs have another West coast game, but this won’t be the same team we have all grown accustomed to watching over the past two weeks. King James is finally returning to action. It has been rumored that he hasn’t felt himself all season. As of right now, it has not been rumored that the King will return and still be super frail. I’m taking that to mean that he will once again be the high flying, ball swatting, bag of basketball sexiness I witnessed during the first few years of his career. Yay, optimism. Nate has some thoughts on tonight’s game that can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »
Honestly, this post is just an excuse to post the above picture of LeBron surrounded by much shorter humans (including Damon Jones, and a man on the left with a glorious mullet). While I’m at it, I’ll share the news that despite being a “game time decision,” tonight, most expect Mr. James to play in Phoenix. I’d be shocked if the King gallivanted around the country with his entourage after two weeks of rehab, and then didn’t play tonight.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
The Cavs are taking a ride to the Sleep Train tonight to do battle against DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. It will be a a test game for Timofey Mozgov, as he will be asked to stop the league’s most efficient center in Boogie.
This season DeMarcus is posting a PER of 26.33, which is the sixth best in the league, and he has been putting up 23.8 points a game to go with 12.3 rebounds. He’s also almost getting two blocks a game. He will provide a matchup issue if Timofey gets into foul trouble early on.
Fortunately for the Cavs, they have a matchup advantage almost everywhere else against the Kings. At the small forward spot, Rudy Gay can be problematic, but he can also shoot Sacramento into oblivion. The Kings also are giving up 103.9 points a game, while the Cavs a giving up 99.8 right now. The Cavs just win on paper automatically, right. Read the rest of this entry »
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.