Not a Recap: Boston 111, Cleveland 99

April 13th, 2014 by Kevin Hetrick

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Just like the actual Cavaliers, the Cavs:the Bloggers have checked out for the regular season; working on our spring / summer plans, like mowing our lawns, cleaning up the grill, etc.

The actual Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the 25-win Boston Celtics last night.  Even worse, they trailed by 31 after three quarters in Cleveland to the 25-win Boston Celtics.  It’s a really convenient excuse to say, “these games don’t matter”.  But they really have no implications for the Bucks or Celtics either.  Those teams & players decided to compete for one reason or another.  Pride or competitive drive or the desire to do well at their jobs…something.  The previous thirty games had been relatively encouraging, but apparently this team has no interest in sending the franchise / fan base into the summer with any warm & fuzzy feelings.  Instead, the team heads into another pivotal summer, again in the lottery, and again potentially suffering from a spectacular array of end of season not-giving-a-crap.

There is one more game.  In Cleveland.  Against a Brooklyn team that may be resting everyone, trotting out their 9th through 15th men.  Hopefully the Cavs show up and play with some pride and beat the Nets’ scrubs.  I know the outcome doesn’t matter, but to me, winning seems a lot better than the alternative.

Recap: Milwaukee 119, Cleveland 116 (or the incredible disappearing Kyrie)

April 12th, 2014 by Nate Smith

Well, that was ugly. The Cavs and Bucks played one of the most aesthetically unpleasing games of season: a game marked by YMCA style defense, strange bounces of the ball, steals, run-outs, phrenetically incompetent play, and lots of barely contested dunks.  The Cavs were without Luol Deng who sat out with a bad back, and they missed him badly. Alonzo Gee started in his stead and played 23 minutes, finishing with 9 points and four rebounds and was -17 for the game. The other 25 minutes, Cleveland played three guard lineups and fared better, but had no answers for a team with two real small forwards.  6-foot, 8-inch Khris Middleton and his backup, 6-foot, 9-inch Chris Wright, combined to score 31 points on 14-20 shooting for the worst team in the league. Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: Don’t Tank Edition

April 11th, 2014 by David Wood

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The worst victories of all are moral victories, but I’ll take any type of Cavs victories at this point.  After the Atlanta Hawks won on Wednesday night, the Cavs were officially eliminated from the playoffs, even though they decimated a Pistons team that played like they enjoyed being humiliated in some perverse way.  The remaining three games could have drafting ramifications for the Cavs if they win.  A higher draft pick would be nice, but it should not be the Cavs front office’s only worry.  The team is playing great, and these extra wins could be a wonderful springboard going into next season.

Rich Exner of The Northeast Ohio Media Group explained some of the draft ramifications if they win out in his article from yesterday.

But the Cavs could easily fall to 10th or below in the lottery standings, reducing their odds. Tenth place carries a 4 percent chance of picking in the top three, and an 87 percent chance of picking 10th.

In ninth place, the Cavs would have a 6.1 percent chance to earn a top three pick. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap: Cleveland 122, Detroit 100 (or, It’s Delly Time)

April 9th, 2014 by David Wood

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The Cavs playoff chances are over now, since the Boston Celtics couldn’t hold off the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter.  Yet, I haven’t been happier about the team in a long time.  I was working during the game and watched it after I got off, but I was checking in on the score periodically my whole shift.

On a normal Cavs’ game day, I talk myself into the Cavs winning and share those thoughts with my coworkers who are Bulls fans (I live in Chicago).  A lot of days, by halftime, they’re laughing at me. That was not the case tonight as the Cavs led by 32 at the half and finished the game up by 22.  Matthew Dellevadova scored 14 points to go with 12 assists to compliment Dion Waiters’ 22 points and eight assists.

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Links to the Present: Other People Edition

April 8th, 2014 by David Wood

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One of the the hardest things to deal with in life is someone saying something about your feelings that you know is absolutely wrong.  Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are dealing with that type of situation right now.  During an interview on ESPN’s “First Take,” Josh Gordon let it be known that he thought Kyrie and Dion were not overly friendly with each other.

“[Dion Waiters is] my neighbor in my building, so we hang out all the time. I’m aware of the rift in the locker room. That’s just alpha males and supreme athletes trying to share the spotlight.”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cavs: The Podcast 0045 – It’s Th[at] Time Of The Season

April 6th, 2014 by Mallory Factor II

Crying Sigh…Another season, another year sitting out of the playoffs.  It’s beginning to feel like it’ll never happen.

To subside our sadness (and to chat about the big post by Robert last Friday), John, Robert, and I hopped on the old podcast line to discuss Robert’s interview with Brian Windhorst, Kyrie Irving’s Future, Tristan Thompson and Spencer Hawes’ extensions, Dion Waiters’ improvement, and the last two Cavalier games.

As always, we can be found on SoundCloud at: https://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog

And on iTunes at:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843?mt=2

Not a Recap: Bobcats 96, Cavs 94

April 5th, 2014 by Tom Pestak
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This shot probably didn’t go in.

I attended the game tonight and had a really great time.  It was the first game I’ve been too since the “Welcome Home Z” game.  The Cavs and Bobcats had lids on the rims in the first half and came alive a bit more in the second.  Kyrie hit a big jumper to send the game into OT and had a wide open look for 3 to win the game in OT, but it spun out and the Cavs lost.  Charlotte, meanwhile, clinched the playoffs and could face either Indiana or Toronto.  The Cavs may not yet be mathematically eliminated but they won’t make the playoffs this season.  The good news is they have played much better the last two months.  I expect them to springboard off this foundation next October.

Interesting things I noticed:

-The Cavs really put on a show, but at one point it felt a little much.  I swear Ahmad Crump was getting us amped up like crazy, with the epic movie scenes and the scream meter for….out of timeout free throws and must-foul situations on inbounds plays.  I want that job.  I’m officially throwing my hat in the ring as the apprentice in waiting for the job of pumping up Cavs fans.  “CUHLEEEEEEEEVELAND!  GET. ON. YOUR. FEET. for the 15th ranked defensive rating in the league since February 12.”  I’ll work on the delivery. Trust me; this will be great.

-A fan in front of me had his family with him, very nice folks.  Because we were in the nose bleeds I couldn’t discern that #12 was Gary Neal.  He heard me thinking out loud and told me.  I was impressed, but didn’t want to be outdone, so I started spouting off Gary Neal’s journey the last few years to show my moxy.  Anyway, I point blank asked the guy if Delly should win the ROY.  And instead of laughing, he said “they would never give it to him, but he’s so much better than his stats suggest.”  #winning

-Cody Zeller and Tyler Zeller wear the same number 40, run the same way, shoot in a similar way, and just play the game with a familiar set of moves.  Cody had a huge rebound late in the game after the Cavs had played solid D for 24 seconds.

-I love staring at the retired jerseys.  I am so glad the Cavs honor Joe Tait up there too.  I miss Joe.  I tried calling a bit of the second quarter as if I were him.  It’s really hard.  He was so fast.  #LegendsofCLE.

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-I know this is sort of an already-aired grievance of a few people, including Zach Lowe, but the Cavs overhelp on the PnR, especially Tristan.  I think they need to work harder to keep spotted-up 3-point shooters from getting comfortable releases.  They seemingly had OCD tonight about sending the big so far out to block the ball-handler from turning the corner.  Kemba Walker split that double team (H/T Mark Price) many times and it just seemed like it wasn’t worth all the extra effort and was even a bit risky at times although I didn’t see the Bobcats exploit the slow-retreating big as much as I thought they could.

-Kyrie’s abilities were on full display tonight.  I haven’t looked but I assume tonight was his career high for points.  He played with effort and intensity on defense the entire night – I was looking for that and I noticed it.  There were times he left the wrong man or something but the effort was strong.  Good for him.  He was feeling it with his shot most of the game but you could still sense frustration in his demeanor.  Upset about a few no-calls, hanging his head at times.  After he hit a heat-check 3 that sent the crowd into a frenzy, he put his head down and had a very aggravated jog up the court before succumbing to the adoration and deciding to feed off it.  He put his hand in the air and asked for even more.  At times tonight you could tell he didn’t want to take over but he saw no other options.  The Bobcats are a very good defensive team and they really defended the Cavs well tonight.  Irving almost overcame them by himself.

-There was a sequence in the 1st half where Alonzo Gee hit the side of the backboard and then Gary Neal did likewise at the other end.  Points were an epic struggle in the second quarter.

-The refs let a ton of contact go, especially in the first half.  I love it.  No need to slow down the game every time players touch each other.  As the game went on they called it a bit tighter.  I didn’t see the foul when Dion missed the two handed dunk.

-Kyrie probably makes the final shot 6 out of 10 times.  He was WIDE open, spotted up at the top of the key.  He looked pretty upset he missed it.  But I was pleased with the inbounds play to get him so open!

-Spencer Hawes fired up a three-quarter-court shot after securing the rebound on the final free throw that missed.  He could have passed to someone else upcourt or taken a few dribbles, I think he had two and a half seconds or more.  He just immediately heaved it with two hands.  From that distance in NBA Jam it’s an underhanded uppercut heave. #seasonofhuh?

-Kyrie and Dion were displaying positive interactions all throughout the game, even when Dion wasted a possession in the midst of a Kyrie scoring barrage for some reason.

-I really get a kick out of fans participating in half court contests or timed shooting drills.  I’ve seen some epic ones at the Q.  Tonight, a decently athletic looking guy had to make seven free throws in 30 seconds.  “EZ” I thought.  Well, he airballs the first one by 4 feet.  Airballs the second one by 2 feet, front-rims the 3rd, rims out a few, and then he front-rims one in.  And another: front, back, in.  Then net, and net, and net, net, net….and they just made him stop at 7!  I think he was a machine and once he calibrated the distance he would have made 100 in a row!  It was not what I expected, someone with that form and touch shouldn’t airball the first two.

-Seems some of the other “local Cavalier writers” have either corroborated Windy’s “Kyrie’s camp sez” information or expressed frustration similar to Irving.  I won’t say who they are or link you to them though.

-I got to meet Mark Price after the game.  We spoke for a few minutes and he thanked me for the #CavsRank tribute I wrote here a week ago.  It’s pretty surreal meeting your childhood hero.  I probably bumbled like an idiot.  We talked about the Bobcats playoff seeding and he seemed to intimate that he thought Toronto was a better match up for them even though he agreed with me that Indiana is struggling.

-I presented him with a framed commemoration of #CavsRank and he seemed to enjoy it although I’m not sure he had actually seen the #CavsRank list before.  I hope he likes it.  There seemed to be some old friends of his there too, waiting to meet him.   He held it up and looked at them and said something like “The blog had a ranking of players…and I won!”  Indeed.  It was fitting that on this night they showed Price on the jumbotron with his career stats overlayed and he received a roaring ovation.  He stood up and acknowledged the crowd.

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Recap: Atlanta 117, Cleveland 98 (or, requiem for a season)

April 4th, 2014 by Nate Smith

This was a depressing one, Cavalier faithful. For the Cavs playoff hopes, this game could only be described as a “must win.” Unfortunately, Cleveland came out flat and failed to match the energy and focus of the Atlanta Hawks. As a result, Cleveland was dominated on offense and defense by the Hawks, who won in a rout. Cleveland shot 39.6% while Atlanta shot 58.5%, and 48% from three. While the Cavs are mathematically alive for the playoffs, they trail Atlanta by four games in the loss column. This means that even if the Cavs go 5-0 over their final five, Atlanta only has to has to go 3-4 to make the the playoffs, as they own the tiebreakers. As Campy Russell said, “It wasn’t the loss that hurt so much as the way they lost.” Cleveland’s body language was subdued all night, they lacked energy and fire, and their communication and execution on offense and defense seemed non-existent.  For the umpteenth time this season, Cleveland failed to compete.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shooting the Breeze with Windy…

April 4th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

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On a cool, but sunny, spring, afternoon, I grabbed a couple of steaming hot beverages and sat along New York’s Bryant Park with longtime Cavaliers pulse-feeler, Brian Windhorst. Brian, as most of you know, covers the NBA for ESPN and is one of the more insightful and thoughtful writers covering the NBA today (and has been so for a while). We talked Cavs playoff chances, Kyrie and Dion, extending Tristan Thompson and exactly why people need to write about Cleveland star players wanting out.

CtB: How much of Tuesday’s win against the Magic shows how far the team has come and how much of it was how little the Magic have to play for at this particular point in time? 

BW: They’ve owned the Magic all year. Even when they were playing [poorly] they beat them. To me, the season can be defined by the two games in New York. I think it was the Cavs only TNT game and the Knicks were horrible at the time. The effort level that the Cavs put forth in that game was as bad as any I’ve seen in my 12 years covering the NBA. To play like that when you’re on national television – even if you hate your teammates, even it you hate your coach – have some pride not to get ripped by Charles Barkely. Have some pride. The effort they put forth in that game was an absolute abomination. I was in the locker room after the game in disgust. I ended up ripping Kyrie that night because I’m like, “Who are you? Are you a superstar? Start acting like it.”

Then when they come and they play New York later, New York is on an eight-game win streak, they’d won eight or nine in a row at home too – hugely important game for the Knicks – the Cavs come in and win playing with ten times more effort. And I’m not generalizing. It was ten times more effort.

And, to me, that’s the Cavs season: the one team that didn’t [care] and the one team that came back to New York when the game really mattered and they won.

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Links to the Present: Getting Ready Edition

April 4th, 2014 by David Wood

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When Friday hits, you have to get prepared for the weekend.  Some people get haircuts. Other people go grocery shopping for a family gathering. People like me contemplate why they hated on Kyrie coming back after he had an amazing game against Orlando. A few people just grab a six pack of their favorite beverage and turn their television on to watch their NBA team.  If you’re a Cavs fan, this weekend you’re going have set aside time to read about their playoff situation to fully appreciate them battling the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday.

Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer has the playoff situation covered.  She points out the harsh reality that the Cavs really aren’t in total control or even moderate control of their playoff chances.  They are going to need some lucky losses from both the Knicks and the Hawks, since they don’t own the tie breaker against either of those teams. Read the rest of this entry »