Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Count me among those who were actually surprised to see LeBron James suited up for Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat. After tweaking his knee in Sunday’s game against Orlando, James, who has spoken publicly of his desire to get some more rest before the playoffs start, chose to stay in for this road contest against his former team (and, likely, because of that).
After a couple of months in which James has sat out the occasional game on occasion (most recently, at home against Portland and on the road against Indiana) in order to give his body a couple more days to get right, James played, only to aggravate a wrist injury (in a collision with Hassan Whiteside) for his troubles.
Cavs head coach David Blatt has stated his desire for the Cavs to hold onto the second seed in the East going into the playoffs, so it’s unlikely that James will take off as lengthy a stretch as he did in December into January. Especially with the team resting Kevin Love, the Cavs need James if they are to win enough games to give Number 23 a prolonged rest.
As of now, Love is expected to play tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, though nothing definite has been announced.
Each week there is a ton of NBA media pertaining to the Cavs and the league in general that deserves recognition. A lot of it goes unread because there just isn’t enough time to keep up with it. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered notable reads/videos from the past seven days to get you through the day feeling entertained, caught up, and much smarter. I’ll throw in Earl’s Pearl of the Week and some other features to add to the entertainment.
About 36 hours ago the Cavs lost a stinker of a game to the Heat. Let’s pretend that loss never happened by looking at articles mainly praising the Cavs. There is no shortage of them right now. Read the rest of this entry »
First off, check out Cory’s extremely entertaining recap of an extremely underwhelming Cavs loss last night. Second, over the past few weeks, Tom Pestak and I have been exchanging letters with long time reader/commenter, Mac. The conversation started in the comment section of the Reader 5 on 5, as a reaction to this piece in ESPN the Magazine on Sam Hinkie and the Sixer’s “Plan to win (yes, really).” The whole piece struck Mac and I as naive at best, or as Mac said.. “The things they [the Sixers] are doing and saying about how the short term pain is all for long term gain are the things PE/finance guys do and say whether they intend to save your company or bleed it dry and leave other people to bury the corpse.” Mac expounded.
I am really sick of people patting themselves on the back for not being archaic dinosaurs like Jeanie Buss or Russ Granick and understanding what the Sixers are doing is really smart. Tanking and being a free rider while other people try to be good sports because the league doesn’t really work without a good faith effort to not mail it in unless you are a top five team is really smart, in the way that putting your money in tax shelters in the Bahamas and not paying your share of taxes is smart. It is smart in the way that forming a corporation and putting your assets in it and making your kids shareholders so you don’t have to pay estate tax is smart. It is smart in the way that rich people living in economically segregated neighborhoods so their kids can go to the best possible public schools funded by local property taxes is smart. It is smart and worthy of praise if maximizing self-interest is the epitome of human intelligence and achievement. It is strange to me that millenials, who in many ways seem much more progressive and empathetic than my generation, seem to so easily accept the premise that as long as it is legal, screwing over the common good just to get every last squeeze out of the orange for yourself isn’t merely acceptable, but the only rational thing to do.
If you haven’t checked out the comment section of that piece, I recommend you do so. It’s one of my faves, and Mac, Ross, C6H12O6, and CLF all contributed to an enlightening conversation. We went deep down the rabbit hole. Naturally, this sparked an offline conversation about the state of team-building in the NBA between Mac, our resident cynical skeptic (me), and our defender of capitalism, Mom, America, and Apple Pie (Tom Pestak). We’re sharing it with you in a two part series that will run this week. Enjoy.
Bloggers Note: I wrote the recap on my piece of junk HP laptop that I should have smashed in a drunken rage years ago. During the fourth quarter, said piece of junk HP laptop decided to start configuring updates and my recap was lost. It was a miserable game to watch. It was a miserable game to recap, and it would have been a miserable read. Here is an alternative version.
Tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers are taking their talents to South Beach for the second time this season, though LeBron is a “maybe.” After tweaking his knee against the Magic last night, LeBron received treatment today, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if David Blatt rests him. It wouldn’t be a bad time to tune up the K-Love/Kyrie two man game, and I’m quite sure the Heat hope the King’s a scratch. Miami is currently a half game out of the playoffs behind Charlotte and tied with the suddenly hot Celtics. They’re 5-5 in their last ten, and are only hanging around because Dwyane Wade has been off the charts lately, averaging 29, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 boards with 53%/40%/82% shooting splits in his last four games.
The Heat have been seriously banged up, and have been forced to start Henry Walker (formerly Billy, formerly Bill, formerly William) at forward. Miami’s also seen Hassan Whiteside’s dark side, as a recent flagrant foul against Kelly Olynyk drew a suspension for Hassan. Still, I wouldn’t sleep on this Heat team. They’re desperately fighting to make the second season, and they’re always jonesing for a chance to punk the Cavs. D-Wade and Dragic have been Cavs killers in the past. Stopping those two and smart play by Mozzy to keep Whiteside off the O-boards and to counter his physicality will be key. I’m betting this one’s chippy. Wear your mouth guard and your scowl, Perk. Let’s go Cavs.
No one’s body is feeling right. Everyone could use some rest, some time off… a two-week lay-off and a trip to Miami, say… but that ain’t gonna happen. Not here, anyway. CtFL is about fictitious balling and fictitious balling is what this collection of true competitors will continue to do.
It’s winning time, folks.
Before we get to a preview of this week’s match-ups — with the 1-4 seeds receiving first round byes — let’s hand out some of the regular season hardware.
The regular season’s best record — and the team that topped the Gilberts Division at 153-91-3 — is owned by none other than Evil Genius!
Congratulations, EG. And, while it would be foolish to start your coronation before you’ve even tasted playoff action, I think we’ve all seen enough to lobby that you drop the Evil for the more fitting suggestion in the song below:
After searching for several streams to watch this game and almost giving up, I’m thankful I kept looking for one. This game was all offense, and I love me some bucket-getting. Defense is just so boring. The Cavs shot 59% from the field and 51% from behind the arc to drain 18 long balls. The Magic shot 47% from both the field and 3-line. While the Cavs just didn’t feel like closing out and were amazed a big man like Nikola Vucevic can shoot so well, the Magic played good old ineffective Mike Brown every man in the paint on every drive defense. Vucci Mane had 22 points, 15 rebounds, and three assists for the Magic. The Cavs were led by Kyrie who had 33 points, dropping five of six threes. He also had four assists. LeBron was pretty awesome too handing out 13 dishes, sucking up eight boards, and scoring 21 points on 9-14 shooting. Read the rest of this entry »
The Wine & Gold are in Florida to take on the Magic. This game is going to be the opposite of the thrilling overtime game against the Spurs. The Magic are full of young talented guys playing in a system that seems to not maximize the talent. They have just 21 wins to date.
Big man Nikola Vucevic leads the Magic in scoring with 19.5 points per game and rebounding with 11.2 boards per game. At seven feet tall, he’s a legitimate center. His ability to pretty much hit any shot aside from the three could make Timofey Mozgov have to run a little bit more than usual. Tristan Thompson might have to box out even harder if matched up against this big guy. Vucci Mane gets his stats regardless of the situation.
ESPN points out that Elfrid Payton has averaged 16.8 points and 6.8 assists the past four games. The Magic have also lost three of their last five.
The Cavs should win this game easily, but perhaps it might be a trap. Cleveland has won the last ten games against the Magic. And, the Cavs are also topping a ton of categories these days according to NBA.com’s preview:
During their 23-5 stretch since Jan. 15, the Cavs rank 1st in the NBA in points per game differential (+11.1), 1st in three-pointers made (320), 2nd in field goal percentage (.468), 2nd in points per game (108.1) and 5th in three-point percentage (.375). Defensively since that time, the Cavs are 7th in opp. field goal percentage (.428), 3rd in opp. three-point percentage (.324) and 10th in opp. points per game (97.0).
I’m not really scared though. I think it’s safe to say the Cavs are past trap games now (unless the idea of jinxing something is real). However, I’m a little worried Elfrid (See above) might overtake Anderson Varejao for the best hair in the NBA title.
What are your predictions for today? I’m calling for a win, but it won’t be a blowout. There’s going to be some Kendrick Perkins post plays by the end of the fourth quarter tonight.
I want to be clear about one thing: this recap won’t even come close to doing this game justice.
It just won’t. I apologize, but that’s just the way it goes. The best recap, CtB readers, was given by you and you can take a look back on it by scrolling through the unspooling of emotions (and the over 700 comments) that make up our Live Thread.
But, this game does deserve some recapping and I will happily oblige.
The Cavs and the Spurs played a game for the ages on Thursday night. With the Cavs down by six with 33 seconds remaining, Kyrie Irving hit two threes to bring the wine and gold even at the end of regulation, including a ridiculous heave as time expired to force the OT. Irving finished with 57 points, the most by any player this season, including going a perfect 7-7 from deep and 10-10 from the free throw line.
Robert will have a recap up after this, but in the mean time, Tom and I, unable to sleep after tonight’s awesomeness, got in the studio to talk about this epic Cavs win. In case you missed it, this was one of the great Cavalier NBA regular season games of all time. LeBon scored 30, and Kyrie Irving scored a Cavalier record 57, including a three at the regulation buzzer to force overtime. On this podcast, we talk about the epic game, Kyrie Irving, the fantastic play of the both teams, LeBron’s mean mugging, celebrations, and how winning absolves everything, even Tristan Thompson’s leather pants. You can listen above, on Soundcloud, or on iTunes.
BONUS COVERAGE!: Tom was on Dayton radio yesterday afternoon to discuss all things Cavalier. So you got that going for you too — which is nice.
Nate Smith is an Associate Editor. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to NE Ohio in 2000. He adopted the Cavs in 2003 and graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a BA in English. He can be contacted at email@example.com or @oldseaminer on Twitter.
Tom Pestak is an Associate Editor. He's from the west side of Cleveland and lives and (mostly) dies by the success and (mostly) failures of his beloved teams. You can watch his fanaticism during Cavs games @tompestak.
Robert Attenweiler is a Staff Writer. Originally from OH, he's long made his home in NYC where he writes plays and screenplays (www.disgracedproductions.com) some of which end up being about Ohio, basketball or both. He has also written for The Classical and the blog Raising the Cadavalier. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @cadavalier.
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