Preseason Recap: Dallas 108, Cleveland 102 (or, how do you beat a Zone again?)

October 18th, 2014 by Ben Werth

No longer!

LeBron James versus the Dallas Mavericks. Some Cavs fans had to remind themselves to cheer against Dirk Nowitzki and the Cuban-ators now that ‘Bron has made his celebrated return home. It’s been more than three years since Rick Carlisle’s genius and Dirk’s brilliance took down the Heatles’ first iteration for the title. The Mavs 2011 championship squad will forever have a slightly confused place in Clevelander’s hearts.

Easing the transition from residual warm feelings to mild disgust was new Maverick and Cavalier nemesis Jameer Nelson(really anyone from that dreaded 2009 Magic squad would do the trick).

Read the rest of this entry »

Central Division Preview

October 17th, 2014 by David Wood

Oh-LeBron-it-s-been-wonderful

The Central division should be called the crippled division.  At the start of the past two seasons, this division has appeared to have two of the top three teams in the East; however, injuries have kept that from actually happening. Derrick Rose missed the past two seasons and kept the Bulls from playing their best, while the Pacers played like the top team behind only Miami.  The bad luck continues for the Central division entering the 2014-2015 season.  During the offseason, Paul George injured his leg in a FIBA Team USA intrasquad scrimmage  and is facing a long rehab and recovery process.

This year the Cavs will surely be the best team in the East, and the Bulls will probably be the second best.  The Pacers could have been the third best.  The central division looks to be one of the best in the league going into the future, and it will only continue to get better as Detroit and Milwaukee turn their franchises around with new coaches and young talent.

The Cavs will be left out of this preview, so that they can be dealt with properly in their own piece in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Preseason Recap: Cleveland 98, Indiana 93 (or grinding out a preseason win)

October 16th, 2014 by Nate Smith

In many ways, this was a perfect preseason victory. The starters and rotation guys played into the late third quarter and led 76-59 before fourth quarter scrub time erased that lead. Then the end-of-the-bench Cavs totally redeemed themselves and eked out an ugly victory. One thing I really like about this preseason is how well prepared and well-coached the last guys on the roster have been for the Cavs. David Blatt and his coaching staff are to be commended. Since this game celebrated all of Ohio by taking place at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, let’s hand out some Ohio themed player grades.

LeBron James: If there’s a way to coast to 26 points in 24 minutes, LeBron found a it. The economy in LeBron’s game is amazing right now. He worked himself into the post again and again like a hulkier 90s Michael Jordan. He scored with turnarounds, hooks, baseline spin moves, and yes, a Kareem-esque skyhook. LeBron was 9-12 from the floor 2-3 from three, and 6-7 from the charity stripe, and he made it look easy. After the game LBJ had a fantastic quote on forgiveness in response to a question about how he forgave Dan Gilbert. “There’s fine line between pride and progress. I’m not on the pride side. I’m on the progress side.” Grade: A comic sans lettered coffee mug that says, “the greatest basketball player in the world.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Pre-Re: Recap of the Cavaliers 106-100 preseason win over the Milwaukee Bucks

October 14th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

995-1ajdTy.AuSt.55

In a game that saw three of the Cavs’ presumptive starters sitting out — Kyrie Irving (ankle), LeBron James (rest) and Tristan Thompson (shoulder) — the pressure was on its remaining two, Kevin Love and Dion Waiters, to step up and fill the void. The void was filled all right; filled up like the basket on one of Love’s five three pointers in seven tries on an evening where he scored 25 points in just 20 minutes on the court. It was filled up like Waiters on his way to 23 points. It was also filled by having to play a Milwaukee Bucks team that was missing regulars Larry Sanders and Brandon Knight and, well… you know, is the Bucks. Still, it was nip and tuck for most of the way, with the Cavs bench putting it away late to improve their preseason record to 3-0 with a 106-100 win at The Q.

Save for a Cavs mini-run in the first quarter that put the team up by 11, the game remained close throughout. Yes, Love and Waiters were the main story — and we’ll get to them — but here was the lineup David Blatt went with for much of the fourth quarter with the game’s outcome still in doubt: A.J. Price, Joe Harris, Chris Crawford, Shane Edwards and Alex Kirk. The Bucks, meanwhile, rode their regular rotation through the tight fourth — Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia, John Henson, rookie Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo, starting at point guard for the first time — and still couldn’t quite get over the hump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Links To The Present: Old Point Guard Edition

October 14th, 2014 by David Wood

Heat vs. Nets Game 2

The Cavs are facing a bit of an injury situation right now.  Jason Lloyd is reporting that Kyrie Irving will probably miss the next two preseason games before returning from his ankle injury while LeBron James will be missing one of the next three preseason games to rest.  LeBron has a sore back.

“Kyrie moved around a good bit today, not in live practice, but in terms of the drills that we had. That’s a good sign,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “He’s coming along. We’re not going to rush it, we’re being careful because we want him back on his feet full strength. But he did take a step forward today, no question.”

“I haven’t quite figured it out,” James said of which game he would skip. “I’m going to talk with coach and go from there. They’ve been managing it pretty good. I’m feeling pretty good right now and I want to continue that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Atlantic Division Preview

October 13th, 2014 by Mallory Factor II

Atlantic-Division

 

The Atlantic Division – the teams here are filled with greatness, with history, with winning…except in 2014. What was once a division held to the highest of standards – Larry Legend! Dr. J! Walt! Vince Carter! (haaaa) – is now replete with mid-level mediocrity. To make matters worse, unlike their Eastern brethren to the south and west, the majority of Atlantic teams won’t see substantial improvements in the upcoming years. In short, don’t expect much from the Northeast this year. Lets examine…

Read the rest of this entry »

Links To The Present: All Hugs Edition

October 13th, 2014 by David Wood

download

LeBron James was feuding with Chris Bosh and the Heat.  The Cavs and Heat were even trying to avoid each other in Brazil; furthermore, Bosh said LeBron is hard to play with, and ultimately, feelings were hurt.  Feelings are miraculously unhurt now.  Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel witnessed a true show of affection between the former Heat player and Chris Bosh.

James squashed the thoughts of their strained relationship with a hug at midcourt before Saturday’s tip-off between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers at HSBC Arena. The players supposedly were feuding once James announced he was leaving the Heat to return to the hometown Cavs. Both denied any rift.

Read the rest of this entry »

Preseason Recap: Cleveland 122, Miami 119 (OT) (or, This is the Game that Never Ends)

October 12th, 2014 by Nate Smith

The Cavs were in Rio for the last four days: bonding, seeing the sights, avoiding the Heat, and working on becoming awesome. The trip culminated in Saturday evening’s preseason match-up with Miami. The starters and rotation guys did not disappoint, pushing the lead up to 19 in the third quarter. Unfortunately, lackadaisical offense by one starter, and most of the deep bench guys let Miami back in this one, and a fourth quarter that should have been a cakewalk stretched on endlessly until Shabazz Napier and James Ennis led Miami to an improbable overtime which was highlighted by an equally improbable Cavs victory. But a win is a win is a win.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pacific Division Preview

October 10th, 2014 by David Wood

 

Who gets to make the next three?

Who gets to make the next three?

The Pacific division looks better than it actually is on first view. However, when you really examine all the Pacific teams, it’s hard to see any of them making it to the finals. These teams are second tier at what they may do best. The Warriors might be able to run and get a bunch of threes, but the Thunder can run faster and probably shut some teams down on the defensive end. The Clippers have a hyper efficient offense led by the brainiac Chris Paul, but the Spurs offense is still better. Even the revamped Mavericks could challenge any team in the Pacific behind a Dirk led offense and Rick Adelman/Tyson Chandler anchored defense.

Read the rest of this entry »

Northwest Division Preview

October 9th, 2014 by Ben Werth

Skinny no more.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a six part series of division previews, here at CtB. Ben Werth tips it off with a Northwest Division preview. Key to every team in this series will be the teams’ additions, subtractions, storylines, and most importantly, the threat level they represent to the Cavs championship hopes (on a scale of 1-10).

Oklahoma City Thunder:

Coming off his first MVP award, Kevin Durant is poised to take the next championship step in his NBA career.  At least that is the narrative for an OKC Thunder squad that remains largely intact after a quiet off-season. The 2013-2014 team was arguably the second best team in the NBA after losing a tough Western Conference Finals to the Spurs. A rested Kevin Durant(sans USA play) and healthy seasons from Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka should ensure another 60 win season.

Additions: Mitch McGary (rookie), Anthony Morrow (New Orleans), Sebastian Telfair.

Subtractions: Caron Butler (Detroit), Thabo Sefolosha (Atlanta) Derek Fisher (Knicks coach) Hasheem Thabeet (Pistons)

Read the rest of this entry »