The Cavs were shot out of a cannon tonight, led by the King in a white headband. As Charles Barkley remarked postgame, “God said I’m gonna make me a perfect basketball player… I’m gonna give him everything but a full head of hair.” The banded one got his butt into the post and led Cleveland to a 13-2 start, then they kept a comfortable lead throughout this “must win” game. Even with a 14-0 Bulls run in the third quarter, the Cavs lead remained double digits, and they were able to avoid being gored. Cleveland played Mike Brown 1.0 style basketball: winning with defense, isolations, rebounding on both ends of the court, and limiting turnovers.
Tristan Thompson gets the start tonight for the Cavs. We’ll see if Mike Miller, James Jones, or Shawn Marion factors into the rotation. You’d have to imagine at least one of them will play more than five minutes.
I don’t want to say this is a “must-win” for the Cavs because the definition of “must-win” should be reserved for “if you don’t win this game you don’t advance” which logically only occurs when you’ve already dropped three games. So let’s just say a split would leave the Cavs feeling pretty good given the absence of J.R. Smith and a loss will make advancing seem insurmountable. (A chasm, basically)
Still trying to figure out if Tom Withers is pulling a prank with this. If it’s true….I mean come on that is AWESOME. Why would you cancel the giveaway?! I mean this is Ted Stepien tossing softballs off the Terminal Tower-level stuff (minus the injuries and lawsuits). I love it. But I loved this and I’ve been told it betrays our politically correct sensibilities.
Here’s a pre-game scouting report from our man on the scene, Big EZK
There’s a buzz in the air of excitement and anxiousness as I’ve arrived in the Q. The crowd is loud but I’m overhearing some doubt and lack of confidence given the situation. Everyone is of the mindset that if we lose tonight, it’s a wrap. I do think that as a fan base, we have been spoiled to believe that is it this easy to improve this quickly and expect there to be Finals appearances without some trials.Granted, losing Kevin Love and JR is a tough pill to swallow. Especially after a relatively healthy regular season.Based on the reports, it seems Tristan will start which to me is a blessing and a curse. The offense may be harder pressed to score with a lack of spacing. Defensively, I think Pau is enemy number one. Picks will probably be switched and match ups are better but one thing people need to keep in mind is that Chicago did change to match up with the Cavs, leaving only Noah or Gasol in for most of the 2nd half. Noah also did not score a point last game, which I doubt will be repeated.
Make your predictions, bring your hard hat to the comments section, let’s get this win.
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Well, that sure wasn’t fun.
Cavs fans knew their team had some things to overcome in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Besides missing two starters in Kevin Love (shoulder) and J.R. Smith (poor decisions), the Cavs had accumulated the rust of the eight days that had passed since they last laced up for a game.
The Bulls, meanwhile, were coming off an historic 54-point demolition of the Milwaukee Bucks, finally finishing off that series in six games after leading it 3-0. While many have touted the Bulls as “finally clicking” or “getting healthy at the right time,” that might be a bit of an overstatement. Joakim Noah has battled knee and hamstring issues all year and was clearly limited in Game 1, failing to score on 0-4 shooting, though he was able to tally nine boards and four assists. Nikola Mirotic saw only two minutes of action, after being bothered by quad and knee issues during the Milwaukee series. And Derrick Rose isn’t exactly back if his shooting drops off from 56.1% from the floor when he gets two or more days rest to 42% when he plays with only one day off.
Still, the Bulls were the more fully lubricated machine on this night. The Cavs seemed completely out of sorts following the insertion of Mike Miller and Iman Shumpert into the starting lineup, and the Bulls rode a hot shooting streak that punished the Cavs for every defensive breakdown.
The Bulls offense showed up last night, and the Cavs defense refused to make any changes to counter it. The Bulls opened the evening on a 10-2 run, and led by 16 and 15 points at different points during the game. Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose combined for 66 points, and the whole Chicago team shot 55% from 3-point land. The Cavs managed to come back from both deficits, while shooting 27% from the 3-line. The Cavs lost, but the Bulls aren’t going to keep playing offense like they did, and the Cavs defense and offense should improve next game. Read the rest of this entry »
Mike Miller started. Mike Dunleavy started. Mike Miller “defended” Mike Dunleavy. Mike Dunleavy’s first five shots went in. The experiment didn’t work.
Derrick Rose drilled multiple bail-out shot-clock-beating 3s (contested). Kyrie Irving had a 10-2 run of his own. The Cavs trailed by 15 in the 1st, but tied the game at 53 early in the 3rd. Fans and bloggers alike spoke of “sustainability” so much I wondered if we were live blogging a greenpeace press conference. Once all the craziness subsided it was just the Bulls reeling off 15 straight points in about two minutes.
The Cavs chipped away, with Kyrie leading the charge. LeBron checked back into the game with the Cavs down just four. He spent much of the night looking unsure of what he wanted to do offensively. Lots of hesitation, lots of jump-passes, lots of turnovers, lots of out-of-sync offense that could not keep pace with the surgical Rose/Gasol PnR. The Cavs had a chance to win, but they became impatient down the stretch, launching a lot of quick shots. Then, with time actually pressing them to hurry up, they dribbled the clock down to single digits and took awkward shots. LeBron and to a lesser extent, Kyrie, were no closers tonight. The Cavs lone buckets in the final five minutes were a TT tip-in off a sub-optimal baseline drive and oop from Delly of all people. The other was a Iman Shumpert bucket. Jimmy Butler scored seven of the Bulls final 11 points, icing the game with a banked in short-jumper.
In the end the Cavs attempted more field goals, more threes, more free throws, grabbed more rebounds, and committed less turnovers. That’s usually a recipe for a W, but the Bulls offensive execution was superior all night.
What do you wear to watch Cavs games? Do you go shirtless? If so, do yourself, your family, and your friends a favor and buy an official Cavs:The Blog t-shirt. It comes in black and red. Are you wearing a button down shirt to watch the game? If so, you need to relax and get a t-shirt. Again, Cavs:The Blog has you covered, see above. And, finally, if you’re wearing a t-shirt right now, check and see if it has a word cloud on it. It probably doesn’t, so again, I refer you to above. Today is your last chance to get these shirts. Remember all proceeds go to the Lauren Hill, “The Cure Starts Now,” tribute fund. Also, check out the five on five, which was posted this morning.
The Cavs face the Bulls tonight. This marks the rare occasion that the Bulls are healthier than an opponent, as the Cavs are missing Kevin Love and Derrick Rose actually appears to be healthy. The Cavs are also missing JR Smith tonight because he decided to hit someone in the head with a closed fist. He’ll be back in time for game three.
First off, today is your LAST DAY to get your CtB T-Shirts. Remember, all proceeds go to the Lauren Hill, “The Cure Starts Now” tribute fund. Red or Black. You choose. Secondly, we thought we’d give you a second round preview. We assembled five members of our crack staff to give you their expert and/or off-the-cuff analysis. Enjoy.
1. Stephen Curry won the MVP, are you cool with it?
Robert: Curry had a ridiculous (and healthy) season for a Warriors team that was dominant from start to finish. Parts of the season had me leaning more toward James Harden — because of what he was able to do with a Rockets team that was missing its second best player in Dwight Howard — but this was just Curry’s year.
[If you haven’t taken a listen to Tom’s terrific chat with Mark Neal… please read no further until you have done so…]
This past week has been a challenging one for Cavs fans, myself included. What should have been the joy and satisfaction of victory, easily sweeping a first round series against a scrappy Boston team, turned rapidly into the agony and pain of a nightmare injury scenario in one awkward yank.
I hate admitting it, but I’m old enough to have witnessed the painfully devastating Jim Chones injury that effectively ended the “Miracle of Richfield” season in 1976. But, be you a long time, die-hard believer in the wine and gold like me, a relative newcomer to the “All In” bandwagon, or somewhere in between, the now nearly unfolded saga of the dislocation of Kevin Love (both his arm from his shoulder socket, and his presence in the starting lineup of his team) has likely sent you careening with me down the rabbit hole of the infamous Kübler-Ross model for the Five Stages of Grief. And if it didn’t, then you are likely either numb or immune to the concept of the curse of being a Cleveland sports fan… or you are a robot.
The stages themselves (for me at least) have arrived on an almost daily basis, with each passing 24-hour frame offering up a new layer of information, media attention and discussion about the joint in question. So, it seemed fitting to break them down that way…
In studio with Mark Neal to talk Kevin Love and the Cavs adversity going forward. We took some calls and went around the NBA playoffs.
With all the Cavs news floating around this week, we figured we needed to bring in a ringer. Former CtBer, Colin McGowan, joined me and Tom in the podcast booth for a marathon discussion. “The Mess in Massachusetts” weighed heavily on our minds, as did Kevin Love’s future with the Cavs, and that was just the start. Then we asked the tough questions. Who’s going to step up for the Cavs? Were the Cleveland and Boston suspensions just? Can the Cavs win in the next round? We broke down the playoff match-ups for the Cavs and the rest of the East, and gave our latest finals picks too. Then the Kevin Love surgery news broke! After lamenting, we added our thoughts on David and EG’s Hack-a-DeAndre duel, video games, the the champagne of beers, and, of course T-Shirts! WHEW! Thanks to @cs_mcgowan for a very fun podcast, despite the bad news. Here’s Colin’s Kevin Love article from Wednesday, plus his pieces on the Boston Game, J.R. Smith, and free-throws.