Archive for January, 2009

Recap: Home Blowouts Are More Fun When You Win Them

Friday, January 30th, 2009




Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Left, Came Back To the Cavs After Taking Time Off For His Fight With Andrei Arlovsky.




In a bizarro mirror of their game last night against the Magic, the Cavs survived an early barrage of threes from the Clippers to take control in the second half, with 20 points each from LeBron, Mo Williams, and a back-from-injury Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavs’s home winning streak now stands at 22. 

Cavs-Related Bullets:

Full disclosure: because I live in Los Angeles, tonight’s game was blacked out on my league pass broadband, which is how I watch all Cavs games that aren’t on national TV. My roomate was watching TV for the first bit of the game, so I missed the Cavs’ initial dominant run-out. I’m not pleased about this.

God, how much easier does Z make everything for this team offensively? LeBron gets lower catches when the ball’s in the high-low post and can operate the offense more easily, guys can run off low pin-down screens, and best of all that beautiful jumper, which was nearly automatic tonight, frees up space for everyone to operate.

A snapshot: LeBron had been struggling to convert right around the basket in the past few games. Tonight, he was 5-6 from the immediate basket area and drew two fouls, making him effectively 7-8. Not a coincidence. 

Of course it was a much, much, worse defense, but LeBron was definitely playing with the type of ease and confidence that characterized his play when the team was dominant, finishing with a 25/7/6 line on 63% true shooting. He was able to get into the lane without having to force the issue and dance around, went to the spin move off the dribble to get to the bucket instead of end up with the in-between shot he got and missed against Orlando. 

After struggling with his shot against Orlando, LeBron was a very respectable 4-10 on jumpers (5-10 effectively), and that number was brought down by two desperation heaves with the shot clock winding down. Having that safety valve in Z for jumpers really makes his life so much easier, as does being able to catch the ball and work with space at the elbow. He could easily have finished with 10 assists if Andy and Ben hadn’t fumbled or gotten fouled on some absolutely beautiful feeds for would-be layups; that the one guy on this roster who could develop into someone who converts that play on a regular basis, JJ, only got 8 minutes thanks to Z’s return tonight is unhappy-making. 

By the way, the Cavs were +32 in LeBron’s 37 minutes on the court and hemmoraged 17 points in his 11 minutes on the bench. I think he’s valuable to this team. 

However much I want to see JJ continue to get court time, the guy his minutes would come from, Wally, has been an absolute house of fire, pouring in 15 points on 10 shots in 26 minutes. Tonights 2-5 performance from beyond the arc made him 58% on threes for January. He’s finally shooting like we thought he would! That only took 10 months. I’d actually like to see him run more pick-and-pops with Mo when he’s out there to get him shots, like we saw the Clippers do with Steve Novak on the other end. 

He’s a good scorer and we knew thought held out a faint glimmer of hope that he would be in a Cavs uniform; now we just have to decide if a guy with one good dimension is a rotation player for a championship team. I definitely wouldn’t trade him just to get another rotation guy at this point.

Mo was definitely feeling it from deep tonight, taking advantage of spacing and setting up for some catch-and-shoot threes and making the nice passes to open guys and not having to go to his always-there midrange game. Fun fact: fully half of his 8 misses were on layups.

Andy’s return to the bench: less than triumphant.

Sasha: 53% on three-pointers in January. Wow. Boobie might have been the best spot-up three-point shooter in the league last year. Right now, Boobie is the fourth-best three point shooter on this team. Wow. 

Ben with some bounce back in his step, with 11 boards, 3 assists (?), 2 blocks, a steal, and the second-highest +/- on the team with a +27.

Clipper Bullets:

Eric Gordon gave the Cavs some serious trouble from beyond the arc tonight. That kid’s jumper is flat-out pure, and he’s so fast you kind of have to give him space for it. I will point out that Delonte West would have been a very good guy to bottle up EG. Still, I like the kid’s game a lot, and this isn’t the blog that’s going to say that him going to the rookie game instead of Kevin Love is a travesty. The official position of Cavs: The Blog is that Kevin Love is corpulent and bad at basketball. 

Fred Jones is a STARTER? Dunk contest Fred Jones? And he finished with 9 assists? 

That was not the Baron Davis I named my first blog after. They are not the same person. Although the steal and behind-the-back move was vintage Boom-Dizzle. 

Ricky Davis going to the Q for revenge: not a prevailing storyline. 

STEVE NOVAK DOMINATION. For the second time, Cavs: The Blog has fallen in love with a spot-up shooter on a terrible team. When he catches and shoots, it’s just cash. I’ve never seen a catch-and-shoot guy with actual forward height that good. He was 5-10 from deep, and it would’ve been better if the Clippers’ offense wasn’t so bad that Steve Novak freestyling was a good offensive option. 

He was noticeably terrible in some areas (3 rebounds in 35 minutes, and he was nowhere to be found on defensive rotations to protect the rim), but can you imagine how much this guy would hit if he was getting the looks Donyell got as a stretch-the-floor forward with us? Je-sus. 

Again, I missed the opening few minutes-what did DeAndre Jordan do in the first 5 minutes to get him benched for the rest of the game?

Play of the Game: 

I’m nervous to do a POG because Arnovitz absolutely destroys me at this type of thing, but I’ll take a crack anyways; in the third quarter, with LeBron at the top of the key, the defense loads up, Mo Williams gets the pass coming off a down-screen and gets into the lane, the defense collapses, Mo makes the easy pass to a wide-open Z for the midrange J. It’s easy, it doesn’t require LeBron going one-on-five but takes advantage of the space he provides, and it’s something that Mo’s playmaking, the new-this-year offensive flow, and Z’s spacing allows to be possible. 

Thing of the Game:


My thoughts going into the weekend: 

Penn vs. St. Pierre 2: 

I’m excited for this one because it’s the type of fight that boxing just doesn’t give you, and there’s no chance, as there is in a lot of big fights, that one of the guys in the fight is going to show up washed up or someone’s going to end the fight in the first round. 

I really like both of these guys, but in this one my heart’s with BJ because I feel like his game plan coming in is going to keep the fight standing and use his superior boxing to look for a KO or catch GSP and get on top and use his ridiculous BJJ for a sub, which would be a great finish.

Meanwhile, I feel like GSP’s game plan is more or less to do what he did last time, which is to get BJ on the ground and keep him there and neutralize his BJJ for five rounds, which would be kind of anti-climactic.

It’s odd that I feel that way, because I actually like GSP better and feel like he’s got more of a chance at being one of the great ones, but if me and my friends pitch in for a fight I feel I’m owed a good one. 

I will note how tough it is to root against GSP after the “UFC Primetime” show, which showed GSP as a physical freak who works harder than everybody else, listens intently to his coaches and never questions them, always tries to shore up his weaknesses and seeks out the people who can best help him do that, and is a good-natured, friendly, funny, always respectful, and quietly confident guy who’s worked hard for everything he’s acheived. 

And remember, this is probably the most physically gifted guy in the sport. It’s odd that one of the best role models for any athlete based on the criteria the media has set out comes from the sport many of them openly despise or discount. Can you imagine watching a show about LeBron wherein he listens to exactly what his trainers tell him and works with a private shooting coach, a post moves coach, and does rigorous workouts without ever questioning them or steering the training in the direction he wants to go in, utterly refusing to let his ego get in the way of his quest to become the perfect athlete? I realize he does something pretty close to that now, but somehow GSP just seems to be on a whole different level from most athletes when it comes to going about trying to improve. 

(B.J. didn’t come off as all that bad, just insecure and with a chip on his shoulder and a fear in the back of his mind that he could be at his absolute peak and still not be as good as GSP, as well as a guy who’s determined to have more important things in his life than fighting)


The Super Bowl’s actually kind of similar-heart says the underdog Cardinals’ offense makes it into an exciting game they win, head says the Steelers’ superior D makes it a boring game they take home.

For the video, in honor of Polamalu making the Super Bowl, here’s the best work David Fincher made this year. THAT’S RIGHT CAVS: THE BLOG WENT THERE. WALL-E WAS ROBBED.



Holy crap, that’s awesome. I’m going to post that like five more times in the coming weeks. 

Recap: Bleeeeech.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009



On the road against a tough Magic team and still without Z, the Cavaliers were able to establish a rythym early, but at about the midway point of the second quarter lost their momentum and never really grabbed hold of the reigns after that. After they put up monstrous lines against the Kings, the league’s 3rd best defense was able to hold LBJ and Mo to a combined 14-42 from the field.

Cavs-Related Bullets:


Without Z, we just don’t seem to have enough to beat elite teams on the road. It’s not the worst admission in the world, but you would hope that we could at least hang a little tougher with these games and not lay eggs on national television. 

We’ll start with LeBron. I actually don’t think he did anything all that wrong, despite the fact that he had one of his worst games of the year. A 23/8/8 line is nice, but taking 30 attempts with a true shooting % of 38 is tough for a team to bounce back from and not all that good. 

LeBron took it to the hole, but again seemed to shy away from making really agressive moves to the hole, possibly because the Magic were able to cut away the corners and possibly because LeBron was completely unable to get to the foul line despite driving and getting contact, only shooting 6 free throws the entire game. 5 of his many misses were on little slop shots from the paint, which LeBron is really and truly terrible at-when he gets cut off by the second defender, he really doesn’t have that in-between move and he generally figures he’s better off damning the torpedoes. 

There were a lot of missed jumpers tonight, but I actually really liked his shot selection-the stroke was just not working for him at all tonight, which, as much as we’d like it not to, does happen-Mo Williams, one of the 5 best midrange shooters in the game, enjoyed a 4-15 from the field. Most nights I feel like the shot selection is the root of the problem with LeBron, but he was on balance and taking what the defense gave him for the most part. 

Mo could have done a better job avenging his all-star snubbing.

Wally looking the beast out there! 

The Cavs are a bit of a perpetual motion machine-when they get down, Ben goes off the floor and you get a lot of LeBron going five-on-one as the role players lose confidence.

JJ continues to look better with each game, and I think he’s already a better midrange shooter than Andy-he’s got real pick-and-pop skills.

When Sasha dribbles, I cringe.

Another really spotty game from Boobie Gibson. Yikes. His court vision is really noticeably terrible at this point. 

LeBron hitting some jump-hooks was easily the bright spot of this game. That and Cavs: The Blog endorsed swingman Tarence Kinsey’s tip-dunk. 

Other Bullets:

Dwight Howard has a much better post game than I remember him having-he was absolutely destroying Ben if we left him on an island. He’s got drop-steps, spins-his footwork is much better. He will disappear at times, but that’s when the Magic start cranking those threes on you.

Jameer Nelson’s taken over Steve Nash’s title as basketball’s best shooter, and you could see it tonight. 

Reggie Miller: “Varejao isn’t a very good outside shooter, especially when he’s facing the basket.”

And Later: “You could put me, Marv, and Mike’s scores together and we still wouldn’t be able to beat Tiger Woods!” Way to understand how golf works there, Reg. 

Play of The Game:

The one where it ended. 

Thing of the Game:

Here’s Cavs: The Blog favorite M.I.A telling a weird story.

Recap: Mo Williams!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009



Mo Domination!

Mo Better Blues!

I want some Mo!

Eat at Mo’s!

Just say Mo!


Taking advantage of a ridiculously porous Sacramento Kings defense, LeBron James’ triple-double wasn’t even close to being the line of the night as Mo Williams posted an unworldly 43/8/11 to lead the Cavs to a win in a shootout against a surprisingly feisty Kings team that hung around into the fourth quarter. 

Cavs-Related Bullets:

Question: What did Mo Williams and the Kings have in common tonight?

Answer: They both spent the entire game in the zone! Hey-Oh!

Let’s get into some Mo Williams superlatives.

43/8/11 is, without a question, the best line posted by a Cavalier not named “LeBron” in the LeBron era, and is probably top-5 in lines that include LeBron. I mean, if Mo snags two more measly boards and hits two of the icing-on-the cake heat-check threes in the final minutes, he’d have LBJ’s iconic 50/10/10 line plus another assist. And Mo did it with only 24 shots.

Scottie Pippen’s career high? 47.

Mo’s True Shooting? 79.6%. Look at that. And if you count the two technical free throws he took as a bonus and not as a shot attempt, that number bumps up to 82.6%. That is absolutely ridiculous. 

A look at the shot chart will tell you that Mo, who came into this game as perhaps the best midrange shooter in the game, put on an absolute perimeter game CLINIC that you should absolutely show to your kids if you want them to learn how to score from outside effectively. (Even, maybe especially, if your name is Gloria James)

A breakdown:

Free throws from shooting fouls: 4 points

Technical free throws: 2 points

Layups: 2-3, 4 points

Jumpers <10 feet: 0 (Close enough to the basket so that the big alters the shot)

Jumpers 13-18 feet: 5-7, 10 points (Happy Zone)

Jumpers >18 feet, inside three-point line: 1-1, 2 points (Far enough away from the big to get a clean shot, but too far from the basket)

3-pointers: 7-12, 21 points

Now, layups are good, and the fact that Mo scored a combined 8 of his 43 points on drives to the basket is actually a little troubling, especially when he almost literally does not miss free throws. But when Mo put it on the deck, he didn’t settle for the deep jumper-he took it to his spots on the floor. 

A big thing were the three-pointers, and he was just unconscious from that area, catching and shooting open jumpers all night long. It should be noticed here that the Kings were playing a zone that has no business in the NBA all night and were esentially giving away jumpers all night, but shooting performances like Mo’s would be impressive against a team of semi-dextrous trained bears. Actually, that would probably be more impressive.

I love that All-Star coaches’ voting closed a few hours before this game tipped off. 

-At word 470, it’s time to talk about LeBron James’ triple-double. Bit of a yawner. The rebounds are pretty easy for him with Z out and the Kings unable to rebound, and it’s not all that hard getting assists when you’re feeding it to a guy who’s just not missing from the outside. 

As for the points, he was more or less able to do what he wanted out there, with 4 of his 10 shots coming from outside the paint. 

In the “Things that are not coincidences” file: Saturday, LeBron got hacked all game and ended up with 6 free throws, and a video of him getting SLAPPED IN THE FACE during a dunk during a no-call circulated. Tonight, 15 free throws for LeBron. Also, it’s not a coincidence that the nights LeBron seems to be hitting his free throws also seem to be the nights he gets himself back there over and over. 

Whatever. Ho-hum night from the man well on his way to a unanimous MVP season. Let’s talk about a player who I actually am excited about:

TARENCE KINSEY!!! THE REPORT IS IN, BABY!! This guy may be my favorite wing in the LeBron era. He’s clearly our second-best perimeter defender, he WANTS TO FAST BREAK and runs the floor like a gazelle, he’s disruptive as all hell, and-get this-on a team where defenses load up the strong-side more than any other team, he’s active and making cuts on the weak side and getting layups! Who woulda thunk it?

How this guy didn’t get in the rotation over a Euro who plays like a bad American and an American who plays like a bad Euro is completely beyond me. 

Kinsey play of awesomeness of the night: Kinsey runs the floor on the fast-break and gets by everybody, LeBron rewards him with a lob, he catches it but can’t finish, pulls it down and finds a wide-open Wally in the corner for three, Wally misses, but since the Cavs have numbers and pushed the ball effectively LeBron gets a highlight-reel tip slam because Kinsey was doing the little things. Kinsey is what Larry Hughes was supposed to be when we signed him. Finally, proof that slashers can play with LeBron James if they’re not terrible. Oh, Kinsey had a +13 in 18 minutes tonight. And he hit a three! I love you, TK. 

Another great game for JJ, who’s taking that one extra patience dribble at the basket and getting finishes. He’s becoming a monster. JJ and Kinsey are like the silver lining club-they should definitely be in the rotation when Z and Delonte get back. ‘

Report on the backup guard troika: Pavs solid, Wally and Boobie terrible, with Boobie failing to see a guy looking for a wide-open dunk on a fast break twice. There are absolutely 18 minutes for TK between these three guys every night. 

Your leader in +/- on the Cavs tonight: Ben Wallace and his crushing line of 1/5/0. Say it with me: good things happen when Ben Wallace is on the floor. 

Bullets of Randomness:

I’m not sure if we played uncharacteristically bad defense or if Sacramento is just the best team at firing threes with no set-up dribbles at all ever. They’re like a bracket-buster. And that zone was laughably terrible.

I have no idea how Kevin Martin shoots over people, or how a guy without elite explosiveness and a jump shot he would seem to be unable to get off off the dribble got to the line 17 times and dropped 7 dimes. I saw it happen and I’m confused. 

Play of the Game:

The previously described Kinsey-aided tip slam. I wanted to use a Mo play, but the great thing about his midrange game is that the shots all look the game. Improvisation does not belong on the perimeter. 

Song of the Game:

Street Lights” by Kanye West. Styles switch up, awesomeness ensues. These take too much time to choose and I just learned that I stole this bit from KnickerBlogger, so this is probably going to just turn into me putting a random song on here or just stopping it altogether. If you like this feature, plead for its stay of execution in the comments. 

Recap: Of Heat-Checks and Hip-Checks

Saturday, January 24th, 2009



In a chippy game that came down to the wire, the Cavs used a 33/14/9 night from LeBron James and 25 from Mo Williams to outlast a game Jazz team with a 24/15 from Paul Milsap and 17 points/16 assists from Deron Williams.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

LeBron came out of the gate swinging and made a beautiful backdoor cut for an absolutely VISCIOUS stuff on a slow-rotation Krylo Fesenko, who looks like a lost 15-year old made gigantic, and during the dunk Fesenko slapped him on the face, causing LeBron to fall to the floor in agony with no whistle. At that point, LeBron had 10 points and 3 assists, and the Cavs had a healthy lead. Whether it was anger at the Jazz for harassing him all over the court or at the referees for failing to get him to the line, LeBron went into full hero mode and started firing deep jumpers.

He hit a beautiful pull-up where he used his dribble to get to a spot just inside the key-great.

He then hit a three with a man in his face flying to his right. Okay, heat-check I guess.

Now, at this point, if you remember, LeBron should have established his jump shot enough so that he could drive to the basket. That’s the point of shooting jumpers when you convert 70% of your shots at the basket. But LeBron likes to just see what he’s capable of, and his next shot was a pull-up early in the shot clock from what must have been 37 feet away. I am serious. It was at the corner logo. And this wasn’t surprising to anyone familiar with LeBron’s heat-checks.

There needs to be an intervention here. Shooting progressively tougher jumpers until you miss enough to lose confidence in your shot does the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want to accomplish with a perimeter game. It’s frustrating when a guy in the middle of nearly a perfect game lets a lack of discipline allow him to just start giving away possessions-and again, this game came down to a one-possession margin. He should’ve been benched for that shot. Okay, rant over.

So after effectively killing the momentum for what could have been a 50-point game with that little flurry, LeBron settled down and found lanes, working the pick-and-roll beautifully with Andy and finding his shooters and never giving up on making drives to the basket despite only getting 6 free throws all night.

Sloan sent a lot of hard, early traps at LeBron in the second half, and Mo was able to overcome another shaky start to make the Jazz pay from the outside, hitting 5-11 from three and coming up with a huge three-point play, a nice fast-break feed to Sasha, and an absolutely poetic alley-oop lob to LeBron in a half-court setting from outside of the three-point line. 

I would describe Sasha’s play tonight as “hilarious.” Only Pavs can follow up an ice-water three-pointer with a brilliant backdoor cut with no time on the shot clock to get to the line and then just miss the free throws and on the next intentional foul situation panic and THROW A PASS TO BEN WALLACE. Fortunately, he was fouled before the pass and hit the free throws. Only 4-6 more weeks of extreme Sasha!

He had no points tonight, but the people demand more Tarence Kinsey. He’s so active and doesn’t just sit for a shot on the weak side-he’s active and slashes, runs the floor and creates turnovers, and is the one guy currently in the rotation who can bring back the ball movement Delonte being out brings us. Out of the troika of Wally, Boobie, and Pavs, one guy is usually off, and Kinsey should get some minutes like that happens, like Boobie’s one point in 18 minutes tonight. 

Andy was back tonight like he was at the beginning of the year, not just catching those pick-and-roll passes but making the right moves to finish them around the basket and drilling those pick-and-pop Js he’s added. 

If I wanted to put together a JJ Hickson highlight tape, I’d use tonight. He slipped a ball-screen with LBJ and made a nice roll to force a foul to prevent a dunk, hit a 22-footer at the end of the quarter, and caught the ball under the basket and made the kind of patient play he hasn’t been able to make all year when he made an up-and-under step to get Milsap in the air before flushing himself. I honestly wrote that paragraph before I remembered his absolute scorched-earth tip slam over a clueless Fesenko. I heart JJ. 

Random Bullets:

Deron Williams had one of those games where he’s listed with 16 assists and I can only remember one or two. 

Milsap absolutely murdered us inside-LBJ and JJ were missing some rotations and he’s just a warrior inside. Add me to Milsap’s bottomless well of admirers. 

Dude, I don’t like Matt Harpring. There’s a line between being scrappy and being dirty; Andy and Harpring make a living toeing it. Tonight, I thought Andy was on the one side while Harpring was on the other. The Jazz broadcasters praising “physical play” like the evil coaches in a Disney movie didn’t make things any more fun. 

I’m happy with taking Hickson over Kosta. 

Play of the Night:

Mo’s alley to LeBron. Great play, savvy read, clutch situation. What more do you want.

Song of the Night:

You’re a Wolf” by Sea Wolf. It was a stressful stretch, but we made it. Soothe yourself.

Recap: Cavs get hyphy, play dumb, escape with nail-biter

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Overview: Against a Warrior team spurred by the return of Monta Ellis and able to break the 100-point mark against the Cavaliers’ vaunted defense, the Cavs were able to steal a win thanks  to a buzzer-beating jumper by LeBron James, the first buzzer-beating game-winning jumper of his career.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s as high as my heart rate’s gotten all season. The cardiac Cavs are back in full effect. 

Let’s get the bad out of the way first: the score says it was a 106-105 game, but the Cavs’ offense was far more problematic than their defense. That the Cavs looked symied at any point against the worst defensive team in the league means there are some issues. 

In the first half, Mo decided to follow up his best game of the year with one of his worst and absolutely couldn’t buy a jumper. That, along with Andy reverting to one of his periods where he thinks he’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (known here as FeganBall), was enough to completely choke our offensive flow and make us entirely LeBron-dependant. 

Let’s talk about LeBron. The first half was a nearly perfect half of basketball-18 points on 9 shots, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists (and two assists got taken away by desperation fouls on guys LeBron had set up with easy dunks-he could VERY conceivably have had a triple-double in the first half.) He was just doing whatever he wanted and getting to the hole and making plays entirely at will. There was no concievable answer to him. I thought we were going to see a 40/15/15 or something ridiculous like that. 

But, as has happened a few times since Z has left the lineup, the Warriors were eventually able to adjust and keep LeBron from getting into the lane at will, and LeBron reverted into playing hard instead of smart, flying around the court and looking for lanes at the expense of setting up angles (only one dime in the second half) and trying to get his jumper going, only tonight it wasn’t quite on, and the Warriors were actually able to bottle up LeBron, which was a little disturbing and definitely frustrating to watch. 

What saved the Cavs tonight was a 50% performance from beyond the arc and a series of absolutely massive plays down the stretch, including:

A 20-footer from Ben Wallace with no time on the shot clock to cut the lead to one. 

An absolutely massive three from Boobie, who seems to be back to his cold-blooded self.

A three from Mo, his only one of the night, after a drive-and-kick hockey assist by LeBron and a great play by Boobie to bait the defender into committing his way and then setting Mo up for a wide-open look. 

A great hustle steal and tough layup by LeBron after missing a shot at the basket.

A great “screw it, I’m LeBron James” drive to the bucket for contact and huge pair of free throws from LeBron, whose line struggles are peeking out again. 

And then, the last shot. Let’s break it down. This was, more or less, LeBron doing everything he’s supposed to have trouble with. 

-LeBron got it on the side instead of on the top thanks to a very savvy play by Stephen Jackson, who read the play and switched to the top man in order to cheat on the screen and deny LeBron the ball, which nearly led to a turnover the first time. LeBron, with a “fool me once…” bit of savvy, quickly went under Ronny Turiaf and flashed out to the wing to get the ball.

-With the ball on the wing and the defense able to zone up, LeBron saw that a drive would end with him being met by two defenders and wouldn’t create an angle for a shooter. So he made up his mind to shoot the jumper.

-From there, he put the ball on the floor once with a hard move to give himself space, then with an absolutely beautiful move he used a step-back between-the legs gather to get his balance. If he hadn’t put it on the floor, the move would’ve put him too far away, and if he’d tried to go straight up, Turiaf would have been able to tweak his shot.

-He was on balance, faded slightly to get it over the league’s best shot blocker, kept his legs under him and his shoulders squared, and made it clean. Absolutely perfect.  

-Wally continues to knock down three-point shots, get absolutely destroyed defensively. If I knew technology, I would cut together an audio montage of all the opposing broadcasters imploring whoever has Wally defending him to attack. It’s hilarious.

-KINSEY REPORT!!!!!!! Without this guy, we lose the game. He doesn’t appear to be a three-point shooter, but he’s our only other wing who’s comfortable in the open floor and he knows how to get the ball going towards the basket on offense. Turns out his not being in the rotation was one of Mike Brown’s random exilings.

-JJ was one embarassing rim-stuff on a dunk away from putting together another stellar game. 

-We gave up 7 points in the 2 minutes Darnell Jackson was on the floor. The “younger Joe Smith” stuff may have been premature. 

-Sasha continues to hit shots, but the rest of the game isn’t as strong. If we could combine him with Kinsey, we’d have a perfect backup wing. 

-Um, could we not let Ben Wallace do the thing where he tries to make a bucket in whatever way possible in the opening possessions of the game? It’s nice to get him involved or whatever, but as we saw tonight, every possession counts. 

Bullets of Randomness:

-SwaggerJack kept his reputation intact with two absolutely nails jumpers in LeBron’s face to give the Warriors late leads. He does, in fact, continue to make love to pressure. Tonight, pressure got around.

-Monta really is the difference between them being “amusing” and “dangerous.” He just absolutely flies to the hole and gets his shots close to the basket, and that’s what going to happen. When his jumper gets back into form, watch out. I love his game.

-I’m still amazed by Anthony Morrow. He might be the best pure shooter I’ve ever seen in my life. I caught him on a good night, but it seems like an open three is even more automatic for him than Ray Allen. Everything about his outside shot is beautiful. The form is absolutely perfect, the release is quick without being rushed, he steps into it and uses his momentum perfectly, it’s got finish without moving parts, it’s absolutely amazing. I could watch it all day. 


I’m just going to daydream about him on the Cavs for LeBron to kick out to or, even crazier, if LeBron had Morrow’s shot. Holy schnikes. 

-I also like Maggette’s game-there’s no pretense to him. He’s just strong and everything is going to the basket, and he gets there. 

-Honestly, I have no complaints about the Cavs’ defense. This team is going to get its points on you. 

Play of the Game:

Um, duh. 

Song of The Game:

“Sound of Kuduro” by Baraka Som Sistema with M.I.A. This one’s more of a feeling.

Portraits In Randomness: Now Featuring 30% More Edicts!

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009


Nobody actually calls it Frisco.

-Things that will not happen, chapter 31.4- A wee bit of background on me. I was raised and currently reside in the Bay Area when not in school. While the Cavs are my team, the Warriors will always have a special place in my heart-my first blog is named after them.

-So if you’re looking for this site to get blog-crazy on one of the best Warriors of all time, especially one as cool as Rick Barry, look elsewhere. Consider:

-Rick Barry, despite being a not-that-explosive white guy and there being no three-point line in the NBA, was essentially allowed to fire up deep jumpers enough to get 30 a game because he was awesome.

-From his loins sprung Brent Barry, the only white guy to win a dunk contest and a beloved “old guy who just hits open jumpers but is only on good teams” and Jon Barry, who is an underrated TV guy.

-He shot free-throws underhanded, which was cool enough, but he did it REALLY WELL. This is one of my favorite random sports things ever-it would be like if Andrew Jones won a gold glove catching easy pop flies with his teeth.

-Dude, he’s old and in the Hall of Fame. What’s the point of amassing a lifetime of incredible achievements if you can’t say whatever the hell you want when you’re old? John Wooden gets to go around saying that dunking is a bad strategic ploy because the ball could bounce really hard off the rim and start a fast-break the other way. He’s earned the right to say crazy things.

-In the great troika of “old white shooters,” Rick is less agressively uncool than Jerry West and less cursed and crazy than Pistol Pete.

-And honestly, he wasn’t that far off. I think LeBron’s sometimes-suspect perimeter game is more about his lack of understanding on how to be effective with that element of his game than an actually flawed stroke, but he does change something in his stroke like every two weeks. And he’s not nearly as surgical at using screens as some in the NBA are. He’s amazing, not perfect.

-And honestly, how could you argue with Rick Barry’s definition of textbook form?


Barry, either shooting a free throw or spying a very good-looking woman in the stands.

Recap: Where You Can’t Have Everything, Especially When You’re Missing Stuff

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009


Me and my friends once watched this all the way through on DVD, like an actual movie. Real talk.


Undermanned and outgunned, the Cavaliers were able to overcome the Blazers despite being much thineer because of the descrepancy between the Cavaliers’ and Blazers’ two best scorers. LeBron James finished with 34/7/14 and Mo Williams had a season-high 33 on only 19 field goals to allow the Cavs to hold off the Blazers, who had to suffer a combined 16-43 shooting performance from Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. 

Cavs-Related Bullets:

Tonight was a nice way of showing us all what can happen when we get what we wish for. 

Wish #1: Mo Williams Has Been Nice, But I’d like to see him be more of a true second star instead of a very good role player.

Of all the #2 scorers on the four elite teams-Gasol, Pierce/Allen (whoever it is between those two), and Jameer, Mo’s probably the one least likely to drop 30 or go off for a huge game on you. As it turns out, there’s a reason for that-even though I won’t criticize any performance that yields 33 points on 19 shots, it’s more the principle that shows. LeBron has the ball in his hands a lot. He makes a lot of plays. He’s going to shoot a lot. No big men on the team are capable of creating their own shots, even when Z’s out. And with the slow pace we play, there aren’t a lot of shots to go around. So when LeBron and Mo are both out there putting up shots, you end up with them getting 49 of the team’s 78 shots.

Why this was necessary: I saw this as pretty much a direct reaction to Delonte’s absence-without him swinging that ball around the perimeter and slashing through to keep side-to-side action going, there’s a lot more one-on-one action. Mo definitely bailed the team out in this one by just being absolutely unconscious. Mo gets a gold sticker. 

Wish #2: I Wish LeBron James Had a Better Jump Shot.

Now, everyone pretty much can agree that LeBron shooting more Jumpers would be a bad thing-the league’s absolute best jump shooters off the dribble shoot jumpers at around an eFG of 47%, and LeBron’s overall field goal percentage is at 50%, and when he’s at the basket he converts 72% of his opportunities, and that’s before you factor in the fouls he draws. 

So the theory goes that him making more jumpers would not only help his percentage by having him make the shots he’s going to take anyways, but that having a good jumper would “open up” his game and allow him more space for drives to the basket.

Tonight’s game stood as direct evidence against that theory. For the second straight game, LeBron was uncharacteristically unable to finish at the rim early (4-9 in the immediate basket area), or get foul calls. (4 free throws all night, with two of them coming from a dead-ball foul) 

So in the third quarter, LeBron went to the perimeter and started firing deep twos. And making them. LeBron had a 14-point quarter, but it didn’t open up any more driving lanes-in fact, it just made him shoot more jumpers, as every field goal attempt LeBron shot in the 3rd was from outside the paint. And since all of LeBron’s non-layup or dunk shots come against the 1st defender, it didn’t open up lanes for his teammates either-the offense became entirely dependant on LeBron making very tough shots, and LeBron went 1-6 on jumpers in the 4th before just deciding to screw it and flying through the entire defense for two left-handed layups, including one after they tried to double-team him 30 feet away from the hoop. Again, LeBron bailed the team out by making the shots.

That LeBron’s best outside shooting game of the year ends up with him scoring below his normal efficiency should tell us something-the issue isn’t LeBron’s jumper itself, but in the way he fails to set his jumper up with the rest of his game or use his jumper when it’s on to set up the rest of his game. 

This could have been a reaction to: 

Z’s midrange J really opens up space for LeBron on dribble-drives, and Z in the high post has been a huge way to get LeBron catches closer to the hoop. Without that, LeBron’s had to face defenses that have a much easier time bunching up on him. 

Okay. Onto more bullets.

-LeBron did seem on a mission to shove it in Rick Barry’s face tonight?However, while his outside shooting display did help to show that questions about LeBron’s shooting form are off base, the aformentioned failure to use that shot to dissect the defense showed that Barry may be close to being on target w/r/t how LeBron uses picks.

-When Ben Wallace is on the floor, good things happen. It was true against the Lakers, and he should’ve gotten second-half burn. Tonight, he got minutes in the fourth and proved himself valuable. He led the team in the highly dubious +/- tonight, and his blow-by for a dunk on the one-time supposed “Next Bill Russell” was a highlight of the night.

-One effect of Mo and LeBron domination is Boobie only had two shots.

-Wally: 2-3 from deep. Put that fire out! Wally cannot be stopped! This guy is available! Pick up that phone, GMs! 

-Why haven’t I said much about LeBron’s 14 assists? A lot of them were pretty rudimentary feeds to a red-hot Mo Williams, and other than some very, very nice dimes on the fast-break to Sasha, the assist total felt as much of a result of guys hitting an an abnormally high amount of shots than LeBron making particularly great dimes. Okay, I admit, this is the least excited anyone has ever been about a 34/7/14 ever. 

-In a way, I’m kind of glad that the Cavs are having to get back into the “cardiac Cavs” style of last years-the playoffs are going to bring more close games than blowouts, and it’s important that we know how to be effective in those clutch situations like we were last season, especially Mo and LBJ. 

Bullets of Randomness:

-LeBron works the first defender for his mid-range Js, which isn’t that bad-very few guys are able to get past the 1st defender and still have the COD and smoothness to pull up for a short J before the 2nd guy comes-Chris Paul comes to mind. Anyways, the point is that Brandon Roy is one of my favorite guys to watch working the 1st defender for a jumper. He can get to a good distance with that shuffle-step, get to his spot and pull it up so smoothly. It wasn’t falling for him tonight, but that’s such a nice weapon.

-Add to the pile of talented big men who need to fall out of love with their 20-footers: LaMarcus Aldridge. I sighed every time he fired up one of those Js in crunch-time tonight.

-Other notables int he Blazers’ harem of young players: Rudy Fernandez doesn’t have any sort of game plan out there, Bayless is going to be a Lowry-like solid guy at the point, Oden doesn’t have the pop to get to the highest level yet. (I’ll watch him closely next year when he’s had 2 years since microfracture.) 

Play of the Game:

This one goes to a sequence: with the score 83-82 Cleveland with 5 to play, LeBron drove straight into a stationary Joel Pryzbilla and had the ball knocked, quite possibly off him, out of bounds. Not only did the refs not call a charge, they gave it back to the Cavs, and LeBron promptly pulled up for an early-in-the clock three, which he drained. One play later, he absolutely whipped a full-court outlet to Sasha for a dunk which put the Cavs in the drivers’ seat for the rest of the way. 

Questionable decision-making, some lucky breaks, a tough shot at the right time, and a dash of amazing plays. That was the Cavs’ blueprint tonight. It worked. Count the W.

Song of The Night:

The Hardest Button to Button” by the White Stripes. Sometimes, all you need is two people. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m the first on the network to get something made by Michael Gondry on his site. Hooray! That cheer was for me.

How To Relax During the Next Two Days

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009


First Things First:

-I probably should have done a better job explaining the WWL paraphernalia that now adorns this site, seeing as to how it’s the reason this site exists and a fairly huge deal. In my defense, I was really tired and had spent four hours jostling with media members and watching my team get killed and then two more hours writing two separate recaps of it.

-For those of you visiting this site, I’m really excited to be bringing you this site. It’s my goal to make this the best independant blog destination about the Cleveland Cavaliers out there today, and I’m really excited to be able to run my own site again.

-And while this is less of an issue than it is for other sites in the network, allow me to assure you that this is my site, despite what it says on the top. All opinions here are mine and mine alone, and I have sole control over what goes on here. This is still going to be an irrelevant site with real thoughts and analysis constructed to serve nobody but my readers.

-With that said, this doesn’t mean I’m going to be running around and trying to say the most vile things I can in order to get attention. There will be standards here, which represent my own values. This is going to be a responsible site and will always maintain a tone that is first and foremost respectful, and we will not engage in libelous statements or the juvenille and inflammatory posts that do not live up to a quality standards and have given blogs a bad name and are the reason it’s still tough for even a lot of the great blogs on this network to be respected for the great writers they are.

-I really am proud to associate with the team of writers ESPN has assembled, not just on this network but with Henry and Kevin themselves, and with guys in the majors like J.A. Adande, John Hollinger, Bill Simmons, Marc Stein, and David Thorpe. This is the best basketball coverage on the planet.

-Not to go Kate Winslet on you, but there are some people without whom I wouldn’t be a writer and this site wouldn’t exist. In no particular order, special thanks are due to:

-Henry Abbott
-Kevin Arnovitz
-Nathaniel Friedman
-Brian and Andrew Kaminetzky
-Glen Infante and the team
-Ryne Nelson
-Kelly Dwyer
-FreeDarko commenters

Without them, I’d be shouting out into the void. Okay, enough self-indulgence. Let’s talk Cavs.


-There’s only one thing worse than losing a huge game and looking pretty lackluster doing it, and that’s having to wait two whole days before we get to see the team play again and take the sour taste out of our mouths. It’s easy to get down on a team, even one as good as this. But that’s why God (or Henry Abbott-I use the terms interchangeably) sent the blogosphere me.

-Yes, we just had two losses where we didn’t look very good. But:

-Both games were on the road. I was at that LA game last night, and that crowd absolutely wanted blood-that place was an uphill battle from the get-go. We’re still unbeaten at home.

-Again, we have not lost a single game at home. If you haven’t gone to a Cavalier home game yet, DON’T. You’ll ruin it.

-And yes, both games featured subpar performances from LeBron James, who registered more shots than points in both games, a genuine rarity from him this season. So as LeBron goes, so go the Cavs. I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of worse athletes to pin your team’s night-to-night fates on. Like all of them.

-And LeBron isn’t even struggling 05-06 style where he’s disinterested or playing the wrong way-he was in attack mode all game, but couldn’t get the finishes at the rim or the calls due to great help D by the Lakers and Ty Thomas and stalwart referees. A lot of that is due to losing the spacing that Z provides, but again, LeBron not getting points in the paint is not going to happen very often.

-We’re undefeated in the Obama Presidency.

-Remember when Sasha was the starting shooting guard on an NBA finals team and the team’s second-best offensive player? That player looks like he’s actually back from the dead-he’s starting to hit threes, and his drives are gritty instead of out-of-control kamikaze forays that end in a charge or ridiculous pull-up. And he’s doing this after most of us had written him off as a contributor.

-Wally’s even playing well, kind of! Although with the injuries, the “trade Wally” demand is officially at orange. (SERIOUS NOTE: IF ANYONE KNOWS WEB DESIGN AT ALL AND WOULD BE CAPABLE OF MAKING A COLOR-CODED “WALLY TRADE THREAT” INDEX, EMAIL ME IMMEDIATELY. I AM SERIOUS.)

Lorenzen Wright…

-Don’t think about Lorenzen Wright.

-In no way does this team or anyone on it have anything to do with Joaquin Phoenix.

-We’re struggling because Z and Delonte are out. But Z will be back. In plenty of time for the playoffs, with time to get adjusted. There’s no reason to jeapordize our future and chemistry for a shot at home-court advantage. This team is thinking playoffs.

-There are more terrifying thoughts than the thought of Z without explosiveness, unless him becoming less explosive would cause some sort of wormhole and cause the universe to collapse on himself.

-Delonte’s coming back. Delonte is not going to be on any of that Larry Hughes crap. He wanted to play THE SECOND HALF of that game. Delonte is the anti-Larry. I miss Delonte. Could he do color commentary for the next few weeks? Please?

-Speaking of Larry, Brittney Spears actually became a star again before Larry Hughes returned to being an effective NBA player. It’s the little victories that make life worth living.

-Yes, we lost two out of three with injuries. The Lakers just lost two out of two only missing bench players, and the Celtics went 2-7 for no reason at all. We were going to slip at one point. We just have an excuse.

-In the actual showdown of the league’s two best players, LeBron destroyed CP3 and nobody really cared.

-“Kobe Logic” is making its first appearance of the season!

Resolved: That Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James.

Kobe beat LeBron when their teams played-hence, Kobe deserves the MVP. When LeBron’s team beat Kobe’s 5 times in a row, that was an unrelated  phenomena to this one, as Kobe won the MVP that season. Hence, we are forced to conclude that Kobe is the better player.

Last year, it was clear that when LeBron said Kobe was the world’s best player, Kobe was the better player. This year, when Kobe said LeBron is the MVP, Kobe is the MVP, as Kobe has a much better midrange game than LeBron. Hence, Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron.

Kobe logic is hilarious, and will get its own post at some point.

That’s all for today. Thursday it’s the Blazers-get excited. See you then.

Recap: Well, That Went Well

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009



Hey folks, you may have noticed that this site now has an ESPN bar on top and on the side. Or, more likely, as this site was created specifically for the launch of the TrueHoop network, you may have noticed that there’s a site attached to the NavBar and Video Player you’ve become familiar with. Welcome, all. Check our archives. Have a drink. Hang out a while. We’ll be chatting Cavs. I’m stoked to be with ESPN, but more stoked to be with Henry and Kevin-I’m proud to be on the network and will do the best to give the Cavs the quality of coverage the brand and the people behind it have come to be synonymous with.  Now, onto our team getting absolutely smacked on this site’s launch night.


The Cavs, short-handed and on the road, went up against a hungry and very, very good Laker team who was hungry for a win after two very tough losses. They needed a supernova performance from LeBron, but instead got one of his worst showings of the year, as he finished 9-25 from the floor.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

I was actually at this game playing real reporter for SLAM, so here are some notes I made in real live person form:

-Without Z’s spacing and Delonte’s movement, this is not the offense that the Cavs have broken through with this year. This was ugly offensive basketball, and the Lakers have a darn good defense to boot. EVERYTHING was a long jumper tonight, and in the first half we got those tough shots to go. When the Js stopped falling in the 2nd half, the Cavs had no answer.

-LeBron was doing his all, but couldn’t get the corner and missed as many shots from the paint as I can ever remember. He wasn’t getting the calls or the easy layups, and even though he had a pretty decent shooting night (6-13 from outside the paint), he missed 2 jumpers in the paint and went only 3-10 from the immediate basket area, which is an absolute abberation from him, and wasn’t getting the foul calls he wanted, which led to him settling for more jumpers. The effort was there, but the floor wasn’t spaced and he wasn’t playing in any kind of offense. The effect was similar to watching a man try to demolish a house with a golf club-some damage was done and it was definitely impressive, but really he just didn’t have the right tools.

-Mo was also forced into a 6-16 performance, as he wasn’t getting easy shots and had to rely entirely on his signature step-back deep twos, and he was bothered often enough so that he couldn’t be effective with them.

-Ben was really good in his 19 minutes, but when the Cavs got down MB was of the mind that the Cavs needed more scoring-in my opinion, the coach should’ve had a bit more trust in his skills, as he was grabbing offensive boards left and right and made some nice defensive plays despite being undersized against Gasol.

-JJ looked great! 4-5 from the field, 5-5 from the line, and some ridiculous plays in there! Silver lining, where you at!

-Sasha continues to look shockingly passable, but the offense really does suffer without Delonte’s slashing and ball movement.

-Andy was Andy was Andy-him and Sasha Vujacic have to be the two single most annoying players ever.

Bullets of Randomness:

Kobe was gritty. He made plays. He hit some great shots. He played hurt. Not a dominant performance, but an eminently admirable one.

-We had no answer for Gasol. None. He absolutely murdered us.

-Sasha Vujacic is the devil. Not only is he annoying on defense, but he can steal a run when he gets hot.

-Achilles’ Heel: Derek Fisher. He’s such a good guy you won’t see that printed, but he kills this offense sometimes.

-Ugh, this game was anti-climactic. We got flat-out outplayed. Rejoice in the fact that that’s something that barely ever happens this year.

Song of the Game:

“Chinese Democracy” by Guns N’ Roses.

Sometimes, things are far too hyped to possibly live up to expectations. And Kobe Bryant is so totally Axl Rose, it’s ridiculously appropriate. I’m also going to post “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” because I don’t want people thinking I’m anti-GNR. Also, I’ve been listening to “Sweet Child” to cheer me up. Darn you, shattered dreams.


Saturday, January 17th, 2009


Ridiculously short-handed and on a back-to-back coming off one of their worst games of the year, the Cavs “bounced back” by taking care of business against a New Orleans team that just didn’t look like they wanted to be there, never going into overdrive but controlling the entire game.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

-SASHWALLY DOMINATION!!!! FEED THE BEASTS! It’s about time overpaid white people caught a break.

Of all the players who have mysteriously played terribly for the Cavs, Sasha and Wally have to be the most puzzling, because they’re White Swingmen who can’t shoot.

When we made our finals run with Sasha as our shooting guard, he wasn’t a pure shooter, but he had a nice stroke, with seasons of 36%, 38%, and 40% from beyond the arc. Last year he just completely lost the rim and his 3-ball mark dropped a full 10%.

After last night’s 4-4 display from deep, Sasha moves up to a cold-blooded 42% on the year. Brother Redbush being out for the proverbial 4-6 is going to suck, but if Sasha can knock down threes, play the solid D he’s capable of, and stays in the (somehow working this season) offense and doesn’t try to do too much, he’ll be a passable starter.  And the gain of a guy who wasn’t in the rotation becoming a solid starter is enough to offset a lot of the damage D-West being out is going to do.

And HOLY CRAP, WALLY MAKING OPEN FREAKING THREES. That he’s been passable in the rotation while going through the worst shooting slump of his career is amazing-if he can knock down the shots he’s been counted to knock down his whole career, he’ll actually be good. He makes $14 million dollars. I love life.

Threes going in is a pretty good deodorant-SASHWALLY DOMINATION put the Hornets out of the game pretty early, and it’s not like they were doing anything new or amazing-those shots are always there and they usually take ’em. Tonight, they went in, and that made it a lot easier for us to win.

-I guess LeBron had a cold tonight, and that makes sense, because he never quite UNLEASHED on the Hornets, but was finding open guys, putting drives together, and was even banging a healthy amount of mid-range Js. Although JVG continues to talk about LBJ’s defense like a dad talking about his kid’s job with GreenPeace, the intensity wasn’t there on that end of the floor-he clearly wasn’t interested in chasing Peja around from arc to arc, and he spent a lot of the time gambling for steals. Combine that with LBJ rebounding absolutely everything and he cruised his way to a 29/14/7 on 50% from the floor. Um, he’s really good.

-Mo did everything well except knock down his deep Js, going 0-6 from behind the line. The three-ball is a fickle mistress.

-Andy was a disaster area. I think he’s finally gotten burned out filling in for Z, because he just had no energy left to crash the basket or hunt down rebounds.

-JJ’s only got a few more games for the lightbulb to go off and prove he belongs in the rotation when Z gets back. ‘Cmon, JJ. I want to see you and your crazy lanky jumpy happy times every game this season.

Random Bullets:

-Wow, just a lackluster performance from the league’s second-best player (CP3) tonight. Only half of his season average with 6 assists, most of them unspectacular gives from a standstill position to shooters coming off curls, and he didn’t make a jumper outside of 16 feet, although I continue to love his mid-range game and how well he sets it up. Off night, little warrior.

-For my money, Peja’s still the best catch-and-shoot guy in the league. On a quick catch-and-shoot, you feel like it’s going in. When he’s really and truly left open, he’s absolutely automatic-he’s almost Wally-Z good from out there. (Banging head on table)

-Jesus, NO’s backcourt outside of CP3 is Cavs-level horrendous. Remember when our team literally couldn’t find a quality NBA guard? It’s nice to have those days behind us.


Add to the pile of players for whom a decent jumper is more harmful than not: David West, who has a nice weapon in his J but is way too talented to fall in love with it and finish 6-16. CP3’s wizardry should be able to yield more than an open 20-foot J for a big man.

-For a showcase of the two best players in the game, this was a really boring game.

-I’m with JVG: half-court sets are good, but if you have CP3 then you should at least TRY to push the break when it’s there. Although where the hell is JVG coming from preaching uptempo? Byron Scott hates fun and happiness.

Song of the Game:

“Another Way to Die,” by Jack White and Alicia Keys.  Two ridiculously talented and accomplished performers make platable but dissapointing product, result is nationally seen.