Archive for November, 2010

Links To The Present: November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Cavs are insistent that they’re dealing with the task at hand as they take on the Celtics tonight. They’ve been deflecting LBJ-related questions in interviews, insisting that the Celtics are their primary focus. When asked how he’s staying focused in the middle of all this ‘Bron-based fervor, Mo Williams replied, “It’s easy. I’ve got Rondo.” Which: when your counterpart is averaging 14 assists a game, it’s a good idea to devote 100% of your attention to stopping him.

One of the key factors in the Cavs upset of the Celtics on October 27th was their ability to exploit Shaquille O’Neal on defense. Byron Scott claims that the Cavs’ approach “won’t change” and that they plan to “put Shaq in a lot of pick and rolls.” Cavs fans are intimately familiar with Shaq’s inability to guard the pick and roll. He rarely strays far from the paint, leaving the dribbler a great deal of space coming off a well-set pick. Williams, Gibson, and Sessions should look to take advantage of that space if the Cavs are going to be successful on offense.

Green Street, a Celtics blog, has a preview of tonight’s Cavs/Celts tilt. File this under the “Sneaky Advantage” heading: Boston’s bench is rather thin these days due to Delonte West and Jermaine O’Neal’s injury troubles. Hopefully the Cavs’ bench can exploit the Celtics’ lack of depth when the starters are forced to take a breather.

An interesting little piece from WFNY on the Cavs’ video production department, which puts together those massive pregame intro sequences.

In “Maybe The World Isn’t So Bad After All” News: Rashad McCants, who had a bizarre offseason stint in the Cavs training camp this past summer, is donating his entire D-League salary to charity.

On The Twitters

“Shaq comparing LBJ return to his going back to Orl & LA: ‘My situation in Orlando was a 6, my situation in LA was a 7. This is like a 12.'” [Jason Lloyd]

“RT @CoachA12 Derek Anderson… LeBron… Now we just need Braylon Edwards to punch Art Modell and all will be right with the world.” [Scott Sargent]

On guards, wings, and LeBron week

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

– Leading things off with a Cavalier-related thought: This team currently has three wing players in its regular rotation — Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, and Joey Graham. None of them are very good. They also employ three combo guards — Mo Williams, Ramon Sessions, and Daniel Gibson. They are probably the team’s most dangerous offensive players outside of Jamison, with the possible exception of Hickson. It stands to reason that the three guards should be getting far more floor time than the wings, but that has not been the case. I know Scott has been giving a Sessions/Boobie backcourt minutes, but the team should be playing more true small-ball.

Shaq is having one of the best seasons ever for a 35 + year old, because of course he is. The Shaq debacle deserves a whole other post, but I’ll give you the cliff notes:

– Shaq was completely misused. The team would force-feed him the ball in the post, fail to cut for him, and leave him on a complete island instead of trying to integrate him into the offense. Instead of being used like a functional #3/#4 option, Shaq was used like a #1 option or ignored entirely. Also, it took him a little bit of time to figure out where he was supposed to be in Mike Brown’s system.

– Shaq was actually playing well before he got injured. Putting him back into the starting lineup for the playoffs was unbelievably dumb.

– LeBron’s complete disinterest in moving without the ball in Miami has cast some of Shaq’s ineffectiveness in a new light.

– Speaking of LeBron, it’s LeBron week! Hooray. I have been trying to come up with a “they’re not saying boo, they’re saying ‘boo-urns'” pun for LeBron, and am drawing a complete blank. Help me, commenters. My feelings (hopings) about the return:

– Please don’t run onto the court or throw things. You will lose the moral high ground for the entire city.

– No chants based on The Rumor. There are plenty of confirmed events to chat about.

– Cheer for Z. If Z’s in the starting lineup, this may require some vocal dexterity.

Other than that, I’m prepared for some epic booing.

That’s all I can really think of for tonight. The Celtics tomorrow, and the team’s rival on Thursday. Typing that feels pretty weird.

Links To The Present: November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I’m making a conscious decision this week to avoid posting LeBron stories, in part because there’s nothing educational about them. We are all intimately familiar with what he did, what it means, and why his return to Cleveland is painful. There’s no need to spill more speculative ink about Thursday’s Cavs/Heat matchup. If the Cavs upset Miami, if LeBron goes for 50, if a fan does something abhorrent, we’ll discuss it on Friday. Until then, let’s focus on the 2010 Cavs as they are. The Celtics visit the Q on Tuesday, after all, and they’re a better basketball team right now than the Heat.

Nearly lost in all the chatter surrounding a certain Akron native is the fact that, on Thursday, Big Z will also be playing professional basketball in the state of Ohio for the first time since the conclusion of last season. Brian Windhorst wrote a special feature for the Plain Dealer. As is Windhorst’s wont, it’s an excellent piece delineating Z’s offseason and his feelings about playing in the Q once again.

As one of the lone veterans on this Cavs squad, Mo Williams is making an effort to assume more of a leadership role. He also claims to have a “good relationship” with Byron Scott, who, since Mo’s return from injury, has often allowed the offense to run through Williams.

File this under the “What’s Wrong with J.J. Hickson?” heading: he claims he has “kind of lost what his role [is] on the team.” While Hickson finished strong in the Cavs win over the Grizzlies on Saturday, he looked horrendous in the first half, clanking a number of jumpers and bogging down the offense when he received the ball in the post. His recent play, paired with some of the troubling quotes he has produced this year, seem to indicate that his Basketball IQ might not be through the roof. The saving grace is that he’s 22, but the past two weeks have been disconcerting.

Scott over at WFNY discusses the pros and cons of the Cavs (hypothetically) making a play for Andre Iguodala, who the 76ers are placing firmly on the trading block. Iguodala’s a fine player and all, but his contract pays him “$13.5 million in 2011-12, $14.7 million in 2012-13″ and he has “a player option of $15.9 million in 2013-14.” $13-15 million for a player who plays great defense and is a tremendous athlete, but whose career percentages are 46-32-75? (He also takes 3 to 4 three-point shots per game, despite shooting a little over 30% from beyond the arc over the past 4 seasons.) The Cavs are certainly thin at small forward, but giving up picks, young talent, and/or cap space to acquire Iguodala could be disastrous.

Byron Scott was fined $35,000 for his comments after the Orlando game that “It’s tough playing five guys in white jerseys and three with stripes.”

On The Twitters

“When asked if it was tough to stay focused on Boston w/ LeBron’s return looming Thurs, Boobie paused, grinned, & unconvincingly said, ‘Nah.'” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Anderson Varejao remains as a “non-contact” practice participant. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

“Antoine Walker Planning Comeback in D-League, Per League Sources” [Scott Shroeder]

Recap: Cavs 92, Grizzlies 86 (Or, all and none of those things should ever happen again)

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Overview: In a deeply strange game, the Cavs were able to come from behind and beat the Memphis Grizzlies thanks to a 30-16 third quarter. The Cavaliers were able to win despite giving up 32 first-quarter points and going the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter without a field goal. Mo Williams led the way for the Cavs with 25 points and 12 assists.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

I definitely thought this game was going to get ugly. The Cavs looked atrocious on offense early, and weren’t playing much defense either. The Grizzlies were working harder for their looks than the Pacers, Spurs, or Magic had to, but still managed to score 32 first-quarter points while shooting 64% from the field.

Then the Cavs started to tighten things up on the defensive end, and were able to cut the lead to single digits going into halftime.

In the third quarter, something magical happened. The Cavs actually started to play the kind of defense they need to play in order to be a successful running team and win basketball games. The team got stops, forced turnovers, ran hard when they got rebounds, and completely turned the game around with some tough defense and aggressive offense.

In the fourth, the team went into “okay, Mo, figure this out” mode on offense, which led to zero field goals for the first nine minutes of the quarter, but they played enough defense to keep the game close. Down the stretch, J.J. and Mo came up with some crucial baskets, and that was all she wrote. Great win for the Cavs.

– Not many individual notes for the Cavs tonight, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mo’s great night. He was asked to do it all, and he responded by hitting every shot he got a decent look at and making some beautiful passes en route to a 25/12 line.

– I thought Hickson was all but done after he missed those first four shots, but he stepped up when Jamison struggled and made some great plays around the basket to get the Cavs a win. Hopefully he can carry that confidence over. I also liked that his big shots came from the paint — the pull-ups and fadeaways are nice, but J.J. was made 6’10 for a reason.

– Varejao’s offense has been MIA for a little while, but he’s still a dynamo defensively. Two steals, two blocks, and he held Marc Gasol to 2-8 from the field.

That’s all for me tonight. Great win. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Recap: Magic 111, Cavs 100 (Or, defense. You have to play it.)

Friday, November 26th, 2010

epic fail photos - Landscape FAIL

Overview: The Magic shot 14-31 from beyond the arc in a 110-100 win against the Cavaliers. The team got out to a double-digit first-quarter lead, and was never really threatened again. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 23 points, while Antawn Jamison led the Cavs with 22.

-Cavs-Related Bullets:

I understand that the Magic are a great basketball team. I understand that losing by 11 on the road isn’t all that terrible. I realize that the Magic love to shoot threes and are pretty good at making them. I understand that nobody on this roster has much of a chance at guarding Dwight Howard straight up. I understand all of this. But the Cavs’ defense is freaking embarrassing right now.

Again, 93 of the Magic’s 110 points came from the paint, the free-throw line, or beyond the arc. That’s about eight mid-range jumpers, and five of those mid-range jumpers were taken from Brandon Bass’ favorite spots on the floor. This is getting ridiculous. The Cavaliers are playing like the “Os” in the other teams’ playbooks right now.

When the Magic wanted open threes, they got them. Sometimes they had to force a double-team on Howard and make a few passes around the perimeter. Sometimes they used dribble-penetration to get wide open looks from deep. Sometimes they swung the ball from side to side and the Cavs would just stare at the guy catching it instead of running him off the three-point line.

If it weren’t for Mickael Pietrus, who literally does not know or care about the difference between open and contested three-pointers, the Magic would have shot 13-25 from beyond the arc. 13-25. And it wasn’t hot shooting, it was wide-open looks. That’s not a size thing, it’s not a talent thing, and it isn’t even that much of an athleticism thing. This team cannot just watch other teams play offense. They have to run guys off threes, get in their faces, force them to make plays, and take a few shots they don’t want to take, and they are not doing that. On every level, this team has to change the way it plays defense. Everything else is a lesser concern.

Other notes:

– Antawn Jamison: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, assist, and block. A few threes, some pick-and-pop jumpers, and some finishes inside. Malkovich Malkovich. In all seriousness, Jamison has really improved as a spot-up shooter this season while losing some of his effectiveness inside, and that could be important: teams are going to want a forward who shoots 40%+ from beyond the arc at deadline time. Perception matters.

– Not really liking Joey Graham as a starter — there were some times when the ball would swing to Graham out of a nice set and he just wouldn’t know what to do with it. He’s not a confident three-point shooter, and he’s not athletic enough to get to the cup after one or two dribbles. I like his toughness and ability to post smaller guys off the bench, but he is not a solution in the starting lineup. This team desperately needs a wing who can really shoot the ball and run the floor.

– Give Anthony Parker for being automatic on catch-and-shoot threes. Give him little credit for everything else. And again, a heady veteran who happens to be automatic on open threes could be something teams want at deadline time. They won’t give up first-rounders for him or anything, but he could be a nice throw-in piece.

– Hickson is in a very deep funk. He has no confidence in the parts of his game he’s added this summer, and the ball isn’t moving enough for him to be effective cutting and dunking. Scott should try and get him going early against Memphis.

– Nobody expected Andy to do much offensively against Howard. I was impressed by his defense — Howard got his, but I’m not sure if he got any points against Varejao on straight post-up situations.

– Mo was left on an island and asked to do it all for much of the game. He finished with 20 points and 8 assists, but never really got into a groove, and had his share of forced shots and passes.

– The Cavs scored 44 in the paint and 100 overall, but it seemed like the Magic weren’t trying very hard on defense because they knew they were getting any shot they wanted offensively. That Sessions finished 6-8 from the floor and had six assists confirms this for me — an engaged Dwight Howard would get about 20 blocks playing against Sessions.

Well, that’s all for now. Memphis tomorrow. First fix the defense, then worry about everything else.

Links To The Present: November 26, 2010

Friday, November 26th, 2010

After Mo Williams’ fourth quarter heroics against the Bucks, Bob Finnan thinks the Cavs have found their “go-to guy.” I have my doubts as to whether Mo is talented enough to demand the ball during every crunch-time possession. The Cavs might be better served to run fourth quarter plays for whoever has a hot hand, but if Byron Scott continues to go to Williams in clutch situations, we’ll soon find out whether he has the testicular fortitude to knock down big buckets with regularity.

Beating the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center tonight is going to be a tall task for the Cavs. Jameer Nelson posted a career-high 14 assists as the Magic defeated the Heat on Wednesday, and the Cavs, even with LeBron, haven’t fared well in Orlando over the past few seasons, winning only five of their last 19 visits.

With Shaq and Z gone to contenders, it should be, erm, interesting to see how the Cavs intend to guard Dwight Howard tonight. Quoth Byron Scott, “[He]’s a beast down there.” The 230-pound Ryan Hollins and a banged-up Anderson Verajao are going to have their work cut out for them, and all the Cavs bigs (heck, wings and guards, too) are going to have to crash the boards to keep Howard from controlling the paint.

Ticket prices for the Return of the (Wildly Unpopular) King are apparently through the roof. If you want LeBron to actually hear the obscenities you’re yelling at him, it’s going to cost you.

On The Twitters

#Cavs should immediately be on the phones RT @basketballtalk Nets send Terrence Williams to the D-League #PBT #NBA” [Scott Sargent]

“Like vultures, the national media is circling Cleveland hoping that on December 2nd some ignoramus acts the fool.” [realcavsfans]

“#Cavs coach Byron Scott’s first impression of Magic’s new Amway Center: “It’s beautiful.” We’ll see how he feels about it later” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

Links To The Present: Thanksgiving Edition

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

In spectacular fashion, the Cavs won last night thanks to a strong second half effort and the poise of one Maurice Williams. Perhaps the most encouraging sign was that, down 10 at half, the Cavs came out of the tunnel to play an inspired third quarter, which has been a rarity this season. By the way, I couldn’t find any reliable info on Boobie Gibson’s shoulder, but given that he returned later in the game, it seems he’s either fine or day-to-day. I’ll scour my RSS feed tomorrow and try to find a reliable update.

Here are a couple of highlights from last night’s game via Ball Don’t Lie. I enjoyed the Milwaukee Bucks color guy being all “hold on, that’s reviewable” after the slow-motion replay clearly confirmed Williams put up his shot with a good half-second on the clock.

Fear the Sword has compiled a quote round-up from last night’s win. Not a ton of great quotes in the bunch, but it is interesting that Byron Scott had a “little conversation” with Mo about being “more assertive.” Mo is arguably the best player on this team, and it’s positive to see Scott is greeting his struggles with encouragement rather than benching him or looking elsewhere on offense.

Byron Scott will be opening his doors to Cavs players who can’t make it home to eat Thanksgiving with their families. Call me a sap, but that’s an affecting gesture. Also, Christian Eyenga has been called up to the NBA for Thanksgiving so that he can be with the team and eat at Scott’s house. He will be sent back to the NBDL tomorrow, as the Erie BayHawks have games both Friday and Sunday night.

This ESPN column’s headline implies that the Cavs will be banning anti-LeBron gear when he and the Miami Heat visit the Q on December 2nd, but the article later stipulates that the Cavs will be banning only indecent or crude signage and apparel. Dan Gilbert clarified over Twitter: “ESPN headline is wrong & silly. Obviously no profanity,vulgar stuff U wouldn’t want kids 2 see but we are not going 2 be the Gestapo @ The Q.” Seems reasonable. And that’s really the key word here, guys. I’m fine with booing; I encourage creative, derisive chants; but if you’re attending the Heat/Cavs tilt next week, before engaging in something that is outright hateful or offensive, ask yourself “am I being reasonable here?”

On The Twitters

“You mean Mo Williams didn’t pass to James Jones for the win?” [realcavsfans]

“Mo Williams referred to LeBron James as ‘this other guy’ in postgame interview. Very Dan Gilbert. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

Have a great Thanksgiving, y’all. This community of Cavs fans has been incredibly welcoming and kind; I’m giving thanks today for an enjoyable first week here at The Blog.

Recap: Cavs 83, Bucks 81 (Or, How Mo Williams Saved Thanksgiving)

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Rockwell’s famous ‘Cavs at Byron’s’ painting

Overview – At halftime, I thought I’d be going with the tagline “Bogut: Australian for ‘it could’ve been worse.”  But thankfully, Mo “Thanksgiving” Williams (think that’ll stick?) stepped up and saved the day.  Also showing up for work was Byron Scott.  His halftime speech must’ve involved threatening to withhold the turkey at his house tomorrow, because after an uninspired first half left his team in a 44-34 hole, the Cavs came out with worlds more energy in the second.  And with the Cavaliers’ increased activity came defense, then tempo, and then, eventually, some decent looks at the basket.  All of which got the Cavs back into the game, and gave Mo a chance to perform his heroics.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Thanksgiving is all about.*

*also, pilgrims.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

Mo “Mr. Thanksgiving (‘s eve)” Williams – If the Cavs’ season was a turkey, Mo Williams just pardoned it.  Considering the alternative to winning this game was to run the upcoming Orlando, Boston, Miami gauntlet in the midst of a four game losing streak.  21 second half points and game-winning, buzzer-beating heroics for Mo tonight.  Not too shabby.  I think it’s pretty apparent at this point that Mo Williams has to be the offensive catalyst of this team.  Has to be.  That doesn’t mean he has to come up with 25 & 5’s every night, but it does mean he has to be similarly aggressive.  Too many times this season he’s looked tentative and unsure of himself.  I’ll admit, coming in and out of the lineup with injuries probably isn’t the easiest way to acclimate oneself to a new offense, but Mo has to set the tone.  Just look at his contrasting halves of this game:

4 PTS   (2-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-0 FT), 2 REB, 3 AST, 1 TO.

21 PTS (9-15 FG, 2-5 3PT, 1-1 FT), 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO.

And, for comparison’s sake, the Cavs as a whole:

34 PTS  (15-41 FG, 0-5 3 PT, 4-9 FT), 24 REB, 9 AST, 6 TO.

49 PTS  (17-35 FG, 6-16 3 PT, 9-10 FT), 16 REB, 11 AST, 6 TO.

Even when LeBron was here, the Cavs went as Mo went. Now, with a significantly smaller margin for error, that will be even more the case. The Cavs found some nice rhythm (relatively) in the second half by placing Mo in high screen and rolls with Andy, and it worked well to give the offense a focal point from which they could play off of.  Mo’s not going to drop in 21 per half on a routine basis, but he can always be that aggressive, and when he is the Cavs have a far better shot at playing off him, and subsequently a far better shot at creating the tempo at which they can run/create early offense.  He has to take it upon himself to set the tone offensively.  He did tonight, and it was fun to watch when it happened.

Defense, energy, and the ability to clone Andy Varejao – This is the most important thing for the Cavs to take with them moving forward.  That they need to play insanely hard, all the time.  What worries me is that this isn’t some sort of grand revelation…we all knew this going in.  So if it’s not happening consistently now, is it really going to happen consistently later?  On the plus side, when the second half started the Cavs did bring the energy, and along with it some inspired defensive play.  The Cavs held the Bucks to 41% shooting in the first half, but watching the game, I got the impression that it had more to do with the Bucks and their 30th ranked offense then it did to do with the Cavalier defense.  In the second half, I changed my opinion.  Mo handled Jennings beautifully (albeit on an off night), Boobie played inspired D against the much larger Salmons, and Andy was everywhere as per usual.  There were a few really, gritty defensive possessions in the last few minutes that kind of reminded me of those 2007 Cavs teams that never scored in the final 2 minutes of a close game but somehow consistently won because they seemed to will the opponent into mistakes and missed shots.   The Eric Snow teams.  Well, that happened tonight, and it set the stage for Mo’s finale.

More on energy, and just flat out competing harder then the opposition… I don’t know if it’s even physically or psychologically possible to play with that type of intensity for 82 consecutive games, but that’s basically what the Cavaliers will have to do if they want to win half of them.  Much easier to type than to do, I’m absolutely certain, but that relentless energy has to be the Cavs’ skill.  That literally has to be their talent…the ability to play really freakin’ hard.  There is a reason every middle of the pack team doesn’t win 41 games, and this is it…it’s really hard to play harder then the other guy every game of the season.  But this is what Byron Scott has been preaching from day one, that he believes the Cavs have the ability to do that.  So far, mixed results.

Drew Gooden's osmosis is working

J.J. Hickson – I always have a J.J. Hickson bullet, even when he goes 1-4 for 2 points.  I probably always give him a bullet because, in a lot of ways, he is the most important player on this team.  Or at least the biggest X-factor.  J.J. is falling into a little bit of a funk, and it was particularly evident tonight.  This is his sixth consecutive low-impact performance, and if you watched the game, you saw J.J. struggling to find any comfort level on the court, and then compounding that by looking pretty frustrated, and almost sulky, about those struggles.  He played 19 minutes tonight and Byron Scott obviously has him on a bit of a quick hook right now.  It was inevitable that J.J. was going to hit peaks and valleys in his first season of extended responsibility, but I’m feeling kind of bummed about this.  Byron Scott doesn’t really have a reputation as a nurturer of young players, and I wonder if he’s wearing on J.J. at all.  That said, J.J. needs to take it upon himself to find ways to contribute until he gets himself back into the offensive flow.  He needs to earn his 30 minutes on the floor, because he’s not getting them otherwise.  Here might be a place to start… The combination of he and Andy should be a terror on the offensive glass.  Tonight, the Cavs, against a Bogut-less Bucks team, had 4 offensive rebounds off of a pretty hefty supply of missed shots (44 misses).  The Cavs are missing an impact player in that starting unit, and really, it’s got to be J.J. Hickson.

And now, let us wind this recap down with an…

Epilogue Bullet – It’s hard to know exactly how good this team can be.  And sadly, I don’t mean that in a ‘we’re growing stronger by the second!’ kind of way, but rather a ‘is that the ceiling resting on my head?’ type.  Regardless of that premature, unnecessary worry, it’s great to get off the schnide before what will probably be a schnide-inducing next few games.  (Orlando, Memphis, Boston…Miami.)  As for tonight… a feel good moment, a really timely win, and an absolute blueprint for how the Cavs should be trying to come out energy-wise moving forward.

Random closing tidbit # 1 – I think I saw John mention this in an earlier recap, and I’d like to formally submit my sentiments into the fray as well: I’m, at the very least, curious to see what a Mo/Sessions or Mo/Boobie backcourt would look like starting.

Random closing tidbit # 2 – Happy Thanksgiving :)

Links To The Present: November 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

So, the good news is I just moved into a great new apartment. The bad news is that my internet probably won’t be ready until Friday or Saturday, so I’m doing this from a Starbucks that has pretty awful wi-fi. The worse news is I’ll be running around Chicago for the next couple days buying furniture, food, etc. Bear with me through the rest of the week, Cavs fans. Everything will be back to normal after your long weekend. Regardless, here’s what I could cobble together for your perusal:

Brewhoop has a pretty comprehensive look at tonight’s Cavs/Bucks matchup. Bogut is doubtful with a bad back; perhaps that means Hickson, Jamison, and Verajao can seize this opportunity and attack the rim against a depleted Bucks front line.

Another look at tonight’s game, this time from WFNY. Most interesting tidbit: the Bucks have the worst offense and best defense in the NBA in terms of efficiency. This could be a rock fight.

Byron Scott says that the final two years of his career in Indiana under Larry Brown served as the foundation upon which he built his coaching career.

I don’t mean to lean too heavily on the Plain Dealer, but there’s a good number of links available here. Among the topics discussed: the spending habits of young NBA players, Indiana’s recent victory over the Heat, and the whole “Keep Lebron Off the All-Star Squad” campaign.

On The Twitters

“Just spoke to #Cavs video prod. head – he said nothing was better than off-script Delonte. Was more entertaining than their creative team.” [Scott Sargent]

“CavsFans:Honesty only way. No fluff:We need to do better. Have to do & WILL do better.We are all hoping and counting on turning ship 2Nite.” [Dan Gilbert]

Cole Aldrich was the 11th pick in the 2010 draft. He’s now headed to the D-League. Do we have a term for this? How about “Thabeet-esque?” “Thunder assign Cole Aldrich to D-League #PBT #NBA” [Kurt Helin]

Recap: Pacers 100, Cavs 89 (Or, oh God there’s so much failure)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

epic fail photos - Pilot FAIL

Overview: In a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated, the Indiana Pacers absolutely manhandled the Cleveland Cavaliers by making wide-open shots and looking like they wanted to play basketball. Joey Graham led the Cavalier starters with 11 points.

Cavs-Related Bullets:

This is the kind of epic sucking a lot of people predicted from the LeBron-less Cavaliers. The Cavaliers could not have played worse offensively in the first quarter — Varejao and Hickson both look completely uncomfortable in half-court situations, and the Cavaliers didn’t seem to remember which jerseys they were wearing. The effort level wasn’t there, but at least the team wasn’t executing or making jumpers. Honestly, the only reason the Cavaliers made it to the second quarter with the Pacers leading by single-digits was because the Pacers missed seven threes, and most of them were wide open.

In the second quarter, the Pacers started making their shots, and that’s when things got ugly. The Cavaliers looked completely shocked every time the Pacers threw it to the other side of the court for a wide-open three. They had no answers for Darren Collison in transition. They didn’t step up on shooters at any point. Brandon Rush was riding a “holy crap, I just had an awesome game against the Heat” high and making every crazy shot he threw up, but everything else was way too easy.

84 of Indiana’s 100 came from the paint, the free-throw line, or beyond the arc. Hibbert scored all of six points. It’s one thing to have the Spurs do that to you, but to let the Pacers get any shot they want is embarrassing. This team is not talented enough to beat teams by trying to outscore them. They have to play like they know how to play defense, and want to play it. That should be priority one right now. Everything about that game was terrible.

If this team wants to run so badly, why is it playing the least athletic 1-3 combination in the league? Parker and Graham are nice enough players, but there’s no way they should be starting right now. If the team is going to play defense like this, there’s no reason not to start Mo alongside of Sessions or Boobie (or hell, why not all three?) and at least make teams adjust to them. Something needs to happen to prevent more performances like this.

Bullets of Randomness:

Josh McRoberts made more threes than the starters attempted.

Alright, that’s it. Four-game stretch coming up including games against the Celtics and Magic, then The Return. This would be a nice time for the Cavs to get it together a little bit. I know it’s only a three-game losing streak, and two of those games were against great teams, but this team has to compete if it wants to have success. That didn’t happen on Tuesday.