Archive for January, 2011

Recap: Heat 117, Cavs 90 (Or, total defeat)

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Overview: The Miami Heat got whatever they wanted against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and held them to 33 points in the second half of a 117-90 victory. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 58 points, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a season-high 14 rebounds.

This team just went 0-for-January bullets:

No answers. When Wade wanted to drive, he sliced through the Cavalier defense and finished in a wide variety of fashions. When LeBron put the ball on the floor, the Cavs were forced to foul him or leave a shooter wide-open. When the Heat missed, it was because the Cavs had left Ilgauskas alone underneath to contest the shot. The Heat had the advantage in the paint, in the frontcourt, in the backcourt, from beyond the arc, off the bench, on offense, on defense.

The other thing of note in this game is that it followed a familiar pattern. The Heat jumped out to a double-digit lead, the Cavs came back and cut it to three, the Heat called a time-out and got some variation of a “seriously, why are you only beating the Cavs by three points?” lecture, and then they proceeded to snuff out any hopes the Cavs had of actually winning the game. It’s something we’ve seen a lot, and I can’t honestly say that the phenomena is the product of anything other than teams coming out and executing, relaxing as the Cavs get some cheap points, then stepping on the gas when they realize the Cavaliers might actually tie the game. It’s not really fun to watch, but at least the Cavs are trying sometimes. Don’t put that last sentence on any team promotional material.

Individual notes:

Hickson hit a jumper or two early, then fell in love with it. 6-14. Him and Jamison did do a surprisingly decent job on Bosh, though.

Manny’s running the floor and making wide-open threes when they’re there. His shooting stroke reminds me of Troy Murphy’s in a way — it’s flat and there’s a ton of lower-body noise, so he can’t really get it off unless his feet are set, but he’s decently accurate with it if he’s wide open.

How about Eyenga beating LeBron off the dribble twice?

That’s all for tonight. Total defeat. Winless in January. The record is on the horizon.

Links To The Present: January 31, 2011

Monday, January 31st, 2011

“The Cavs are losing much of their fan base. The hard-core fans will remain, but the casual fans are dropping like flies.” [Bob Finnan]

“I’m not going to say it’s the toughest thing. There are tougher things in life than this right now. We have a losing streak, but it’s not the end of the world. I just don’t look at it as badly as some people do. We still have a bunch of young guys trying to improve.” [Byron Scott via Tim Povtak]

“Byron Scott, however, not only has a track record of rebuilding, but he has wasted no time in putting his imprint on this organization. For all of the things that have gone wrong for the Cavaliers over the last 6 months, the one thing that went right was the hiring of Coach Scott. It’s really quite strange to be so happy with a coach who is overseeing an 8-39 nightmare as the team is on a historic 20 games losing streak. The truth is, though, the forces of nature that caused this disaster were all out of Coach Scott’s hands. He was dealt a good hand, but hit a lousy flop and the turn and river haven’t been any better.” [Andrew of WFNY]

Apparently, Mike Brown is rumored to be in the running for the now-vacant Pacers job. Nice to see Brown is landing on his feet.

Oh, and we play the Heat tonight. In Miami. With a hobbled Boobie Gibson. Woof.

On The Twitters

“Per Elias, last night was the third time in Dwight Howard’s career that he attained 20/20 status by the end of the third quarter. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

“Want some Cavaliers good news? Only 10 more games until the trade deadline or as I like to call it the ‘Playoffs’.” [realcavsfans]

Recap: Magic 103, Cavs 87 (Or, Ryan Anderson got more offensive rebounds than the Cavaliers)

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Overview: The Orlando Magic manhandled the Cavaliers in the paint and on the glass, and had 18 more offensive rebounds than Cleveland did over the course of a 103-87 victory. Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson combined for 43 points and 36 rebounds.

It’s one thing to let Superman own you, and quite another to get manhandled by Jimmy Olsen bullets:

Does this team understand that it is five losses away from the longest losing streak of all time? Do they understand that they have one win since the end of November? Do they realize they are one loss away from a winless month? Do they realize that they only have so many chances to get a win?

If so, why did they roll over and die against a Magic team that never found its offensive rhythm? There was nothing the Cavs could have done against Howard while playing J.J. Hickson, Samardo Samuels, and Ryan Hollins against him. You expect him to get 20 and 20. He’s too big, too strong, too fast, and too skilled around the basket. (Did you see that move where he faked a spin, then pivoted back around and finished with his left, all while going at full speed? Nasty.)

What you don’t expect is for Jameer Nelson to get more offensive rebounds than every Cavalier player except for Manny Harris, who tied him. You don’t expect the entire team to get out-rebounded by Ryan Anderson. When Howard was in the game, the Cavs got manhandled. When he wasn’t, the team got outworked. There is no conceivable way that this team can be competitive if the other team wants it more, and the Magic wanted it more than the Cavs did. They fought for rebounds, stole the ball in the backcourt, chased down loose balls, made the extra passes. The Cavs threw up shots, watched the ball bounce away, and let themselves off the hook by remembering that nobody expected them to beat the Magic anyways.

At one point, Daniel Gibson got into the paint and drained a floater in a half-court situation. A few plays later, he pushed off a made basket, blew past the Magic defense, and laid it in. Stan Van Gundy immediately called a time-out. Fred McCloud did a (pretty funny) impression of SVG yelling at his team about unacceptable defense, which is exactly what he was doing. Gibson didn’t score another basket. That’s holding a team accountable. That’s the kind of pride competitive teams have. That’s what we’re not seeing from the Cavs, who couldn’t put pressure on a Magic team that missed 22 of their 31 threes against the league’s worst three-point defense.

Individually, I was impressed by Manny Harris. He had great energy, and he made his jumpers. When you do those things, you’re contributing. Antawn was in the Twilight Zone, which will happen to shooters every now and again, and Hickson just had no chance against Dwight Howard. Hey, remember how the Cavs traded for Jamison specifically to help them match up against the Magic? I’m going to go laugh loudly into the toilet about that.

That’s all for tonight. Four more chances to avoid tying the record.

Recap: Nuggets 117, Cavs 103 (Or, Marching toward the record books!)

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Nineteen straight losses.  It’s the fifth longest streak in NBA history, equal to the longest streak in team history, and five losses away from a full share of losing’s most infamous record.  Hyperbole aside, take this in: The Cavs have lost nearly a fourth of the season in a row.

John Kuntz, The Plain Dealer. (Not pictured.)

A pessimist would harp on what an incomprehensibly awful 30 games these have been…so let’s do that.  What an incomprehensibly awful 30 games, and moreover, what a disconcertingly numbing effect they have had on me.  By this time last year I was staying up nights at a time, worrying my way to the best kind of stomach ulcer (Amar’e safari, anyone?).  This year, no such luck.  Perhaps the most staggering characteristic all of these games have shared is that they have rarely been close.  What, you ask, is the point differential over the past thirty?  Minus-fifteen per!  Just about 108-93 on average.  That’s unbelievable.  That’s averaging a blowout.

For the most part, it was more of the same tonight.  The Cavs lost by 14 in a game that often looked far worse than that.  The positives?  A late Cavalier run that temporarily boosted our respectability rating, and a pretty decent looking box score that came as a result of a high scoring game.  (I suppose while we’re losing at this historic rate we might as well fill up said box scores and thereby do the best possible job in boosting our respective trade values!  This was almost definitely the crux of the halftime speech.  Maybe also something about self-respect.)  After giving up 80 first-half points to these Nuggets two weeks ago, the Cavs were able to shave ten points off that number tonight.  At this rate, the Cavs will be an average defensive team against the Nuggets in a month and a half.  I suspect this was the defensive strategy all along.  Set the bar low enough, and even Anthony Parker can jump over it.

A few bulletographs:

I feel like we should start with defense.

Our defense is bad.

In truth, not a whole heck of a lot to be upset about defensively.  Not because the Cavs weren’t awful, but because we’ve established such a sizeable control group of horrific defensive performances, that I fear tonight’s effort may even be worthy of a small pat on the back. Yes, the Nuggets scored 70 points in the first half, but the Cavs actually had a little something to do with Denver’s 47 point second.  I feel like at this point we have to grade them on a curve.  Also, while the Nuggets may not be overly reliable, they are still pretty darn good.  And pretty darn good = completely impossible for the Cavs to match up with.  Elite perimeter scorer?  Check.  I can actually stop right there.  That’s enough to beat us.  But the Nuggets also happen to have some real athleticism inside and out, plenty of shooters, very solid point play…and as a basketball fan, it’s kind of a shame that their peak as we’ll see them seems destined to have been two years ago.

The Cavs made a pair of runs in the late 3rd/early 4th, and actually seemed poised to make a game of it…but in the end, they just had no one to drag them over the hump (Joey Graham left injured midway through the fourth), and no one to defend against an aggressive Carmelo Anthony (Joey Graham left injured midway through the fourth?).  Joey Graham’s 10 second-half points aside, in instances such as these, it’s hard not to feel like the Nuggets went to sleep.  Just as the opposition used to get up for a 60 win team, they now seem to do the opposite against an 8 win one.  Post-game, Byron Scott repeated a familiar plea to the team in asking them for “48 minutes of good basketball.”  I assume this means the type of basketball they played in the third and early fourth.  I just wonder in this case (and in a number of similar situations) how much the Cavs success has had to do with an opponent letting their guard down.  I kind of feel like if the Cavs were capable of knocking a team on their heels at the start of a game, they would have done it by now…prior to tying the franchise record for losing.  The Cavs were able to climb back within 106-99 with 4:31 left, at which point the Nuggets had a two possession flurry that effectively ended the game within 37 seconds: Ty Lawson lay-up, Anthony Parker miss, Chauncey Billups 3.  111-99.  The game was never close again.

A few statistics of note:

Statistics- Something to focus on.

J.J. Hickson        (24 pts, 14 reb, 10-12 shooting)

Ramon Sessions (14 pts, 13 ast, 0 TO)

Antawn Jamison (20 pts, 12 reb, 6 asst)

Taking that at surface value, it’s not half bad.  Especially encouraging is J.J.’s continued energy and rebounding, all evidence that he’s responding to Byron’s tough love.  Nice to see him improving on that volume shooting PG-esque 42.6% from the field as well.  Sessions continues to be a solid, if imperfect guard, and Jamison is doing his damndest to do whatever it is he’s done his entire career.  (Side note: My current Jamison sentiment is that we should trade him next year as a hefty expiring contract.  What might that be worth with the new CBA?  My hope is for a gold after the apocalypse-type situation.)

My only worry here is that everyone catches Jamison-disease, whose symptoms include the ability to rack up numbers without having any substantive impact on the direction of a game.  As really all three listed above have shown fully capable of doing.  And though we’re theoretically in possession of the host and thus should be capable of finding a cure, I worry about J.J. most of all.  Truthfully, as far as his development is concerned…I think I’d rather see him fouling out opposing bigs with his speed and athleticism then scoring 20 points.  Not that I don’t want him scoring 20 points, but if someone is having a true impact on a game, their team is not losing by 20+ consistently.  That stands independent of how many points or rebounds are collected.  At some point, the stats have to prove applicable to team performance.

A final thought about individual morale when mired in potentially the worst losing streak in the history of your sport:

I find myself watching the body language of the players, and quite often, I think they look how I feel.  Which is how I think we all might feel as fans of a team that’s lost 29 of their past 30 games.  You can only throw the clicker so many times until it just seems silly to throw it anymore.  And it’s tough to fully invest yourself in a game when you’re not in ‘clicker throwing’ mode.  So I wonder how that manifests itself within the Cavs.  Is it tough to take your game seriously when you’re so thoroughly outclassed?  I suspect a retort to this worry might be that taking the game seriously irregardless of circumstance is what being a professional athlete is all about, that it’s what being a professional anything is all about.  But these guys are human, and most of them are self-aware…and while being down 30, I’d imagine they’d feel as ridiculous diving on the floor as I’d look jumping off the couch when the lead was cut to 28.  I think that’s a battle we’re watching unfold every game.  I think today they won it.  At the very least, the Cavs weren’t just going through the motions for the entirety of the second half.  But that hasn’t always been the case.  I’d even go so far as to submit that hasn’t usually been the case.  My hope is only this…that whatever I just described (self-awareness?), doesn’t sink in too deeply.  There’s not a whole heck of a lot to do about it at the moment, but I wonder if pride can be battered to the point of no return.  If some teams stay sucky for so long because their players begin to identify themselves with it.  Even the talented ones.  For the few who will be on this team when it does bounce back off the ground, I hope this experience leaves them salvageable.

On we trudge:


@ MIA (potentially without Wade and Bosh…)




I could see the streak ending in one of the latter three.  If not, I’ll see you all in the record books.

Links to The Present: January 28, 2011

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Marc Stein is reporting that the Cavs were talking with the Oklahoma City Thunder about a possible trade involving Anderson Varejao before he went down for the season with an ankle injury. Anyone who has watched the Thunder play this year has probably noticed they need another big man who can rebound and play defense; apparently, they thought Varejao was the guy. I think Varejao would have been a great fit for OKC: he could have defended the other team’s best forward or center, rebounded with alacrity, set screens, and put up some points here and there. Plus, he would have fit in well with Westbrook and Durant because he doesn’t need the ball to have a considerable impact on the game. OKC could have sent either Jeff Green or James Harden (optimistic) or some combination of draft picks and, say, Cole Aldrich (more realistic) to the Cavs in return for Varejao’s services.

[Insert sound of readers of The Blog sighing emphatically]

“The Cavaliers, at 8-37, have the worst record in the NBA, a season after LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, without saying goodbye and thanks. Tonight, the Nuggets are here, the third game of Denver’s five-game road trip — the Nuggets (27-18) have won the first two.” [Benjamin Hochman]

”On the defensive end I think we’ve gotten better; we just have to continue to do it for 48 minutes, and that’s what we’re going to continue to preach.” [Byron Scott via George M. Thomas]

“Though [Christian Eyenga’s] numbers will not garner him All-Star consideration like fellow rookie Blake Griffin, the 21-year-old native of The Congo continues to impress his coaching staff with persistent progress, seemingly boundless potential and willingness to embrace all facets of the game.  But most of all, Byron Scott and company remain in relative awe about Eyenga’s athleticism, placing him among the best in all of the NBA.” [Scott Sargent]

Jodie Valade provides a brief breakdown of the Cavs’ trade chips. It’s nothing most of us haven’t been chewing over for the past month, but it’s good to remind ourselves what we have and if it’s worth anything.

Oh, and the Cavs’ value as a franchise has dropped 26% since LeBron left. So, there’s that.

On The Twitters

“Can you imagine the outrage in Cleveland had the Cavaliers traded Andy Varejao for Byron (BJ) Mullens? Yikes.” [Andrew of WFNY]

“My mom called today and asked how I was. I told her “Just grindin homie, you know how we do”. She didn’t find it quite as amusing as I did.” [realcavsfans]

“Varejao will seek another opinion before deciding whether to have surgery.” [Jason Lloyd]

Links To The Present: January 27, 2011

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

“If you watch ESPN or even the occasional game of college basketball, I can assume you already are familiar with the Ohio State dominating front court player, Jared Sullinger. While Power Forward is not the most glaring need the CAVS have, a big name and big talent player like Sullinger is hard to pass up on.” [CByers of Fear the Sword]

“The question marks surrounding players like Perry Jones, Kyrie Irving, Terrence Jones and Harrison Barnes are potentially enough for the Cavaliers to consider going with safer options at the top rather than opting for potential.  At this stage, Sullinger is compared more to Memphis’ Zach Randolph more than the poster boy of all young power forwards, Los Angeles’ Blake Griffin.  And while he may not be making highlight reels, Randolph has been a consistent threat for 20 points and 10 rebounds per night.” [Scott Sargent]

“Threatening the NBA record of 23 consecutive losses in a single season (a low shared by the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets) is likely to have a more positive impact on the franchise than if the Cavs were now limping toward a respectable 39-win season. Now the Cavs and their fans know exactly who they are and what they need to do. They’re going to earn a high pick in the draft, and that choice will represent the team’s first meaningful long-term step following The Decision.” [Ian Thomsen]

Jodie Valade talks, most relevantly, about which Cavaliers could be traded in the near future.

On The Twitters

“Report: Cavaliers quietly shopping Mo Williams around #PBT #NBA” [Kurt Helin]

“This Jimmer dude is pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay …” [Ken Berger]

“Roger Goodell will cut his salary from 10mil a yr to $1 if there is a lockout. I wonder in David Stern will follow suit because he makes same exact thing. We will see. That will speak volumes.” [Mo Williams]

This is why the Cavaliers are terrible

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I semi-accidentally triggered a “why are the Cavaliers THIS BAD?” discussion with my last post. In the comments, there was a lot of talk about how the Cavs’ epic futility has occurred because they built their team around LeBron, and the team is now hopelessly rudderless without him.

There is a grain of truth in that. The Cavaliers arranged their talent around LeBron, because that was the best/only option really available to them. However, that glosses over the fact that LeBron prevented the Cavaliers from accumulating talent. He did not do this by being evil or failing to commit long-term to Cleveland in order to convince Trevor Ariza to join the team. He did this by making the Cavaliers significantly better very fast, and very good for a number of years. This gave the Cavs fewer chances to add real talent through the draft, and the Cavaliers blew the chances they did have.

Think of team-building as a very basic mathematical concept. Trades are made when each team is getting something of theoretically equal value — therefore, a trade can only rearrange the overall talent level of a team to best suit its goals. Free-agency is nice, but big free-agency opportunities are few and far between — remember that Shaq is the only max free-agent signing to have won a championship with the team that signed him. (To date, that is. Yes, the Heat have a chance of joining the Lakers as the only team to craft a dynasty through free agency. And remember that they got Caron and Odom in the Shaq trade, traded Caron for Kwame, and flipped Kwame’s contract for Gasol — the initial capital all came from that Shaq coup.)

And as I’ve said before on this blog, teams that spend money in free agency are the ones that already have solid talent “cores” — teams are not good because they spend money. Teams spend money because they are good. The Cavs’ big post-LeBron acquisitions were Mo Williams, Shaq, and Antawn Jamison. They got those players for almost nothing, because the teams those three players played for did not feel they were worth paying the remaining value of their contracts. There are reasons for that.

On a fundamental level, the only real way to really and truly add talent is through the draft. This is a fairly basic concept. If you do not have good players or prospects, other teams will not trade you good players or prospects. If you do not have good players or prospects, it makes little sense to spend money on free agents. The only reliable way to acquire good players or prospects is through the draft.

Even a team like the Celtics, which was seemingly built on trades, relied on the draft. They drafted Paul Pierce, bought the draft rights to Rondo, traded a top-5 pick for Ray Allen, and traded Al Jefferson (considered an all-time steal at #14) for KG. With very, very, few exceptions, team-building always comes back to the draft. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who the Cavaliers have used their post-LeBron draft picks to acquire:

2003: Jason Kapono, pick #32 overall. Lost to Charlotte in the expansion draft.

2004: Luke Jackson, pick #10 overall. For more on that, read my full writeup.

2005: No picks. (Effectively) traded their 1st-round pick for Jiri Welsch (click here for more) and their 2nd-round pick for Anderson Varejao.

2006: Shannon Brown, pick #25 overall. Eventually traded away as a throw-in to the Ben Wallace trade. Daniel Gibson, pick #42 overall. With Andy out for the year, Boobie is the best player on the team. This was a great pick.


2008: J.J. Hickson, #19 overall pick. That’s been a roller-coaster ride.

2009: Christian Eyenga, #30 overall pick. Starting to look like a rotation player, maybe. Team also got Danny Green, who they later cut.

2010: Pick traded for Antawn Jamison.

Note: if anyone has an easy way to keep track of where all the Cavs’ 2nd-round pick went, I’d appreciate it, because it’s hard to keep tabs on exactly what the Cavs spend their 2nd-rounders on. Also, I am aware that the Cavs still have the rights to Sasha Kaun.

I mean, yikes. Eyenga, Gibson, and Hickson are the only rotation players the Cavs have managed to draft post-LeBron, and Jamison is the only rotation player, current or former, that the Cavs managed to get for a traded pick. That’s a miserable showing for six years of drafting. Oh, and the Cavs took their big free-agency shot at Larry Hughes.

Again, part of this is because LeBron made the team too good to fast. The Thunder got to rebuild with four top-five picks in three years, starting with the Durant draft in 2007. If the Cavs had the #3 pick in 2005, they would’ve gotten Chris Paul or Deron Williams. In fact, lets’ do this exactly (no CP3 over Deron): The Thunder drafted Jeff Green #5 in 2007: if the Cavs had the #5 pick in the 2003 draft, LeBron and Wade would’ve been Cavaliers from day one. And Deron Williams would have joined them when they drafted him 3rd overall in 2005. (Shaun Livingston in 2004 would have been a tough break, but no cheating.) Think about that for a while. By not carrying his team to a respectable record for the first two years of his career, Durant prevented himself from having to make an uncomfortable exodus to greener pastures later on. He really has done everything right, hasn’t he?

If they’d sucked in 2004, they might have actually snagged Dwight Howard. Now that’s the kind of young core that would have kept LeBron here forever. Instead, their success forced them to have to look for a Kobe-like minor miracle in the late lottery or full-blown Ginobili miracle in the later picks, and those aren’t easy to come by.

Why do the Cavaliers suck? It’s not because they built around LeBron. It’s not because they didn’t build around LeBron. The Cavs acquired an asset who wouldn’t have fit around LeBron without having to give up significant talent this off-season. His name is Ramon Sessions. You have been basking in his glory. The Cavaliers suck because the draft is the best way to acquire significant assets, the Cavaliers acquired one significant asset through the draft in the last seven years (Boobie is maybe .5 of a significant asset — what teams would give up a #1 pick for him? Consider that the #15 draft pick is an average 1st-round pick), and that significant asset left last summer. That’s why this team is historically terrible. That’s the story here, folks. Nothing less, nothing more. Until next time.

Links To The Present: January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

“Cleveland has the worst record in the league at 8-37 and can tie the franchise record for consecutive losses in one season on Friday against Denver. The team also shares the NBA record for consecutive losses with Denver — 24 — spread over two seasons for the Cavs.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“With their loss in New Jersey on Monday night, the Cavaliers are now 0-12 in the month of January and have lost the 12 games by an average of 16.8 points per game. Offensively, they are averaging just 92.5 points per game while giving up 109.3 points per game on average. The number is even a little misleading to the positive side for the Cavaliers, as teams have rested their starters in the fourth quarter numerous times.” [Ryan Isley]

“Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, on their way to losing 18 straight games and 28 of 29, the Cavaliers crossed a line that separates bad teams from historically bad teams, and in the process, they acquired a rare sort of terrifying quality: the team that is so bad opponents and opposing fans approach them with a sense of urgency.” [Zach Lowe]

“Simply put, the basketball gods, whom you would expect to have some sympathy for the team most adversely affected by “The Decision,’’ have instead been extraordinarily hostile to the poor Cavs.” [Bob Ryan]

Another Cavs Mailbag from WFNY, which features questions and answers about trade prospects, Byron Scott’s commitment, and Boobie Gibson’s upcoming wedding.

How irrelevant are the Cavs? Tickets for their game against the Nets the other night were going for as low as 11 cents.

Some news to remind everyone that the universe is not always cruel: Cavs radio announcer Joe Tait recently checked out a rehab clinic after undergoing successful heart surgery. He hopes to return to the announcer’s table sometime around the All-Star Break.

On The Twitters

“Cavs’ basketball is to basketball what Basketball Wives is to wives.” [hoopshype]

“If Rachel Phelps would have put together a team as bad as this Cavs roster the ending of Major League would have been totally different.” [realcavsfans]

“Jamison on record losing streak: ‘Goes in one ear & out the other. Thinking about it or dwelling on it doesn’t help the psyche at all.'” [Jason Lloyd]

Recap: Celtics 112, Cavs 95 (Or, The State of the Cavaliers is a miserable one indeed)

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Overview: Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 24 points in the first quarter of a 112-95 Celtics win. The Cavaliers have not won a game since the Republican Party officially became the House majority.

Well what were you honestly expecting  to happen bullets:

Well, it was a throwback ass-kicking. Perkins came back from injury and absolutely manhandled the Cavs’ undersized frontline under the basket. KG got whatever shots he wanted against Jamison while completely shutting him down on defense — again.

Paul Pierce closed out the first quarter with a vicious “screw this, we lost to the Wizards on Saturday and I do NOT feel like playing more than 24 minutes against this crappy team” scoring flurry. Ray Allen was left open coming off of curls and spotting up. The Cavalier offense basically consisted of Jamison and Eyenga firing jumpers. The Cavs were out-worked and out-executed by a team with infinitely more talent. That generally leads to a loss. A few quick individual notes:

– I have two main observations about Eyenga: His jumper is better than I expected it to be, and he settles for it more than I expected him too. I understand that he’s afraid he won’t get the ball back if he passes it to Jamison, Hickson, or Sessions, but I’d like to see him try to be a bit more efficient offensively.

– Hickson is hustling. He had a huge night on the boards again, and he was active around the rim on both offense and defense. However, he still had a few laughably, laughably, laughably horrible defensive possessions. I’m not sure if he’s hustling for numbers or just doesn’t get basketball, and I’m not sure which is worse.

– People realize that the Cavaliers lost four players this off-season, and two of them were DNPs for the Celtics tonight, right? That’s all for me tonight. Cavs host the Nuggets on Friday.

Links To The Present: January 25, 2011

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

“Sadly, at this point, there’s probably nothing the Cavs can do. lnstead, it will be left to what an opponent does (or doesn’t do) that may get them over the hump. When that will happen is anyone’s guess.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer’s post-game blog]

Doc Rivers recently placed a call to Byron Scott and offered some sentiments in the “keep your head up” vein. I know NBA coaches are part of a fraternity and they confer from time to time, but the fan in me is indignant. The Celtics used to want to rip our throats out and now they’re taking pity on us. Spectacular failure breeds bruised pride, I guess.

One of the few encouraging aspects of the last couple weeks of Cavs games has been J.J. Hickson’s effort on the boards. He seems to be working his butt off (as he should) and he is apparently no longer clashing with Byron Scott. I’m upgrading their relationship from “inmate and parole officer” to “hard-headed child and teacher.”

Andrew over at WFNY has a really thoughtful feature on the lessons of this horrid season and choices the Cavs’ front office and coaching staff will have to make throughout the rebuilding process if we’re going to look back on the 2010-11 season as antiseptic to a wound and not the beginning of a prolonged stretch of futility.

On The Twitters

“You’re not going to double Lopez there? Really.” [Kurt Helin]

“#Cavs could win out the month of January and still have the worst record in the East.” [Scott Sargent]

“The game vs. the Nets was a back breaker that even the most positive player won’t recover from. I expect infighting to commence shortly.” [realcavsfans]