Archive for February, 2011

Links To The Present: February 21, 2011

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Here’s the latest Cavs trade news. Long story short: Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison are likely to stay, Parker might be headed to Chicago or Boston, and I wouldn’t bet on the Cavs being the third team in a Carmelo deal, but reading that situation is like trying to parse the symbolism in a Richard Kelly film. The Cavs front office is using the word “patience” a lot, which seems to be code for “we’re not getting any halfway decent offers for anybody on our roster, so we might just stand pat.” A frustrating if rational decision.

WFNY has a preview of important dates on the Cavs’ schedule over the next few months. Heads up, you guys. The lottery is a little under three months away.

“Even on All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, the Cavaliers managed to be embarrassed. As the only Cleveland representative in the weekend’s festivities, Boobie Gibson left the window wide open for jokes about the Cavs in his very brief appearance. Gibson’s inclusion in the 3-point contest was already relative controversial and was most likely the NBA’s way of throwing the Cavaliers a proverbial bone. It could be argued that several other players were worthy of the spot in the contest, such as New Jersey’s Anthony Morrow. Gibson’s no slouch when it comes to shooting from downtown, but after missing his first 9 shots, Cleveland was sufficiently embarrassed once again.” [Conrad Kaczmarek]

Josh Cribbs called Bron “my boy” in a tweet, and a bunch of Cleveland fans got mad at him. So… that’s a thing.

On The Twitters

“Finding this Josh Cribbs vs Cleveland fans feud to be quite entertaining. Like being friends with Judas, you don’t go around announcing it.” [realcavsfans]

“Do other cities compare their sports teams and fandom to girls/dating/breakups/marriage/etc as much as Cleveland?” [Scott Sargent]

“We can only hope the ballboys were real [jerks] to Kevin Garnett this weekend #karma” [Zac Jackson]

All-Star wrapup

Monday, February 21st, 2011

I covered All-Star Weekend for NBC this weekend because it was in my backyard. Not a lot of Cavs-related stuff happening, for obvious reasons, but here are a few notes from the weekend:

– Best All-Star game in years. Kobe set the tone early, and there wasn’t nearly as much fooling around in the early going as there usually is, although the East kept itself in the game with a lot of fast breaks off of made baskets.

– Kobe was a man possessed. Where did those dunks come from? The All-Star game is a Rorschach blot — you can see Kobe trying harder in an exhibition game than he has for most of the season, or you can see Kobe stepping his game up against the best in the league and sending a message. It looked like he really wanted to put on a show for his home crowd, although he really gassed in that fourth quarter. Still, what a performance from Kobe. There is literally no way to reconcile this performance with Kobe’s performance against the Cavs.

– LeBron James is good at basketball. There was a lot of up-and-down play and somewhat lax defense at the All-Star game, and there’s no way to stop LeBron in those situations. There’s nothing quite like seeing him drive to the basket with a full head of steam.

– Dwight Howard literally could not have cared less about the All-Star game.

– I know it’s only the All-Star Game, but Derrick Rose did not look like he belonged. Forced shots, failed drives into traffic, and he generally didn’t look like he could have been one of the Alpha Dogs in the game. I know that value and ability are different things, but does anyone really think that the Bulls would be worse with C.J. Watson starting at the point, LeBron at the three, and Deng as the 6th man?

– Chris Paul’s handle is something to behold. He’s literally one move faster than everyone else in the league with the ball in his hands. He flew by guys when it looked like they had him made, and performed inside-out dribbles in the time it takes most guys to perform a standard dribble.

– I’m not sure whether the fact that Russ Westbrook had some of the best highlights of anybody in the game and a pedestrian final line is a good thing or a bad thing. Rorschach blot, right?

– The dunk contest was amazing, and will be unfairly defined by the car dunk. Without the car dunk, this contest still had more memorable slams than the last few contests combined. And yeah, the thing was totally rigged to get Blake into round two, but his elbow dunk in the finals easily trumped anything McGee did in the finals.

– McGee’s first dunk was the best of the night — if the car dunk is the dark side of props, that dunk is the right way to use them. I did not know that was possible. Ibaka’s free-throw line dunk was ripped off.

– Daniel Gibson — #1 among three-point contest participants that attended the University of Texas. WE CAN BUILD ON THIS! CATCH THE FEVER!

– Halftime show was incredible. Rihanna looks amazing, she sounded fairly good for a pop singer that’s more of a “performer” than a pure musical artist, and Kanye absolutely knocked it out of the park. Drake expects you to be impressed by him — Kanye BEGS you to remember him when he performs live. That’s an important quality in a performer.

– Tim Duncan, the All-Star game may have passed you by.

– I don’t see the Knicks making it to the conference finals over the course of a possible Carmelo three-year deal. If New York is fine with being Denver east, that’s fine for them. There are worse things than being Denver East.

– That’s all I have for this weekend. Great all-around experience, and the game and dunk contest were all I could ask for. Soon the Cavaliers will play again.

Links To The Present: February 18, 2011

Friday, February 18th, 2011

“The perception of many is that these players have frequently given less than a full effort, and perhaps that perception is deserved. No matter what the reasons or causality may be, as the Cleveland Cavaliers head into the break, the team is a miserable 10-46.” [Andrew Schnitkey]

“The Nuggets have no desire to take on Troy Murphy’s $12 million expiring contract.  They want a 3rd team to get involved.  Enter Cleveland, and that sweet $14 million trade exception.  For their time, trouble and money, the Cavaliers would likely receive Murphy and one of the four Nets draft picks.  Not a bad haul for a team looking to acquire as many future assets as possible.” [John Bena]

“The question I have isn’t about Gibson deserving to be [in the 3-point contest], but rather should he participate given his injury troubles this year?” [Rick of WFNY]

“Cavaliers coach Byron Scott will be in Los Angeles for the All-Star break, but he won’t be at the game and he won’t be parked by the television set for All-Star Weekend.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

And here’s an aggregation of the latest Cavs trade news.

On The Twitters

“Potentially getting two first round picks for absorbing Troy Murphy’s contract would be awfully tempting for the #Cavs.” [Michael A. Young]

“Checking up on draft hopeful Jeremy Tyler and found out that Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is still balling in Japan at the age of 42.” [realcavsfans]

“I’m told that JJ Hickson has changed plans, opting to pass up a weekend of partying in LA to decompress in his hometown of Atlanta. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

Links To The Present: February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

“The Cavs, who hadn’t won since Drew Carey was chubby until the Los Angeles Clippers came to town six days ago, Wednesday night beat no less than the other — somewhat better known — Los Angeles team. That would be the Jack Nicholson/Phil the Zen coach/Kobe the Black Mamba/Ron the riot inciter/NBA champions the last two seasons Lakers, who went down, 104-99, at the House of Flaming Swords.” [Bill Livingston]

“Just when I was beginning to lose faith.  In the middle of the player-led mutiny in the NBA, where star players are making pre-arranged deals to play together in the sports big cities, the Cleveland Cavaliers won one for the little guys, upsetting the two-time defending World Champion Los Angeles Lakers 104-99 at The Q.  It was, I’ll say, one of the great wins in Cavaliers history and for one night made me proud to be a basketball fan.” [John Bena]

“This might be asking a little too much, but with the 26-game skid behind us, could we see a consistent effort on a nightly basis? The win against the Clippers was great. Solid effort all around, inspired play. The loss to the Wizards was just pathetic. Why must the Cavaliers have an embarrassing letdown after such a great game? After the 15-point loss to the Wizards, I was quick to assume that the Cavaliers were back to their old ways. In my defense, I had every reason to make that assumption. The Cavs were lazy, carless, and appeared generally uninterested in Sunday night’s game, and then last night happened.” [Conrad Kaczmarek]

“Good for the Cavs. You definitely didn’t expect the Lakers to have another letdown in Cleveland. But I’ve played with a few of those guys in Cleveland and they want to win.” [LeBron James via Brian Windhorst]

A slightly more upbeat Mary Scmitt Boyer talks trades, trades, trades, and Byron Scott.

John Ireland has a tumultuous journey in his future.

And here’s the Eyenga dunk on Pau Gasol. Drink it in, Cavs fans.

On The Twitters

“First Important Thing: There could be no greater boon to a sooner resurgance than the sudden emergence of Ramon Sessions. #Cavs” [Eric Knappenberger]

“Antawn Jamison says his calf was knicked in the final play, but he is fine. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

“B Scott: Tmrw when i get back to LA, I’m going to walk around w my chest out a bit like I walked around pissed off when we got beat by 50.” [Zac Jackson]

“I like it. Skyeyenga” [Christian Eyenga]

Recap: Cavs 104, Lakers 99 (Or, WHAT?! WHOOOOOO!)

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Overview: The Cavs won in regulation for the first time since November 27th…against the Los Angeles Lakers. Ramon Sessions led all scorers with 32 points.

Seriously though, The Cavs just beat the Lakers bullets:

– Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, this is a Laker team that needs the All-Star break very badly. They have exactly one quality young player, and he has the knees of a 45-year old. This team was not built for seven-game road trips, and they were not in the mood to play basketball tonight.

– That said, what a performance by the Cavs. The big difference between this game and the 55-point massacre was the interior defense. Odom, Bynum, and Gasol ran a layup line against the Cavs in Los Angeles, and while the Cavs certainly had some issues inside — Pau had 30 and 20, and the Lakers had 19 offensive rebounds to the Cavs’ 26 defensive rebounds — Odom and Bynum weren’t able to do much against the Cavs at all. The Lakers were forced to rely on a bailout performance from Kobe, but he’s no longer a sure bet to deliver those performances at will — at least not in February.

– RAZOR RAMON. RAZOR RAMON. RAZOR FREAKING RAMON.

What a performance. We’ve seen it all year: if the other team isn’t going to make an effort on defense, Razor Ramon will shred them. His game is all about taking it to the basket each and every time, and he never stops coming. (This is why I started calling him “the lord of blowouts” a few months back.) The Lakers came into the Q with zero energy, and Sessions made them pay by living in the paint. Sessions scored 32 points, and only five of those points came on long jumpers. I’ve said it all year — the only time this team has looked like a functional offensive unit is when Sessions is doing his thing, and he was the guy who won the game for the Cavs tonight.

(Yes, the fact that Derek Fisher scored a season-high 19 points on 12 shots is the caveat here, but let’s not dwell on that too much right now.)

You’ve gotta love Anthony Parker. A big three late in the fourth, nine assists, quality defense, and his typical brand of smart play. The guy deserves to be traded.

Hickson shot 6-18, but he’s come a long way. First of all, his misses came in the paint instead of on the perimeter, and good things will happen if he continues to go inside. More importantly, he never let his poor shooting take him out of the game — he crashed the boards all night, and was making big plays late.

EYENGA! Great defense on Kobe, efficient scoring, and that dunk on Gasol. If he locks himself in the gym with Chris Jent this summer, he’s a keeper.

Jamison — 19 points on 18 shots, 10 rebounds, and he got torched on defense. Malkovich Malkovich.

I don’t really have much more for tonight. What a win. Have a good All-Star break, everyone.

Links To The Present: February 16, 2011

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

“Yes, they’re awful. But you know what? Given their LeBron-free plight, they are better off this way. First of all, at least they are interesting. Who wouldn’t pull for this team and this town? NBA teams that are merely bad are usually boring. This team is endearing. It embodies everything that has ever gone wrong in Cleveland sports, which is saying something.” [Michael Rosenberg]

As John incredulously noted yesterday, Byron Scott seems to have figured out what the Cavs need: a massive improvement on the defensive end. Insert phrase containing a fictitious British detective and animal excrement here.

Both Ken Berger and Kurt Helin are reporting that the Cavs are desperately attempting to unload everyone and everything they can before February 24: Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, the LeBron trade exception, etc. There is also further speculation that, if anyone moves before the trade deadline, it’s most likely to be Parker.

Jason Lloyd thinks the current Cavs’ roster contains only four keepers: Hickson, Eyenga, Gibson, and Sessions. Apparently, Lloyd doesn’t believe in Manny Harris, who has converted quite a few Cleveland fans and journalists this year.

To wrap things up, another WFNY Cavs Mailbag. In this edition, Scott Sargent addresses the Cavs’ offseason itinerary, Byron Scott’s accountability, and what the starting lineup might look like in 2011-12.

Of note for tonight’s loss game against the Lakers: Boobie Gibson will be a game-time decision, as his left quad is still ailing.

On The Twitters

“Kobe Bryant says he feels for Byron Scott, his mentor coming into the league. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

“#Cavs Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Tait will join Cavaliers Live Pregame Show on FOX Sports Ohio over the phone tonight. Show starts at 7″ [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Even at 6’11 Jan Vesley is an NBA tweener. Not athletic enough to cover NBA small forwards too weak to bang with NBA power forwards.” [realcavsfans]

I have no words

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Also, Byron Scott says he’s figured out#Cavs (after admitting frustrated confusion in Sun’s loss). It’s all about defense, from now on.

— Via Mary Schmitt Boyer’s twitter account

IT IS FEBRUARY 15th. Every team in the league scoring at will on the Cavs and beating them for a month and a half didn’t trigger this realization? It took an extra loss at home to the Washington Wizards? I suppose I should be happy, because this is what needed to happen a long time ago. We’ll see if players who mail it in on the defensive end actually get held accountable from here on out.

Links To The Present: February 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

“There’s no question that JJ’s performance on the court has been outstanding, for the most part, in recent weeks. It would appear that coach Byron Scott has helped JJ achieve a real breakthrough and he’s given Cavs fans something to feel good about with regard to the future of the franchise. However, none of this means that questions don’t still linger.” [Andrew Schnitkey]

“Now that The Streak is over, we go directly to Ohioans for a ruling: Do you put 26 straight L’s with an injury-shredded, post-LeBron roster down there in the two-word pantheon with The Drive, The Fumble and The Betrayal?” [Marc Stein]

Boobie Gibson’s left quad is bothering him again. He tweaked it in Sunday’s loss to the Wizards, and his status for Wednesday’s matchup against the Lakers is uncertain. If he is unable to play tomorrow night, it’s likely Ramon Sessions will get some increased burn. Byron Scott had discussed reducing Sessions’ minutes now that Mo Williams is healthy, but that plan has been put on hold.

Since the Cavs–barring massive, rapid improvement–will pick somewhere in the top 4 of this year’s draft, WFNY has compiled some mini-profiles of several top college players who are likely to leave for the NBA this June.

On The Twitters

“BScott going to ‘work their asses off’ every day on D until #Cavs players get it right. Guys still getting lazy on D for stretches, he says” [Jason Lloyd]

“Remember Vince Carter’s waning days in Toronto? You’ll see a lot of that with a franchise tag in the #NBA. It’s an end run around UFA status” [Michael A. Young]

“‘Mark Price for THAA-REE.’ #NaturalBornShooter RT @CONCEDE: Happy Birthday Mark Price!!! #Cavs #GloryDays” [Eric Knappenberger]

Links To The Present: February 14, 2011

Monday, February 14th, 2011

“The Cleveland coach doesn’t understand how a team can come out so flat, time after time. He can’t explain the lack of heart or the lack of focus.” [Jodie Valade]

“I guess you will have to ask them that. As far as excuses, I hope that they do not have any excuses. Just tell the truth. The bottom line is that we played like you know what and we have to play better and it has to be a committed effort every single night. There has to be that sense of urgency every single night. Playing hard should not be a skill. That is your job to come out and play hard, as hard as you can for 48, minutes and I think tonight we did that for maybe 24 minutes and we are not good enough to do that for 24 minutes. If we do not give ourselves a chance by coming out and playing with a sense of urgency every single night, then we have no shot of winning games.” [Byron Scott on the Cavs' excuses for Washington's uncontested shots]

“It was a puzzling performance to say the least.  The Cavs were not competitive and the positivity from Friday evening quickly evaporated; the era of good feelings at The Q and in the locker room was a fleeting phenomenon.  It was another discouraging evening that reinforced just how terribly bad this team is and how far the franchise has fallen in a matter of months.” [Brendan Porath]

“Hickson has displayed a noticeably improved effort since moving back to the starting lineup, taking over the center position when Anderson Varejao was lost for the season with a ruptured right ankle tendon. He has eight double doubles in his last 12 games, and is averaging 16.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in that span.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

And here’s a sordid rendition of the alphabet, inspired by the Cavs’ 26-game losing streak.

On The Twitters

“Cavs fall 115-100. Wizards get first road victory. It’s obvious: Cleveland is built on an ancient Indian burial ground.” [Eric Knappenberger]

“After the trade deadline there should be no reason not to give significant minutes to anyone that is under 25 years old.” [realcavsfans]

“I don’t know if I can take 2 more years of eMo Williams. #NewNickname #Cavs” [Michael A. Young]

Recap: Wizards 115, Cavs 100 (Or, of course.)

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Overview: The Washington Wizards got their first road win of the year, and they got it pretty easily. The Wizards absolutely punished the Cavaliers with their size and athleticism, and have now won more games by double-digit scores on the road this season than the Cavs have at home or on the road.

Everything about this team is miserable bullets:

If Mo Williams didn’t make that game-tying shot, J.J. Hickson got called for goaltending, and the Cavs didn’t rally to beat a 4-18 road team, this would be the low point of the season. In fact, 8-74 may have been in play if the Cavs didn’t pull off that win against the Clippers. Oh, and the Cavs haven’t won a game in regulation in their last 38 tries. This team could easily be on a 38-game losing streak.

On Sunday, the Cavs were coming off their first win in a month and a half and were playing a team that has not won a road game all season. And the Wizards were on the back end of a back-to-back. The Cavs got absolutely spanked. In fact, the Cavs haven’t played as well all season as the Wizards did on Sunday. That is absolutely awful. Let’s get into it:

This defensive frontcourt is an abomination. You know how long it took before Antawn Jamison had his first defensive breakdown that led to an easy score? Twelve seconds. The Wizards won the tip, and ran a Wall-Blatche pick-and-roll. Jamison moved towards Wall without actually preventing him from turning the corner, then began to jog back in the direction of Blatche as Wall hit him for an easy pass with a dunk.

You can say that Hickson should have rotated off of JaVale McGee to prevent the dunk, but asking a lot of him in that situation — the Cavs are not going to be competitive if they have to play four-on-five on defense. By the way, the Wizards drained two open mid-range shots on their next two possessions because Jamison didn’t rotate correctly.

Speaking of Hickson, he was nearly as bad as Jamison on defense. Bad shows, blown assignments, miscommunications, you name it. Antawn Jamison is easily the worst defensive forward I have ever seen in my life, but Hickson isn’t a whole lot better defensively. Jamison and Hickson make Blatche and McGee look like Duncan and Robinson.

Offensively, Hickson couldn’t build on his big performance against the Clippers — he’s still taking it inside and crashing the boards, but he rushed a lot of shots at the rim and had problems with McGee’s length.

Mo Williams looked about 400 steps slow on both the offensive and defensive end. I know Mo made a big shot and some nice passes against the Clippers, but Sessions isn’t much worse on defense than Mo is and is clearly the superior offensive player. Trying to pretend that Mo Williams can lead an effective offense is doing nobody any favors.

I take big performances by opposing players with a grain of salt since the Cavaliers are an insult to defense, but Nick Young was freaking immolating. The Cavs had no answer for his size, length, and ability to hit pull-up jumpers. That was an impressive performance.

Not sure what to make of John Wall. He may be one of the five best open-court scorers in the league, and he’s a nightmare when he finds a passing lane or a driving lane. However, he REALLY can’t shoot, but he’s JUST competent enough with his shot to keep tossing them up. Even though the Cavs couldn’t stay in front of Wall at all, he shot 8-19 from the field and 2-9 on shots from outside of 10 feet. If he gets comfortable with his shot, he’ll be unstoppable. However, that’s a really big if.

That’s all for tonight. This is not good. This is not good at all.