Archive for March, 2011

Recap: Blazers 111, Cavs 70 (Or, Baron’s back and OH GOD THERE’S SO MUCH BLOOD)

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Everything about this game was miserable.

The Cavs had 6 assists and 18 turnovers.

105 of Portland’s points came from the paint, the free-throw line, or the three-point line.

Offense miserable, defense miserable, everything miserable. I hope you had a good St. Patrick’s day, everyone. I have nothing tonight.

Links To The Present: March 17, 2011

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

“Ramon Sessions rebounded from a poor first half and scored on a driving layup with 18.1 seconds left to lift the Cavs to a 97-93 victory. That snapped a four-game losing streak and enabled the Cavs to improve to 13-53 in a game between the worst team in the Eastern Conference against the worst team in the Western Conference.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“With Cousins and Dalembert, we’re not going to out-physical them, but we managed to outsmart them. There was no way I was going to bang with Cousins (on the crucial late-game possession). If he hit me, I was going down. Thankfully they called the foul on him.” [The AP]

“Scott’s Princeton offense never really took hold [this season] for various reasons. His point guard for most of the season, Mo Williams, was plagued with injuries since training camp. He lost Anderson Varejao midway through the year to an ankle injury, and the center is the “hub” of the offense and one of the most important pieces to the Princeton.” [Jason Lloyd]

Baron Davis might be back tonight against Portland.

For those of you watching the NCAA tourney for the sole purpose of getting a good look at future Cavaliers: I have scoured a handful of outlets and cannot find any definitive word on when/whether or not Kyrie Irving will play for Duke. The closest thing I can find is former Dukie Jay Williams proclaiming Kyrie Irving will play in the first round, then softening his stance to “there’s a chance.” It seems very likely that Irving will play, either in the first or second game of the tournament, but there has been no guarantee from Coach K or Duke’s freshman phenom. UPDATE: He’s going to play in their first game. Coach K just confirmed it.

And since half of you hate Kelly Dwyer, you will probably enjoy this.

On The Twitters

“#Cavs owner Dan Gilbert slapping up someone at a Bar Mitzvah is worse than anything he has ever done on twitter.” [Michael A. Young]

“Andy doesn’t have nuttin on Samardo.” [realcavsfans]

“Never was a big Ramon Sessions guy. He is proving me correct once again.” [Bill Livingston, mid-game last night]

Recap: Cavs 97, Kings 93 (Or, Kings for a day)

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Overview: The Cleveland Cavaliers got their fifth road win of the season at the expense of the lowly Sacramento Kings. Ramon Sessions led the Cavaliers with 20 points on 15 shots, and Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 23 points.

Rumors of Ramon Sessions’ demise may have been exaggerated bullets:

RAZOR RAMON! Boy, did he need this game in the worst way. The Kings’ defense was just what the doctor ordered for Ramon — only 2 of his 20 points came from outside of the paint. And while 6 assists against 4 turnovers isn’t anything to write home about, it is enough of an improvement to read on a blog about. And how about that shot that ended up becoming the game-winner? I knew it was too early to give up on you, Razor Ramon.

Hickson’s back in a bit of a groove, Harangody decided to go back to making shots, and Samardo had his moments, although I feel the latter is really starting to look like an overachieving undrafted rookie who went undrafted for a reason.

Good deal. The team really needed a win without Baron, and it got one.

I’ll make my quick note on DeMarcus Cousins — he is a wonderful rebounder, shockingly good passer, and has lots of size and talent. However, when the ball leaves his hands, it is far more likely to end up in the hands of the other team than it is to end up in the basket or the hands of a teammate in a position to score.

Being able to put the ball in the hoop or the hands of your teammates rather than near the hoop or in the hands of opposing teammates is a very fundamental tenet of effective basketball, and that has been a major problem for DeMarcus Cousins this season. Yet the overwhelming consensus on him seems to be that he’s a major, major talent who is a few tweaks away from dominance. He may the least efficient forward in basketball. I would be fine with a”Tyreke was out, DeMarcus is 20, this was a wake-up call season for him, he’s still talented” reading of this season, but I seem to see way more “This guy can grab rebounds and hurl the ball in the direction of the basket WITH THE BEST OF THEM! Sure, the shots aren’t going in and they’re not smart shots to be taking, but he’s 20! Just wait until he can drink legally!” I don’t really understand it. Until next time, everyone.

Links To The Present: March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

“It’s a battle of the bottom dwellers in the NBA tonight at the Power Balance Pavilion. With Cleveland and Sacramento both being in the 15th slot in their respective conferences, there is much reason to believe that this should be a close game. Though, the Cav’s have lost 27 of 28 road games, and average allowing 109 opponent points per game in those losses, the Cav’s just might have found themselves a manageable opponent as compared to the Oklahoma City Thunder; assuming the Cav’s shut down Kings guard Marcus Thorton.” [Eddy Jansen]

“It’s tough to do, in the face of his salient argument, but I’m going to have to disagree with Byron [Scott’s argument that the Cavs should have been more physical in their loss to the Thunder]. It’s been two days since the game, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the Cavaliers didn’t show a lack of heart or dedication to winning by not knocking Westbrook down as he drove. It was probably just that they didn’t want to be complete and total jerk-holes.” [Kelly Dwyer]

“Almost three weeks ago, Ramon Sessions not only lost his best friend, but he also began to look over his shoulder regularly to see what’s closing in on him.” [Jodie Valade]

“[Samuels and Hickson] are both most effective in the paint. Instead of getting in each other’s way in the lane, Hickson has taken his talents to the perimeter — and it hasn’t been pretty.” [Bob Finnan]

I found this one via our colleagues over at WFNY. This isn’t necessarily Cavs-related, but Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a scathing indictment of David Stern, describing the iron-fisted tactics with which he commissions the league. I’m positive any avid NBA fan has read a Tyrant Stern column or two in their perusal of newspaper pages or the world wide web, but this is one of the more damning I’ve read. Is anyone else incredibly conflicted about David Stern? I usually find him to be charming, informative, and thoughtful in interviews, but you read about the stuff that goes on behind closed doors and he seems like a [jerk] with a Napoleon complex.

On The Twitters

“As a Cavs fan, I’m intrigued by the prospect of Kyrie Irving playing in the tournament. As an OSU fan, I am terrified by this development.” [Andrew Schnitkey]

“Wonder if Byron Scott is trying to scare his young team Bull Durham style? ‘You lollygag your way down to first…'” [realcavsfans]

“First 65 games were what now? RT @SamAmicoFSO Cavaliers coach Byron Scott criticizes team’s approach, calls the final 17 games ‘an audition'” [Michael A. Young]

Links To The Present: March 15, 2011

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

“The Cavs have lost four in a row and five of six without Jamison. Of course, they were only 11-48 with him, but they seemed to be giving better effort and looking like a different team since ending that horrendous 26-game losing streak.” [Jason Lloyd]

“I think the last two games, yeah, think so. We discussed that this morning as coaches. That’s one of the most frustrating things for us is that we’ve regressed instead of progressed — especially when you see progression coming and all of a sudden the last two games you take a couple of steps back.” [Byron Scott via Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“I hope they are not looking at the schedule and thinking, ‘April (13), the season is over, and we can take a deep breath and enjoy our summer.’ We have so many young guys. I wouldn’t put that past them.” [Byron Scott via Bob Finnan]

On The Twitters

“NBA Players Association says that 60% of players go broke 5 years after retiring.” [realcavsfans]

“For #Cavs fans that need a refresher on PG Kyrie Irving read this…” [Michael A. Young]

Links To The Present: March 14, 2011

Monday, March 14th, 2011

“The official count might be up for debate, but Byron Scott has seen this before from his Cavaliers. He’s seen this sleepwalking performance, this lack of effort, this kind of 95-75 loss they had to Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon at The Q. Has it been three or four times? More? Less?” [Jodie Valade]

“One game after the Cavs held a team meeting following a 20-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott ripped them again Sunday for showing no heart in a 20-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He keeps asking how much heart his players have, and they keep responding by not showing much. Not good.” [Jason Lloyd]

“Ramon hasn’t played well the last week. I don’t care what the circumstances are. He hasn’t played well.” [Byron Scott via Brian Dulik]

“Coach Scott will continue to demand the best effort his players can give, and the players will likely respond every couple of games and have a shot at winning. It is not out of the question to say that the Cavs could even see another extended losing streak – they have lost four in a row, and seven of their last ten.” [Rick Grayshock]

On The Twitters

“BScott believes Baron Davis could rejoin #Cavs Thursday at Portland.” [Jason Lloyd]

“Cavs would win 26 games RT @hoopshype What were your worst NBA predictions this season? Me: Wizards make the playoffs, Sixers will suck” [realcavsfans]

“How did I not catch this picture last week? SO much unintentional comedy #Skyenga #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]

Recap: Thunder 95, Cavs 75 (Or, when the Baron’s away, nothing good will happen at all.)

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Overview: Russell Westbrook scored 12 consecutive points in the third quarter of a 95-75 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

On the bright side, this kind of thing doesn’t seem as normal as it did a few months ago bullets:

– Yeesh. Nothing good to take away from this game. No execution, no effort.

– Razor Ramon has officially imploded, and he’s not defending his position either. We’ll see how much longer he keeps that starting spot.

– Samardo Samuels has turned back into a pumpkin, and Hickson isn’t doing much other than rebounding. And Harangody enjoyed an 0 for 8 night.

– Honestly, this will have to be another open thread night, because I’ve been trying to think of profound things to say about this game all day and drawing blank after blank. The Cavs absolutely sleepwalked, and they are starting two players who were summer-league pickups. That is not a good combination.

One question to think about. Harden has finally started to come into his own for the Thunder — in a bizarro world where Varejao had been healthy at the deadline and the Thunder had been willing to trade Harden for him (they wouldn’t have been, and given that they got Perkins, that was probably the correct course of action), how happy would you have been with Harden instead of Varejao?

Links To The Present: March 11, 2011

Friday, March 11th, 2011

“Perhaps it’s all the new faces or the overall lack of talent up and down the roster. Whatever the reason, the Cavaliers are again struggling to give a consistent effort every night on both ends of the floor.” [Jason Lloyd]

“[Ramon Sessions] knows it’s only a matter of time that Davis takes over as the starting point guard. That time was close, Coach Byron Scott said after the New Orleans game on Tuesday. Now, that time frame might change because Davis has left the team.” [Bob Finnan]

“When Samardo Samuels was about 11 years old and growing up in Trelawny, Jamaica, he saw his first NBA game on TV. He had no interest in the game. His neighbor was watching it, and Samuels was waiting for the game to be over so he could watch a soccer game. But what he saw changed his life.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Like anything else, time is a funny thing.  I don’t necessarily believe that it heals all wounds.  For example, I still can’t imagine a day where I will want LeBron James’ jersey in the rafters at the Q.  Just the same, time will create a distance.  Until then Cavs fans are inextricably tied to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.  Right now, it is kind of fun.” [Craig Lyndall]

On The Twitters

“Kobe putting up practice jumpers sweating like it’s game 7 of the finals. Our guys according to Scott have yet to learn the system.” [realcavsfans]

“Love or hate the Heat (and I know the answer), great basketball night on TNT. Lakers-Heat now, Knicks-Mavs to follow. #angrywivesclub” [Jason Lloyd]

Notes and Errata: March 11th, 2011

Friday, March 11th, 2011

First of all, thoughts go out to everyone in Japan impacted by the earthquake. Reminder that there are far more important things than basketball.

– Can’t shake the hunch that the picks will be either Irving/a wing (possibly Barnes) if the Cavs win the lottery and Sullinger/Kemba if they don’t. Irving is the only guy in this draft I’m really sold on, and I feel like Walker is a bit more of a combo guard than I’d like, but the dude has talent.

– Heat/LAL — Definitely a lot of pro/con stuff for the Heat. They showed they can execute down the stretch against anybody and beat the Lakers, which is a big thing for their confidence. And Chris Bosh decided to play like an elite power forward. And Mike Miller is alive. Those are all big things.

On the other hand, that offense still does not look right. Even when Bosh had it going, the Heat were really just throwing Bosh post-ups into the mix rather than having Bosh, Wade, and James play off of each other. Maybe the team is a macro representation of LeBron — no matter what they do offensively, they’ll never be able live up to their perceived potential.

Wade was the guy down the stretch for them tonight — weird to see Tim Legler praising Miami for going away from LeBron isolations at the top of the key late. In the regular season, I watched late-game LeBron isolations work like gangbusters for a solid three years. The stats are out there to prove it — more importantly, I remember the prenatural sense of calm when the game was close late and you knew LeBron was about to go into “I am tired of pretending that I have to play basketball like the humans do. I am going to the basket and scoring every time now.” mode. And yet clearly LeISO hasn’t been effective late in games in Miami.

I am rarely, if ever, right about draft-related things. However, let the record show that I had a YEARS-long draft crush on Ty Lawson. I cannot believe he fell as far as he did. He was a freak of an athlete, he won a championship in college, and his numbers were amazing. It was not rocket science. Also, the Nuggets are a lot of fun to watch.

That’s all for me tonight. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Links To The Present: March 10, 2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

“The Cavs have now lost 27 of their last 28 road games. They looked rudderless on Wednesday: No leadership, no flow, no chance to win the game.” [Bob Finnan]

“Coaches and players took turns talking about how, once again, the Cavs refused to play together for an entire 48-minute game. It led to their third straight loss, as well as their 12-52 record.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“On the 2010-11 season, Cleveland native Earl Boykins is averaging 8.3 points per game on 45 percent shooting for the Milwaukee Bucks.  When Boykins faces the Cavaliers, the 5-foot-5-inch guard steps up his game, averaging 13.5 points on 70.6 (yes, 70.6) percent shooting.” [Scott Sargent]

Mary Schmitt Boyer talks Samardo Samuels, J.J. Hickson’s dislocated finger, and Anderson Varejao’s future with the Cavaliers organization.

Future Cavalier(?) Perry Jones has been suspended by the NCAA for the remainder of the season for receiving improper benefits. A sidenote: I like Twitter and all, but isn’t there something weird and wrong about a sportswriter writing “4” instead of “for” and substituting “imp. bennies” for “improper benefits”? No disrespect meant to Jason King–it’s tough to cram a news story into 140 characters–but somehow I have trouble associating journalistic integrity with something that reads like a high-schooler’s text message. (I’ll now return to my English Major hatefort under a highway overpass and continue annotating Pevear and Volokhonsky’s most recent Dostoevsky translation.)

This isn’t necessarily Cavs-related, but Neil Paine over at Basketball Reference aggregated all of the Truehoop articles about the Sloan Conference. If you’re unfamiliar with the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, it’s essentially a sizable group of athletes, GMs, sportswriters, statisticians, etc. who get together at MIT each year and discuss, um, sports analytics, which is a vague term. More importantly, the people who speak at the Sloan Conference seek to answer tough questions or challenge conventional wisdom using whatever data is available. In parochial terms, it’s a stat geek convention; they have consistently turned out some really fascinating stuff over the past few years.

On The Twitters

“Every time I count Kemba Walker out he plays a fantastic game that pulls me back in.” [realcavsfans]

“Kemba Walker is legend. And maybe a Cavalier in late June. Wow what a shot.” [Zac Jackson]

“Since being traded, Mo Williams is averaging 19 per game. #Cavs” [Scott Sargent]