Archive for April, 2011

Recap: Bulls 93, Cavs 82 (Or, Happy Joe Tait Day.)

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Overview: The Chicago Bulls clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference with a 93-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. J.J. Hickson led the Cavaliers with 22 points, and former Cavalier Carlos Boozer led all scorers with 24 points.

Not much to see here, folks bullets:

– The Bulls calmly dispatched of the Cavaliers. With presumptive MVP Derrick Rose taking something of a well-deserved night off, the Bulls relied on good ball movement and a relentless paint attack to score against the Cavs: they had 30 assists on 39 field goals (wowzers), and outscored the Cavs in the paint 46-30. Carlos Boozer had it going around the basket and from mid-range, and he’s a player that will get his points when that’s happening.

– For the Cavs, Hickson was the only guy in the starting lineup who was able to have any success, and he had to work for his points — 4 of his field goals were on shots outside of the paint. Another promising performance from him. Sessions and Gibson were able to make some shots off the bench, but the Cavs were unable to solve the Bulls’ defense as a whole. That development was not particularly surprising.

– Good team meets terrible team. Good team wins. Three games to go. I won’t root for the Cavs to lose, but go Minnesota.

Links To The Present: April 8, 2011

Friday, April 8th, 2011

“When Christian Eyenga lines up for a jump shot during practice, he steps toward the basket perfectly. When he lines up for the same shot during games, he routinely steps to the side. It’s a small detail, but critical to the success of his shots.” [Jason Lloyd]

“I’ve known Ryan [Hollins] since he was in high school and college. We’ve been working out together. We’ve been friends. He’s sort of like a little brother to me.” [Baron Davis via Mary Schmitt Boyer]

Kanas’s Morris Twins have announced they will enter the draft.

Sam Amico and Zac Jackson debate who the Cavaliers should take with their very high draft pick.

And the Cavs are honoring Joe Tait tonight as he announces his 3000th NBA game.

On The Twitters

“Samardo Samuels out for #Cavs again tonight. Semih Erden is finally ready, though, & will play just 2nd game with team.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Worth noting: When Baron Davis is on the court, #Cavs are +18.2; when he’s off, they are -10.2 for a (team-leading) differential of 28.4.” [Scott Sargent]

Links To The Present: April 7, 2011

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I have to keep it short today, you guys. I was just notified that I got into an M.A. program, and I need to run over to campus to shake hands with an academic advisor and register for classes and such.

Kyrie Irving has declared for the draft.

WFNY has a couple of great pieces. Scott Sargent analyzes the effects Baron Davis has had on the Cavs’ offense, and Craig Lyndall explains why tanking is weird.

CByers has a substantial article on why this terrible Cavaliers season still means something.

“Minnesota has lost 11 consecutive games and the Cavs have won three of their last seven – pulling them within one victory of matching the Timberwolves’ current mark of 17. What’s more, while Minnesota’s final four games are against opponents with at least 37 victories, three of Cleveland’s final five games are against teams with 26 or fewer victories.” [Anthony Maggio]

And Mary Schmitt Boyer’s weekly podcast, in which she talks tanking, Kyrie Irving, and Baron Davis.

I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with some thoughts substantive thoughts. In the meantime, I have to go talk to a guy who has an M.S. from Brown and a Ph. D from Columbia. I’ll probably feel pretty stupid in the process.

Recap: Cavs 104, Raptors 96 (Or, I’m very confused)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Overview: The Cleveland Cavaliers got their 17th win of the year against the Toronto Raptors, who are peacefully protesting defense. Baron Davis led the Cavs with 12 assists, and J.J. Hickson led the Cavs with 28 points.

And when the team should be tanking, it starts winning bullets:

Wow, the Raptors suck at defense. I had flashbacks to the beginning of the 26-game streak (which I really think of as a 38-game streak in which the Cavs did not win a regulation game), when the Cavs would simply roll over and die instantly on defense. At one point, the Cavs got a rebound and started to set up the offense, and Luke Harangody was wide open under the basket with nobody within 10 feet of him.

When Baron wanted to get into the paint, he was able to drive and dish. Hollins was left wide open for dunks. Hickson hurt himself by trying to get fancy at times, but most of the time he was able to either get to the rim or draw a foul. Sessions got layups when he wanted them. Everything that did not involve Harangody shooting jump shots or Alonzo Gee dribbling was a resounding success.

Outside of Reggie Williams making a basket every time he got it inside (?!) and some impressive bench mob performances, the Raptors didn’t have much going for them. Cavs control the game. Irving declares for the draft. Worse days to be a Cavs fan. Individual notes:

– I really don’t mind Hickson trying to get too fancy around the basket area. I don’t like him doing the step-backs from 18 — it’s one thing for him to make catch-and-shoot jumpers to keep the defense honest, but he should always be trying to get to the basket. Up-and-under moves, moves with the left hand — that’s the stuff I want to see him confident in next season.

Baron Davis: making passes, hitting threes. And the Ramon Sessions as instant offense experiment continues to be going well.

Joey Graham! I really like him, even when he’s trying to fight former state kickboxing champions. I would have been kind of interested to see what would have happened there, but I’m definitely glad nothing did happen.

Manny Harris looked a bit rusty.

Alexis Ajinca hitting a three was like the 5th-weirdest thing to happen in this game. Also, I kind of only want to watch Alexis Ajinca shooting threes now. And dang, Jerryd Bayless. He looks like Ramon Sessions after The Singularity.

Jose Calderon — living proof that PER is far from perfect.

Has anyone else noticed that the Raptors’ roster is essentially only made up of young former 1st-round picks that other teams have given up on?

Until later. Four games to go. IF THIS WAS A 700-GAME SEASON, TEAMS WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO FEAR.

Links To The Present: April 6, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

“Right now, Baron Davis is giving the Cavaliers a jolt of something they haven’t had all year. He’s been a leader. But he’s also been the Cavaliers closer. Coach Byron Scott – who famously once butted heads with Baron – hasn’t minced words in his praise for Davis.” [Joe Gabriele]

“Even if it means battling Minnesota for the worst record in the NBA. The Cavaliers victory over Charlotte bumped them to 16-61, while the Timberwolves fell to 17-61 with a loss to New Jersey. In the race for the most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery, Minnesota might have the edge, with two of their last four games against teams with winning records.” [Jodie Valade]

“The Cavaliers’ 99-89 victory Tuesday over the Charlotte Bobcats was their 16th win of the season, assuring them they won’t finish with the worst season in Cavs history. But it essentially pulled them even with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the league’s worst record.” [Jason Lloyd]

On The Twitters

“Come next season, when Kyrie Irving drops 30 & 10 on us in a Wolves uni, I won’t even care, because the Cavs won 18 games in 2010-11.” [Eric Knappenberger]

“Cavs, Tribe and Charlie Sheen all apparently “winning” in Cleveland tonight. What do they have in common? None in the news in four weeks.” [Zac Jackson]

“#Cavs fans furious their team tops Bobcats 99-89. They miss out on Chalupas AND Cavs’ hold on last place in NBA is more tenuous.” [Jodie Valade]

Recap: Cavs 99, Bobcats 89 (Or, That just happened.)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Overview: The Cleveland Cavaliers got their second double-digit win of the season against the Charlotte Bobcats. Seven Cavaliers scored in double figures.

This team is very confusing bullets:

So the Bobcats are supposed to be fighting for a playoff spot, and they went full-on Butler against the Cavs on Tuesday night. The Bobcats completely owned the paint the last time they played the Cavs, and had a good amount of success with interior passing in this one, but the team absolutely could not buy a shot. Gerald Henderson and Dante Cunningham missed approximately 2,437 mid-range jumpers, nobody on the team could hit threes, and Boris Diaw is professionally enigmatic. He makes Hickson look like a paragon of consistency.

Offensively, the Cavs looked pretty darn good. They attacked the rim, pushed the break, and Baron hit a few of those big threes. Ryan Hollins was a monster around the basket, and J.J. almost made up for his questionable shot selection with a few really nice forays to the rim. And Razor Ramon had another nice instant-offense game — poor D.J. Augustin is really not a very good defender.

I mean, the Cavs completely controlled that game the whole way. Go figure. With five games left, maybe this team is finding its stride. Probably not, though.

Links To The Present: April 5, 2011

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Samardo Samuels is struggling to play through a sore wrist as the season draws to a close. Why is he playing hurt during a horrible season? “Opportunity comes but once. You never know what next year brings. Why not take full advantage of it? A lot of people would like to be in the position I’m in right now. If I can even play a little bit, I’m going to play.” Alright, then.

TD of WFNY thinks the NBA needs to get rid of its “one and done” rule.

There have been rumors swirling around Harrison Barnes, Kyrie Irving, and seemingly every player that has any chance to be good in the NBA that they may return to school rather than enter the draft and play a truncated rookie season due to the lockout that seems inevitable. Irving has said he will decide in the next week or so. Barnes might take a bit longer, stating “It’ll probably be in at least a week, week and a half or so.” I’ll keep tabs on this; I’d recommend Cavs fans keep an eye on ESPN.com/Twitter/etc. because if this breaks bad and the top prospects stay at their respective universities, we’re looking at a draft where Kemba Walker or Terrence Jones might be a number one pick, and the selection the Cavs received from the Clippers could be considerably less valuable.

On The Twitters

“NBA has to throw college bask a lifeline: 2 yrs and done would create continutity oncourt and encourage a semblance of academic commitment.” [Bill Livingston]

“Booby’s Twitter account is like a Chinese fortune cookie without the nasty-tasting cookie. He should tweet lucky numbers. #Cavs” [Eric Knappenberger]

“You can’t turn back the Clock.. But you CAN wind it up again. #NoSurrender” [Boobie Gibson]

Links To The Present: April 4, 2011

Monday, April 4th, 2011

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that this Knick team is not a team that can overpower you. They’re not a whole lot bigger than we are, probably about the same athletic-wise. They’ve got two fantastic scorers. But I think we’ve been able to hang in there during the games and for whatever reason we’ve got confidence that we can come out here and play with these guys. I don’t know. I just think it’s matchups.” [Byron Scott via Mary Schmitt Boyer on the Cavs’ success against the Knicks this season]

I will have to see it over the course of an entire season to fully believe what I’ve read about Baron Davis’ attitude, but apparently dude has been terrific since his arrival. He has embraced the mentor role, which could be invaluable next season when the Cavs will have two lottery picks on their roster.

Byron Scott is telling the media he does not care where the Cavs land in the lottery. Good one, Byron. This is the part where if I wasn’t a Cavaliers fan, I would chuckle and say, “If you think Hickson’s been a headache, wait until you try to coach up an overmatched Perry Jones.” But I cannot chuckle and say that because I am a Cavs fan, and I want Kyrie Irving. I swear it, Scott: if you so much as make an intelligent fourth quarter substitution, I will drop out of school, move to Cleveland, and pelt your home with rotten vegetables each morning. Or I will complain. I will definitely do one of those things.

Tom Ziller explains (graphically!) how crucial it is for the Cavs to finish with a horrendous record if they’re going to land Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams. You hear that, Byron Scott? Listen to Ziller. He knows what’s up. All I want from you for the rest of the season are empty platitudes about hustle and entertaining losses.

No Twitter today, as I need to head to the train station in five minutes. To any of our South Bend readers: I’ll be the guy with the long hair and the look that says, “I’m running on two hours of sleep and wish I wasn’t here.”

Recap: Knicks 123, Cavs 107 (Or, The time the Knicks made the playoffs)

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

July 28, 1967 — see The Complete Peanuts 1967-1970

Overview: The New York Knicks outscored the Cavs by 11 points in the final quarter of a 123-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The New York Knicks will be heading to the playoffs. The Cavaliers will not be.

We’re getting very near the end now bullets:

So it turns out the Cavs can’t really play defense. Who knew? (Other than everybody.) Billups set the tone for the Knicks early, and the rest of the game was essentially a march to the free throw line for the Knicks, with some wide-open threes thrown in for good measure.

The Cavs were able to cut the lead to two points when the Knicks briefly went cold in the third quarter, but the Knicks pulled right back away after a layup and a few threes. The Cavs never really threatened again.

How do you get blown out while shooting better than 50% from the field? Sloppy play. 22 turnovers, 24 fouls, and 10 missed free throws. This is not a team that can afford to get sloppy.

Some individual bullets:

– Ryan Hollins fouled out in 20 minutes. What were the odds?

– Baron shot well from deep again (seriously, what is going on there?), and did a good job running the offense when he was in — believe it or not, the Cavs were actually +12 when Baron was on the floor.

– Ramon got eight assists, but he was torched on defense and shot poorly.

– Another solid game for Hickson. I’ll put it this way: I’m not completely sold on him by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m glad he’ll be back.

Another loss. Another poor defensive showing. Another game closer to a draft that looks thinner and thinner with the passing of each day. Hooray.

Recap: Wizards 115, Cavs 107 (Or, That was basically the most appropriate April Fool’s game ever.)

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Overview: Ramon Sessions scored 26 points, J.J. Hickson had 21 and 10, Andray Blatche had 39 points and 19 rebounds, JaVale McGee had 25 and 8, Jordan Crawford had a triple-double, and Othyus Jeffers seemed to be the only person playing like he was involved in a normal NBA game. This was a bizarre, bizarre happening.

Yi Jianlian is not even good in the bizarro dimension bullets:

That was a strange game. No team really attempted to defend the paint on Friday, which led to a lot of scoring in the paint. Guards were able to penetrate at will, so there were plenty of layups and kick-outs. The Wizards actually got more offensive rebounds than the Cavs got defensive rebounds, largely because Ryan Hollins rebounds as well as AOL/Time Warner stock.

Jordan Crawford, who has really been passing-averse over the course of his young NBA career, recorded a triple-double. You figure it out.

On the bright side, Baron passed very well, and Ramon provided an instant scoring punch off the bench. On the other hand, Baron shot poorly, Ramon didn’t pass, and Jordan Crawford got a triple-double.

Here’s what I said about Ryan Hollins on July 27th:

“If everything works out for him, he could be a worse version of JaVale McGee! CATCH THE FEVER!”

AND YOU LAUGHED. YOU LAUGHED AT KROLIK. (Also in that post: I predicted that the Cavs might really suck at defense, which almost makes up for me calling Razor Ramon a “drive-and-kick point guard.”)

Speaking of JaVale McGee, he did what JaVale McGee does: he looked good on offense, had some blocks, and had exactly three non-horrible defensive possessions. If he’s not getting the block, he’s watching the score happen. By the way, I totally mentioned that JaVale will show flashes of a back-to-basket game and will even handle the ball in transition from time to time in the first draft of my Off The Dribble post about him. I swear I did. Then I decided to cut it, because he’s mainly known for the blocks and dunks and the piece flowed better without the extra sentences. Naturally, he looked extremely smooth in the post tonight and drew a shooting foul handling the ball from coast to coast. Good job, Krolik.

Andray Blatche: so many questionable jumpers. So many made mid-range jumpers. So many offensive rebounds. He looked like a beast inside when he wasn’t flubbing layups. He looked skilled from the outside when he wasn’t bricking jumpers. How does a big man shoot 32 times? How does a big man get 16 offensive rebounds? How does a big man also only get three defensive rebounds? I’m never sure whether I should be impressed or disgusted by Andray Blatche. He’s like Hickson turned up to 11.

More strong stuff for Hickson — he’s really settling into an offensive groove, and I liked that he had a good game as a true power forward. Still, there was the whole “Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee just destroyed our frontline and salted the Earth where it once stood so that nothing could ever grow there again” thing.

The key run came at around the 9-minute mark of the fourth — Boobie and Eyenga took some bad jumpers, Ramon forced a drive, the Cavs let Jordan Crawford get penetration, and the Wizards took control of the game. Strange, strange game. Seven games left to go.