There were twelve games played simultaneously tonight; one on ESPN, and also on all ten League Pass channels. For this Cavs fan living in Indianapolis, one game lacked broadcasting…Cleveland at Charlotte. Clearly, this is an outrage. Fortunately, the Memphis – Utah game looms large for the Cavs; a Grizzly win nets Cleveland the Lakers pick. Also, Phoenix is squaring off with Denver; that could impact the number of Wine & Gold lottery chances. How about a running diary of tonight’s NBA action? That’s not what you wanted? Well, it’s what you get; life isn’t fair.
Tonight's most valuable player...the Memphis Grizzlies?
8:30 – Derrick Favors scores off a Randy Foye dish, Grizzlies and Jazz end the first quarter tied at 17 – 17.
8:32 – Oy. Scoping out the Cavs box score, it is 12 – 25 Bobcats with two minutes left in the first. Tristan has six rebounds; the rest of the team…one. The Bobcats have eight assists on nine field goals. Fate hath dealt me a favor tonight.
8:34 – Andre Miller finds Anthony Randolph for a filthy slam, staking the Nuggets to an early 15 point lead…hopefully the Cavs are keeping one eye on the scoreboard. Oh, and Andre Miller is a lot of fun…maybe he wants to end his career where he started it…didn’t he guarantee a ring or something?
8:39 – Fortunately, Memphis is still battling the Clippers for home-court advantage. They are giving it their all tonight. How can I tell? Sixteen minutes in, and no sign of Jon Leuer yet.
8:40 – What the hochuli? Cavs trail 18 to 36?! The NBA’s 28th ranked offense is shooting 67% from the field? The fact I can’t watch this game appears that karma is smiling on me today.
8:43 – If I’m going to sit here and be snarky, might as well get a beer. Bells Two-Hearted in the fridge.
8:48 – Phoenix came prepared to fight for the league’s third-worst record tonight…Denver leads 49 to 27 after 17 minutes. As expected, Grizzlies – Jazz looks like the game to watch.
8:55 – My wife came to talk to me about our daughter’s milk-drinking habits. So, I missed some stuff, but Zach Randolph converted back-to-back to take Memphis to a 36 – 31 lead. Finish them, Memphis, then when the Lakers lose tonight, 17th pick, come to Cleveland.
8:58 – Kyrie tallies 7 points and 2 assists in the last three minutes…Cavs claw back to 34 – 48.
9:09 – My wife wanted to chat about our son’s birthday party, so some more missed action by your intrepid reporter. Wow!! Kyrie with five assists over the final three minutes of the half!! That must be his quarter-of-a-quarter record for dimes!!! Kyrie remembered that he is a 21-year old burgeoning super-star, and I missed it; how could League Pass skip-over this game? I want a 15 assist game in November.
9:12 – Kyrie with 16 and 8 at the half. Casspi has 6 rebounds. He has been rebounding like a fiend lately…12 per 36 minutes over the last six-and-a-half games. What, you’re not impressed?
9:14 – All twelve tilts are at halftime. Grizzlies narrowly lead 40 – 38, playing their typically high-octane style of play. Denver is running Phoenix out of the gym, attempting to outscore the combined points of Memphis and Utah. 66 to 40 at the half in Mile High City.
9:25 – Grizz vs Jazz up-and-running (?) again. Mike Conley nets a runner in the lane, then an and-one in transition. I wonder if he can sneak onto the second-team all-defense this year. League-leader in steals. Combined with his 18 PER, of all the blue-chip Ohio State recruits over the last seven years, he stands a cut-above. Memphis leads 45 to 40.
9:27 – Someone has been honing their clutch-gene. Mo Williams 2 of 8 from the field with 1 assist and 3 turnovers. He missed a free throw and a three as the Jazz continue to battle from behind early in the third.
9:30 – Mo sensed my derision. He slashes for an easy lay-up…Utah cuts the lead to two.
9:33 – Cleveland trails 56 – 67 midway through the third. Josh McRoberts sits at 13 points on perfect shooting, with 4 rebounds. I’ve liked McRoberts, probably more than I should, since his 2010 – 2011 season with the Pacers. He’s actually one of the League’s better passing power forwards. According to the Hollinger Stats Page, he is 3rd of NBA power forwards for assist ratio this year (5th in assists per minute), after finishing second last year, and fifth the year before. Maybe he is worth a look this summer to fill the ball-moving power-forward role that Walton offered for the Herculoids?
9:38 – I got lost down a Josh McRoberts rabbit-hole for a moment there. Zach Randolph just scored eight points in two minutes, as my Cleveland surrogate mounts an eight-point lead.
9:41 – Mo Williams missed a jumper, then passed up an open-three.
9:42 – Zach Randolph!! Twelve points in four minutes…no question whether Zach Randolph wants the Cavs to pick 17th.
9:45 – The third quarter ends in Charlotte. Following two A-Gee threes and a Speights bucket, the deficit was cut to three, but a small Bobcat run stretches the score to 69 – 76 heading to the fourth.
9:50 – Memphis’s defense is suffocating. Utah’s third quarter included 13 points and 4 turnovers. Who are their assistant coaches? The Grizzlies carry a 65 to 51 margin to the fourth.
9:52 – Technically, the Lakers are tied with Atlanta and Chicago for wins right now. I turned the Bulls – Wizards game on just in time to see one of my favorites, Jimmy Butler, drill a corner three. Without knowing exactly how all the tie-breakers work, the best case scenario tonight is Jazz lose, Bulls win, Hawks win, Lakers lose. Bulls lead 77 to 70 with ten minutes to go.
9:58 – Grizzlies lead by 20 with nine minutes to go. It’s practically impossible to lose a 20 point lead with nine minutes to go, so it’s time to check out the Bulls game.
10:01 – Four Waiters points in thirty seconds makes it 84 – 85 in Charlotte, but a Kemba Walker three extends the Bobcat lead to four again.
10:05 - Atlanta is losing to New York, which is unfortunate as it may impact the Lakers pick slightly. I am glad that the Bulls will not be playing the Pacers in the first round of the playoffs though.
10:08 – Remember who I really didn’t like in 2011? Jan Vesely just picked up a foul, turns 23 next week, and his 7.5 PER is ummm…unstellar.
10:10 – My low-price guy A.J. Price drills a three for the Wizards. Tie-game. But then my 2011 sleeper-guy Jimmy Butler answers with a dunk. Bulls take a two-point lead to the three-minute mark.
10:12 – Kyrie gets to 20 & 10, but the Cavs trail by five with two minutes to go. Lottery odds, lottery odds, lottery odds.
10:14 – Luol Deng hits a three in Chicago…simultaneously, the Cavs fall back by seven with a minute to go. If you are tracking tonight’s impact on Cleveland’s draft position, it has been a good minute.
10:21 – Kyrie layup, Gee layup, Dion layup; Cleveland trails by three with 15 seconds to go.
10:24 – Cavs lose 98 to 105. Kyrie finishes with 24 & 10, pacing four players in double-digits. Charlotte is lead by Kemba Walker with 24 points and 7 assists. Josh McRoberts finishes with 20 points and 8 rebounds.
10:25 – Bulls win. Grizzlies lead by 18. Orlando lost, while Charlotte won, so Cleveland gets the first and third picks in the second round. Now, the Lakers just need to lose. At least the night was a huge success for draft positioning.
Well, obviously I don’t know what to say about tonight’s Cavs game. The Cavs will have the third-best lottery odds, plus the 17th-ish pick, as well as 31 and 33. Lots of options there. Tristan finished with 8 & 10, albeit shooting inefficiently. Dion appeared to salvage a rough start, finishing with 16 points on 54% true shooting. Ellington and Gee netted thirteen points each. Ultimately, they lost to the NBA’s (now second-) worst team. One thing that all Cavs fans agree on is that it is time for this season to end, so that visions of the draft and 2013 – 2014 can take hold. Sweet dreams.
P.S. In vaguely related news, Memphis ended 28 – 12 since the Leuer trade…perhaps they didn’t “lose” the trade (not that Cleveland did either). Cleveland won the Sessions trade though, right? I can’t wait to read all of the articles tomorrow when people acknowledge that they were wrong about that one.