In an away game, the Cavs handed the number two team in the West their biggest loss of the season. Memphis shot 44% and made only four 3-pointers. The Cavs, on the other hand, shot 51% and drained 14 triples. Kevin Love led the Cavs by keeping Marc Gasol from doing what he normally does offensively. Gasol struggled to get easy post points, pass to open guys, or even rebound. Love also destroyed Memphis offensively, making 10-13 shots for 22 points from everywhere on the court. He even had 10 rebounds to go with four assists. The Grizzlies couldn’t figure out how to defend him, or any of the Wine-and-Golders. The Cavs led by as many as 29 points in the 3rd quarter, a quarter in which all 14 of their baskets were assisted. It was the best ball movement of the season. Let’s go to the action. Read the rest of this entry »
The Cavs are facing a team going the opposite direction of most NBA teams. The Grizzlies play at a bottom five pace (92.1 possessions per 48 minutes). They run the ball through two true post behemoths, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. And, defensively, they hold teams to 95.2 points per game, which is second in the league. Read the rest of this entry »
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Not long after Steve Nash announced his retirement last week, this story broke: had Nash asked for a buyout from the Lakers around the trade deadline, the Cavs had interest in bringing the 18-year vet on board to spell Kyrie Irving for limited minutes. The move made some sense because a.) LeBron James has always been a big Nash fan b.) both Cavs GM David Griffin and Director of Player Administration Raja Bell are close with Nash from their time together with the Phoenix Suns and c.) the Cavs, at least at the time they were considering this move, were looking to shore up their backup point guard spot.
Nash, however, chose to stay a Laker, the organization with which he wanted to end his career. And, really, you have to wonder if Nash would have been able to give the Cavs even the 10-15 minutes a night they were looking for, as he has not played in a game all season and has only played 65 games for the Lakers since they acquired him prior to the 2012-13 season.
Editors Note: This piece was published with editorial contributions from Nate Smith and EvilGenius, and with scouting contributions from Ben Werth. Also, please check out David Wood’s Links to the Present published earlier today.
On January 13, the Cavaliers lost their sixth game in a row to drop below .500 (19-20). Kevin Love played particularly poorly, shooting 3-11 from the floor and posting a team-worst -19 in under 27 minutes. He rode the pine for the entire fourth quarter. (It was not the first time Love had been benched for the entire fourth quarter of a non-blowout: on December 26th, Coach Blatt, searching for answers, ran with an ultra-small lineup of LeBron-Delly-Dion-MMiller-TT in the fourth quarter and it worked – the Cavs outscored the Magic 27-14 and won by nine.) Despite the fact that Markieff Morris (or as LeBron referred to him “one of the Morris twins”) torched King James in the fourth, Kevin Love’s lackluster defense and poor shooting was the story of the game, and the “Kevin Love’s Not Fitting In” theme was an undeniable reality of the young (but not that young) season. But ten weeks later, is that “theme” still even relevant?
Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks refused to tank, as both teams front offices strived to make the playoffs. Fate had other plans. The Bucks ended with the worst record in the league and the Cavs finished five games back of the eight seed. The cosmic reward for both squads not intentionally losing as many games as possible was finishing first and second in the lottery, with the Bucks landing franchise cornerstone Jabari Parker and the Cavs obtaining a massive trade chip in Andrew Wiggins.
The Cavs roll into the Harris Bradley Center to face the reeling Bucks for an early afternoon tilt.
The Bucks are losers of five straight and 12 of 15, which has endangered their six seed in the EC. They are just 4-12 since swapping Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams, and lost a heartbreaker Friday in a 129-127 triple-overtime loss to Brooklyn.
The Cavs secured their first playoff spot since 2010 after Friday’s win over the Pacers. They’re an NBA-best 26-6 since Jan. 15, but all of those losses have come on the road. The Bucks have won eight of nine against the Cavs in Milwaukee, but they’ve all been minus LBJ.
The Cavs will look to improve their road record against this long and athletic Bucks squad. So, pry yourself away from the March Madness and check out some matinee Cavs basketball…
Whew… that was closer than expected. While the Cavs were looking to avenge two prior losses to an upstart Pacers team, still missing PG-13 and without David West for much of the night, Indiana fought like a cornered animal for their slightly fading playoff hopes in this last meeting between these two teams (at least in the regular season). It didn’t help that LBJ was almost sick enough to miss this one (he was questionable after missing morning shootaround with a bad head cold), or that Kyrie’s shot looked sicker than Bron felt. But the diagnosis from this game was that claiming a spot in the post-season is the ultimate cure for any ailment.
That’s right, Cavs fans… this wine and gold victory officially ended the drought of the past four years. The Cavs are BACK in the playoffs. It may have been a foregone conclusion for many, if not all, and it’s only the first step on the road toward winning that elusive championship… but do yourself a favor. Stop. Take a moment. Say it out loud to yourself… savor it… enjoy it…
The Cavs… are BACK… in the playoffs!
LeBron was questionable for tonight’s final match-up against the Pacers with an illness that forced him to miss today’s shootaround. It sounds like he will give it a go though, as the Cavs attempt to even the season series against a potential first round opponent in Indiana.
The Cavs lost the last two outings against the Pacers (both on Indy’s home floor), but the last time were without both LBJ and Kyrie. The Pacers themselves have been short-handed all year, but got some positive news today about a familiar face...
Indiana needs a bit of good fortune to go their way after dropping their last three straight to fall behind Miami and Boston for the race to the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs have been rolling winning four of the last five coming off of one of the toughest road trips of the season. They’ve also won 14 in a row at the Q. Let’s hope they can keep the offense going, while tightening up their D which has been slipping a bit in the last couple of weeks.
Chime in and call your shot! Read the rest of this entry »
Editor’s Note: Tuesday, we published Part I in this series of letters between Tom Pestak, myself, and reader/commenter, Mac on the state of team building in the NBA. The discussion veered off into some pretty unexpected territory: philosophy, generational tendencies, religion… The piece garnered some of the most thoughtful and interesting comments of any article at CtB in some time, and for that, I thank you all. So much has happened since we started these letters. First, the fateful day that Tom wrote us all and said, “Are we sure Mac isn’t Andrew Sharp in disguise?” Sharp’s piece in Grantland (a piece I’ve avoided reading), mirrored so much of what we were talking talking about that Tom and Mac wondered if he was reading our original comments section. The article actually pushed back the publication of this series. Additionally, the Sixers bought out Javale McGee for 100 cents on the dollar, and Sixers bloggers who more are blindly loyal than Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister praised the move. (I stole that Joke from Mac). Hoop76’s, Eric Goldwein wrote a piece that filled Mac with so much rage that he had to watch some old Lewis Black bits on youtube to remind himself “how unattractive it looks to be a goofy guy shaking with anger about some triviality.” Additionally, the first part of this series garnered so many great comments that I’ve even re-written some of my final passages to reference them. The effect may make my final response read more like an epilogue than an organic response, but you guys are too good to ignore.
From the desk of Mac:
Nate, I agree with you, if there is actually a process and it is a good one and it gets good results, nothing wrong with that. But too often these days calling something “a process” is a lot like declaring “it is what it is” . . . it is just a placeholder for having something useful to say.