1.) Mary Schmitt Boyer, of the Plain Dealer, writes: Furthermore, new faces or not, there’s no excuse for the sort of lackadaisical effort the Cavs put forth on defense and rebounding, especially in the second quarter, when they allowed the Hornets to shoot 70.8 percent (17 of 24) and outrebound them, 15-4. Shaq offered his feelings after the game: “We got to man up,” he said. “There ain’t nothing wrong. We’ve got to man up. We have to play our man first and help last instead of always relying on help.”
I think part of the reason the Cavs struggle when adding/replacing pieces is because so much of their success is based on in-game chemistry. The supporting cast is not made of great individual scorers – their success is based on movement, spacing, and a steady diet of cross-court passing from LeBron. Likewise, so much of their defensive prowess comes from excellent help defense, showing (and quickly retreating) on screens, and communication. The Cavs needed a month to integrate Shaq, and it will likely take Antawn Jamison some time to figure out where he needs to be, especially at the defensive end.
2.) Bill Livingston addresses the psyche of Cavs Nation: Theologians argue that doubt can be the cutting edge of faith. But in Cleveland, doubt is the cutting edge that slices away the enjoyment of a splendid season.
3.) The NBA is the ultimate “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” league, writes Adrian Wojnarowski. Good news for those of us that want Z to come home ASAP.
4.) From the Washington Post: The team is “making progress” toward buying out Zydrunas Ilgauskas’s contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. An agreement is not expected until Wednesday at the earliest.
The good news is that Z can return to the Cavs 30 days after the TRADE, not the buyout. That means he’ll be back as early as March 21st. Wanna know how I know that?
5.) Brian Windhorst told me so. (A must listen)
6.) Much has been made of LeBron, Danny Ferry, and Mike Brown’s reactions to losing Z. But the person that is probably most affected is Anderson Varejao. Much like LeBron is a big brother to younger players, Z has always taken care of the international players, especially Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic. Joe Gabriele of Cavs.com wrote a piece on Varejao’s importance to the Cavs that includes some very heartfelt quotes from Andy.
7.) You knew it wouldn’t be long before SVG offered his thoughts on Z’s impending buyout. Tim Povtak of Fanhouse has the story.
9.) Paul Pierce remains day-to-day but Rob Mahoney doubts that Doc Rivers will keep him from Thursday’s marquee match-up.
10.) Larry Hughes has been waived by the Kings. I can still remember debating the pros and cons of Larry Hughes vs Michael Redd. Not exactly the same as the Amar’e Stoudemire/Antawn Jamison/stand pat debate that consumed the last few weeks of our lives.