Los Angeles 113, Cleveland 93 (Or The Meta-recap)

January 13th, 2013 by Nate Smith

There are a lot of ways to write a recap.   There’s the basic media recap.  Go there if you want to read it.  It’ll tell you Dwight Howard was awesome in his return with 22 and 14 and the Lakers got healthy against the Cavs, and all the boring details: the ins and outs and what have yous of the basketball game.  But, it’s not really true.  I mean Howard’s hard to guard, but the Cavs sucked, and didn’t have anyone who could guard him.  Also, Danny Crawford, J.T. Orr, and Courtney Kirkland were calling fouls on Zeller and Tristan for disrespectful looks towards Howard.

So that’s one way to do it.  Then there’s the running diary recap, where you write it live as you’re watching.  That would have been tough to do this game after a 37 point first quarter.  I would’ve probably given up.  And the little tease at 3:57 left in the 3rd when the Cavs cut it to 12 off two straight Dion Waiters buckets?  That would have killed me.  I would’ve thrown my laptop through the TV after Dion turned the ball over the next three possessions and Kobe made them pay.  And there would’ve been a lot of Luke Walton jokes.  Like: “They’re going to let retired players play this game!  Oh wait, that’s just Luke Walton.  You can put your suits back on, Kurt Rambis and A.C.”  Or, “Uh, oh, it’s only a 14 point game with 9:23 left in the 3rd.  There’s a 2% chance the Cavs could win this thing.  Yep.  Not taking any chances here.  Chris Grant just called down to the bullpen.  Time to bring in ‘the cooler.’ Walton checks into the game for Tyler Zeller.  Close one there.  If there’s even a chance we could win this thing we’d better shut it down now.  There’s no one you’d rather have on the floor right now for the Cavs.  Luke Walton is the Mariano Rivera of losing basketball games.”

I might even have had a little fun in garbage time: “Down by 20 with 8:48 left in the third.  Yep, and here comes Kyrie back into the ballgame.  Scott really has to balance the complete lack of accountability of his star players with the need to pad Kyrie’s stats.”  Then a few minutes later, “Kyrie out of the game at 5:22 as the bench clears.  It’s a good thing we got the core group in for that 3 minute stretch.  One of the hardest things the coach of a terrible team has to do is to make it look like he’s not completely tanking in January.  Playing your stars an extra 3 minutes for no reason is why Byron Scott could teach a masters class in losing.”

But yeah, I would’ve burned through a month’s worth of sarcasm with a running diary thread.  Of course then there’s the ok, this is how everyone did recap, where we kind of tally up everyone’s performance with little blurbs.  I’d make some comments like, “Omri Casspi: didn’t shoot well.  He launched a couple ‘eff you’ threes after which he stared at Byron and made a throat slitting gesture.  But he did collect 6 rebounds in 9 minutes, as opposed to, you know, Walton who collected 5 in 24 minutes.  Just sayin’.”

Or, “Kevin Jones: 3-5 in 16 minutes with 2 boards and 2 steals.  Also the only player who played in the part of the game that mattered who had a positive plus/minus.”  I like the way he shows and recovers on defense.  He has nimble feet and long arms.  He might make a decent backup power forward.”

“C.J. Miles: Hey.  Good news.  http://heycjmilespleasestoptakingsomanybadshots.com/ is available.  Let’s take up a collection an register this.  Oy.  Seriously though, how can the Cavs (Kyrie) not realize that they have to get C.J. some looks in the first 5 minutes or he can’t get in a rhythm.  C. Miles was abysmal this game.”  Get it?  I left the J out.  I kill me.

I’m not really like running through the roster tonight.  We could’ve given you the Tag Team Recap.  The guys were shooting this back and forth a bit on the CtB staff running thread.  Topics included talking about Cleveland’s own Patricia Heaton, who was repping Cleveland at the game, and had this funny tweet, “Cavs are carrying on the great Cleveland sporting tradition of getting their butts whipped.”  One blogger was counting the number of worthless picks: “a ‘pick’ that creates no advantage whatsoever and merely brings more defenders toward the ball.”  Some guys were talking about how many blown layups and easy blocks for Dwight Howard the Cavs threw up.  Another topic was how inaccurately rated Tyler Zeller is in 2K13.  His tendency to take charges is set to 0, and yet he is among the league leaders.  Meanwhile he’s a decent jump shooter, whereas in real life, his effective FG% is 34%.  Yikes.

Unfortunately, missed layups the return of Evil C.J. Miles and his case of Waiteritis, caused the email to devolve into the things I’d rather be doing than watching the Cavs (recap). Those jerks left me to watch High Fidelity, rearrange a record collection, share Lena Dunham Jokes, identify the essential Dylan Albums, and hack a Wii so that you can play old ROMs.  Oh, and of course to drink: A selection of IPAs, Old Rasputin, and Smirnoff Ice.   I’ll let you guess as to who was drinking what.  (Oh, and as for the essential Dylan, it really comes down to four trilogies of Dylan’s best work.  The early folk: Freewheelin’, The Times They Are a-Changin, and Another Side of Bob Dylan.  Dylan goes electric: Bringin’ it all Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde (possibly the greatest three album stretch by an artist in rock history).  Dylan’s 70s comeback: Blood on the Tracks, The Basement Tapes, and Desire.  Dylan’s 1997-2006 trilogy: Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft, and Modern Times – oh, and make sure you listen to Things Have Changed, Dylan’s Oscar winner from the soundtrack for the vastly underrated film, Wonder Boys).

But all those guys abandoned me, and I was left alone and bitter, with the lonely task of recapping a 30 point loss that wasn’t even that close.  I could turn to the angry rant recap, which I did a few months ago about officiating.  It’s one you can only pull out once or twice a year, but it’s always a good one.  I’d get all mad at Byron Scott this game, and throw out snippets like, “How does Tristan Thompson only play 19 minutes?  Yes, I know he’s in foul trouble, but what’s the point of having him if you’re not playing him?  We’re obviously not winning this one, teach him how to play with foul trouble!”  I’d be throwing out exclamation points like Tarantino throws around “F” bombs and racial slurs.  “Byron, look at advanced statistics!  Did you read Kevin’s article yesterday? Luke Walton is one of the worst players in the NBA over the last few years!  Did you order the code red on Omri Casspi!?”  That kind of recap would be disingenuous.  Because no one plays Luke Walton 24 minutes if they’re trying to win.

Yeah, I’d rather write the asking a lot of incredulous questions style recap.  Byron Scott is either incompetent or trying to lose.  It has to be the latter, right?  I mean Byron Scott is REALLY good at losing ball games this year.  There are three teams with a worse point differential than the Cavs this year, Charlotte (-8.1), Washington (-7.5), and Sacramento(-6.2).  Only Washington has a worse record than the Cavs.  Is Byron Scott the best coach at losing basketball games in the NBA?  “Mr. Scott, did you know that your team has the second worst shooting percentage in the league?  And did you know that your team allows the best shooting percentage in the league?  How have you let Washington lose more games than you?”  Is there anyone who is better at tanking basketball games than him?  I mean what other coach could play Walton for 24 minutes with a straight face?

Also, did anyone see Kyrie miss some wide open passes this game and just jack up jumpers, or was it just me?  Toward the end Shaun Livingston was alone under the basket with no one within 15 feet of him, and Kyrie shot a pullup 3 instead of passing.  Did KI not see him, or just not pass to him?  Is he completely losing faith in his teammates?  Is he developing horrible shoot first habits that will haunt him for the rest of his career?  Is he being coddled and not held accountable?  Does anyone else think his defense is looking better? Is evolution really determined by natural selection, or is it completely stochastic?

That’s kind of exhausting too.  Who likes reading that many questions?  I’d like to give you the slash fiction recap, a CtB specialty for the dog days of the NBA, but that’s Colin’s bag. If I was a real clever guy I could write about how my inability to decide on a recap style mirrors the Cavs’ inability to find an identity.  That’s a bit too Umberto Eco for me, so for this one, I’m ending with the it’s a Sunday night, the Cavs are on the west coast, and I’m tired and mailing it in recap. The Cavs sucked tonight.  I am thinking they might’ve hit the L.A. clubs Saturday and not quite recovered.  Not much to write about here.  Dwight Howard abused Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson.  Kyrie made his nut, and was his normal efficient self.  Kobe Bryant was abusing the Cavs defenders and playing most of the game on cruise. Alonzo Gee had a few nice dunks. C.J. Miles, Shaun Livingston, and ZPA couldn’t shoot.  Luke Walton is still a “shrink 4” style power forward.  Dion Waiters is still Saint Weirdo: 7-18, 15 points, 4 turnovers.  The Cavs really ought to watch how Kobe Works the refs: incredulity, mollification, engagement, smiles.  The man’s a damned personable sociopath.  I bet he signs stuff after the game for their kids and knows all of them by their first and last names.  Anyway, for the sake of getting a high teens draft pick, we had to throw this one away to help the Lakers make the playoffs. Good job, Byron. Lets hope the Lakers keep winning.  Though, please make the next Cavs loss a little more entertaining, coach Scott. To suck worse than the Wizards, you might have to start channeling your inner Randy Marsh.