SPECIAL BREAKING ANNOUNCEMENT AND STUFF:
Hey folks, you may have noticed that this site now has an ESPN bar on top and on the side. Or, more likely, as this site was created specifically for the launch of the TrueHoop network, you may have noticed that there’s a site attached to the NavBar and Video Player you’ve become familiar with. Welcome, all. Check our archives. Have a drink. Hang out a while. We’ll be chatting Cavs. I’m stoked to be with ESPN, but more stoked to be with Henry and Kevin-I’m proud to be on the network and will do the best to give the Cavs the quality of coverage the brand and the people behind it have come to be synonymous with. Now, onto our team getting absolutely smacked on this site’s launch night.
The Cavs, short-handed and on the road, went up against a hungry and very, very good Laker team who was hungry for a win after two very tough losses. They needed a supernova performance from LeBron, but instead got one of his worst showings of the year, as he finished 9-25 from the floor.
I was actually at this game playing real reporter for SLAM, so here are some notes I made in real live person form:
-Without Z’s spacing and Delonte’s movement, this is not the offense that the Cavs have broken through with this year. This was ugly offensive basketball, and the Lakers have a darn good defense to boot. EVERYTHING was a long jumper tonight, and in the first half we got those tough shots to go. When the Js stopped falling in the 2nd half, the Cavs had no answer.
-LeBron was doing his all, but couldn’t get the corner and missed as many shots from the paint as I can ever remember. He wasn’t getting the calls or the easy layups, and even though he had a pretty decent shooting night (6-13 from outside the paint), he missed 2 jumpers in the paint and went only 3-10 from the immediate basket area, which is an absolute abberation from him, and wasn’t getting the foul calls he wanted, which led to him settling for more jumpers. The effort was there, but the floor wasn’t spaced and he wasn’t playing in any kind of offense. The effect was similar to watching a man try to demolish a house with a golf club-some damage was done and it was definitely impressive, but really he just didn’t have the right tools.
-Mo was also forced into a 6-16 performance, as he wasn’t getting easy shots and had to rely entirely on his signature step-back deep twos, and he was bothered often enough so that he couldn’t be effective with them.
-Ben was really good in his 19 minutes, but when the Cavs got down MB was of the mind that the Cavs needed more scoring-in my opinion, the coach should’ve had a bit more trust in his skills, as he was grabbing offensive boards left and right and made some nice defensive plays despite being undersized against Gasol.
-JJ looked great! 4-5 from the field, 5-5 from the line, and some ridiculous plays in there! Silver lining, where you at!
-Sasha continues to look shockingly passable, but the offense really does suffer without Delonte’s slashing and ball movement.
-Andy was Andy was Andy-him and Sasha Vujacic have to be the two single most annoying players ever.
Bullets of Randomness:
-Kobe was gritty. He made plays. He hit some great shots. He played hurt. Not a dominant performance, but an eminently admirable one.
-We had no answer for Gasol. None. He absolutely murdered us.
-Sasha Vujacic is the devil. Not only is he annoying on defense, but he can steal a run when he gets hot.
-Achilles’ Heel: Derek Fisher. He’s such a good guy you won’t see that printed, but he kills this offense sometimes.
-Ugh, this game was anti-climactic. We got flat-out outplayed. Rejoice in the fact that that’s something that barely ever happens this year.
Song of the Game:
“Chinese Democracy” by Guns N’ Roses.
Sometimes, things are far too hyped to possibly live up to expectations. And Kobe Bryant is so totally Axl Rose, it’s ridiculously appropriate. I’m also going to post “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” because I don’t want people thinking I’m anti-GNR. Also, I’ve been listening to “Sweet Child” to cheer me up. Darn you, shattered dreams.