Not A Recap: Clippers 108, (Not) Cavs 78 (or, Not A Surprise)

For me, the best news about last night’s game between the Cavs and the Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was that unforeseen circumstances prevented me from shelling out a couple hundred bucks to watch it in person. Unfortunately, the some 21,000 other fans in attendance weren’t so lucky. The highly anticipated Saturday night match up between LeBron James and his big three against CP3 and his big three never materialized, as the Cavs elected to rest their stars on the front end of an LA back to back. And, it wasn’t just the disappointed fans at Staples who were jilted out of a marquee event, since the game was broadcast nationally on ABC (the second consecutive national Saturday night game to feature significant players out due to rest after last week’s Warriors/Spurs letdown). At least it didn’t cost the viewing audience at home any of their hard earned money to change the channel from this turkey of a game… but the outcome was not a surprise given the circumstance.

With Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving resting their knees (due to surgery and soreness respectively), Ty Lue made the unpopular decision (with the fans and LeBron anyway) to prevent LBJ from exerting himself for 40 minutes to carry the Cavs on his own in this one. Kyle Korver (foot) was also still out, so the Cavs rolled out a starting five of Channing Frye, Tristan Thompson, Deron Williams, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. While it marked J.R.’s return as a starter, I’m sure he wasn’t anticipating it would happen in quite this fashion. The Clippers, meanwhile, were completely healthy, and in dire need of a win. Although, it didn’t seem that way initially, as the Cavs somehow took a 16-14 lead after one of the ugliest quarters of basketball the League has seen this season. The 12-2 run by the Cavs to close the period was their last real bright spot, as the Clips demolished them 33-15 in the second quarter to lead at the half, 47-31.

Channing Frye hit a couple of threes early in the third to close the gap to 10, but that would be the closest the Cavs would get for the rest of the game. Blake Griffin took over with some unchecked aggression, scoring 13 of his game high 23 to put the game effectively out of reach. The Cavs found themselves down by 18 going into the fourth quarter, and then the likes of Austin Rivers, Ray Felton, Marrese Speights and Brandon Bass wiped the floor with the reserves. Even the nearly retired Paul Pierce had a triple, a dunk and a block. The lead continued to swell, ending with a 30 point disparity in the final score, 108-78.

Highlights:

Aside from a night of rest for the Cavs’ big three… there’s really not much in the way of positives to take away from this one. I mean, nobody else got hurt, so there’s that…

I guess the Cavs did have all five “starters” in double figures, along with Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder off the bench… so seven guys with double digit scoring. Although, R.J. was the high scorer with 12.

Channing Frye, Deron Williams and Iman Shumpert contributed about what they normally do. While that’s enough off the bench on a regular night, it wasn’t going to cut it with them in the starting lineup.

They also won the turnover battle, 12-15 (okay, I’m just reaching now)…

Lowlights:

After “winning” the first quarter 16-14, it was in doubt for a while that the Cavs would even break the thirty point barrier in the first half. The 78 points for the Cavs was their low mark on the season, as was their five made threes, and their 18.5% from beyond the arc.

The Cavs lost the rebounding battle, 58-44… the assist differential, 27-15… and the shooting percentage, 51%-38%.

J.R. Smith had a rough night. He hit just 4-17, and was 0-7 from deep. He also took an elbow to the abdomen from J.J. Redick in the first quarter and had to exit for a few minutes.

DeAndre Liggins and Kay Felder continued to make the case for why they can’t crack the rotation when guys aren’t hurt or resting. Lig went 1-3 with four turnovers in 18 minutes (at least he did snag four steals). Kay somehow was able to jack up 12 shots in just 15 minutes (making four), and also cancelled out his two assists with two turns.

Chris Paul obviously felt less than challenged without his old pal LBJ on the court. Or, maybe his 0-8 (0-5 from downtown) performance was his own form of protest for the absence.

The ABC commentators (Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Breen) spent most of the broadcast complaining vociferously about the decision by the Cavs to rest their stars.

“We Want LeBron!”

The Clippers fans got this chant going early to voice their own displeasure for a healthy LeBron being MIA from this contest (he was drinking coffee on the sideline instead). David Griffin, when interviewed by Lisa Salters before the game, defended the team’s decision to rest their stars, citing not only the schedule, but also the real need to rest Kevin and Kyrie…

“Because if they play tomorrow, they get two days off in a row now, and then they get two days off before Denver [on Wednesday],” Griffin told ESPN. “So from a rehab standpoint, he wouldn’t have gotten the same amount of rest between games. We were never going to play Kevin this game, so he could get two days off. And Kyrie is off after leaving the last game hurt.”

Griffin also pointed out that the Cavs’ situation was different than the one last Saturday when the Warriors rested healthy players against the Spurs.

“It was nothing like the last time that happened,” he told ESPN. “Those were three healthy dudes that rested. That’s not what happened tonight. Yeah, it sucks from a timing perspective. I feel bad for the league. I really do. I feel bad for the league, but it is what it is for us, from an injury standpoint. As you know, we haven’t had a team together for more than a week at a time all year.”

The thing is, he’s not wrong… the NBA has a scheduling problem that they need to address this next off season. If they’re going to require teams to play the same level of back to backs, they’re going to have to be more shrewd to try and avoid them for nationally televised games. Still, it does suck for fans who pay good money (money that goes directly into the pockets of owners and to pay player salaries) to see stars the one time they visit their city. Overall, it cheapens the product, and may very well mushroom from an image problem into one of declining attendance over time.

As a Cavs fan, it’s easier to live with LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin taking some games off for rest and maintenance during the regular season… especially if it helps them stay fresher and healthier for an extended post-season run. However, games like this when they’re all missing in action are not only difficult to watch, but a genuine rip off for the fans who paid to see them. We’ll see who winds up playing today against the tanking Lakers…

Leave a Reply

41 Comments on "Not A Recap: Clippers 108, (Not) Cavs 78 (or, Not A Surprise)"

avatar
1500
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
3 days 19 hours ago

It probably would have made more sense to rest the big 3 tonight. You have to kind of respect the fans and the national tv Saturday night prime-time marquee match up audience. I really don’t understand Lue sometimes.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
3 days 21 hours ago

What’s worse? Delly? Liggins? Or parsley?

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 days 37 minutes ago

The easy solution is to shorten the season. Of course it won’t happen, because it’d mean less revenue, and less money for the owners, players and coaches. I’d be fine with 60 games, but even 70 would be a huge improvement…of course you have the ‘why would you want less games????????’ crowd….exactly, I want less ‘games’ like this one. Why would you want more of these ‘games’?

I don’t blame the Cavs, or any other teams that do this, it’s smart. But as van Gundy pointed out, this is why the big money exists in the NBA…people are shelling out big money in part to see guys play the game. This really needs addressed, since it’s only going to happen more often.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
3 days 21 hours ago

I would vote for 60 or 70 games. Let’s face it, by 60 games, most teams (with the possible exception of the Cavs) have had time to work out their game, and we know where teams stand in the pecking order. So, in other words, the seeding has been sorted out and is more-or-less fair.

But of course, this will never happen because it would mean less money for the owners and players. All professional sport regular seasons are too long.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
3 days 23 hours ago

Shortening th season would suck. Easily the worst way to deal with this.

Just extend the season by one week on both ends get rid of the week break for all star game and then no back to backs after all star.

Leo
Guest
Leo
4 days 2 hours ago

Really the only person who had legit reason NOT to play was Love…Kyrie should have played as he couldn’t have been any more hurt than Shumpert who played most of the game and had left the game just like kyrie vs the Jazz. Lebron resting is just dumb….at very least have him play 8 min a quarter (32 in all) maybe Clips win game anyways but to rest stars like this is just dumb…past NBA stars survived an 82 game schedule and the Celtics/Lakers of 80s along with Jordan’s Bulls of 90s survived 100 game seasons nearly every year….while i think the scheduling can be tinkered still think players shouldn’t rest until their team has clinched a playoff spot and can rest stars to round out last week of season.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
3 days 21 hours ago

The “Past stars” argument is always bogus.

In baseball, everyone talks about how the old day pitchers went 9 innings every four days. They couldn’t do that today.

In basketball, the game is much faster and more talented today. For any team with a decent shot at winning it all, you have to rest the older and best players in the last month. Otherwise the fans will all be gripping “We were the better team, the other guys were only better rested”.

John B
Guest
John B
3 days 20 hours ago

Also the game is actually way slower than any era before the early 90s if you look at pace. It’s not even close.

John B
Guest
John B
3 days 21 hours ago

I don’t buy the more talented argument for one minute. Talent is relative to the competition.

John B
Guest
John B
3 days 21 hours ago

For instance during the years Jordan won, look at his competition. Talent was way dispersed compared the super teams of the last 6 or 7 years, the Celtics, lakers, and sixers of the 80s, or the Celtics, warriors, and late 60s lakers. There were far fewer super teams in certain eras

Nate Smith
Admin
4 days 2 hours ago

Teams need to either extend the time frame of the season or shorten it (or both) to cut out back to backs altogether.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 2 hours ago

I think extend the season and get rid of the entire week off at the all star break. And no back to backs after the all star break. Shouldn’t be hard.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
3 days 21 hours ago

Now the teams in the finals get maybe 14 weeks off, and less for some in Olympic years. I am sure everyone will be happy to give up 2 weeks of that.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
4 days 4 hours ago

NBA action — it’s Fan-tastic!

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 4 hours ago

Parsley is the most overrated spice.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
4 days 3 hours ago

Au contraire, mon frere. Italian parsley is a key ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes, and even the pedestrian meatball is enhanced with it.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 3 hours ago

Nope. I part middle eastern and cook that stuff a lot. Except for tabouli I don’t need parsley.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 5 hours ago

Last night showed why Liggins is glued to the chairs. He sucks

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 5 hours ago

Lue did what was best for the team. I still hate it.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 5 hours ago

Anyone drinking coffee and (generic) Baileys this morning?

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 5 hours ago

At least we have an easy game tonight.

LA cavsfan
Guest
LA cavsfan
4 days 6 hours ago

I was at the game, my father is from and Cleveland and lifelong Cavaliers fan. My sisters bought him and us tickets for Christmas and after lunch in DTLA and parking we were in for over $1000 altogether. The Cleveland fan sitting next to us took off work and drove four hours from Vegas to watch his favorite team. We are only two examples of countless disappointed fans. I consider myself a pretty savvy fan and tried to explain to my furious sisters how happy we’ll be when we win the championship but I don’t know if I can defend rest anymore, I know players won’t play short times because it affects stats but something has to be done!!!!! That was not what we paid for!!!!

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 days 3 hours ago

Don’t pay money to go to a regular season game. If the cost is prohibitive for you, or you are going to be upset if stars don’t play, you shouldn’t go. Period. The science on rest & injuries is so overwhelming it is negligent for teams NOT to rest their players. Heck, we just lost Love for a month after NOT resting him.

LA cavsfan
Guest
LA cavsfan
4 days 3 hours ago

Easy for you to say! It’s not prohibitive, it’s I live in LA and literally get one or two chances at best to see my favorite team!

LA cavsfan
Guest
LA cavsfan
4 days 3 hours ago

Literally over a third of Staples Center was Cavs fan who this may have been their one and only chance all year to see the team!

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 3 hours ago

Yeah. Jason just because your situation is different doesn’t make la Cavs fan wrong at all. This was his chance to see the Cavs. Nationally televised game on the first game of a back to back. That’s a good choice of game to go to.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 6 hours ago

Yeah man. That sucks. I blame popovich and the stupid minutes police.

LA cavsfan
Guest
LA cavsfan
4 days 6 hours ago

At least a third of the crowd were Cavs fans it would have been an unbelievably loud and fun game had our big three showed up!!

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 6 hours ago

Sucks. Stretch the season and get rid of all back to backs after the all star break. Liggins still sucks.

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 days 3 hours ago

Liggins >>>>>> the quality of Cols’ posts. He’s there to be a complimentary piece. He does that well. He doesn’t have the game to play large role. JR was the one who really stunk it up.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 days 2 hours ago

He was awful. JR has the track record that a game where he tries to win it because no one else can score is fine.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
4 days 6 hours ago

The announcers really made the game more unwatchable than the absence of the Big 3. Address it and vent some, sure. Then move on. But they couldn’t let it go. Mark Jackson turned it into the decline of Western civilization.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
4 days 7 hours ago

I think the Cavs and other franchises would be better off announcing fake injuries instead of rest. “LeBron takes tonight off after tweaking his ankle in the fourth quarter of the Jazz game.” I mean come on, he’s drinking coffee!

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 days 11 hours ago

Nail on the head

wpDiscuz