Podcap: Rockets 117, Cavs 113 (or, It’s A Rocket League… We’re Just Living In It)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or not listening to podcasts featuring Tom Pestak) you’re well familiar with this vehicular soccer video game league that’s played with rocket powered cars. It’s a fast paced, high powered game where cars can slam into each other as they score points. It’s also a pretty fitting metaphor for the kind of game the Houston Rockets play on a nightly basis in the NBA. It’s fast paced scoring with tons of shots and, when those shots aren’t falling… they pretty much just run into the other team and get to the line to score.

The Cavs were the latest victim of this Rocket style of play, as they got blitzed by a barrage of threes in the first half, and then got more than lapped at the free throw line as the game wore on. As a team, the Cavs only attempted as many freebies as James Harden did alone (14). Houston also took full advantage of the confluence of the Cavs missing Tristan Thompson, having a frustrated Kevin Love in foul trouble (he fouled out in the fourth quarter), and Ty Lue refusing to play any other bigs. The lopsided rebounding advantage (45-26 in Houston’s favor) went a long way in cementing the win for the home team.

Yet, it at least approached being an “acceptable loss” as far as defeats go this young season. The Cavs rarely win in Houston, and being down three players, and with their recent defensive woes, it’s a testament to their at least slightly improved effort that they weren’t blown out of the building. Also, Jeff Green had a monster night (yes, you read that right).

The Rocket man himself (the aforementioned Mr. Pestak) joined Nate and EG for the second half of this podcap. In it, they cover not only this game, but also the ongoing issues with the team in general, the road ahead, how the game has fundamentally changed since the days of the LeBron 1.0 era, and whether or not “Daddy” is done spending money and picks on making this team better. Take a listen for these things and a whole lot more (including about a 15 minute conversation about The Natural — which Tom watched instead of the game tonight)… and of course a Rocket League update.

As always, you can listen above, on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, or Google Play.

 

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Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
1 year 28 days ago

As others have said, Lue’s unwillingness to play/develop younger players is inexcusable at this point. The best coaches, and yes that may include Stevens, work their rotations to give 8-10 minutes to rookies so they can either grow or prove to be unplayable. We know nothing on Cedi or Zizic due to Lue. In my view Lue is certainly average at best and woul not make a top 15 list of NBA coaches. And we are stuck with him for the year.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 28 days ago

All: if you didn’t get a chance to read Ben Werth’s column (it got buried a bit this week) on leadership, roles, and Ty Lue, it is so good.

From Distance: Who’s the Boss?

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

Hey EG: After tonight’s Celtics win without Kyrie & Horford,Brad Stevens is now the greatest coach ever, according to Twitter…

Warriorsfans
Guest
Warriorsfans
1 year 28 days ago

Without top 3 players, kudos well deserved. There was some discussion before season how Celtics are not going to be as good a defensive team this year because of the players lost. I said at the time, some coaches just make anyone play defense and Brad Stevens is that mould.

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

Has your handle changed to plural? How many of you are typing? :)

Re: team defense – I think a good coach can help a group of players play better defense. I also know from past athletic competition that you can’t turn a donkey into a racehorse. Time will tell if the Celtics are a great defensive unit I guess. Having watched this game I thought in the last quarter the Hornets missed a lot of makable shots, FTs , Dwight Howard was awful & the Celtics took full advantage.

Warriorsfan
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Warriorsfan
1 year 28 days ago

No idea how my handle changed.

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

Michael Porter Jr., a potential Cavs selection with that Brooklyn pick, injures hip in debut

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.seccountry.com/missouri/missouri-forward-michael-porter-jr-leaves-highly-anticipated-debut-injury/amp

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

Maybe a 2-for-1 treatment deal at Cleveland Clinic with IT.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

Looks like Kyrie may have a concussion too, from his own teammate Aaron Baynes.

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

Bledsoe looking good with the Bucks!

Simmo
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Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

Spurs coming back….honestly thought they were done.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

Still no Leonard.

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

Yup, and Ginobili looking like a younger man!

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

I’d take Patty Mills over any of our PGs.

MikeO
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MikeO
1 year 28 days ago

No question…

Simmo
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Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

As an Aussie, you have my agreement ;)

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

I’d love to see if Kyrie could carry the Australian Olympic team next go around.

Simmo
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Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

Dunno how that works, can you pick & choose with duel citizenship? That would be pretty cool.

John B
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John B
1 year 28 days ago

I think he was offered at one point.

Simmo
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Simmo
1 year 28 days ago

He’d have chemistry with Baynes too (once the elbow to head is forgiven).

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

And Delly too. Not sure about duel citizenship, but I’ve seen Chris Kamen play with Dirk on the German National squad.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

My two favorite non-Cav teams are playing each other on ESPN right now.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

JFG sort of gives props to the Cavs for not having IT.

scotch
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scotch
1 year 29 days ago
So…to respond to Tom’s hill…i don’t think it would be as easy to dismiss those cavs teams in 2009-2010 if Lebron had gone to Miami in 2011 and done what people basically expected and what almost happened: struggle a bit during the early stages of the regular season, find a rhythm, storm through the leastern conference, and beat whatever came out of the west rather soundly. And to make matters more ridiculous, a seemingly weak opponent came out of what was a stacked western conference playoffs, and Lebron STILL didn’t win a title. With all stars in their prime against what was a team very similar to how the 09-10 cavs teams were constructed (one star scorer, scrappy pieces, and feisty team defense), Lebron still couldn’t win a title. that event made it impossible for the cavs best teams ever to the point not to be relegated to losers. The savvy fan will realize that the next year the heatles were injured during the playoffs and finals and Lebron basically won a title with a scrappy defense as the major piece with a z-like performance from Bosh, but the only way for those 09-10 teams to get credit from anyone… Read more »
JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
1 year 29 days ago

I don’t see how anyone can say the cavs of 2009 and 2010 were not a great team. They definitely underachieved those two years. Orlando wasn’t a great matchup, but our defensive scheme and personnel Brown used to execute that scheme simply were not the right ones . However, I am unsure if they would have beaten the lakers. They had a decent shot, but I don’t know if they would have been favorites. Gasol at that time was really really good, better than Howard in that series. Kobe would have been equaled or surpassed by LBJ but gasol was the x factor for the lakers and z likely wouldn’t have done too well in defending him. Boston in 2010 was the series of weirdness for LBJ, but they were setup to beat Orlando and challenge Bynum and Gasol that year.

However, those years prior to 2009, the cavs just were not good personnel wise. They did run into a buzz saw that first Boston year in 2008 when all those guys were still at their peaks. However, the east was crazy weak in 2005-2007. The cavs were basically dragged forward by Lebron in their playoff runs.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 29 days ago

Kobe wasn’t the best player on his team for any of his championships.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
1 year 28 days ago

Come on Nate. I am no fan of Kobe and have always been of the opinion he was overrated, but even though Gasol was great back then, he was not better than Bryant those two years.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 28 days ago

Um.

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JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
1 year 28 days ago

Meh, fair enough. I don’t have any desire to defend Kobe’s game much.

Nick
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Nick
1 year 28 days ago

Nate is right. Pau was a beast

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

I’ve never complained about Gilbert’s spending or non-spending. I’ve always maintained that he puts his money where his mouth is. My issue with Gilbert is the meddling in the FO, not trusting the FO, and becoming the defacto GM.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 29 days ago

I would agree with this if I was aware of any evidence that Gilbert is in fact meddling. I hear about Gilbert meddling all the time, but it is all from the same few people on CtB. The one well documented case of Gilbert meddling is flying to Miami and bringing back LeBron. Many of us will forgive him on that one.

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
1 year 28 days ago

Jason Lloyd has reported on multiple occasions that cavsdan as usurped more authority from each succeeding GM. It was a major issue why Griffin did not resign. It isn’t some CtB conspiracy theory.

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
1 year 28 days ago

Clearly CSD doesn’t value the GM position. I’m just not sure an owner has enough time to play GM, along with everything else that goes on. I realize that probably most owners meddle to a certain extent, but it appears CSD has continued to constrict that role. I kind of get the impression he’s miffed that he maybe didn’t get enough credit for the championship so wants to prove everyone wrong. My fear is that he’s Marty McFly taking the bate from Biff. Anyways, I’m glad he spends money. I just wish he’d learn how to be humble.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 29 days ago

I’m getting all my info from beat reporters. It’s pretty much ‘s known fact.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

I’ve read/heard about it from Cavs beat reporters.

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

But I’ve said I think every owner should spend money.

\"\'new -nomad \"
Guest
\"\'new -nomad \"
1 year 29 days ago

and yes this is what is so frustrating with ty — his stubbornness / stupidity /inability on developing young players —–you will never have trust in them if you don’t play —–now is that time to play them —develop that trust —-I see the warriors and spurs playing 13 players almost every game —doesn’t mean you play them 20 + minutes but you need to find 5-7 minutes a game for these guys —that is where ty is “clueless ” on developing rotations—–talked with a fellow coach this morning—other that out of bounds plays after a timeout what else does ty bring to the table

\"\'new -nomad \"
Guest
\"\'new -nomad \"
1 year 29 days ago

accurate recap—yeah almost a 2/1 rebounding advantage –ouch—-almost 3/1 foul shooting advantage —double ouch-shump / 2 games in a role consistent solid play—does he now start over drose ——-another good game by swish–good sign——-someone please jump start crowder -if-he gets going that helps immensely——only 3 shots by korver –he needs more than 3 …….take the monetary loss already and “fork jose ” taking up a spot for a youthful player ………did we have a chance to draft clint capella ( liked him even before he was drafted )–if so we missed the boat on him———–was happy on how they fought back– could have said the hell with it and ” laid a turd “—-actually thought before the game we were going to get blown out —–think we can win the next 3 road games which would be a positive

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

I got the #Corby reference from Nate. So I thought Nate came up with it.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 29 days ago

Maybe I fat fingers it.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
1 year 29 days ago

Thanks for finally explaining where Corby came from.

Mr. Green in the Library using JR\'s Lead pipe.
Guest
Mr. Green in the Library using JR\'s Lead pipe.
1 year 29 days ago

Green has such a casual style of play, yesterday everything he did looked effortless, his jogging up the court is faster than others sprinting. Its really pretty to watch when he is on, but it looks lazy when he isn’t.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 29 days ago

Best yet from FTS: “It would be fascinating to see what the Cavs would look like with LeBron as their owner. It seems inevitable that there would be implications of him being meddlesome as an owner, given the perceptions that have followed him as a player. Although it’s unclear whether or not there would be rumors of him leaving to own a different team every summer.” HaHa!

MJ 45
Guest
MJ 45
1 year 29 days ago

29-12 FT disparity after 3Q was really rough. It’s tough, I don’t even blame the refs. Houston has got to be the most difficult team to officiate that I’ve ever seen, especially Harden. I wish they didn’t fall for so much of their BS, but what can you do.

Cavs are down 2 of their top 5 guys, and seem to be looking better. I thought this game was encouraging. I’m just glad I don’t have to watch the Rockets regularly, it’s a pretty miserable basketball viewing experience.

JMay
Editor
1 year 29 days ago

The problem I have with the referring is only ever the lopsided nature. I mean, Harden gets any contact on him whatsoever and that whistle is blown immediately. LeBron and Love get regularly mauled and have games where the refs swallow their whistles. I mentioned below that there was a series of plays where Harden very obviously shoves Green to get open and then Green gets shoved to the floor when he finally makes it to the other end of the court. The result? Swallowed whistles. If you are going to swallow your whistle in the last 5 minutes of the game then do it for both sides. Regardless, the Cavs can’t play defense and that’s on them, not the refs.

JMay
Editor
1 year 29 days ago

Harden is a fantastic actor on the court. There was a play where LeBron cut from the opposite corner baseline towards the hoop and stopped under the basket to seal Harden off like we’ve seen Bron do many times. Unfortunately, Harden made it look like LeBron used his arm to throw Harden back when in actuality, Harden basically just fell over. You can’t see it game speed though. You only notice that he’s falling when you watch slow motion.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

And unfortunately for Harden, these antics do not work in the playoffs, which is why he always struggles during that time.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

Trap game!

24. If the Cavs continue to give this type of effort, the rest of this trip may not be horrifying. Then again, they play the 2-10 Mavericks on Saturday. Nothing says “trap game” like a terrible team on the schedule, especially on the road.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

I thought overall the Cavs played a great game despite the loss. They had the opportunity to win, and probably should have. Anyways, on to the next.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

Per Lloyd. I still think he could’ve thrown Zizik in there down the stretch.

9. The Cavs have a bruising center in 6-foot-11 Ante Zizic who theoretically could help in rebounding, but his brief audition at Washington didn’t go all that well. And if the smaller lineups and quicker pace make the game too fast for Love on occasion, then Zizic certainly doesn’t fit.

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 year 29 days ago

Ante played 6 meaningful minutes against the Wiz and had 2pts and a block. He also set some really good screens and rolled to the basket nicely.

Unfortunately Lue decided not to play him the rest of the game (although I think he came out in the third for a minute) and now we are where we are – Love getting owned by a young center and our very own young, athletic, tall and smart center sitting on the bench. Why bother trying to grow talent?

Lloyd’s conclusion that if Love can’t handle the situation them Zz won’t he able to either is extremely flawed considering we haven’t seen enough to know. Well actually, I saw plenty on the Wiz game to let me know otherwise, but I’m not a sports reporter so…

Lue = Fame over Game.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

I can’t wait to watch James Harden lose his mind when he can’t buy a call in the playoffs. Nope sorry James, the Golden Turd only works in the regular season. You’re a regular season player.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 29 days ago

Isnt it on Lue and Longbardi if the guys arent ready to play defense

John B
Guest
John B
1 year 28 days ago

I would say as far as effort, not so much with this particular team. Execution and knowing the schemes that are being used, absolutely. My second biggest knock on Lue or more probably on Longibardi is the lack of mental preparedness this team seems to have on d.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 29 days ago

Idk about zizic – I think he has 0 career boards and didnt look impressive on the boards from what i saw previously

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 year 29 days ago

A quick YouTube search tells me he had 4pts/4rbs in about 8 minutes.

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 year 29 days ago

That was actually a preseason game so not correct on my part.

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 year 29 days ago

Lue coached this game to win but not to help our future selves…

When it was obvious that Love A) Couldn’t handle Capela on the PnR’s and B) Wasn’t effective on the rebounding aspect, it was time for Lue consider putting Zz in. Why? Because although Zz’s PnR defense is lacking, he’s a young, athletic tall body that could negate Capela’s impact on the boards with some of his own. Also not giving Zz the opportunity to show his potential against a solid center makes it impossible to determine wether he will be useful in the future.

So not only do you continue to let Love be dominated as opposed to move him to the 4 spot and Green to the 3, so you can pull Crowder out who was horrid, you also don’t even know if your 20yo 7footer is capable of keeping up with hungry 23yo Capela.

Lue decided to stick to his “Fame over Game” rotations and made the game more difficult than it had to be, considering you were already having to deal with the crap reff’ng. Love fouled out. Was a non-factor and Capela owned you. Great coaching by the cLueless one.

Leo
Guest
Leo
1 year 29 days ago

unless I misheard Tom’s comment, did he say Cavs could get bounced in first round this year? there is no historic precedent in Lebron’s career that will happen. If I misheard, my bad, but this team will get to Finals again. Playoff basketball in May is WAY different than November, and there is still no team that can beat Cavs 4x in a series. Guarantee when Cavs meet Celtics, they will double Kyrie and force another Celtic to beat them and it will end badly. Yes team is currently struggling and effort issues arise, but they will get it figured out. Enjoyed the pod, good work gentlemen!

Thomas Pestak
Guest
Thomas Pestak
1 year 29 days ago

Yeah I was using how I felt last year about the regular season to try to describe how I’m not sure what even matters from the regular season this year.

JMay
Editor
1 year 29 days ago

You now have to watch every back to back this season…

JMay
Editor
1 year 29 days ago

He was discussing how he felt going into the playoffs last season.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 29 days ago

Also as I said 5 games ago, Jeff Green > TT

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 29 days ago

I still cannot figure out why everyone thinks Jeff Green sucks. Maybe Cols can help?

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 29 days ago

He has stunk two previous seasons

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 year 29 days ago

Green is a taller version of Shump. He can be an asset, if and when he plays to his potential. Unfortunately he sometimes think he’s a better player than he truly is and forces the game to the point of being a negative.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 29 days ago

I was impressed with Jeff Greens defense – he was locking harden down whenever he got switched on him. Looked like our best 1on1 defender out there

ChrisKorvalier
Guest
ChrisKorvalier
1 year 29 days ago

Agreed. I was encouraged by that.

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
1 year 29 days ago

Watching The Natural instead of Cavs/Houston? WTF Tom. You should get docked major fan points for that decision. Siskel and Ebert broke out on a Cavs podcast, although I do like The Natural too.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
1 year 29 days ago

The Natural is a good flick.

Thomas Pestak
Guest
Thomas Pestak
1 year 29 days ago

Haha – I’ll have to do a penance

JMay
Editor
1 year 29 days ago

You guys are a lot more lenient on the refs in that game than I was. Watched the shortened version of the game this morning and there was a sequence where Jeff Green was shoved by Harden to get free to inbound the ball then comes down the court and gets shoved to the floor again and not a single foul was called. Certainly wasn’t the reason we lost but my gosh the Rockets have one hell of a home court advantage.

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
1 year 29 days ago

I will never forget Nate’s optimism at 1-3 against GSW. Those articles & comments should be immortalised on a separate keepsakes CtB page.

Joshua Martin
Member
1 year 29 days ago

Great pod guys…I found it interesting listening to Simmons talk about Kyrie and then Ryen Russillo(who has quickly become my favorite NBA guy over the last few years) on his RusSolo NBA podcast talk about Kyrie today. Basically, he said that Kyrie is just finally playing like he cares for the first time in his career. He also went on a little tangent about Ty Lue and it’s not his fault entirely and most of it is on Kyrie and not sustainable. Highly recommend the Pod…its on the same podcast feed of the Russillo show podcast if anyone is interested.

Tom Pestak
Admin
1 year 29 days ago

Kyrie is finally playing like he cares……smdh

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