Links to the Present: Other People Edition

April 8th, 2014 by David Wood

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One of the the hardest things to deal with in life is someone saying something about your feelings that you know is absolutely wrong.  Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are dealing with that type of situation right now.  During an interview on ESPN’s “First Take,” Josh Gordon let it be known that he thought Kyrie and Dion were not overly friendly with each other.

“[Dion Waiters is] my neighbor in my building, so we hang out all the time. I’m aware of the rift in the locker room. That’s just alpha males and supreme athletes trying to share the spotlight.”.

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Cavs: The Podcast 0045 – It’s Th[at] Time Of The Season

April 6th, 2014 by Mallory Factor II

Crying Sigh…Another season, another year sitting out of the playoffs.  It’s beginning to feel like it’ll never happen.

To subside our sadness (and to chat about the big post by Robert last Friday), John, Robert, and I hopped on the old podcast line to discuss Robert’s interview with Brian Windhorst, Kyrie Irving’s Future, Tristan Thompson and Spencer Hawes’ extensions, Dion Waiters’ improvement, and the last two Cavalier games.

As always, we can be found on SoundCloud at: https://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog

And on iTunes at:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843?mt=2

Not a Recap: Bobcats 96, Cavs 94

April 5th, 2014 by Tom Pestak
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This shot probably didn’t go in.

I attended the game tonight and had a really great time.  It was the first game I’ve been too since the “Welcome Home Z” game.  The Cavs and Bobcats had lids on the rims in the first half and came alive a bit more in the second.  Kyrie hit a big jumper to send the game into OT and had a wide open look for 3 to win the game in OT, but it spun out and the Cavs lost.  Charlotte, meanwhile, clinched the playoffs and could face either Indiana or Toronto.  The Cavs may not yet be mathematically eliminated but they won’t make the playoffs this season.  The good news is they have played much better the last two months.  I expect them to springboard off this foundation next October.

Interesting things I noticed:

-The Cavs really put on a show, but at one point it felt a little much.  I swear Ahmad Crump was getting us amped up like crazy, with the epic movie scenes and the scream meter for….out of timeout free throws and must-foul situations on inbounds plays.  I want that job.  I’m officially throwing my hat in the ring as the apprentice in waiting for the job of pumping up Cavs fans.  “CUHLEEEEEEEEVELAND!  GET. ON. YOUR. FEET. for the 15th ranked defensive rating in the league since February 12.”  I’ll work on the delivery. Trust me; this will be great.

-A fan in front of me had his family with him, very nice folks.  Because we were in the nose bleeds I couldn’t discern that #12 was Gary Neal.  He heard me thinking out loud and told me.  I was impressed, but didn’t want to be outdone, so I started spouting off Gary Neal’s journey the last few years to show my moxy.  Anyway, I point blank asked the guy if Delly should win the ROY.  And instead of laughing, he said “they would never give it to him, but he’s so much better than his stats suggest.”  #winning

-Cody Zeller and Tyler Zeller wear the same number 40, run the same way, shoot in a similar way, and just play the game with a familiar set of moves.  Cody had a huge rebound late in the game after the Cavs had played solid D for 24 seconds.

-I love staring at the retired jerseys.  I am so glad the Cavs honor Joe Tait up there too.  I miss Joe.  I tried calling a bit of the second quarter as if I were him.  It’s really hard.  He was so fast.  #LegendsofCLE.

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-I know this is sort of an already-aired grievance of a few people, including Zach Lowe, but the Cavs overhelp on the PnR, especially Tristan.  I think they need to work harder to keep spotted-up 3-point shooters from getting comfortable releases.  They seemingly had OCD tonight about sending the big so far out to block the ball-handler from turning the corner.  Kemba Walker split that double team (H/T Mark Price) many times and it just seemed like it wasn’t worth all the extra effort and was even a bit risky at times although I didn’t see the Bobcats exploit the slow-retreating big as much as I thought they could.

-Kyrie’s abilities were on full display tonight.  I haven’t looked but I assume tonight was his career high for points.  He played with effort and intensity on defense the entire night – I was looking for that and I noticed it.  There were times he left the wrong man or something but the effort was strong.  Good for him.  He was feeling it with his shot most of the game but you could still sense frustration in his demeanor.  Upset about a few no-calls, hanging his head at times.  After he hit a heat-check 3 that sent the crowd into a frenzy, he put his head down and had a very aggravated jog up the court before succumbing to the adoration and deciding to feed off it.  He put his hand in the air and asked for even more.  At times tonight you could tell he didn’t want to take over but he saw no other options.  The Bobcats are a very good defensive team and they really defended the Cavs well tonight.  Irving almost overcame them by himself.

-There was a sequence in the 1st half where Alonzo Gee hit the side of the backboard and then Gary Neal did likewise at the other end.  Points were an epic struggle in the second quarter.

-The refs let a ton of contact go, especially in the first half.  I love it.  No need to slow down the game every time players touch each other.  As the game went on they called it a bit tighter.  I didn’t see the foul when Dion missed the two handed dunk.

-Kyrie probably makes the final shot 6 out of 10 times.  He was WIDE open, spotted up at the top of the key.  He looked pretty upset he missed it.  But I was pleased with the inbounds play to get him so open!

-Spencer Hawes fired up a three-quarter-court shot after securing the rebound on the final free throw that missed.  He could have passed to someone else upcourt or taken a few dribbles, I think he had two and a half seconds or more.  He just immediately heaved it with two hands.  From that distance in NBA Jam it’s an underhanded uppercut heave. #seasonofhuh?

-Kyrie and Dion were displaying positive interactions all throughout the game, even when Dion wasted a possession in the midst of a Kyrie scoring barrage for some reason.

-I really get a kick out of fans participating in half court contests or timed shooting drills.  I’ve seen some epic ones at the Q.  Tonight, a decently athletic looking guy had to make seven free throws in 30 seconds.  “EZ” I thought.  Well, he airballs the first one by 4 feet.  Airballs the second one by 2 feet, front-rims the 3rd, rims out a few, and then he front-rims one in.  And another: front, back, in.  Then net, and net, and net, net, net….and they just made him stop at 7!  I think he was a machine and once he calibrated the distance he would have made 100 in a row!  It was not what I expected, someone with that form and touch shouldn’t airball the first two.

-Seems some of the other “local Cavalier writers” have either corroborated Windy’s “Kyrie’s camp sez” information or expressed frustration similar to Irving.  I won’t say who they are or link you to them though.

-I got to meet Mark Price after the game.  We spoke for a few minutes and he thanked me for the #CavsRank tribute I wrote here a week ago.  It’s pretty surreal meeting your childhood hero.  I probably bumbled like an idiot.  We talked about the Bobcats playoff seeding and he seemed to intimate that he thought Toronto was a better match up for them even though he agreed with me that Indiana is struggling.

-I presented him with a framed commemoration of #CavsRank and he seemed to enjoy it although I’m not sure he had actually seen the #CavsRank list before.  I hope he likes it.  There seemed to be some old friends of his there too, waiting to meet him.   He held it up and looked at them and said something like “The blog had a ranking of players…and I won!”  Indeed.  It was fitting that on this night they showed Price on the jumbotron with his career stats overlayed and he received a roaring ovation.  He stood up and acknowledged the crowd.

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Recap: Atlanta 117, Cleveland 98 (or, requiem for a season)

April 4th, 2014 by Nate Smith

This was a depressing one, Cavalier faithful. For the Cavs playoff hopes, this game could only be described as a “must win.” Unfortunately, Cleveland came out flat and failed to match the energy and focus of the Atlanta Hawks. As a result, Cleveland was dominated on offense and defense by the Hawks, who won in a rout. Cleveland shot 39.6% while Atlanta shot 58.5%, and 48% from three. While the Cavs are mathematically alive for the playoffs, they trail Atlanta by four games in the loss column. This means that even if the Cavs go 5-0 over their final five, Atlanta only has to has to go 3-4 to make the the playoffs, as they own the tiebreakers. As Campy Russell said, “It wasn’t the loss that hurt so much as the way they lost.” Cleveland’s body language was subdued all night, they lacked energy and fire, and their communication and execution on offense and defense seemed non-existent.  For the umpteenth time this season, Cleveland failed to compete.

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Shooting the Breeze with Windy…

April 4th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

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On a cool, but sunny, spring, afternoon, I grabbed a couple of steaming hot beverages and sat along New York’s Bryant Park with longtime Cavaliers pulse-feeler, Brian Windhorst. Brian, as most of you know, covers the NBA for ESPN and is one of the more insightful and thoughtful writers covering the NBA today (and has been so for a while). We talked Cavs playoff chances, Kyrie and Dion, extending Tristan Thompson and exactly why people need to write about Cleveland star players wanting out.

CtB: How much of Tuesday’s win against the Magic shows how far the team has come and how much of it was how little the Magic have to play for at this particular point in time? 

BW: They’ve owned the Magic all year. Even when they were playing [poorly] they beat them. To me, the season can be defined by the two games in New York. I think it was the Cavs only TNT game and the Knicks were horrible at the time. The effort level that the Cavs put forth in that game was as bad as any I’ve seen in my 12 years covering the NBA. To play like that when you’re on national television – even if you hate your teammates, even it you hate your coach – have some pride not to get ripped by Charles Barkely. Have some pride. The effort they put forth in that game was an absolute abomination. I was in the locker room after the game in disgust. I ended up ripping Kyrie that night because I’m like, “Who are you? Are you a superstar? Start acting like it.”

Then when they come and they play New York later, New York is on an eight-game win streak, they’d won eight or nine in a row at home too – hugely important game for the Knicks – the Cavs come in and win playing with ten times more effort. And I’m not generalizing. It was ten times more effort.

And, to me, that’s the Cavs season: the one team that didn’t [care] and the one team that came back to New York when the game really mattered and they won.

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Links to the Present: Getting Ready Edition

April 4th, 2014 by David Wood

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When Friday hits, you have to get prepared for the weekend.  Some people get haircuts. Other people go grocery shopping for a family gathering. People like me contemplate why they hated on Kyrie coming back after he had an amazing game against Orlando. A few people just grab a six pack of their favorite beverage and turn their television on to watch their NBA team.  If you’re a Cavs fan, this weekend you’re going have set aside time to read about their playoff situation to fully appreciate them battling the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday.

Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer has the playoff situation covered.  She points out the harsh reality that the Cavs really aren’t in total control or even moderate control of their playoff chances.  They are going to need some lucky losses from both the Knicks and the Hawks, since they don’t own the tie breaker against either of those teams. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast Recap: Cavs 119, Magic 98

April 3rd, 2014 by Tom Pestak

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The Cavs completely dominated the Magic. Any worry that CavsNation had about Kyrie and Dion playing together were quickly dispelled. They were completely unstoppable and played the way we’ve been begging them to play for over a year. Kyrie was incredible, finishing 7-8 from the field, converting a bunch of awesome contested shots at the rack, and playing the role of distributor/defense-magnet quite well. Waiter was 10 of 15 shooting. He splashed all three of his 3s, and nine of his other 12 shots were taken in the paint. Perfect. Spencer Hawes, TRUE PATRIOT, flashed his passing and his 3-point stroke and Tristan Thompson was too much to handle. He made all eight of his free throws.  Jarrett Jack and SuperDOVA managed the PG position well and Jack threw down a huge dunk. (I’m serious!) The execution tonight was just insurmountable, whether the Magic cared about winning or not. Even the shots the Cavs missed were open. They finished with 62 points in the paint and scored 70 points in the first. The Cavs are making it interesting!

Nate and I hopped in the ole podcast booth to talk at length about the Cavs. Mallory is in the process of posting to SoundCloud and iTunes, but, for now, the Podcast is available at Mixcloud

http://www.mixcloud.com/oldseaminer/0044-magic-recap-trade-madness-heroes-suits-and-the-playoff-race/

Tune in to find out about the game, the playoff race, #CavsRank, who the best dressed bench Cav is, which Cavalier legend I get to meet this weekend, and the details of our bet on whether the Cavs make the playoffs.  Go Cavs!

Links to the Present: Luke Warm (On Kyrie) Edition

April 2nd, 2014 by David Wood

DION-KYRIE

Two weeks has passed since Kyrie Irving injured his left bicep against the Clippers.  He has been reevaluated and can participate in full contact practice according to Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. Irving’s status for tonight is, reportedly, a game time decision

Irving wants to be back, though, according to ESPN,  in this piece about his return.

“I feel good,” Irving said. “It was great to be back out there. It was definitely hard for me these last two weeks just sitting on the bench. But as always, if I go down, I’m the biggest cheerleader. ”

“If I’m ready to go, I see no reason to stop me,” he said. “But obviously everyone has their reason, as we know in this business. Obviously, you have a respect for it, but as a basketball player and as a competitor, there’s an inner drive to be back out there. We’ll see what happens.”

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The Cavs Really Should Trade Kyrie Irving (Probably)

April 1st, 2014 by Nate Smith

In the words of Magnum P.I., I know what you’re thinking: “Nate is nuts.” Kyrie Irving is a 21-year-old two time All-Atar who was just the NBA All-Star Game MVP, was the No. 1 pick of the draft and rookie of the year in 2012. In the NBA, players like that are untouchable. But the dirty little secret of this Cleveland playoff push is that the Cavs may play better without Kyrie, and at the very least, they don’t play any worse. I’m actually worried about the Cavs missing the playoffs if Irving comes back. Am I a hoops blasphemer?

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#CavsRank Number 1: Mark Price

March 31st, 2014 by Tom Pestak

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“But we’d play catch.  I’d pretend I was Bob Feller.  He was my father’s favorite pitcher.  I wanted to please him.  I loved the moments when we were done, when he’d put his arm around me as we walked into the house.  He seldom said a word.  But I can still see the genuine smile on his face.”  – Terry Pluto, Our Tribe

There are few bonds in this world stronger than the love expressed when a father teaches his son the game that he loves, and the son, unknowingly, teaches the father what really matters in this world.  Growing up, I recall the players my father loved: Rocky Colavito, Lenny Barker, Joe Carter, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Mark Price.  Growing up, I idolized Mark Price, and my dad fostered the starry-eyed relationship between child and pro-athlete.  To my dad, Mark Price embodied character worthy of my aspirations, on and off the court.  “Practice your free throws; the games are won and lost at the free throw line,” he’d say.  And I did.

William “Mark” Price was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on February 15, 1964, the son of Oklahoma basketball legend William “Denny” Price.  Denny led Norman High School to their first ever state championship and set the Oklahoma tournament record for points in a game.  Denny went on to play college basketball for Oklahoma, and embarked on an illustrious coaching career, rising all the way to assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns.  Mark, certainly, embraced his father’s love of God, family, and hoops.

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