Recap: Cleveland 122, Boston 121 (or “Once We Start Playing Defense, We’re Really Going to be Something.”)

November 15th, 2014 by Nate Smith

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The title quote was by David Blatt after an amazing comeback win by the Cavs last night. Let’s get to it.

First Quarter: This one started out with Love on the left block on offense, and then devolved to a frenetically paced post-pattern drill, highlighted by numerous Kevin Love touchdown passes, including one over two Celtics that would have mad Brian Hoyer proud. LeBron caught it and two step flushed. A full court alley-oop dunk is coming before the end of the season. Unfortunately, Cleveland was giving up more than they got and by halfway through the quarter the Cavs were down by 17-11. A David Blatt timeout ensued.

That whole meme about LeBron’s lack of “explosiveness” seemed like a story from eons ago, as James looked like he was shot out of a canon every time he took off down the floor, and his pace matched the game’s. At one point in the first, a Celtics-Cavs-Celtics field goal sandwich took about 10 seconds as Brandon Bass scored, LeBron beat the camera down the floor to find TT for a layup, and then Rondo returned the favor to Kelly Olynyk. This whiplash inducing sequence prompted Austin Carr to prophetically comment that at this pace the game was going to be in the 120s.

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Live Thread: Cavs at Celtics

November 14th, 2014 by Tom Pestak

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The Cavs are Boston tonight to take on the Celtics.  It feels like a lifetime ago that LeBron took off his jersey in the tunnel and left a crater in his wake.  And when I say crater I really mean a Death Star->Alderaan level impact.

Brad Stevens was enjoying a showering of Atta-boys after he barely missed winning the NCAA Championship.

Rajon Rondo was just a pup…you get the point, it was a long time ago.

The Cavs have historically been terrible at the New Garden (have lost 16 of 20), let’s hope tonight is the beginning of a new era.

Dion Waiters is listed as probable.  Joe Harris’ ‘stache continues to develop.

Predictions?

Mailing it in: Your Roster Changes

November 14th, 2014 by Nate Smith

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Long weekend here at the CtB offices. We all took off a day early in anticipation of this weekend’s games. The Cavs head to Boston tonight, and play the 3-and-4 Celtics at 7:30. Then it’s back to the Q for a 7:30 match-up with the 4-and-3 Hawks on Saturday.  I don’t know about you, but four days was a long time to wait for my Cavs fix. I’m wearing my Ben Wallace wig, going through cold sweats, and clutching my Boobie Gibson bobble-head. (I need to buy some new gear.)

To get us through, let’s talk about whether you think this Cavs team is ready to roll through for the rest of the season, or whether this first half a dozen games has made you consider some roster changes. Would you leave it the same? Are there any positions/players you think the Cavs need to add? Subtract? Is there a shotblocker you’ve had your eye on? Does the cut of Will Cherry’s jib offend your basketball palette? If you don’t want to talk roster, why don’t you reveal your favorite Cavaliers mid-game snack? Heck. Share a recipe if you want. If you really wanted, you could even talk Celtics and Hawks, but wouldn’t you rather have the formula for beer nog and Triscuit nachos?

Almost Near the Top

November 13th, 2014 by David Wood

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During the past three seasons, Austin Carr has often said, “Kyrie has got to pass the ball. He can’t just dribble it.” That’s been said with lots of enthusiasm when the Cavs have been down during a fourth quarter, and Kyrie Irving’s hero ball was being thwarted by double teams. LeBron James even said Kyrie needs to be a point guard first and a scorer second last week. While it is definitely true that assists result in a healthy offense that generates easy points, they actually are just one tiny factor in creating a transcendent offense. Let me pass you some stats to get this assist talk started. Read the rest of this entry »

The Celebration Critics and Shotcharts

November 12th, 2014 by David Wood

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Make sure you check out Robert Attenweiler’s Point Four-Ward piece from today.

Less than a day ago, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love faced criticism for their celebration after the Cavs victory against the Pelicans. In their celebration, the two buddies did an elaborate handshake and broke down the doors of decent households all over America by appearing to mime the activity of smoking a marijuana cigarette. However, this was not what they were doing. Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group has the official Cavs released statement on the perceived illegal activity.

“To clarify, they are quickly sharpening the end of an imaginary mustache at the end of their exchange with each other. It has nothing to do with smoking a joint as some blogs (and even some mainstream folks now) are suggesting/reporting.”

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The Point Four-ward: Sputter, Sputter, Sputter, Vroom

November 12th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA…

1.) As recently as last year, people were describing LeBron James as being one of the fastest players in the NBA. While perhaps not tops in terms of sheer speed, James’s ability to cover large swaths of the court in precious few strides made him one of the quickest players his size ever. That’s why so much is being made of the relative snail’s pace of his play this season. What Cavs fans have seen thus far is one of the most athletic players in league history running and jumping like he’d added 20 pounds in the off-season rather than dropped it.

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Recap: Cavs 118 – Pelicans 111 (Or, Raining Down Talent Bombs)

November 11th, 2014 by Tom Pestak

After a lackluster two and a half quarters, the Cavs really poured it on the New Orleans Pelicans in the final 16 and a half minutes, outscoring them 49-33 and earning a quality win against an upstart young team.  LeBron James had a monster game, tallying his first triple double of the season and 38th of his career: 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.  Kyrie Irving was his full blown offensive-wunderkind self, scoring 32 points despite playing the role of distributor for most of the 1st half.  At times he was completely unstoppable.  Kevin Love came alive in the 4th quarter, draining four 3-pointers, and finishing with 22 points on 13 shots.  The Cavs survived a 32-point scare from Ryan Anderson (cloaked in NBA JAM Flames), who drained eight 3s.

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Live Thread: Cavs vs Pelicans

November 10th, 2014 by Tom Pestak

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The Cavaliers are finally back home, after what seemed like an eternity.  With Dellavedova out for 4-6 weeks and Waiters questionable with a back contusion, who will David Blatt lean on tonight to shore up the backcourt?  Could we possibly some see really “big” lineups with LeBron handling the ball as a de-facto guards?

Make your predictions here.

I say 105-98 Cavs.

The Cavs and Anthony Davis

November 10th, 2014 by David Wood

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Brian Windhorst posted a video previewing the Cavs matchup against the Pelicans for ESPN. He touches on the obvious stuff about the Wine & Gold needing to pass the ball and play defense. However, he brings up a very interesting point about covering Anthony Davis. Who on the Cavs can do it? Will LeBron James be forced to cover the Brow if the game is close in the fourth quarter?

Tristan Thompson is toast if AD drags him out of the paint and makes one pump fake, and Anderson Varejao will get really tired if he is forced to cover the blocking machine the entire game on pick and rolls and regular possessions. And, Kevin Love would need some of AD’s love in order to avoid being posterized. The Pelican’s Omer Asik is also a handful to boxout. No matter what, the Cavs bigs will have a tough night to keep Davis from tiring out the box score writer’s hand.

The video post is titled “Cavaliers Building Chemistry.” Chemistry wasn’t really talked about, but after watching the video, I can conclude that chemistry for the Cavs is going to be all about James covering the opposition’s best guy or any effective guy Love has to cover. Makes sense, who doesn’t want to be around a guy that does the dirty/hard part of their job? Read the rest of this entry »

Fantasy Notebook: Fantasy Bad

November 10th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

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In fantasy basketball, there is almost always a silver lining to be found on the NBA’s bad teams. On even the worst teams, someone has to score the points, grab the rebounds and fill up even the most uninspiring of box scores.

A great example of this right now is Tony Wroten of the Philadelphia 76ers. In spite of the Sixers’ 0-6 start, Wroten has been fantasy gold turning in 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7 assists in 33.8 minutes a game. Wroten is benefiting from the same quick Sixers pace that buffed Michael Carter Williams to a shine last season, as well as from being the only Philadelphia starter (my apologies to former Cav Henry Sims) with even the slightest track record of putting a ball through a basket.

As historical context, think what kind of numbers Ricky Davis would have put up on the 2002-03 Cavs if the rest of his team had been composed of slightly-better-than-D-Leaguers instead of…

Okay, maybe not the best example. Still, if you were out in front of Wroten-mania, you’re sitting back and reaping the fantasy benefits at least until MCW returns (he’s practicing now). Even then, it’s likely that Wroten will continue to be a useful fantasy player because… well, historically teams have occasionally fielded more than one effective player at a time.

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