Quickhit: Bulls 99, Cavs 96

May 8th, 2015 by Tom Pestak


This game brought the pain.  It was fantastic drama and became a war of attrition.  It made sense that the game was won on a buzzer-beating, banked-in 3 by Derrick Rose (that was very well defended by Tristan Thompson).

EG will have a full recap shortly.  The refs set the tone early by swallowing their whistles and allowing the rule of verticality to thrive.  While LeBron stuffed the stat sheet and made a number of outstanding passes, his half-court execution has been severely lacking.  With no confidence in his jumper (until late in the 4th quarter when he buried two) he sought to back down Jimmy Butler in the post or drive right down Michigan Ave to make something happen.  It mostly lead to turnovers, missed shots, and the occasional kick-out.

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Preview/Live Thread: Cavs @ Bulls, Game 3 [UPDATED: Iman reportedly will play]

May 8th, 2015 by EvilGenius

[Make sure you read David’s excellent piece on the best Cavs lineups…]

J.R. is back for three. Will he reclaim his starting spot? Will Iman be good to go? How about LeBron’s headband? Game 3 should be an interesting one, filled with more gripping drama than your average Cavaliers promo video.

After being banned from the Q (90 minutes prior to Games 1 and 2), due to the suspension that stemmed from his flagrant takedown of Jae Crowder in Game 4 against the Celtics, Earl brings his well-rested artillery to the United Center tonight to try and provide the Cavs with some additional scoring punch. J.R. had some success against the Bulls in the regular season, averaging 17.3 points while going 15-31 from deep in three games against Chicago after joining the Cavaliers in January.

According to media reports, Smith, along with LeBron James, arrived at the arena this morning to get some extra work in an hour before the team’s scheduled shootaround. J.R. sounded excited to be back with his team.

“There’s no better feeling,” Smith said. “Being able to go out there and play playoff basketball with your teammates and a great team is something that I definitely don’t take for granted. Especially after missing the last two games.”

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Who Should The Cavs Put On The Floor?

May 8th, 2015 by David Wood


Back in September, I took the time to try and figure out which Cavs five man units would be the most effective for the 2014-2015 season. I used plus-minus data for individual players and plus-minus data for five man units from the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves.  To make some sense of that information, a little math was required.  Plus-minus (PM) numbers don’t take into account how many minutes players and lineups played, so they need to be adjusted to per 48 minute rates.  Once those rates are figured out, they can be used for all sorts of fun stuff.  By comparing players’ expected PM/48 in lineups to their lineup’s actual on the court PM/48, you can see how well the players meshed.  If the numbers match up, then the unit played to the players’ averages, but if the two numbers are drastically different, the unit either under-performed or over-performed. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Talking Cavs with Mark Neal

May 7th, 2015 by Tom Pestak



Mark and I talked about all sorts of Cavs/Playoffs topics:

-LeBron’s approach to the game

-LeBron the passer vs LeBron the scorer and what the loss of Kevin Love means

-All the injuries

-Update on the 2nd round

-J.R. Smith’s return and how it will help

-The Warriors meet a team that plays meaner than them

-Mozgov’s mental fortitude

-Shumpert’s amazing playoff run

-The NBA changing the rules on seeding


-LMA going to San Antonio?

-Adjustments David Blatt made between games 1 and 2

-Tristan Thompson’s value

-The Cavs promotions and skit video

-Nate calls in to offer his shooting tips for DeAndre Jordan

Recap: Cleveland 106, Chicago 91 (or, headband’s back, yo)

May 7th, 2015 by Nate Smith

The Cavs were shot out of a cannon tonight, led by the King in a white headband. As Charles Barkley remarked postgame, “God said I’m gonna make me a perfect basketball player… I’m gonna give him everything but a full head of hair.” The banded one got his butt into the post and led Cleveland to a 13-2 start. Then, they kept a comfortable lead throughout this “must win” game. Even with a 14-0 Bulls run in the third quarter, the Cavs lead remained double digits, and they were able to avoid being gored. Cleveland played Mike Brown 1.0 style basketball: winning with defense, isolations, rebounding on both ends of the court, and limiting turnovers.

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Live Thread: Cavs vs Bulls G2

May 6th, 2015 by Tom Pestak


Tristan Thompson gets the start tonight for the Cavs.  We’ll see if Mike Miller, James Jones, or Shawn Marion factors into the rotation.  You’d have to imagine at least one of them will play more than five minutes.

I don’t want to say this is a “must-win” for the Cavs because the definition of “must-win” should be reserved for “if you don’t win this game you don’t advance” which logically only occurs when you’ve already dropped three games.  So let’s just say a split would leave the Cavs feeling pretty good given the absence of J.R. Smith and a loss will make advancing seem insurmountable.  (A chasm, basically)

Still trying to figure out if Tom Withers is pulling a prank with this.  If it’s true….I mean come on that is AWESOME.  Why would you cancel the giveaway?!  I mean this is Ted Stepien tossing softballs off the Terminal Tower-level stuff (minus the injuries and lawsuits).  I love it.  But I loved this and I’ve been told it betrays our politically correct sensibilities.

Here’s a pre-game scouting report from our man on the scene, Big EZK

There’s a buzz in the air of excitement and anxiousness as I’ve arrived in the Q. The crowd is loud but I’m overhearing some doubt and lack of confidence given the situation. Everyone is of the mindset that if we lose tonight, it’s a wrap. I do think that as a fan base, we have been spoiled to believe that is it this easy to improve this quickly and expect there to be Finals appearances without some trials.

Granted, losing Kevin Love and JR is a tough pill to swallow. Especially after a relatively healthy regular season.
Based on the reports, it seems Tristan will start which to me is a blessing and a curse. The offense may be harder pressed to score with a lack of spacing. Defensively, I think Pau is enemy number one. Picks will probably be switched and match ups are better but one thing people need to keep in mind is that Chicago did change to match up with the Cavs, leaving only Noah or Gasol in for most of the 2nd half. Noah also did not score a point last game, which I doubt will be repeated.

Make your predictions, bring your hard hat to the comments section, let’s get this win.

The Point Four-ward: One and (Not) Done

May 6th, 2015 by Robert Attenweiler


Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Well, that sure wasn’t fun.

Cavs fans knew their team had some things to overcome in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Besides missing two starters in Kevin Love (shoulder) and J.R. Smith (poor decisions), the Cavs had accumulated the rust of the eight days that had passed since they last laced up for a game.

The Bulls, meanwhile, were coming off an historic 54-point demolition of the Milwaukee Bucks, finally finishing off that series in six games after leading it 3-0. While many have touted the Bulls as “finally clicking” or “getting healthy at the right time,” that might be a bit of an overstatement. Joakim Noah has battled knee and hamstring issues all year and was clearly limited in Game 1, failing to score on 0-4 shooting, though he was able to tally nine boards and four assists. Nikola Mirotic saw only two minutes of action, after being bothered by quad and knee issues during the Milwaukee series. And Derrick Rose isn’t exactly back if his shooting drops off from 56.1% from the floor when he gets two or more days rest to 42% when he plays with only one day off.

Still, the Bulls were the more fully lubricated machine on this night. The Cavs seemed completely out of sorts following the insertion of Mike Miller and Iman Shumpert into the starting lineup, and the Bulls rode a hot shooting streak that punished the Cavs for every defensive breakdown.

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Recap: Bulls 99, Cavs 92 (Or, The Bulls Can’t Get Any Better)

May 5th, 2015 by David Wood


The Bulls offense showed up last night, and the Cavs defense refused to make any changes to counter it. The Bulls opened the evening on a 10-2 run, and led by 16 and 15 points at different points during the game. Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose combined for 66 points, and the whole Chicago team shot 55% from 3-point land. The Cavs managed to come back from both deficits, while shooting 27% from the 3-line. The Cavs lost, but the Bulls aren’t going to keep playing offense like they did, and the Cavs defense and offense should improve next game. Read the rest of this entry »

QUICKHIT Bulls 99, Cavs 92

May 4th, 2015 by Tom Pestak

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.52.31 PM

Mike Miller started.  Mike Dunleavy started.  Mike Miller “defended” Mike Dunleavy.  Mike Dunleavy’s first five shots went in. The experiment didn’t work.

Derrick Rose drilled multiple bail-out shot-clock-beating 3s (contested).  Kyrie Irving had a 10-2 run of his own.  The Cavs trailed by 15 in the 1st, but tied the game at 53 early in the 3rd.  Fans and bloggers alike spoke of “sustainability” so much I wondered if we were live blogging a greenpeace press conference.  Once all the craziness subsided it was just the Bulls reeling off 15 straight points in about two minutes.

The Cavs chipped away, with Kyrie leading the charge.  LeBron checked back into the game with the Cavs down just four.  He spent much of the night looking unsure of what he wanted to do offensively.  Lots of hesitation, lots of jump-passes, lots of turnovers, lots of out-of-sync offense that could not keep pace with the surgical Rose/Gasol PnR.  The Cavs had a chance to win, but they became impatient down the stretch, launching a lot of quick shots.  Then, with time actually pressing them to hurry up, they dribbled the clock down to single digits and took awkward shots.  LeBron and to a lesser extent, Kyrie, were no closers tonight.  The Cavs lone buckets in the final five minutes were a TT tip-in off a sub-optimal baseline drive and oop from Delly of all people.  The other was a Iman Shumpert bucket.  Jimmy Butler scored seven of the Bulls final 11 points, icing the game with a banked in short-jumper.

In the end the Cavs attempted more field goals, more threes, more free throws, grabbed more rebounds, and committed less turnovers.  That’s usually a recipe for a W, but the Bulls offensive execution was superior all night.

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Live Thread: Cavs Vs Bulls, Game One

May 4th, 2015 by David Wood


What do you wear to watch Cavs games? Do you go shirtless? If so, do yourself, your family, and your friends a favor and buy an official Cavs:The Blog t-shirt. It comes in black and red. Are you wearing a button down shirt to watch the game? If so, you need to relax and get a t-shirt. Again, Cavs:The Blog has you covered, see above. And, finally, if you’re wearing a t-shirt right now, check and see if it has a word cloud on it. It probably doesn’t, so again, I refer you to above. Today is your last chance to get these shirts. Remember all proceeds go to the Lauren Hill, “The Cure Starts Now,” tribute fund. Also, check out the five on five, which was posted this morning.

The Cavs face the Bulls tonight. This marks the rare occasion that the Bulls are healthier than an opponent, as the Cavs are missing Kevin Love and Derrick Rose actually appears to be healthy. The Cavs are also missing JR Smith tonight because he decided to hit someone in the head with a closed fist. He’ll be back in time for game three.

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