The Cavs follow the Thunder/Rockets Matchup on ABC, which is turning into a humdinger of a game. Let’s hope we don’t miss too much of the Wine and Gold. Bulls are missing Hinrich and the Cavs appear to be at full strength. The rumor earlier this week was that Blatt was going to try to establish his playoff substitution pattern before the Cavs take the foot off the gas, schedule wise. So let’s hope they take the, ahem, Bulls by the horns, and stay in control all game. The Bulls have won 6-8, and Pau Gasol is averaging 20 a game over that stretch. Look for him to be the focus of the defense. OK, this Houston/Tunder game is winding down, and a ridiculous battle between Harden and Westbrook is underway. As soon as that’s over, let’s go Cavs.
The Cavs took on the Heat tonight in the fourth and final meeting of the regular season. If it does come to pass that they wind up meeting again in the first round of the playoffs, this particular face-off should resonate as the one where LeBron got past the supposed mental block of facing his good friend Dwayne Wade and his former team (by realizing they are only dangerous if he believes they are).
Granted, DWade only participated in 13 minutes of this contest, due to a particularly nasty slip and fall in the second quarter, but LBJ was operating without the help of Kevin Love (bad back) and with an under the weather Kyrie. Any residual weirdness or loss of focus on Bron’s part might have sent him deep down the rabbit hole. However, his new teammates came up big in this one to help him free his mind from the head games of his old ones. He ironically didn’t even need any help from The Matrix (who was a DNP-CD for this one).
With the last regular season matchup between the Cavs and the Heat ready to unfold on national television tonight… the key question for LeBron (based on how the last three meetings with Miami have gone) might be “Where is my mind?”
So… which LBJ will we get for this potential playoff preview? Bizarro Tyler Durden LeBron (who we saw in his two odd trips to Miami where the Cavs lost both by an average of 12 points), or the real Narrator LeBron (who showed up for the 20 point win in Cleveland) in full on “I Am Jack’s Smirking Revenge” mode that we just happen to meet a very strange time in his life? (Maybe the presence or absence of LBJ’s close pal DWade in these games determines how these mind games go). We’ll keep a close watch on the King’s actions and body language, (including whether or not he’s calling his own plays tonight).
It’s an unfamiliar place we Cavs fans find ourselves — that’s right, looking past the regular season, and forward to the playoffs! We gathered our forces from around the globe for a podcast: David Wood and Ben Werth joined me to talk Cavs and basketball. As usual, the best stuff happened after we turned the microphone off, but the stuff we talked about before that was pretty good too. The biggest topic: the Windhorst/Simmons B.S. Report from Tuesday, but topics also included the upcoming playoffs, the rest of the regular season, and as always, beer. We can be found on the above link, on SoundCloud and iTunes.
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Matthew Dellavedova may have saved his spot in the rotation with a strong recent six game stretch.
Prior to the trade deadline, the Cavs were known to be looking to shore up their back-up point guard spot. As previously discussed in this column, the Cavs were seriously considering former NBA players then playing in China who would become free agents at the conclusion of the CBA season.
Following an early-season knee injury, Dellavedova was still showing all of the grit and hustle that has made him beloved by each of the last two Cavaliers head coaches. Only now he seemed a step slow(er) and his offense had taken a dip, going from “feisty” to just “showing the occasional twitch.”
There were potentially three reasons to tear yourself away from March Madness to witness this late-season contest between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers…
1) To see if the Cavs would snag their 16th straight home victory
2) To see if LeBron James would pass Patrick Ewing to crack the top 20 NBA scorers of all time
3) To see who would win the battle of the flat-tops… Nerlens Noel or Iman Shumpert
Unfortunately, the pain of watching what deteriorated into a brickfest for the ages pitched defensive struggle for much of the second half, made it difficult to stay tuned for the full 48 minutes (unless you’re a fan of train wrecks and Turkish rookie Centers…).
In what could win the award for “Ugliest Win of the Season,” the Cavs were able to keep their home win streak alive, primarily because the Sixers kept refusing to accept their generous offers to end it. And for a while, not even KLove bobble-head night seemed like it could prevent the Cavs or the sellout crowd in attendance from nodding off into oblivion.
In true March Madness tradition… the Cavaliers will go for their own “Sweet 16″ as they try to win their 16th straight home game today against Sam’s Club the 76ers.
The lottery-bound Sixers were blown out Friday 119-98 by the Clippers, although they have two more shots before the end of March to tie their season best of six wins in a month. Philadelphia has only three wins over teams with winning records, but one of them was against a depleted Cavs team on the eve of the trade that sent Dion Waiters packing.
After the nearly flawless game played against the Grizzlies, the Cavaliers were feeling very good about themselves. The punctuation win over Memphis after all the Love chatter must have been very satisfying. So it is hardly a surprise that the Cavs came out a bit flat in Brooklyn. Having a celebratory evening in NYC can frequently lead to uninspired play. Let’s get to it.
1st Quarter: With Thaddeus Young out, the Nets started Mason Plumlee. Their twin tower look must have been incredibly intimidating as it took all of eleven seconds for the Cavaliers to call a timeout. Granted, it came because J.R. Smith couldn’t inbound the ball after a Nets deflection, but terror boredom was in the Cavaliers’ eyes.
Nate Smith is an Associate Editor. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to NE Ohio in 2000. He adopted the Cavs in 2003 and graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a BA in English. He can be contacted at email@example.com or @oldseaminer on Twitter.
Tom Pestak is an Associate Editor. He's from the west side of Cleveland and lives and (mostly) dies by the success and (mostly) failures of his beloved teams. You can watch his fanaticism during Cavs games @tompestak.
Robert Attenweiler is a Staff Writer. Originally from OH, he's long made his home in NYC where he writes plays and screenplays (www.disgracedproductions.com) some of which end up being about Ohio, basketball or both. He has also written for The Classical and the blog Raising the Cadavalier. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @cadavalier.
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