The Point Four-ward: New Year’s Daze

January 2nd, 2015 by Robert Attenweiler

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

 

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

1.) A lot of what I’m going to say here is anecdotal rather than analytical. These are points and ideas born from conversations I’ve been having over the last couple of holiday weeks. They are more temperature-taking than anything else but, as with other recent Cavaliers seasons, I’ve found it useful to see exactly at what point the fan base (and myself) go completely off the rails. That point could well be now.

The overriding feeling of those I’m talking to is the same as mine: these Cavs just aren’t any fun.

And it’s not looking to get any more fun if, as reported today, LeBron James misses the next two weeks nursing a holiday cookie tray of injuries (or, more precisely, diagnosed strains to his ailing knee and back).

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Not a Recap: Milwaukee 96, Cleveland 80 (or Injuries+Bad Roster Construction=Fail)

January 1st, 2015 by Nate Smith

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cleveland got smoked tonight in a game where they just could not put the ball in the bucket. Cleveland shot 34% while Milwaukee shot 44% from the floor, and Cleveland shot 8-31 from three while Milwaukee shot 11-25. The inability get open looks and to convert open three point tries when they did get looks was the difference in a game where Cleveland did not defend terribly, given the talent on the floor. From three, the Cavs were broke. Mike Miller went 1-6; Kyrie 1-7; Joe Harris 0-4 (two airballs!), Dion 0-2 (he did have to chuck one because of the shot clock). Only James Jones (3-6), and Delly (3-5) had decent nights for a team that is desperately relying on threes for points. Miller and Harris’ misses were especially painful. Brandon Knight, Giannis, and Mayo led the Bucks with 26, 14, and 15 respectively, copying the recent formula for beating Cleveland: get the ball inside, and then punish the Cavs lack of rim protection, or pass the ball till you get a wide open three.

I don’t know if it’s Blatt, age, or lack of talent, but something is causing the members of this team to shoot terribly from three. Is Blatt neglecting shooting drills? Is the team practicing too much? All I know is that David Griffin has put together a bench full of scrubs and over the hill players to go along with the Cavs “core.” Lou Amundson is inept on offense, and Joe Harris and Mike Miller are useless if they can’t hit threes. A.J. price was dropping 20 point nights for the Pacers and now looks lost on the court. Combine that with bad shooting and an absolutely awful third quarter that saw Cleveland score a mere seven points, and the Cavs were doomed .  Only a heady night from Delly and a takeover attempt from Irving Kept the Cavs within striking distance. Irving had to go 9-23 to get to it, too. 2015, I hope you have great things in store for Cleveland, cause 2014 ended with a whimper.

Live Thread: Cavs Vs. Bucks

December 31st, 2014 by Nate Smith

Happy New Year, Cavs fans. The good guys take on Jason Kidd’s Bucks tonight sans Kevin Love, LeBron James, and Shawn Marion. Let’s hope Kyrie Irving and company are up to the task. It’s going to be a little daunting. Nevertheless, a continuation of last night’s nonstop effort would be a welcome sight. Go Cavs!

Recap and Podcast 57: Hawks 109 Cavs 101 (Or, moral victories may not be anything but they sure beat the hell out of getting embarrassed)

December 31st, 2014 by Tom Pestak

Charlie Brown

Check out the podcast that Nate and I recorded tonight. It’s available at Soundcloud , and iTunes. (CtB Episode 57!) Here’s a short and sweet recap to supplement your insatiable desire for Cavs analysis.  The Cavs moved the ball well in the first quarter and played the Hawks to a draw.  They completely choked when the Hawks turned up the intensity in the second quarter and then Kevin Love left the game with back spasms.  The Cavs, without LeBron, Love, or Marion, started the second half by watching Kyle Korver drain a couple of threes to push the lead to 17.  It looked like the Cavs were going to get blown out of the gym.  But they fought back behind the wizardry of Kyrie Irving, the power and relentlessness of Tristan Thompson, and some gutsy-if-not-quite-effective defense throughout the contest.  They were within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter in a back and fourth affair where they cut the deficit three on three different occasions, and to two with 4:43 left.  The Hawks absorbed the blows and settled into some two-man action between Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, eventually putting the Cavs away.

Kyrie Irving finished with 35 points and nine assists (and almost none of his shots were easy looks) but he coughed it up eight times in a game where the referees refused the blow their whistles for three quarters without a coroner on the scene and flipped the switch in the fourth – needing little more than pantomime routines to stop the action.  Irving looked a lot like he did last year – dribbling through double teams, taking a lot of those “why not” 3s from five feet behind the line, and of course, finishing at the rim from impossible angles.

Tristan Thompson had a really nice game.  His energy, offensive rebounding, and finishing abilities infected the Cavs in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  His alley-oop execution of Jeff Teague was a sight to behold.  He finished with 18 points on 12 shots and 13 rebounds.  He was old-man-at-the-gym’d by Paul Millsap all night long with the help of the referees, but he played a valiant game.

Dion Waiters and Kevin Love didn’t show up, figuratively speaking, and since LeBron James and Shawn Marion literally didn’t show up this game tested the Cavs’ depth.  Joe Harris was 3/4 from beyond the arc and had a few heady plays (and a gut-wrenching layup attempt that licked every inch of the rim before willing itself out).

Someone put on James Jones’ jersey and a Mission Impossible 2 mask because at least three times I had to double take “wait…James JONES just rejected Paul Millsap at the rack!?”  He missed a bunch of wide open 3s and was supremely active on defense.  Not your mother’s James Jones.  Over/under on the number of days until JJ has three steals and two blocks again?  I’m going infinity days.

All in all it was nice to see the Cavs dig deep when the dam was about to burst and make a game of it.  The Hawks are a really good team and will be a formidable playoff foe.  Their offensive talent was too much for the Cavs to stop in the waning moments of the game.  Ultimately the Cavs need to play like this every night (a scrambling defensive effort for 48 minutes) and at full strength they will win more than they lose.

Live Thread: Cavs at Hawks

December 30th, 2014 by Tom Pestak

Carroll

The Cavs get a chance to enact revenge after the beatdown they suffered two weeks ago.  Unfortunately, they’ll be without LeBron James who is sitting out with knee soreness.  LeBron’s 20s were some of the best ever seen.  Let’s hope it extends into his 30s.  The Hawks have been one of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises.  Kyrie Irving is back tonight, Jeff Teague gets another shot at the Cavs (he was absent for the last meeting).

We’re catching you midway through the first half – the Cavs lead 34-33 and Kyrie already has 10 points and five dimes.

Let’s talk about it here.

Fantasy Notebook: No Fantasy Here…

December 30th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

 

ESPN-Hoops

 

If you’re a Cleveland Cavaliers fan (and I’m going to file that under assumption of you’re reading this) you have had your fill of fantasy. Fantasy was what led you to believe your favorite team would be a world destroyer in LeBron James’ first season back. Fantasy was what led you to dream about an amazing steam-powered offense under the healm of “verging on genius” David Blatt in his first turn through the NBA. Fantasy was the Cavs’ deep and verified roster. Fantasy is on thin ice around Lake Erie these days and so this turn through the pages of the fantasy notebook will be brief.

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Recap: Detroit 103, Cleveland 80 (or The Best Player in the World?)

December 29th, 2014 by Nate Smith

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Cleveland laid an egg tonight. After being up 32-17 in the second quarter, they were outscored by 38 and lost to the Pistons going away. The Pistons had 17 three pointers, the same number of free throws they attempted. (Second time for a Cavs opponent this year!) I did a running diary tonight, and by the third quarter, I was really regretting that choice.

First Quarter:
11:27 Kevin Love drains a left baseline jumper and follows that up by taking a charge on the defensive end. He still didn’t have his hands up, but it’s better than I have seen in a while.

9:00 Tristan Thompson grabs two straight offensive rebounds, which leads to a LeBron iso jumper over Singler from the right wing. Tristan follows it up with a 12-footer a minute later. I see you working, TT.

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Live Thread: Cavs Vs. Pistons

December 28th, 2014 by Nate Smith

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Cavs take on the now-Josh-Smith-less Pistons this afternoon, and it’s clear the Pistons are in full on rebuilding mode. The key to beating the Pistons: knock them out early to break their will. Not to jinx anything, but some fourth quarter rest for the starters would be a blessing. That might be a tall order without Kyrie for the second straight game. I’ll be happy with a malady-free win.

Culty Catch Up: Fourth/Christmas Edition

December 28th, 2014 by David Wood

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers

Each week there is a ton of NBA media pertaining to the Cavs and the league in general that deserves recognition. A lot of it goes unread because there just isn’t enough time to keep up with it. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with six to eight notable reads/videos (the last two reads are up in the air just like the Cavs bench production this season) from the past seven days to get you through the weekend feeling entertained, caught up, and much smarter. I’ll throw in Dion’s Neon Man Of The week and some other features to add to the entertainment.

The Cavs experienced a season ending achilles injury to Anderson Varejao and a Christmas Day loss this week, but they still managed to bounce back against the Magic on Friday. However, they had to bench Kevin Love in the fourth to pick up the win. Is that a sign? I don’t know and don’t want to think about that until the Detroit Pistons game at 4:30. For now, I’ll show you what a news cycle marred by the 25th of December yielded. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap: Cavaliers 98, Magic 89(Or, Just Keep Doing That)

December 26th, 2014 by Ben Werth

The Cavaliers climbed back from a mild deficit to defeat a young Orlando Magic squad. The Magic have some fantastic pieces with which to work, but without a dominant player, and very short on shooting, they struggle to finish games. This one was no different. Orlando scorched the nets in the first quarter setting a season high in points and percentage. Cleveland took the body blows and rallied behind the strong performances of LeBron James, Dion Waiters and Kevin Love.

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