The last time the Cavaliers played the Sacramento Kings, they were in the midst of a five game losing streak. GM David Griffin had just pulled the trigger on the second part of the mid-season roster overhaul to acquire Timofey Mozgov. The new look Cavs were without LeBron. After a solid first quarter, they got absolutely hammered. “My how things have changed” is an overused phrase, but it is certainly applicable here.
Friday night, the Kings came to Quicken Loans Arena the losers of seven straight, while the Cavaliers were riding a post shower high, winners of eight in a row. LeBron James was listed as doubtful until shortly before the tip with his sore shooting wrist. With ‘Bron deciding to give it a go, Coach Blatt had his entire roster with which to work. What followed was a methodical beat down.
It looks like LeBron and his sore right wrist will return to the lineup against a struggling Sacramento squad. Even with King James holding court, the Cavaliers will likely look again to All-Star, Kyrie Irving as a primary option. Fresh off an NBA season-league and career high 55 points, Uncle Drew will attempt to extend the Cavaliers’ win streak to nine with his Kyridiculous play.
Kevin Love is also nursing a sore knee. The Cavs desperately need all of its frontcourt depth against first time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie destroyed the Wine and Gold the last time out. Adam Silver rightfully chose Cousins over a host of deserving Western Conference players. Though the Kings have struggled since the inexplicable firing of ex-Cav coach Mike Malone, Cousins has continued to play well. Timofey Mozgov made his first start as a Cav in the first meeting between the teams. The Cleveland faithful hope for a better result. Sound off.
Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) This time last season, I couldn’t have expected I’d be uttering the following statement: the two Cavaliers players I most enjoy watching this season are Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.
Now, sure, even before Wednesday night’s Kyrie-a-thon, that’s not the craziest thing in the world to say. It’s not like saying I’m tuning in just for the chance to see three glorious minutes of Mike Miller or James Jones. But this time last year, I was firmly on Team Dion and was more than open to criticizing the highly-susceptible-to-criticism play of Irving and Thompson, a.k.a. Team Buddy Ball.
Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov have been linked as potential trade targets of the Cavs for some time and both actually came to fruition. I’ve questioned if NBA talking head’s sources were real or Fernet Branca hallucinations like the one I had when I tore my meniscus running out of the Cosmo in Vegas and then micturated on the side of the Aria. Moral of the story, don’t ever drink an entire bottle of Fernet Branca, and don’t initially dismiss all NBA rumors as page view spam.
I’ve been on the ground, restricted part of the floor,
And, no one’s ever gonna stop my threes again!”
Kyrie started the night 0-7 and then proceeded to shoot 17-29 from the field on his way to a career high 55 points. He willed in 11 three pointers on 19 attempts, and had 16 of the Cavs final 20 points. And, boy is his back sore. Kevin Love scored ten points in the first quarter and nothing the rest of the game. Timofey was the second leading scoring getting just 12 points. The craziest stat of all: Irving had just three turnovers. The Blazers really put up a fight, led by LaMarcus Aldridge. He scored 38 points on 13-23 shooting and had 11 rebounds. He even made two threes. Read the rest of this entry »
The Cavs come home tonight for the second game of a back-to-back against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers will be unusually rested because their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday was postponed due to snow. Portland last played on Saturday and beat the Wizards. Read the rest of this entry »
Right now, I’m reading the book Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – the Creators of Superman by Cleveland-based author Brad Ricca. Now, “amazing” might be overselling the adventures of these two Depression Era chums who, over the course of several years of self-publishing, unrequited submissions and trial and error, go on to create one of the most iconic characters of the 20th century, but it does paint an interesting picture of the slow shaping and reshaping that it often takes before even the best ideas take hold.
For instance, did you know that one of Siegel’s early pitches for the comic that would become Superman had its hero come not from the Planet Krypton but from Earth’s distant future? His father sent the young would-be hero back in time to help save the planet Earth which, much like Krypton in the story we all know, is on the brink of destruction.
The Cavs defeated the Pistons to win their seventh straight game. This one was the definition of an uneven game. The Cavs were about as lethargic as I’ve seen them in the opening minutes before LeBron decided to push the tempo off every miss, taking over the game in spurts. Cleveland couldn’t hit 3s no matter how open until they hit four straight to push their lead to 15 points in the third. (They finished 9-34 from downtown.) Shawn Marion gave an inspired two-way effort in the first half and barely saw the court in the second. LeBron, for all his spurious wizardry was downright horrific in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving had one of his best games as a Cavalier. There were periods were the only offense the Cavs could generate was on the heels of Kyrie’s defense and in the 4th quarter he alone kept the Pistons at arms-length. The Pistons had moments where they completely dominated the Cavs with dribble drive penetration and individual post moves from Greg Monroe. Andre Drummond dominated the defensive glass and sent six shots back from whence they came. But he finished an abysmal 6-17 from the field and missed a handful of point-blank bunnies, including an uncontested one in the final moments that would have made the game much more interesting. A win is a win, but the Cavs played like the 25th best team in the league outlasting the 27th best team. That both teams shot 42% and the Pistons had zero defensive answers for LeBron dribble drives while the Cavs defensive effort was Swiss cheesian tells you how poorly these teams executed on offense.
Detroit drubbed the good guys 103-80 the 28th of December, and tonight Cleveland seeks revenge. Lots has happened for both teams since. Brandon Jennings was lost for the season to an achilles injury last week, and D.J. Augustin started in his stead on Sunday. He scored 35 in 37 minutes against the Raptors, with 77% True Shooting. So shutting him down is a priority. Detroit features balanced scoring (five guys average double features), a dynamic duo of Monroe and Drummond in the middle, glue guy Kyle Singler, and solid coaching from Stan Van Gundy. Hopefully, the Cavs are revenge minded and can shut down the Pistons in the Motor City. Go Cavs!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or @cadavalier.
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