Posts Tagged ‘dion waiters’

Well, That Wasn’t Very Fun

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

The 76ers throttled the Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon.

Watching the Cavaliers play basketball is getting more and more emotionally deflating. This entire year was all about losing, and it has pretty much gone as expected. Lots of losses, a win here and there. But as the season comes to a close, the brand of basketball the Cavs play has become increasingly pathetic. Even that, arguably, was expected. After all, the third pick is more valuable than the fourth, and the second all the moreso. That doesn’t make it any easier to watch. The 76ers ran the Cavs right out of Wells Fargo Center today. The final score was 91-77, but anyone who watched the game knows that it was never in question, the winner never in doubt. Halfway through the first quarter, the 76ers had a 19-3 lead. In the third quarter they built the lead up to 28. A few garbage-time buckets cut the lead to 14, and that was all she wrote. Given the horrific nature of the “contest” that I’m sure about six people watched all of, I’m going to skip a full game action recap. Instead, some notes on the game and notable performances.

- Kyrie Irving played a very ugly 19 minutes, picked up five fouls, and was unsurprisingly left on the bench for the rest of the game. Kyrie looked uninspired on both ends, but he faced bad luck on a few layup attempts. The rim was not Mr. Irving’s friend tonight. It isn’t hard to see that Kyrie has tired of the incessant losing, and that’s what worries me most about the Cavs’ end of season record. As analytically-minded fans, it may be easy to grasp the concept that a few awful seasons is crucial to small-market success in the NBA. But that may be harder for a young star to internalize. No one likes to lose, and another season of it would undoubtedly create an embittered Kyrie Irving.

- Tristan Thompson continues to be blissfully unaware of the fact that the Cavs are tanking, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch. TT dropped 12 and 12 in 26 minutes, showing off that push shot he seemingly developed overnight. Unfortunately for his self-esteem, he was seemingly incapable of containing Spencer Hawes, who totally went off.

- Marreese Speights is a very talented player. When he avoids falling in love with mid-range jumpers, Speights can play at a near All-Star level; the aggression, skill and athleticism is all there.

- Kevin Jones plays hard, has 17-foot range, and can’t jump. He’s a solid end-of-bench option, and the Cavs should hold onto him.

- In a strange turn of events, Omri Casspi has seemingly made it out of Byron Scott’s doghouse in the final week of the season. Does this mean that the Cavs might extend the $3.3 million qualifying offer to Casspi this offseason, or is the increased PT simply part of the tanking? Whatever the case, he has looked very effective when he’s seen the floor recently, and I wouldn’t mind in the slightest a three-man SF rotation of Victor Oladipo, Alonzo Gee and Omri Casspi.

- Dion Waiters wasn’t very good at all, not that it matters. The time he missed from the knee surgery clearly threw Dion off-rhythm, ending a promising and often explosive rookie season on a sour note. By the way, Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis are the only players from last year’s draft that are inarguably more valuable than Dion.

- Damien Wilkins hit a lot of turnaround jumpers. Evan Turner still isn’t very good at basketball, and doesn’t have a position. Thaddeus Young is a baller. Jrue Holiday isn’t as good as Kyrie Irving, but it’s fun to see a young point guard play defense. A real treat for Cavaliers fans. It appears Arnett Moultrie is alive and well after falling in the draft, and then barely ever playing. Doug Collins is one of the few NBA coaches that I wouldn’t take over Byron Scott.

URGENT: Dion Waiters needs a nickname. “D-Wait” is lame and a near-homonym of D-Wade. Saint Weirdo, while fascinating, is despised by much of the Cleveland population. D.W. is a character from the children’s show Arthur. “Chubs,” as my friend calls Dion, is both derogatory, meaningless and insulting. Get to work, Cavs fans! Hit me up with suggestions at @dansoch. For serious nickname/nickname-branded T-shirt discussions, email me at danisocher@gmail.com.

Another One Bites the Dust

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

We won't see this against the Heat, sadly.

Dion Waiters is out for at least a week with a sore knee and may need surgery. This is not something to worry about if it’s truly just knee soreness combined with tanking. If it requires surgery, it becomes more worrisome. Keep your fingers crossed, Cavaliers Nation.Also: I now would like to formally request that Luke Walton play 45-48 minutes against the Heat. Save us, Luke.

Cavaliers 118, Magic 94

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Kyrie helped lead the Cavs to an easy victory against the Magic.

The Cleveland Cavaliers romped to a blowout against the Orlando Magic tonight, as Kyrie & Co. dished dimes and dropped buckets to the tune of a 24-point victory. The Cavs bench actually scored 59 points. Guess who else scored 59 points? The Cavs starters. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a balanced attack. This balance, combined with some spectacular highlights, made the Cavs look like an elite team- which, to say the least, is a rare occurrence.

1st half:

The Cavs started off hot, and had a great first quarter. Kyrie Irving’s jumper is silky as hell. But it wasn’t just #2. Alonzo Gee started off hot as well. When Gee is hitting midrange shots, you know it’s a special night. Also, for the record, Marreese Speights has an underrated nasty streak. He absolutely loves throwing his body around in the paint and dunking on people. The second quarter was a little more up and down. Sure, the Cavs were scoring, but they were also allowing all of the following players to get buckets: Kyle O’Quinn, Dequan Jones (?), Beno Udrih, Aaron Afflalo, Andrew Nicholson. Yeah, yeah, Afflalo is underrated and Nicholson is a blogosphere darling.Who cares? The defense was truly awful, and the half ended in a tie. CLE 51, ORL 51

2nd half:

Alonzo G33 started off the half with five straight points in under a minute, and it was awesome. If he scored at that rate all the time, he could average 180 points per 36. Wow! The Cavs generally kicked ass in the third quarter, which is to be expected when the offense if being run through E’Twaun Moore. Also, who is Daquan Jones? Does anyone know? Anyway, the Magic hit a few shots to end the quarter down seven. Immediately after the fourth quarter started, C.J. Miles starting bombing from deep. He has a gorgeous stroke when he’s on. Within minutes, the Cavs were up fifteen and Kyrie (from the bench) started grinning ear to ear. The Herculoids were out in full force in the final frame, with Marreese Speights bullying everyone in the post.  Also, Luke Walton should play back up point guard, for comedy’s sake and for comedy’s sake alone. Kevin Jones sighting! He has a nice jump shot. The Cavs ended this one smirking, with a 24 point victory. CLE 118, ORL 94

Highlights:

- Kyrie mostly played the facilitator tonight, which was a nice change of pace. We don’t usually see 12 point, 9 assist lines from him. And that off the backboard alley-oop to Alonzo was sweet. (Cue people saying that they can’t wait until it’s Lebron receiving those passes.)

- Alonzo and Tyler Zeller tie for player of the game honors, wherever such honors are handed out. Both of them played well on offense, and managed to shut down their assignments on the offensive juggernaut Orlando Magic.

- Dion: 5/16 from the field. Ugh.

- The Herculoids won this game. Shaun Livingston, Luke Walton– revelations. Wayne Elligton was solid.

- Tristan was pretty godawful tonight. He kept rebounding, though.

Trade Kyrie! Zeller is the Future! SAS 96, CLE 95

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Tyler Zeller, future MVP and franchise star.

Kyrie Irving was horrendous, the Cavaliers played the best team in the NBA…and somehow, they only lost to the Spurs by a single point. How on Earth did that happen? Let us delve into the details.

First Half:

Kyrie bricked a deep three to start the game, and it was all downhill from there for him. In a rare turn of events, though, just about every other Cavalier was productive and efficient in the first half. The Cavs looked energetic on defense for once, running around and trapping like demons. Alonzo Gee got a few breakaway dunks, and Tyler Zeller simply looked like a different player from the indolent young man who’s been missing layups and clanking 17-footers all year. And Dion BALLED OUT. Slicing and dicing through the Spurs defense, dumping passes off to open big men, this was the player Chris Grant envisioned when he drafted the young sixth man from Syracuse. The second unit stepped up as well. Luke did Waltonian stuff (pass well, defend poorly) while Shaun Livingston nailed that funky turnaround jumper a few times. Kyrie Irving simply sucked. The only facet of the game he contributed in was distribtion. He fed the big men for some easy buckets, and found C.J. Miles on a beautiful cut (layup was blown).  But man, was his defense awful. Tony Parker simply ran by Kyrie to the hoop, over and over and over again. Not to mention no. 2 couldn’t hit a shot to save his life. Still, a positive half for the Cavs. It ended with an eight-point lead! CLE 54, SAS 46.

Second Half:

Ugly start for the Cavs in the third quarter. They missed a lot of shots, and the Spurs did all the things Gregg Popovich asked them to do. And he’s a genius, so that generally works out well for them. Tony Parker simply ravaged the Cavaliers tonight. If it weren’t for Dion Waiters, this game might have been over before the fourth quarter started. He dropped 10 in the third- all on drives- and was awesome. Kyrie continued to be awful on defense and offense. Then the fourth quarter came, and Cavaliers Nation readied themselves for the entrance of the second unit, the mighty group known as the Herculoids. For all the flak Marreese Speights gets about only shooting jumpers, the man has some great second jump-ability when offensive rebounding. He just hops around until the ball gets in the hoop. The offense was sub-par, but the defense was great. Shaun Livingston is worlds apart from Kyrie when it comes to man-up D. The game went back and forth in the fourth, and when Kyrie hit a pair at the line (giving him a whopping six points on the night!), the Cavs were up 93-90. And then Gary Neal hit an absolute dagger, tying the game. He’s an assassin. Kyrie had a big steal, setting the Cavs up with a chance to take the lead. He wisely got out of the way as Dion calmly drained a 22-footer for the two-point lead. And then the next possession….ugh. An AWFUL decision by Dion to over-help on Tony Parker penetration led to a wide-open Kawhi Leonard corner three….money. With two seconds left, Kyrie managed to slip, commit a carrying violation (no call) and miss a one-handed, falling-down “jumper.” Ballgame. SAS 96, CLE 95.

Notes:

-Maybe the worst game of Kyrie Irving’s young career. I can’t remember him ever looking this out of sorts on offense. 2-15 from the field, six points, five fouls. Sadly, we’re all used to seeing him looks this out of sorts on defense. Tony Parker is a great point guard, but he went to town on Kyrie tonight. Utter decimation.

-Tyler Zeller: 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one block, and fantastic defense on Tim Duncan. Timmy D was helpless most of the night, as Zeller’s length and speed were the perfect remedy to the Big Fundamental’s collection of slow hooks and turnaround jumpers.

-Dion was sublime. If he starts to play like this on a regular basis, the rest of the NBA had better watch out. He is an absolute terror on offense when he decides to be aggressive, and is a very solid passer. A lot of his attributes as a player remind me of Monta Ellis, which is not necessarily a negative comparison, and certainly not one that should bother Cavs fans. A stronger Monta Ellis with a higher basketball IQ would be a force to be reckoned with.

-Ideal Alonzo game. Seven points on five shots, and a few rim-rattling dunks.

-The bench as a whole was very solid. C.J. Miles and Shaun Livingston in particular played very well. Speights shot a little poorly. Wayne Ellington was only OK, and is losing ground in the battle for the official “mediocre three-point gunner who only sorta plays defense and only drives once a game” title to Miles.

-Tony Parker PUT DA TEAM ON HIS BACK.

-The Spurs are a great team, and a one-point loss to them is the definition of a moral victory for a team as young and thin as the Cavs.

P.S.

Does this Nerlens Noel injury make him more likely to fall to the Cavs?

GS 108, CLE 95

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

This trio combined for 78 points tonight.

The Cleveland Cavaliers played an intensely ugly game of basketball tonight against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors shot 53.6% from the field, the Cavaliers 42.9%. The Warriors shot 68.8% from three, the Cavaliers 22.2%. Those are the only numbers you really need to know. Golden State actually turned the ball over two more times than the Cavs, and had less points in the paint. But this is one of the best shooting teams in the NBA, and when you don’t play anything resembling team defense, as the Cavs are wont to do, games can get out of control. This wasn’t a fun game of basketball to watch. The Cavs seemed to be perpetually losing by twenty (no matter the actual deficit), and the whole event was rather low-energy; it basically consisted of Illness-Ridden Kyrie Irving and Co. clanking jumpers while Klay Thompson turned into Reggie Miller circa 1990. Still gotta pay the rent, though, so let’s go ahead and take a look at this game.

First Half:

The Warriors ran out to an early 13-4 lead. The Cavs did not look sharp early. But the Warriors were missing Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson hadn’t yet discovered that he’s the world’s greatest three-point shooter, and Tristan Thompson is decent at basketball, so the Cavs managed clawed their way back to a 23-23 tie by the end of the first. The second quarter, however was when Golden State Klay and the Warriors started making every shot they took. The Cavs continued their mediocre play, but it stopped being enough to keep the game tight. This one could have gotten out of hand if Dion Waiters didn’t play the role of Kyrie Irving tonight; at the end of the second, he started driving and scoring and dishing and scoring and dishing again. At the end of the half, the Cavs were down 11, 55-44.

Second Half:

In a surprising but not altogether unwelcome turn of events, Tyler Zeller started out the second half matching the Warriors jumper for jumper. But the third quarter was not pretty. Now, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters deserve a lot of grief for not sticking on Klay Thompson. He was left standing alone far too often. But it wasn’t just Klay Thompson. In the third the Warriors just started dropping buckets. Draymond Green, Jarrett Jack, hell, even Kent Bazemore got into it at the end of the quarter. Kyrie remained as off-kilter as he did the rest of the game, and the quarter ended with the Cavs down 16, 84-68. In the fourth quarter, it seemed like the Cavs might threaten a comeback, as they seem to have made a habit of recently. The Warriors cooled down, and the Cavs were only one Kyrie Irving explosion away from making this one a legitimate game. Sadly, that explosion never came. Jarrett Jack and Klay Thompson scored a few more times apiece to end it, and the Cavs lost 108-95.

Notes:

- Kyrie was really awful tonight. The Warriors played a zone defense that he just couldn’t drive through and around. This, combined with the fact that his jumper was off (wayyyy off) made tonight an ugly one scoring-wise. But he didn’t really adjust to the way the game was going, ending up with only four assists and getting torn apart by everyone he tried to defend. Let’s write this one off as flu-related.

- Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller were pretty much the only Cleveland players capable of scoring tonight (18 for Dion and 16 for Zeller), and yet both of them got ravaged by whoever they were guarding, on any given play. Dion floated off his man all game, which is always bad but especially egregious when your man is Klay Thompson and he can’t miss. Zeller was just abused in the post all game by David Lee and pretty much every other big man on the Golden State roster.

- Tristan Thompson was a dominant force on offense, and a disappointment on defense. He finished powerfully all game, and ended up with 18 and 11 on 8-14 shooting. But he could not do a single thing to stop the Warriors front line. Sure, David Lee? David Lee’s an All-star. But Festus Ezeli is not, and even he got a few easy points.

We’re Coming for You, Shabazz

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

I miss this.

PHOENIX 91, CLEVELAND 78

Well, if we can take one  positive out of tonight, it’s that Anderson Varejao is amazing. That’s about it. Every other Cavs player mixed whatever good they did with a healthy helping of bad. A few were perhaps quasi-effective, but the individual performances tonight did not add up to a winning team performance. Not even close, in fact. This Cavs-Suns tilt was ugly on both ends of the floor, and it hurts my brain to even attempt to attempt at establishing a narrative for the game other than “Wow, the Cavs without Kyrie suck a little more than the Suns.” As such, I’ll go ahead and talk about the game by way of bullet point.

- Tristan Thomspon wasn’t impressive. Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola are a solid post duo, but they looked like Sampson and Olajuwon when defending Tristan down low. He has no offensive repertoire to speak of. Tigger shot 1-7 from the field for 5 points, and had no blocks or steals. However, I’d like to point out that he shot 3-4 from the free throw line. That’s not bad at all.

- Alonzo Gee was solid. He played some good defense, though that sort of thing is hard to quantify against the Suns, especially in a game like tonight’s- either they were scoring every time down the floor on an array of difficult shots, or they were missing an unconscionable amount of layups and corner threes. But we got the kind of ball we’ve come to both expect and treasure from Alonzo: 3-7 from the field for 12 points, a killer dunk, and a few steals and assists to go along with his constant flight around the floor. All NBA D-League players should take notes from Alonzo on how to make the NBA. The main thing is to play harder than anyone else on the floor.

- Jeremy Pargo played like Donald Sloan. 3-12 for 8 points. 5 points, 5 turnovers. Against Goran Dragic, who isn’t exactly a lock-down defender. He also had 5 fouls, playing the point guard position. How is that even possible? Let’s just move on.

-  C.J. Miles straight-up dominated a 35-second stretch of this game, dropping six straight points. Unfortunately, it was the last 35 seconds of the game, and he sucked for the rest of the game. He missed a bunch of jumpers, and didn’t do anything else particularly well. It’s hard to believe that Byron Scott continues to play him over Omri Casspi, who looked at least mildly effective in 13 minutes and hit a couple of shots.

- Anderson Varejao is a monster, 20 points, 18 boards. The fifth straight 15+ rebound game in a row for Andy. He was  on fire in the 3rd quarter, when he hit a flurry of mid-range jumpers on his way to 14 in the quarter. Without Wild Thing, the Cavs would have lost this game by 30. At the beginning of the season, I was all for trading Andy. But he’s played himself out of trade talks. There’s nothing of equal value that we could get in return.

-Dion Waiters actually had a decent game, despite another mediocre shooting night (7-20 from the field). He dished out 7 assists, and some of them were beauties. His play-making ability seemed almost Harden-esque at times, as he put the ball on the floor and whipped cross-court passes with ease. When Dion learns how to finish at the rim and hit his jumper regularly, he’ll be a real star in this league.

- Pretty much everyone else on the team sucked. I would love to blame this loss on Luke Walton, but he didn’t play. It was weird to see Tyler Zeller playing for the Suns. Or was that his brother, Luke? I couldn’t tell. Tough loss. Goodnight, folks.

Refs Not Seeing Dion?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Dion Waiters hasn’t been getting many calls this year, or so he thinks. The rookie believes that the referees have missed some calls when he feels there was a foul, the Plain Dealer reports. Byron Scott isn’t necessarily supportive of his rookie’s whining, though. He said, actually, “I take that with a grain of salt.” Now, there have been several no-calls on shot attempts by Dion, or so it seems. But while one always wants a coach to stand up for his players, there’s inherent wisdom in Byron Scott not fully agreeing with Waiters. He’s a rookie, and the NBA is a meritocracy. You start to get calls when you start to achieve. Whether or not that’s a fair system, that’s how it is, and Dion should get used to it, and not allow it to affect his game. If anyone is interested, his statistics, including free throws per game, are here:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/waitedi01.html

Byron’s Problems: Edition #1

Friday, November 9th, 2012

This year’s Cavaliers average 22.7 years of age. The oldest player on the roster is Anderson Varejao, and he’s only 30. Admittedly, Luke Walton is 32, but I’m doing my best to pretend he isn’t on this team. Regardless, the Cavs are a young team. Young teams make mistakes. Enter Byron Scott. Occupation: coach. Favorite mode of communication: yelling. Byron Scott is not known for going easy on his players, and he’s going to have plenty to get angry about this year. Just five games in, Coach Scott has seen it all: bad inbounds defense that leads to a game-winner, myriad turnovers, and Tristan Thompson’s insatiable desire to block mid-range jumpers, to name a few. In honor and respect of Byron’s ability to mold this young squad to his will, we’ll be highlighting the most debilitating issue this team faces semi-weekly, and speculating on what Coach will do about it.

Through five games, the Cavs’ biggest problem has been free throws. As a team, they’re shooting 61. 2 percent (74-of-121). That’s last in the NBA. Unsurprisingly, the main contributor to this debauchery of basketball fundamentals is the much-maligned Tristan Thompson, who’s hit on exactly 50 percent of his free throws this year. (The positive outlook on this: Shaq never hit his free throws either! The negative: Tristan doesn’t do anything effectively other than rebound on offense, and hasn’t improved from last year.) But to be fair, this is to be expected from Tristan. More alarmingly, Dion Waiters has hit only 6-11 free throws so far. As a player with a reputation as a shooter, that isn’t good enough, especially for someone who figures to be on the floor at the end of close games quite often. Even Kyrie Irving, the Anointed Son, is only hitting on 78 percent of his free throws so far. The average free throw percentage in the NBA usually hovers around 75 percent. If the Cavs had hit on 75 percent of their free throws this year, 16 more points would have been scored. That’s 16 points left on the table.

It’s safe to assume that approximately 10,000 free throws will be attempted in practice this week. Allen Iverson’s emotions on the subject notwithstanding (yes, I’m aware that reference is about three years past its expiration date), Coach Scott knows practice makes perfect. There isn’t much else to do, anyways, when it comes to free throws. As opposed to defensive rotations or the pick-and-roll, repetition is really the only path to improvement. Let’s hope things pick up. In the meantime, it makes me smile to imagine Dion Waiters shooting free throw after free throw while Byron stands and screams in his ear about FIFTY FOUR PERCENT. Practice is supposed to make perfect, but let’s just hope practice makes three of four.

(Stats from:

http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2012/11/cleveland_cavaliers_free-throw.html)

Kyrie and Dion Looking Good

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Dion's looking slim!

Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving lit up the Clippers last night, and Kevin Arnovitz was watching. The Truehoop maestro wrote an article about the Cavs’ backcourt that should make any Cleveland fan smile. He floats the idea that what many people saw as a potential mistake- drafting two combo guards- could turn out to be a huge advantage for Cleveland. Here’s the link.

NBA.com Previews the Cavs

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

The classic look of disapproval from Coach Scott.

A pretty good Cavs season preview from NBA.com, even though the real gem in my mind is the video clip that accompanies the article, which has Reggie Miller previewing the season. He thinks the Cavs should play up-tempo offense and trap on D, and he thinks that Zeller and Waiters are great fits for that type of team. Here’s the link.