The Cavs exploded out of the gate to a 21-0 lead, the largest such start in the NBA since…well LeBron was a rookie…uh, Facebook didn’t exist, Anderson Varejao avoided mid-range jumpers like the plague (or, the stomach bug that caused Delly to lose 7 lbs!)… It was a historic start to a game. The Hornets woke up and outplayed the Cavs for about 24 minutes, but the Cavs put them back to bed with a late 3rd quarter run that re-established the proper predator/prey relationship in the Eastern Conference food chain.
Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Love’
Brook Lopez (back) and Joe Johnson (illness) sat out for the Nets and the Cavs rode a monster third quarter — and Dion Waiters’s best game of the season — to an easy win, their seventh in a row, Monday night in Brooklyn.
Here’s what happened:
The Cavs looked to Kevin Love early again and he responded scoring the team’s first four points. But the Cavs were practically inviting the Nets to score around the basket and LeBron James was sluggish early. His first shot was a long three that barely made it there. Then, after Allan Anderson beat LeBron James and Shawn Marion in transition leading the Cavs to call a quick time-out, James air-balled a three.
Love continued to be the Cavs’ only steady hand on offense, as the 6-10 power forward used an even mixture of post moves and outside shooting to account for 15 of the Cavs eventual 22 first quarter points.
Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Over the weekend, reports surfaced that the Cavs were interested in trading for Corey Brewer of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs have the trade exception they acquired in the Keith Bogans merry-go-round and, therefore, would not have to include a player in the trade. The Wolves are said to be looking for “future assets” in exchange for freeing up their glut on the wing and the Houston Rockets have also been listed as a potential trade partner. The Cavs roster stands at 15 right now, so if they don’t include a player in the trade, one would have to be released.
If this trade happens, Brewer likely slides right into the starting lineup, moving Shawn Marion back to the bench. At 6-9, Brewer brings tremendous length to both the shooting guard and small forward spots. Outside of being Kevin Love’s preferred touchdown target for his outlet passes, Brewer has never been known for his offense. He’s never developed into even an average three-point shooter (29% for his career), but he has a tendency to find ways to contribute across the box score.
2.) The Cavs interest in Brewer seems to come down to two things: a.) his relationship with Love and b.) the Cavs front office realizing that their defense is even worse off than they thought coming into the season.
Recap: Cleveland 122, Boston 121 (or “Once We Start Playing Defense, We’re Really Going to be Something.”)Saturday, November 15th, 2014
The title quote was by David Blatt after an amazing comeback win by the Cavs last night. Let’s get to it.
First Quarter: This one started out with Love on the left block on offense, and then devolved to a frenetically paced post-pattern drill, highlighted by numerous Kevin Love touchdown passes, including one over two Celtics that would have mad Brian Hoyer proud. LeBron caught it and two step flushed. A full court alley-oop dunk is coming before the end of the season. Unfortunately, Cleveland was giving up more than they got and by halfway through the quarter the Cavs were down by 17-11. A David Blatt timeout ensued.
That whole meme about LeBron’s lack of “explosiveness” seemed like a story from eons ago, as James looked like he was shot out of a canon every time he took off down the floor, and his pace matched the game’s. At one point in the first, a Celtics-Cavs-Celtics field goal sandwich took about 10 seconds as Brandon Bass scored, LeBron beat the camera down the floor to find TT for a layup, and then Rondo returned the favor to Kelly Olynyk. This whiplash inducing sequence prompted Austin Carr to prophetically comment that at this pace the game was going to be in the 120s.
After a lackluster two and a half quarters, the Cavs really poured it on the New Orleans Pelicans in the final 16 and a half minutes, outscoring them 49-33 and earning a quality win against an upstart young team. LeBron James had a monster game, tallying his first triple double of the season and 38th of his career: 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kyrie Irving was his full blown offensive-wunderkind self, scoring 32 points despite playing the role of distributor for most of the 1st half. At times he was completely unstoppable. Kevin Love came alive in the 4th quarter, draining four 3-pointers, and finishing with 22 points on 13 shots. The Cavs survived a 32-point scare from Ryan Anderson (cloaked in NBA JAM Flames), who drained eight 3s.
The season is finally underway. The Cavalier faithful finally (FINALLY) got to see their beloved team in action. Preseason seemed hardly characteristic of the main 82 unless David Blatt really is planning on giving Joe Harris as much burn as Kyrie. Hopefully the opening night celebration for the prodigal son wasn’t characteristic either. LeBron aggregating three more turnovers than field goals is a rare occurrence for him (although it’s extremely common when you filter by Octobers coming immediately after Decisions). David Blatt inserting just eight players better be a rare occurrence or injuries are going to strike like a thief in the night.
So with all these caveats making it difficult to take stock in the overall state of the new look Cavaliers, I decided to task a handful of our Cavs: The Blog interns to churn through game footage in our state of the art Augmented Reality Coaching Center (ARC2). The ARC2 slices and processes using a massively parallelized datacenter. We actually have content in 4D, so the interns can feel the heat from the scoreboard flamethrowers, sense the thud of a dead spot on the sideline, or take a whiff when LeBron rips one at half court.
So instead of trying to microanalyze two games worth of basketball, well below the sample size threshold of most valuable analyses, I asked our interns to uncover any new wrinkles previously unseen during the 4-year-long basketball recession.
The words from “The Letter” came back to haunt LeBron James and the Cavaliers in this game: a game that no one in Northeast Ohio thought the Cavs could lose. LeBron looked nervous. David Blatt looked overwhelmed. And the Cavs looked like they’d bought stock in the seriously ill-conceived “big three” narrative. Honestly, there could have been about a dozen more subtitles to this recap. Examples include: “Andrew Wiggins would have blocked that shot,” “LeBron has terrible games too,” “Defense matters,” “That crowd sucked,” “Go back to Hollywood, Biebs,” or “Oh that’s right, Carmelo Anthony’s pretty good.” Ultimately though, the Knicks just played with more energy, intelligence, and focus. The energy that had infused the entirety of the city of Cleveland throughout the day seemed to drain the Cavs instead of fuel them.
One more day! The NBA tipped off last night, and the Cavs tip off tomorrow. Our summer of waiting is almost over. In that spirit, we asked five Cavs the Bloggers to answer five questions about what this team will look like to start the season.
Tipoff is Thursday! What are you most excited about as the Cavs open the regular season?
Cory Hughey: I look forward to the inverse of LeBron’s first return to Cleveland with Miami. The emotion will gather like condensation on the outside of a cold beer mug. For those fortunate enough to be there, they will share a two-hour moment that transcends normal consciousness with 20,000 strangers. Instead of venom, there will be love. Instead of Samardo Samuels there will be Kevin Love.
In a game that saw three of the Cavs’ presumptive starters sitting out — Kyrie Irving (ankle), LeBron James (rest) and Tristan Thompson (shoulder) — the pressure was on its remaining two, Kevin Love and Dion Waiters, to step up and fill the void. The void was filled all right; filled up like the basket on one of Love’s five three pointers in seven tries on an evening where he scored 25 points in just 20 minutes on the court. It was filled up like Waiters on his way to 23 points. It was also filled by having to play a Milwaukee Bucks team that was missing regulars Larry Sanders and Brandon Knight and, well… you know, is the Bucks. Still, it was nip and tuck for most of the way, with the Cavs bench putting it away late to improve their preseason record to 3-0 with a 106-100 win at The Q.
Save for a Cavs mini-run in the first quarter that put the team up by 11, the game remained close throughout. Yes, Love and Waiters were the main story — and we’ll get to them — but here was the lineup David Blatt went with for much of the fourth quarter with the game’s outcome still in doubt: A.J. Price, Joe Harris, Chris Crawford, Shane Edwards and Alex Kirk. The Bucks, meanwhile, rode their regular rotation through the tight fourth — Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia, John Henson, rookie Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo, starting at point guard for the first time — and still couldn’t quite get over the hump.
If you tuned into the Cavs preseason opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv Electra (pretty sweet name…Electra) you may have noticed the Cavs dominated the boards. I mean, completely and utterly dominated. The final disparity was 64-36. Varejao, Love, and Thompson all had double-digit rebounds and they had 15 offensive rebounds between them. If a preseason game against a non-NBA opponent isn’t piquing your interest, I’ll just cut to the chase: Love, Varejao, and Thompson, are ELITE rebounders.