Posts Tagged ‘Kyrie Irving’

The Point Four-ward: How Buddy Ball Won Out

Friday, January 30th, 2015

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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.

But here we are now…

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Talking Cavs with Mark Neal

Friday, January 30th, 2015

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Mark and I discuss Kyrie Irving’s Double Nickel Domination, The Kevin Love opt-out situation, and whether or not the Hawks are for real.

http://www.wingam.com/Tom-Pestak-from-Cavstheblog-com-talks-NBA-Cavs-wit/17320024?pid=453712

Recap: Cleveland 99, Portland 94 (Or, I AM KYRIE, HEAR ME ROAR)

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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“I am Kyrie, hear me roar,

With a three stroke too great to ignore,

And I score too much to go back and pretend,

Cause I’ve heard all before,

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. (more…)

Recap: Cavs 103, Pistons 95 (Or, sometimes talent is enough)

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

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.

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The Point Four-ward: Backcourt Bliss

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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First off, if you haven’t listened to Nate, Tom and Ben’s mid-season Cavs: The Podcast, what are you waiting for??

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

1.) Kyrie Irving is really winning me back over this season.

While everyone (CtB included) was quick to heap praise on the performance of newly-acquired center Timofey Mosgov in the Cavs 108-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls, Monday night, for me, was all about Irving.

It wasn’t his greatest shooting performance (7-16 for 18 points and only got to the free throw line four times) but watching Irving play surrounded by talent is to remember just the type of amazing plays he’s capable of on an every-time-down-the-floor basis. In fact — and it pains me to say this — he may have already passed LeBron James in that regard.

This is not to say that Irving is a better player than James. The Cavs recent losing streak with James out showed that, no, Irving still does not know how to win in this league. Too often, his brand of hero ball seems to send the Cavs to the wrong side of the win/loss column. He walks the ball up too much rather than pushing it. But, as we saw from Irving in the FIBA tournament this summer, when he seems to feel more trust in the players around him, Irving can look like one of the best players in the league.

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Recap: Cavaliers 126, Clippers 121(Or, The Boys are All Grown Up)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The Cavs finished off a Staples Center Sweep with another high scoring affair. With Kevin Love a late scratch with back tenderness, Tristan Thompson rejoined the starting lineup at the power forward spot. LeBron James in his third game since returning from injury(rest) approached a quadruple double. But is was Kyrie Irving who shone the most brightly on an evening full of stars(I might like Billy Crystal more than Jack Nicholson). Transition defense was a rarity as the teams combined for 56 fast break points. Let’s get to it.

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The Point Four-ward: A Personal Blatt-ack?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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If you haven’t read David Wood’s excellent recap of last night’s loss to the Suns, get on it!

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

1.) The fallout over David Blatt’s comments after the Cavs loss in Sacramento that Kevin Love is “not a max player yet” should come as a surprise to no one. Blatt has always been known as a fiery guy who, thus far in his career (storied abroad, though it may be) hasn’t had to deal with as many of the finer points of player ego-massaging as he has this season, his first in the NBA. While he has ladled freely from the soup of praise when talking about his players, Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, in particular, there was bound to be a moment when Blatt, understandably frustrated following a 19-point drubbing by a Kings squad where his team played unengaged, uninspired and… well, basically un-anything-good, would release a little steam. Unfortunately, his pressure check was in front of the media and at the apparent expense of the player who, should he leave after just one season in wine and gold, would leave the team with a lot of gold — from the yolk running down their collective face — to show for it.

Do I think Blatt thinks Love is a bad player? Absolutely not. I think Blatt believes his starting power forward is a very talented offensive player — one of the more versatile offensive bigs in the league — but to say that Blatt, in his most private moments, is without criticism of Love is probably unrealistic, as well. Blatt later backpedaled saying that what he meant was that Love has not yet signed a max contract with the Cavs and didn’t want to be accused of tampering by suggesting that those kind of discussions were had with Love.

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Recap: Warriors 112 Cavs 94 (Or, teeny tiny margins for error)

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

The Cavs lost on the road to the best team in the NBA.  The final score doesn’t really indicate how competitive the game was – it was a 5-point game midway through the 4th quarter.  GS blew it open in the final four minutes.  The Cavs hung in there despite some abysmal outside shooting from the guys brought in specifically for that purpose.  J.R. Smith had a strong game at both ends, and Timofey Mozgov really made a difference in the limited minutes he received.  Kyrie Irving was like a quiet assassin at times.  Ultimately, the Cavs couldn’t stop Klay Thompson and the Warriors got so many easy baskets there was just no way the Cavs were going to overcome being without LeBron.

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Recap: Dallas 109, Cleveland 90 (or, one of these teams looks like a contender)

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

 

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In what was possibly the most predictable outcome of a game you’ll see all year, the deep, balanced machine that is the Dallas Mavericks made short work of a Cavs team missing its star and still struggling to figure out how to string more than a few good possessions together.

The Mavericks shot 56.4% from the field and 46.2% from three in a game that saw six Dallas players score in double figures, led by Monta Ellis’ 20. The Cavs, meanwhile, managed just 40.7% as a team, but did see Kevin Love continue his recent LeBron-less strong play. Love’s 30 points made this his highest scoring game as a Cavalier (he also pulled down 10 boards) but no one else on the team was able to make enough of an impact to keep the Cavs within striking distance much past the first quarter. The team cut a 15-point second quarter deficit to 10 at the half, but saw the game quickly get away from them in the third.

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The Point Four-ward: New Year’s Daze

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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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