Posts Tagged ‘Kyrie Irving’

Links to the Present

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

According to the Israeli web site, Walla Sports (don’t bother clicking unless you can read Hebrew), Omri Casspi is attempting to negotiate a buyout with the Cavaliers.  HoopsHype originally linked/translated this story.

Via Twitter, Mark Spears of Yahoo Sports reports that Daniel “Boobie” Gibson has been excused from the team to attend a personal matter, and did not travel to Orlando.

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer’s Jodie Valade discusses Kyrie Irving’s increasing popularity among NBA fans.  Fans voted to put the Cavs on national television for the second time in a week, picking Tuesday’s game at Chicago for NBA TV’s Fan Night Matchup.  Also included: Byron Scott on Jerry Buss.

LaughingCavs previews tonight’s match-up against Orlando, link here.

Linkage of Kyrie’s Arrival

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Kyri3 Swirving!

In case you didn’t hear about All-Star weekend yet, here’s a Kyrie-centric recap: 32 points in the Rising Stars game, a three-point contest trophy, and 15 points in the All-Star game itself.

Sam Amick wrote a great article about Kyrie’s All-Star experience and how Kyrie feels about the Lebron-returning rumors.

Kyrie straight-up owned Brandon Knight when they went mano a mano at the end of the Rising Stars game.

And, for anyone who expected to see Uncle Drew this weekend: “No. I already have enough to do. That makeup would take four hours out of my day, man. I don’t think I have time for that.” Bummer. (source: cleveland.com)

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?

Kyrie vs. Byron (but in a good way)

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I'm rooting for Byron, personally.

Sometimes it seems like all that Cavs fans want to talk about is weighty, depressing stuff: Kyrie’s horrendous defense on the pick-’n-roll, Dion’s off-balance 22-footers, or Tyler Zeller’s general awfulness. Which makes sense, of course. The Cavs are a pretty terrible basketball team. But with a young team like the Cavs, with a young star like Kyrie Irving, sometimes stories come out about the Cavs that just make you smile, stories that don’t require general hysterics about Greg Oden’s knees.

For example, this one. Apparently Byron Scott has issued a three-point shooting challenge to Kyrie Irving, in preparation for Kyrie’s performance in the NBA All Star Three-Point Shootout. From Uncle Drew himself: “I just read something today where coach Scott unofficially challenged me…that’s something a third-place winner would do, go behind my back and challenge me.” Byron Scott finished third in the Three-Point Shootout himself in 1988, after finishing dead last in 1987. Is there anyway the Cavs can get this televised?

P.S.

Watch this Kyrie highlight reel. Immediately.

Kyrie Irving for Three!!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Kyrie Irving is shooting .429 percent from deep this year.

This All-Star Weekend is shaping up to be a good one for Cavs fans. Young superstar guard Kyrie Irving has been selected to participate in the NBA Three-Point Contest, along with Ryan Anderson, Steve Novak, Matt Bonner, Paul George (?) and Stephen Curry. Give it up for Kyrie! I’m thinking All-Star MVP and  Three-Point Contest trophies, to go along with his Rising Stars MVP.

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.

Links to the Present: Kyrie is Sweeeeeet.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Uncle Drew!

“Men are slower to recognize blessings than evils.”
-Titus Livius

As Cavs fans, we argue endlessly about the players on the Cavs that just-can’t-get-all-the-way-there; is Dion Waiters a low-efficiency chucker, or Dwayne Wade? Has Tristan Thompson finally turned the corner? This is all well and good. Sometimes, though, we need to take a step back and recognize the history taking place right before out eyes. Kyrie Irving is a young superstar, and the rest of the league is starting to take notice. 20 years old, 22.9 PER. I’m fighting an intense urge to use emoticons here, but times are good.

Anyways, here’s a few links in appreciation of Uncle Drew himself.

ESPN (Insider) is rolling out a new feature called “Who’s Better.” First edition: Kyrie Irving vs. Damian Lillard. Kyrie wins the comparison handily, and there’s this for dessert: “Irving, though, drips with the kind of intangibles that suggest he could be one of the NBA’s greats.”

ESPN (Insider) also released “25 under 25″ rankings. Kyrie is sixth on the list. “Already one of the league’s top players. Irving combines offensive skill better than any player on this list, and far better than anyone at this age in recent memory.”

In addition to the 25 under 25 list, “best- and worst-case scenarios” were compiled for the top 10 by ESPN (Insider). Kyrie receives Jason Kidd/Kobe Bryant as his best-case scenarios, and Michael Redd/Steve Francis as his worst.

BKN 103, CLE 100

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Deron Williams played shut down D.

I tried writing the beginning of this recap a hundred times before I had any idea what to write. I still don’t, really. The Cavs keeping piling up losses, but it’s not the W-L column that hurts. It’s the individual defeats. I know that every team in the NBA loses, and the close ones are supposed to hurt. But man, was this one tough.

First Quarter: Brook Lopez, master purveyor of the flat-footed hook shot, dominated Tyler Zeller, he of the weak chest and propensity to be pushed around. Dominated to the tune of 19 points. Kyrie was out of sync early, and this one looked real ugly until C.J. Miles started raining threes. BKN 34, CLE 24

Second Quarter: Kyrie Irving remained mediocre. C.J. Miles, thankfully, remained supernova. His jumper has looked decidedly silky as of late, hasn’t it? The defensive effort by the Cavs in these 12 minutes was nothing short of horrendous. Jerry Stackhouse was hitting open jumpers, Marshon Brooks was getting gifted all sorts of open looks–hell, even Andray Blatche hit a three. BKN 61, CLE 53.

Third Quarter: Ew. The third quarter basically consisted of the Cavs and the Nets both missing a ton of shots, until the Cavs missed a few less shots near the end and somehow ended the period only down by five. But hey! Kyrie Irving hit two free throws, just in case, you know, you forgot he did anything other than miss contested jumpers over Deron Williams. Also, Gerald Wallace is a lot of fun to watch play basketball. He just kind of runs around and bangs into everyone, all the time. Also, Luke Walton is Bizzaro Gerald Wallace in every sense. The two of them exist to be polar opposites Neither can live while the other survives. BKN 79, CLE 74.

Fourth Quarter: Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles were heroic, picking up the slack we sorely needed while Kyrie uncharacteristically continued to suck. They combined for 19 in the fourth, and seemed like the only Cavs interested in winning the game. Tristan, especially, showed fantastic effort on both sides of the floor, all the while rebounding like a maniac. His tip-dunk with a minute left cut the lead to three was unbelievable, and would have been Andy-esque, if Andy could jump that high. At the very end, Kyrie hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to one. Joe Johnson hit a pair, and Kyrie’s last heave rimmed out. BKN 103, CLE 100. Ballgame.

Player of the Game: Tristan Thompson had 17 and 15, with a pair of blocks and only one missed free throw. He was fantastic, and the big games have been coming often enough recently to convince me that he’s a really valuable piece for the future. He’s not nearly as good as J.J. Hickson, though…JOKE.

Highlights: Alonzo Gee continuing to get one breakaway steal-to-dunk a game, Tristan Thompson being a total beast, C.J. Miles unleashing high-volume efficiency on the Nets, Tyler Zeller on offense, did I mention Tristan Thompson?

Lowlights: Tyler Zeller on defense, Kyrie Irving on defense, Kyrie Irving on offense, Reggie Evans suddenly becoming an effective offensive weapon, Byron Scott’s rotations.

General Notes: In case you hadn’t noticed, Byron Scott lives to confound Cavs fans with his unfathomable, ridiculous Kyrie Irving Playing Time methodology. As much as Kyrie sucked this game, there was no reason for Scott to hold him out for the first five minutes of the fourth. Our offense is stagnant without Kyrie in there, and the non-Kyrie effect is larger by several orders of magnitude in the final frame, when defense buckles down. Now, should our 20 year-old star be playing 40 minutes a game? No, but there are ways to stagger minutes, and I’d much rather have Kyrie miss a few minutes earlier in the game, if it meant he could play more of the fourth. We would have been down by a lot more when he came in if it weren’t for a few unlikely Jeremy Pargo plays. C’mon, Byron.

Also: Luke Walton was one of only three players to post a positive +/- for the night, but he didn’t pass the eye test. Everyone raves about his passing, but Walton tries a little too hard to thread the needle, and often passes up good looks to further his Steve Nash-without-foot speed impersonation. 30 minutes? C’mon, Byron.

Kyrie Irving: NEXT

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Raise your hand if you're glad we didn't pick Derrick Williams.

ESPN The Magazine has selected Kyrie Irving to be on the cover of this year’s upcoming NEXT issue. The issue seeks to pick out players who are on the cusp of becoming the faces of their sport. Past winners of the honor include Cam Newton, Kevin Durant, Buster Posey, and Matt Ryan, among others.

A few glowing articles accompanied the selection. Pablo S. Torre wrote about Kyrie’s life and rookie season, and general demeanor. He also has a few lines about the Lebron comparisons inherent in being a young star on the Cavs. Quoting a former Cavs employee:  “But confidence is the biggest difference. LeBron always seemed worried about what would be said when he failed. Kyrie’s more like, I’m just going to score on those motherf–.”

For those with ESPN Insider, an accompanying article explained why Kyrie Irving will be the best point guard in the NBA by 2015. Beware: it’s very sabermetric-y.

Cavaliers Fail to Execute Again

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Let's go Cavs, right?

Toronto 113

Cleveland 99

Well, tonight was more of the same: Cavs play well for much of game, then give it away in the 4th. The Cavs started out like gangbusters, and played well for a while. But the Raptors matched them most of the way, and Alan Anderson (who?) came up with enough big plays for Toronto to pull it out. The Cavs featured some truly horrendous defense in this one, especially down the stretch.

Highlights:

- Even though they weren’t really matched up for most of the game, Tristan Thompson actually kind of outplayed Jonas Valanciunas. This made me very happy. Tristan was active as usual on the boards, grabbing seven offensive big ones. Even better, he shot 5-8 from the field for an efficient 10 points. It was nice to see TT playing so well against Valanciunas (looked like he was playing JV!), although the Lithuanian still showed great off-the-ball movement and a real ability to run on the break.

- Kyrie Irving is an otherworldly offensive talent, in case you forgot. 9-16 from the field for 23 points and 7 assists. He carved up the Toronto defense, and was the only reason we didn’t end the game down by 25.

- C.J. Miles continues to shoot well and play well. He has a ton of confidence right now and is looking great. Pretty much all the bench guys played well tonight, actually. Miles, Boobie, Zeller…hell, even Luke Walton threw a sick assist.

- Anderson Varejao took a big spill tonight, but got back up and had another all-star performance. 22 and 10. #VoteAndy.

- Dion Waiters had a solid first game back. He didn’t shoot particularly well from the field, but distributed the ball well and played in control. I know some people think C.J. Miles should’ve gotten the nod, but I’m glad Byron Scott started Dion. It’s always good to keep your rooks confident, and he had one hell of a dunk on a feed from Gee.

Lowlights:

- Team defense, or lack thereof. The defensive effort here was pathetic, in short. In long, the Cavs didn’t close out on shooters, didn’t box anyone out, and consistently got confused on switches and traps, leading to several wide-open layups. There were two especially egregious plays in the fourth, back to back. Both times, Andy doubled a ball handler with Kyrie on the perimeter, leading to an easy pass to Amir Johnson in the high post, and then an easier past to a Raptor under the hoop for a layup. It was disappointing, to say the least, to see Andy mess up two plays in a row.

- A lot of people will be castigating Kyrie Irving for his defensive performance against Toronto, especially against Jose Calderon, who dropped a wildly efficient  23. But while I’ve never been one to try to defend Kyrie’s defensive effort, I didn’t think he was all that bad tonight. Calderon has been scorching recently, and playing well against everyone. Kyrie tried the whole game, at least, and I loved his tight man coverage in the last minute and a half, when the game was well out of reach. It was a little too late, but I appreciate that kind of stuff.

- Alan Anderson straight lit us up, and I’m still not sure how. It’s tempting to go ahead and blame it on the guys defending him (Gee and Waiters, mostly), but he simply played out of his mind. 5-7 on three pointers? Come on. Also, I cannot stand how John Lucas plays basketball. He’s a less fun Nate Robinson: a more dirty player who can’t jump as high. Also, 6-7 shooting for Amir Johnson, for 17 points with 6 boards and 5 assists? You know you’re in trouble when Amir Johnson is putting up Aaron Afflalo stat lines.

- Byron Scott’s rotations continue to amaze and befuddle me. Mostly, his insistence on keeping Kyrie out of the first five or so minutes of the 4th quarter, no matter the game situation. I’m not going to advocate for playing our point guard 45 minutes a game, but there are ways to stagger the minutes of our best player so that he’s in when we need him. Recently a recurring phenomenon has cropped up. It’s a close game into the 4th, Kyrie isn’t out there, the Cavs go down by 12, and we rely on Kyrie heroics. It just simply is not a winning formula.

Final:

The Cavs shot 51% from the field, 44% from three, and lost. That’s called awful defense, folks. It’s another loss, but hey- tonight was a good time. I think Kyrie’s better with a mask.