Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’

The Point Four-ward: The Ballad of the Slow Gunslinger

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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

1.) Nothing about the Cavs overall performance in their first two playoff games against the Boston Celtics really qualifies as reason for alarm. The Cavs have taken care of business winning Games 1 and 2 by 11 and nine points respectively. Some expected the Cavs to steamroll the Celtics a little more than they have, but these games have shown the Boston squad to be made of just the type of pluck and gumption that makes for a good story this time of year.

A good story, though, does not a winning team make.

This doesn’t mean the Cavs have played fault-free ball since the league’s second season tipped off. In fact, one of the things that has been most troubling about this Cavs team so far is that they seem to need to take a good shot from a more spirited opponent before playing their best ball.

The Celtics, it turns out, are in no short supply of shots.

The Cavs have started both games slowly, giving the Celtics shooters (I mean, if that’s what you want to call Marcus Smart…) space and allowing relatively easy access to the rim, while the Celtics have been draped over LeBron James and Kyrie Irving from jump.

So far, this Cavs team is the rare slow gunslinger who may not get off the first shot, but, in the end, is still able to walk away from the showdown.

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Playoff Preview/Live Thread: Cavs vs. Celtics, Game 2

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Ready for another one? After an off-day to enjoy the afterglow of their first playoff victory since 2010, the Cavs return poised and ready to try and turn the home court double play tonight at the Q, as they look to take Game 2 against the Celtics.

In game one, Kyrie, Kevin, Tristan and Delly all got to experience their first taste of playoff action, and they did not disappoint. Kyrie’s offensive explosion and awesome handle, KLove’s gritty defense and rebounding, TT’s dynamite energy and garbageman skills, and Delly’s hustle and heady play were all on full display in the Cavs 113-100 victory. Old head, LBJ, orchestrated the action, facilitating for the young fellas and preaching patience on the sidelines.

Yes, it was an impressive win for this group’s playoff debut, however, this is the playoffs, where nothing is given and everything is earned. Consequently, there’s still plenty for the Cavs to clean up as they take the floor for Game 2.

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Recap: Cavaliers 113, Celtics 100 (Or, Do you like apples?)

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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Whew. We got that out of the way. Tom Pestak and I tag teamed the recap on this lovely basketballiday. Bill Simmons’ 2016 presidential candidate, Brad Stevens (yes he’s over 35) had his scrappy Celtics squad as prepared to face Goliath as they could be, and the Cavs still covered the -12 point spread with a B- game. Once the emotions and nerves of the significance of the game settled in the second quarter the Cavs went on to out-score Boston 86 to 69 the rest of the way.

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The Point Four-ward: A Merciful End to the Regular Season

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers on the final day of the 2014-15 NBA regular season…

1.) While the Celtics won’t be pushovers in the first round, it’s clear why the Cavs would prefer to play a relatively young Boston team over a resurgent (until the last two games, anyway) Brooklyn team and a Pacers team who have given the Cavs problems all year and just got their star player, Paul George, back for the stretch run and likely beyond.

The Celtics are hot at exactly the right time. Winners of four straight and seven of the last ten, head coach Brad Stevens’ squad ranks third in points per game (111.5), third in assists per game (26.3) and first in steals (13.3) over the ten game span prior to Tuesday night’s game against Toronto.

Also, in the month of April the Celtics have been allowing only 97.4 points per 100 possessions, good for fifth best in the league. They feature a dangerous scorer in Isaiah Thomas (20.7 points and 5.5 assists in April) and some lively big bodies in Brandon Bass and former Cavalier Tyler Zeller to go along with an absolutely dogged perimeter defense led by Avery Bradley and rookie Marcus Smart.

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The Point Four-ward: Looking (Somewhat Ambitiously) Ahead

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) J.R. Smith’s three point explosion against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday (8-17 FGs… all three pointers) had many Cavs fans on Twitter talking about the team’s starting two guard and his contract status. After all, Smith has a player option for just under $6.4 million for next season. If he were playing like he was as a member of the New York Knicks earlier this season, Smith likely would have picked up that option. And, right now, $6.4 million for the type of production Smith is providing is a bargain.

In Cleveland, Smith has thrived and the team has thrived with him. Cavs head coach David Blatt has referred to Smith as “a godsend” and LeBron James has said the 6-8 Smith has been “everything we needed and more.”

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Recap: Cavs 114, Heat 88 (or, There Is No Spoon…)

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

The Cavs took on the Heat tonight in the fourth and final meeting of the regular season. If it does come to pass that they wind up meeting again in the first round of the playoffs, this particular face-off should resonate as the one where LeBron got past the supposed mental block of facing his good friend Dwayne Wade and his former team (by realizing they are only dangerous if he believes they are).

Granted, DWade only participated in 13 minutes of this contest, due to a particularly nasty slip and fall in the second quarter, but LBJ was operating without the help of Kevin Love (bad back) and with an under the weather Kyrie. Any residual weirdness or loss of focus on Bron’s part might have sent him deep down the rabbit hole. However, his new teammates came up big in this one to help him free his mind from the head games of his old ones. He ironically didn’t even need any help from The Matrix (who was a DNP-CD for this one).

Here’s how it all went down…

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Recap: Cavs 87, Sixers 86 (or, Ugliest Win of the Season?)

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Wow… that was Furkan hard to watch!

There were potentially three reasons to tear yourself away from March Madness to witness this late-season contest between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers…

1) To see if the Cavs would snag their 16th straight home victory

2) To see if LeBron James would pass Patrick Ewing to crack the top 20 NBA scorers of all time

3) To see who would win the battle of the flat-tops… Nerlens Noel or Iman Shumpert

Unfortunately, the pain of watching what deteriorated into a brickfest for the ages pitched defensive struggle for much of the second half, made it difficult to stay tuned for the full 48 minutes (unless you’re a fan of train wrecks and Turkish rookie Centers…).

In what could win the award for “Ugliest Win of the Season,” the Cavs were able to keep their home win streak alive, primarily because the Sixers kept refusing to accept their generous offers to end it. And for a while, not even KLove bobble-head night seemed like it could prevent the Cavs or the sellout crowd in attendance from nodding off into oblivion.

Here’s how it all went down…

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The Point Four-ward: What Is And What Should Never Be

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Not long after Steve Nash announced his retirement last week, this story broke: had Nash asked for a buyout from the Lakers around the trade deadline, the Cavs had interest in bringing the 18-year vet on board to spell Kyrie Irving for limited minutes. The move made some sense because a.) LeBron James has always been a big Nash fan b.) both Cavs GM David Griffin and Director of Player Administration Raja Bell are close with Nash from their time together with the Phoenix Suns and c.) the Cavs, at least at the time they were considering this move, were looking to shore up their backup point guard spot.

Nash, however, chose to stay a Laker, the organization with which he wanted to end his career. And, really, you have to wonder if Nash would have been able to give the Cavs even the 10-15 minutes a night they were looking for, as he has not played in a game all season and has only played 65 games for the Lakers since they acquired him prior to the 2012-13 season.

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Kevin Love is Not Fitting In (to your Preconceived Notions of Kevin Love Fitting In)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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Editors Note: This piece was published with editorial contributions from Nate Smith and EvilGenius, and with scouting contributions from Ben Werth. Also, please check out David Wood’s Links to the Present published earlier today.

On January 13, the Cavaliers lost their sixth game in a row to drop below .500 (19-20).  Kevin Love played particularly poorly, shooting 3-11 from the floor and posting a team-worst -19 in under 27 minutes.  He rode the pine for the entire fourth quarter.  (It was not the first time Love had been benched for the entire fourth quarter of a non-blowout: on December 26th, Coach Blatt, searching for answers, ran with an ultra-small lineup of LeBron-Delly-Dion-MMiller-TT in the fourth quarter and it worked – the Cavs outscored the Magic 27-14 and won by nine.)  Despite the fact that Markieff Morris (or as LeBron referred to him “one of the Morris twins”) torched King James in the fourth, Kevin Love’s lackluster defense and poor shooting was the story of the game, and the “Kevin Love’s Not Fitting In” theme was an undeniable reality of the young (but not that young) season. But ten weeks later, is that “theme” still even relevant?

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The Point Four-ward: More Rest For The Wicked?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Count me among those who were actually surprised to see LeBron James suited up for Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat. After tweaking his knee in Sunday’s game against Orlando, James, who has spoken publicly of his desire to get some more rest before the playoffs start, chose to stay in for this road contest against his former team (and, likely, because of that).

After a couple of months in which James has sat out the occasional game on occasion (most recently, at home against Portland and on the road against Indiana) in order to give his body a couple more days to get right, James played, only to aggravate a wrist injury (in a collision with Hassan Whiteside) for his troubles.

Cavs head coach David Blatt has stated his desire for the Cavs to hold onto the second seed in the East going into the playoffs, so it’s unlikely that James will take off as lengthy a stretch as he did in December into January. Especially with the team resting Kevin Love, the Cavs need James if they are to win enough games to give Number 23 a prolonged rest.

As of now, Love is expected to play tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, though nothing definite has been announced.

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