Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’

Recap: Cleveland 122, Boston 121 (or “Once We Start Playing Defense, We’re Really Going to be Something.”)

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

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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.

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The Point Four-ward: Sputter, Sputter, Sputter, Vroom

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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

1.) As recently as last year, people were describing LeBron James as being one of the fastest players in the NBA. While perhaps not tops in terms of sheer speed, James’s ability to cover large swaths of the court in precious few strides made him one of the quickest players his size ever. That’s why so much is being made of the relative snail’s pace of his play this season. What Cavs fans have seen thus far is one of the most athletic players in league history running and jumping like he’d added 20 pounds in the off-season rather than dropped it.

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Recap: Cavs 118 – Pelicans 111 (Or, Raining Down Talent Bombs)

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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.

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The Dion Waiters Zone — Updated

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

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Dion Waiters has been one of the more interesting human beings to follow since he was drafted.  Out of Syracuse he was billed as a talented scorer with as much upside as anyone not named Anthony Davis, and was favorably compared to Dwyane Wade (by both Chad Ford and Byron Scott).  Former Cavs: The Blog editor and friend Colin McGowan anagrammatically foretold the coming of “Saint Weirdo” in a post-draft prophesy, and Waiters has mostly fulfilled the moniker.

His brashness strikes me as a defense mechanism—it’s what allows him the single-mindedness that makes him great at basketball—and when it’s punctured, he retreats inward. I think that’s what happened at SU: Boeheim shouted him down a few times, and Waiters didn’t initially respond well because he felt naked and embarrassed.

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Kyrie and The Crucible

Friday, November 7th, 2014

LeBron James has never played with a high-level true point guard before. Dwyane Wade was the closest thing he had to a guy who could function as a high-level creator next to him, but since Wade is secretly a 6’4 power forward without the rebounding, Miami got away with an inverted situation, having LeBron function as the primary creator, Wade slashing to the basket off the ball, and Bosh providing the floor spacing despite being the tallest of the three.

That’s not going to work in Cleveland. This is evidenced by the fact that it is currently not working in Cleveland. It’s early, but the Cavs currently rank 19th in offensive efficiency, 22nd in True Shooting, and dead-last in assist ratio. The defense is a larger issue, as only the Lakers (bless these horrible Lakers) and the Jazz have a lower defensive efficiency than the Cavs. For those of you keeping score at home, the second-worst defense in the NBA held the Cavaliers to four assists last night.

The Cavaliers need to run an honest-to-god offense, and they need to start running it soon. For that, two things have to happen: Kyrie needs to have a come-to-Jesus moment and LeBron needs to find an effective middle gear.

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Trouble In No Assist Land

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

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Make sure to check out my recap of the Cavs Vs. Jazz here.

Brian Windhorst is reporting that LeBron James had words with Kyrie Irving not only after the game against Portland but also after the game against Utah. The King is upset that Irving isn’t playing like a point guard. He acknowledged the fact that Kyrie hasn’t had an assist in more than forty-five minutes.

“There’s a lot of bad habits, a lot of bad habits been built up the past couple years,” James said to the media moments after the exchange. “When you play that style of basketball, it takes a lot to get it up out of you.”

Irving said this about the Utah game:

“For us, it was a growing process that we have to go through,” Irving said Wednesday. “It sucks right now. For us, we’re still young, and I’m still learning what’s going on.”

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The Point Four-ward: O-Boards Don’t Lie

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

 

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First, if you haven’t checked out Ben’s excellent recap of the Cavs/Blazers game, it’s right here.

And now: Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) It’s tough to believe, but these Cavs — the Cavs of the most highly anticipated offense in years coming into this season — are shooting just 42% from the floor so far this season. LeBron James continued a cold start to the season going 4-12 for 11 points against Portland. That included going 1-6 in the paint, a ridiculous number for a finisher as good as number 23.

Against Portland, though, everyone caught the cold hand. The team shot just 36.5% for the game. Kyrie Irving was 3-17 and (in a disturbing trend) was thoroughly outplayed by slumping-until-yesterday Damian Lillard. Dion Waiters was 3-11 and didn’t attempt a three-pointer. Only Kevin Love, who led the team with 22 points and 10 rebounds, managed a remotely efficient offensive game.

I know it’s early, but the team’s stagnancy and passivity on offense is a little disturbing. There’s been precious little of the weak side action that we saw freeing up so many good looks in the preseason and the ball’s been more of a moderately warm potato than a hot one.

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The Case for The Decision

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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One of my many manifestations of maladaptive behavior is that I force myself to see things from another perspective. It’s a time consuming chore and I regularly lose sleep over it. The ultimate goal is finding true objectivity for better or worse, and making a final judgment independent of emotion and societal moors. We are weaned from childhood to find a moral of a story. There is always something positive to be found even in the worst of situations. Every Tuesday, I will present a Cavaliers-related event that was a catalyst leading us to this moment in a different light. To get this one out of the way, I present a topic that I lost plenty of sleep over, the case for The Decision.

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Augmented Reality Coaching Center: New Wrinkles

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Mrs. Whatsit - Mrs. Who - Mrs. Which, by far the oldest "Big 3"

Mrs. Whatsit – Mrs. Who – Mrs. Which, by far the oldest “Big 3″

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.

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Recap: Cavs 114, Bulls 108 (Or, ALL THE REBOUNDS!!!)

Saturday, November 1st, 2014
See ball get ball, Tina.

See ball get ball, Tina.

The Cavs won!  They survived NBA-JAM-FIRE Kirk Hinrich, and Tristan Thompson had a Dagger OBoard+Flush in the waning moments of OT.  LeBron looked bad and still 100x better than last night.  Derrick Rose sprained his ankle, stayed in the game, left later, and never came back.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the rebounding prowess of the Cavs.  They finished with a 52-42 edge in rebounding, dominating a good frontcourt despite fighting through the second night of an exhausting back to back.

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