Posts Tagged ‘Tristan Thompson’

5-on-5: Your Eastern Conference Champs! — Updated

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

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Still buzzing after the Cavs 118-88 Game 4 Win over the Atlanta Hawks that moved the Cavaliers four wins away from the city’s first major professional sports championship in 51 years, Cory, Tom, Nate, Mallory and I had a little chat about your Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) At what point in the season did you start to believe that this team could return to the NBA Finals?

Nate: It happened twice. The first time was when the Cavs dismantled Memphis on March 25th to win by 22 points. The Grizz were the second best team in the West at the time, and the Cavs gave them one of their signature third quarter floggings. Kevin Love scored 22 on 13 shots; Irving, 24; LeBron, 20; Moz, 14… After Kelly’s killer armbar, we all had our doubts, but David Wood’s revelations about the Cavs super D lineups (featuring TT, Delly, Bron, and Shump) gave me faith. I was fully aboard the Finals bandwagon again after Game two versus the Bulls. I knew if the Cavs could get a split at home without J.R., they’d be OK. Cleveland jumped all over the Bulls, racing out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter, and LeBron rediscovered his post game. Cleveland turned into a team that’s impossible to beat with a lead in the fourth, and I knew the Bulls were hosed.

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The Point Four-ward: When The Going Gets Tough…

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Coming into this series, one of my biggest concerns was how the Cavaliers’ toughness would stack up against the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls, after all, roll out a number of players — point guard Derrick Rose, swingman Jimmy Butler and center Joakim Noah, in particular — who are long, strong and, overall, play a more physical style than their Cavaliers counterparts. The Bulls also feature a deep and talented front court rotation that, along with the 6-11 Noah, include 6-9 Taj Gibson, 6-10 rookie Nikola Mirotic and the 7-0 All-Star Pau Gasol, who is “hopeful” he’ll be able to play in Thursday night’s Game 6 after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury.

But, beyond being physically tough — which the Bulls definitely are — they are one of the most mentally tough teams in the league.

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Podcast: Talking Cavs with Mark Neal

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Mark and I talked about the Cavs successes, all the potential 1st round sweeps, the Warriors’ second gear, the epic Spurs/Clippers series, and more.

A close look at the playoff stats so far and two things stands out about the Cavs/Celtics.

1.) Over the last 20 games of the regular season, the Celtics were the 3rd best team in the league at running guys off the 3 point line.  Despite that, the Cavs have made 32 3s in 3 games, which is topped by only Chicago (38) and Golden State (34).  It’s worth noting that both of those teams have played more minutes than the Cavs due to overtimes.

2.) Over the last 20 games of the regular season, the Celtics were the 10th best team in the league at preventing offensive rebounds for opponents (or, corralling defensive rebounding opportunities).  They’ve not fared well against the Cavs.  Led by Tristan Thompson, snatcher of 14 offensive boards, the good guys are second (Golden State) in offensive rebound rate in the playoffs, sporting a .299 mark (about 30% of the Cavs’ missed shots are being secured for 2nd chance opportunities).

The made 3s and the offensive rebounds are what has separated (on paper) the Cavs and the Celtics.

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: 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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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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Recap: Cavs 91 Hornets 87 (Or, Positive, Encouraging K-LOVE)

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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Kevin Love scored 27 points on 15 shots, Dion Waiters came alive in spurts, and the Cavs came back from an early double-digit deficit to get a gritty road win against the struggling Hornets.  They shrugged off a terrible shooting night from Kyrie Irving (8-27) and survived a take-your-breath-away scare when Kevin Love’s knee seemed to buckle early in the third quarter.  Both teams shot horribly, but the Cavs took care of the ball and the Hornets didn’t.  The Cavs scored 23 points off turnovers and only coughed up seven points – more than enough to account for the diff.

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Recap and Podcast 57: Hawks 109 Cavs 101 (Or, moral victories may not be anything but they sure beat the hell out of getting embarrassed)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

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Check out the podcast that Nate and I recorded tonight. It’s available at Soundcloud , and iTunes. (CtB Episode 57!) Here’s a short and sweet recap to supplement your insatiable desire for Cavs analysis.  The Cavs moved the ball well in the first quarter and played the Hawks to a draw.  They completely choked when the Hawks turned up the intensity in the second quarter and then Kevin Love left the game with back spasms.  The Cavs, without LeBron, Love, or Marion, started the second half by watching Kyle Korver drain a couple of threes to push the lead to 17.  It looked like the Cavs were going to get blown out of the gym.  But they fought back behind the wizardry of Kyrie Irving, the power and relentlessness of Tristan Thompson, and some gutsy-if-not-quite-effective defense throughout the contest.  They were within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter in a back and fourth affair where they cut the deficit three on three different occasions, and to two with 4:43 left.  The Hawks absorbed the blows and settled into some two-man action between Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, eventually putting the Cavs away.

Kyrie Irving finished with 35 points and nine assists (and almost none of his shots were easy looks) but he coughed it up eight times in a game where the referees refused the blow their whistles for three quarters without a coroner on the scene and flipped the switch in the fourth – needing little more than pantomime routines to stop the action.  Irving looked a lot like he did last year – dribbling through double teams, taking a lot of those “why not” 3s from five feet behind the line, and of course, finishing at the rim from impossible angles.

Tristan Thompson had a really nice game.  His energy, offensive rebounding, and finishing abilities infected the Cavs in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  His alley-oop execution of Jeff Teague was a sight to behold.  He finished with 18 points on 12 shots and 13 rebounds.  He was old-man-at-the-gym’d by Paul Millsap all night long with the help of the referees, but he played a valiant game.

Dion Waiters and Kevin Love didn’t show up, figuratively speaking, and since LeBron James and Shawn Marion literally didn’t show up this game tested the Cavs’ depth.  Joe Harris was 3/4 from beyond the arc and had a few heady plays (and a gut-wrenching layup attempt that licked every inch of the rim before willing itself out).

Someone put on James Jones’ jersey and a Mission Impossible 2 mask because at least three times I had to double take “wait…James JONES just rejected Paul Millsap at the rack!?”  He missed a bunch of wide open 3s and was supremely active on defense.  Not your mother’s James Jones.  Over/under on the number of days until JJ has three steals and two blocks again?  I’m going infinity days.

All in all it was nice to see the Cavs dig deep when the dam was about to burst and make a game of it.  The Hawks are a really good team and will be a formidable playoff foe.  Their offensive talent was too much for the Cavs to stop in the waning moments of the game.  Ultimately the Cavs need to play like this every night (a scrambling defensive effort for 48 minutes) and at full strength they will win more than they lose.

Report: Varejao has torn Achilles, likely done for the season

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

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Some very bad news, via ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst:

Tests Wednesday morning confirmed the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ fears that center Anderson Varejao has torn his Achilles tendon, sources told ESPN.com.

This has become sadly commonplace for the beloved big man — in the past four seasons, Varejao has played only 31, 25, 25, and 65 games, and it looks like he will only play 26 games this season, with no real guarantee that he will come back at 100% from this injury by the start of next season.

Obviously, this is a bummer, as Andy’s presence on the floor made LeBron far more comfortable due to the pick-and-roll ESP the two share with each other and Andy’s growing set of tools, including a nice passing game and an ugly but effective mid-range jumper he’d finally gotten comfortable with.

The pressure is now on Tristan Thompson and David Griffin. Thompson will take over Varejao’s starting spot, and while +/- numbers that say the Cavaliers have been significantly better with Thompson on the floor than Varejao this season, that hypothesis will now be fully tested. As for Griffin, the Cavs were thought to be in the market for an additional rim protector before, with Kostas Koufos and Timofey Mozgov being the names most often linked to the Cavs — the Cavs will now desperately need an extra center to have a chance at being serious finals contenders, because I don’t see this thing working with Lou Amundson and Brendan Haywood getting significant minutes. We’ll see how this shakes out in the coming weeks.

Recap: Cleveland 95, Brooklyn 91 (or it’s Mike time)

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

If I must make an obligatory nod to Miller brewing company and “Miller Time,” (as every Northeast Ohio sportswriter is tempted to do, tonight) let me just remind everyone that High Life is the champagne of beers. Now that we have that out of the way, the Cavs beat the Nets in an ugly one that saw Kevin Love go 1-10 and still have one of his best games as a Cavalier. David Blatt successfully pushed the right coaching buttons by starting Mike Miller and moving Shawn Marion to the bench. Miller scored 21 on 7-8 from three point land, while Marion added a much needed eight points off the pine. Cleveland outrebounded the Nets 44-37 and went 24-29 from the free throw line. Cleveland overcame Joe Johnson’s 26 points and 69% True Shooting and a 47% to 40% field goal percentage disparity. LeBron added some clutch fourth quarter play, and the Cavs overcame some bad crunch time offense to outlast the Nets and notch a much needed home win.

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