Posts Tagged ‘Tristan Thompson’

Podcast Episode 55: 2014 Training Camp!

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

"Michael Allen Blair/Digital First Media

The Cavs first practice kicked off on Sunday. Kyrie Irving called it “surreal.” We here at at CtB can hardly believe it either. Our first on-the-court glimpse of this Cavs team is only a few days away. Until then, we’ll have to fantasize. While visions of half-court alley oops danced in our heads, Robert, Ben, David and I hopped in the podcast booth for a 2014 training camp preview. Who will lead this team? Are there hidden storylines? Who’s going to start? Who’s going to close? Does Mike Miller have a better ‘do than Andy? We answered all these questions and more.

You can hear us on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/ctb-5/ctb-podcast-55-2014-training-1 .

You can also subscribe to the podcast through iTunes at http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:64011415/sounds.rss .

The Point Four-ward: Get Those Hands Up!

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Still finding yourself on the fence about whether or not to embrace Kevin Love? Well, sipping from a frosty, ice-brewed, beachwood-aged mug of Kevin Love highlights should put some flash back in your step, mister. I’d been resisting spending too much time aboard the Love Boat this summer, but since we’re in that dangerous stretch between Summer League and Team USA games (where madness truly does lie), I thought I’d spend a minute or twenty with the Cavs presumptive 2014-15 starting power forward. And you know what? Kevin Love does all those Kevin Love things that everyone says he does. But the thing that really stuck out was how much of his 10-minutes plus of highlight footage spanning an 82-game season came on the two occasions where Love was matched up against Tristan Thompson.

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The Point Four-ward: So, You Wanna Be a Rock N’ Roll Star?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Andrew Wiggins said it several times leading up to and just after the NBA draft: playing basketball for Kansas University was like being a rock star.

When I first heard him say it, he was wading through a torrent of questions at the NBA Draft Media Day which takes place the afternoon before the draft. He was answering a question about how his one season of college ball had prepared him for the rigors of life in the professional game and said that playing at KU — with the media scrutiny and fan mania that such a hoops hotbed brings with it — made him and his fellow teammates feel like “rock stars.” He smiled after he said this and everyone chuckled at the thought. But then the reporter asked a follow up: “Is that good?”

Wiggins thought about it for a moment, clearly not expecting to have to think about it for a moment and then said what every one of us probably would have said at 19 years old. He said, “Well, who wouldn’t like that?”

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Links to the Present: West Coast Edition

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Anderson Varejao, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving

The Cavs are looking to the Western Conference for new talent and coaches.  Recent reports are saying the Cavaliers are interested in trading for the expiring contract of Kevin Love.  Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer reports on this situation.

The Cavs have plenty of assets, but Love, who can become a free agent in the summer of 2015, reportedly wants to go to a team that’s ready to win. Still, it will be worth keeping an eye on as the draft and free agency approach. (more…)

Links to the Present: Early Draft Talk Edition

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

NCAA BASKETBALL:  FEB 16 Villanova at Creighton

Yesterday, the full list of players leaving college early for the draft came out.  It’s officially draft season. This list may or may not change the big boards and mock drafts, but I feel more confident in sharing what is out there because the available players are all known.

The Big Boards to look at:

Chad Ford, ESPN Insider

Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

Aaron Smith, Nbadraft.net

Draft Express (more…)

Late Collapses are Kind of our Thing, Ya Know?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Paul George hit a few huge threes down the stretch.

IND 99 > CLE 94

Well, this was rather disappointing. The Cavaliers played three quarters of solid defense and opportunistic offense, gaining a twenty point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. And then it unraveled as it always does, the lead picked apart by George Hill fastbreak after George Hill fastbreak, topped off by a pair of Paul George three-pointers. People will complain about the calls agains the Cavs (the offensive foul call was a close one), but this one came down to a defensive collapse that doomed us against a suddenly effective Pacers transition offense.

First Quarter: For what the first time in what seems like forever, the young Mr. Irving started out this game on fire, knocking down jumpers and feeding Tyler Zeller for easy buckets. But the Pacers did what the Pacers do, playing ugly and effective basketball to hold off the Cavs. Tyler Hansborough in particular has perhaps the least aesthetically pleasing game in the NBA. He sort of flails around everywhere, throwing elbows with reckless abandon. And in perhaps the upset of the day, Omri Casspi played in the first quarter– and played well. He defended Paul George as best he could, and even scored. IND 29, CLE 26

Second Quarter: Kevin Jones did his best to usurp Luke Walton’s job as the second-string power forward, showcasing an offensive versatility reminiscent of Bernard King in his prime (joking, calm down). Shaun Livingston hit another midrange jumper. He’s money from 10-15 feet. Lance Stephenson got to the line a few times, and David West scored a few. Kyrie dished some nice passes at the end of the first, and the Cavaliers were up five at the half. CLE 53, IND 48

Third Quarter: The third frame started out with two straight Lance Stephenson offensive boards, followed by an easy putback. That’s gotta be a failure on the part of the Cavs frontline. Tyler Zeller continued to ball out, hitting his jumper with ease. However, his rhythm from midrange pulled him out of the paint, leading to only three rebounds for the game. Tristan Thompson looked good out there, but he was only 4-12 from the field. I honestly thought he played much better than that, but you can’t fight the boxscore. The Cavs controlled the quarter on both sides of the floor, opening up a huge lead by the fourth. CLE 84, IND 64

Fourth Quarter: Ugh. The Cavaliers were flat on offense, lazy on defense and seemingly okay with losing the game. The Pacers chipped away, and when Kyrie re-entered the game with six minutes left, Indiana had whittled the deficit to 15. Kyrie started scoring, but he gave it right back on the other end. George Hill was getting easy buckets in transition, and he’s not exactly Penny Hardaway– the issue was that no one felt like getting in front of him. The intensity disparity between offense and defense for Kyrie is truly remarkable. He has to be one of the worst defensive players in the NBA. Paul George hit a three to give the Pacers a two-point lead, and then Kyrie got whistled on a very, very, very close offensive foul call. As close as it gets. But after review, the call went against Cleveland. Pendergraph then hit one of two at the line, and Ellington back-rimmed a three pointer to end the game. IND 99, CLE 94

I don’t have any specific complaints about Byron Scott tonight. For the first three quarters, he had the Cavaliers scoring well, defending better and running the Pacers out of the gym. But once again, it all fell apart in the fourth. The players quit this game, and that has to come back to the coaching. NBA teams should not give up 20 point leads in nine minutes; that’s for March Madness. Kyrie Irving, in particular, needs to start trying on defense if he wants to earn that top-12 player status that ESPN assigned him in #NBArank. For all the talk about Scott’s ability as a point guards coach, he apparently has no idea how to convice Kyrie to defend. That was a crucial factor in this loss, as George Hill dived to the rim without resistance again and again. Disappointing loss tonight.

P.S. This was not tanking. The Cavs didn’t try to lose this game.

“Whatever Happens, Happens.”

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The Cavaliers were decimated by the Nets Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers are not a very good basketball team. The Cavs lack in star talent and depth at nearly every position other than point guard, and the remarkable Herculoids have faded down the stretch. However, no NBA team should lose games as badly as the Cavs did last night. The final deficit was only 18, but anyone who watched the game would tell you that the game was much worse than that number would indicate. The Nets led by around 30 for much of the “contest,” and the action consisted mostly of wide-open jumpers, the monotony occasionally broken by free throw attempts for Brooklyn. I’ll keep the game action recap brief.

First Half:

The Nets outscore the Cavaliers by eight in the first quarter. Marshon Brooks makes it clear that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for Andre Toney’s jumper. Deron Williams also plays well. As the second quarter starts, the slaughter begins. Seven minutes into the quarter the deficit is 17, soulless Marshon continues to dominate, and Jerry Stackhouse dunks all over the Cavaliers. By the way, he’s 38. Deron Williams scores 11 in the last three minutes of the second, and the Cavs trail by 30 at the half. BKN 66, CLE 36.

Second Half:

The third quarter starts out a little bit better, thank God(s?). Kyrie dishes a few assists, devilish Brooks finally misses a few shots, and with 7:50 left in the quarter the Cavaliers have battled back to within 27. Brooklyn hurriedly calls a timeout, as the panicked Nets snipe at each other about defensive rotations and missed shots. The young Cavs snarl, smelling blood. The chase is on. Unfortunately, at the end of the third the lead remains 27. The fourth quarter is the definition of bad basketball. Tornike Shengelia (That’s a real person, I promise), Mirza Teletovic (Didn’t the Cavs look into signing this guy?), Chris “Funny Ears” Quinn, and Omri “Am I Even On This Team Anymore?” Casspi all make appearances. Final Score: BKN 113, CLE 95.

The pervading storyline from this game will be Byron Scott’s future, or lack thereof, with the Cavaliers. Losses are expected, accepted and perhaps beneficial this late in the season. However, no one wants to see the Cavs get run out of their own gym, and home losses this bad usually come back to the coach. After the game, Scott said “The energy, the effort wasn’t there — for whatever reason.” I agree with him– Cleveland looked flat and uninspired all night. But whose fault is that, if not the coach’s? Byron Scott may be on the way out of Cleveland. As he said regarding his job, “Whatever happens, happens.” If that’s how Scott feels, than he should by all means allow the Cavs to keep losing like they did tonight. But if he has any interest in coaching Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson in the playoffs next year, he’d better make some adjustments.

Speights Likely Gone

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Mo Speights, baller extraordinaire!

-The Morning-Journal thinks Marreese Speights is gone after this season, which is probably the case. For more evidence, note that Byron Scott is still starting Tyler Zeller over the former Grizzly. Too bad. I like Speights a lot, and his propensity to fall in love with his jump shot is offset a little by his mean streak and gritty offensive rebounding.

-Greg Oden actually sat in Dan Gilbert’s seats at the Memphis game, which is probably a good sign if you’re one of those people that wants the Cavs to sign him, and a bad sign if you’re not.

-Is Tristan Thompson an MIP candidate? Probably not; that award is a joke if it doesn’t go to Paul George or Larry Sanders.

-In case you missed it, WFNY has some great-as-usual draft analysis for your perusal. Come on, Otto Porter!

Cavaliers 118, Magic 94

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Kyrie helped lead the Cavs to an easy victory against the Magic.

The Cleveland Cavaliers romped to a blowout against the Orlando Magic tonight, as Kyrie & Co. dished dimes and dropped buckets to the tune of a 24-point victory. The Cavs bench actually scored 59 points. Guess who else scored 59 points? The Cavs starters. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a balanced attack. This balance, combined with some spectacular highlights, made the Cavs look like an elite team- which, to say the least, is a rare occurrence.

1st half:

The Cavs started off hot, and had a great first quarter. Kyrie Irving’s jumper is silky as hell. But it wasn’t just #2. Alonzo Gee started off hot as well. When Gee is hitting midrange shots, you know it’s a special night. Also, for the record, Marreese Speights has an underrated nasty streak. He absolutely loves throwing his body around in the paint and dunking on people. The second quarter was a little more up and down. Sure, the Cavs were scoring, but they were also allowing all of the following players to get buckets: Kyle O’Quinn, Dequan Jones (?), Beno Udrih, Aaron Afflalo, Andrew Nicholson. Yeah, yeah, Afflalo is underrated and Nicholson is a blogosphere darling.Who cares? The defense was truly awful, and the half ended in a tie. CLE 51, ORL 51

2nd half:

Alonzo G33 started off the half with five straight points in under a minute, and it was awesome. If he scored at that rate all the time, he could average 180 points per 36. Wow! The Cavs generally kicked ass in the third quarter, which is to be expected when the offense if being run through E’Twaun Moore. Also, who is Daquan Jones? Does anyone know? Anyway, the Magic hit a few shots to end the quarter down seven. Immediately after the fourth quarter started, C.J. Miles starting bombing from deep. He has a gorgeous stroke when he’s on. Within minutes, the Cavs were up fifteen and Kyrie (from the bench) started grinning ear to ear. The Herculoids were out in full force in the final frame, with Marreese Speights bullying everyone in the post.  Also, Luke Walton should play back up point guard, for comedy’s sake and for comedy’s sake alone. Kevin Jones sighting! He has a nice jump shot. The Cavs ended this one smirking, with a 24 point victory. CLE 118, ORL 94

Highlights:

– Kyrie mostly played the facilitator tonight, which was a nice change of pace. We don’t usually see 12 point, 9 assist lines from him. And that off the backboard alley-oop to Alonzo was sweet. (Cue people saying that they can’t wait until it’s Lebron receiving those passes.)

– Alonzo and Tyler Zeller tie for player of the game honors, wherever such honors are handed out. Both of them played well on offense, and managed to shut down their assignments on the offensive juggernaut Orlando Magic.

– Dion: 5/16 from the field. Ugh.

– The Herculoids won this game. Shaun Livingston, Luke Walton– revelations. Wayne Elligton was solid.

– Tristan was pretty godawful tonight. He kept rebounding, though.

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.