Posts Tagged ‘Tristan Thompson’

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.

Trade Machine Fun

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Those uniformss look a little strange, somehow...

With a couple of slow days for the Cavs coming up, let’s have some fun with the ESPN Trade Machine! I spent some time kibitzing around with the Machine, and came up with a few potential trades.

Trade #1

http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=ajxmwrf

Anderson Varejao and Jon Leuer to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and Toronto’s lottery pick. (Explanation of the pick’s protection)

This trade has a real shot at happening. While it’s unclear if the Thunder have directly expressed interest in Varejao, we all know Sam Presti is willing to do the unexpected. Andy would be a perfect fit in OKC, and Perkins has become an offensive liability and slowed on defense. As for the Cavs, this might be one of the few trades that could really tempt Chris Grant into trading Andy. Jeremy Lamb is an extremely talented offensive player, and everyone knows we need more offensive play-making off the bench. Perkins is a decent stop-gap option at center, and that Toronto pick is immensely valuable. Obviously, this would hurt us short term. But Jeremy Lamb and a lottery pick is nothing to sneeze at, and Kendrick Perkins is a decent starting center.

Trade #2

http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d4rs4h6

Anderson Varejao and Omri Casspi to the Houston Rockets for Carlos Delfino, Terrence Jones, and Chandler Parsons.

If the Rockets are fighting for a low playoff seed near the trade deadline, Daryl Morey may feel the need to pull the trigger on a deal to get them closer. An Asik-Varejao front-line would be devastating on the boards. The Cavs would be snagging one of the brightest young small forwards in the league in Chandler Parsons, a player averaging 15, 5 and 4 in only his second year in the NBA. He also has a reputation as a great team player with a ton of heart. Terrence Jones was a lottery pick last year, and could slot in nicely as a backup to Tristan Thompson with a dash of star potential. Carlos Delfino is, well… Carlos Delfino. This is a wild-card in the Varejao-trade scenarios, as an option most people haven’t been talking about. But everyone in the NBA loves Parsons, and Andy (#alliteration) is exactly the type of looks-even-better-in-advanced-stats player that Morey loves. I actually prefer this to the OKC trade. Parsons wasn’t a lottery pick, but he’s producing like a future star. (Watch this.)

Trade #3

http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bt4zztm

Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller for Demarcus Cousins.

Keith Smart and Boogie Cousins are not looking like a healthy partnership right now, and Sacramento needs a culture overhaul. A trade seems to be necessary. If the most recent incident isn’t going to cause a move, the next one will.  Zeller and Thompson are both high-character guys that could provide some mental stability in an organization that needs just that. Meanwhile, the Cavs could be just what Cousins needs. Byron Scott’s tough but fair (sometimes), and Kyrie Irving is a young superstar who leads by example. If that isn’t enough, Anderson Varejao exemplifies what every young center should aspire to. The hardest part about this trade would be condemning Tristan and Tyler to the black hole of sorrow, despair and Maloofian greed. But when it comes down to it, Demarcus Cousins is a star. He’s putting up 17 and 10 despite all the fighting. He’s putting up 17 and 10, basically without a point guard. These are the kinds of moves that make championship teams. High risk, high reward.

Let me know what you think, or tell me how stupid I am!

Comment below, or yell at me @DanSoch

You are Well Below Par(go)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Unbelievable. That’s the word for it. An out-of-the-blue win for the Cavs, after losing leading scorer Kyrie Irving to injury. Jeremy Pargo, first of all, deserves most of the credit for the win. This third-string point guard, this young, unproven player who Byron Scott only promoted to starter the day of the game, showed some serious offensive chops. He hit jumpers from all over the floor, got to the rack with ease, and set up his teammates fairly well all game. Final stats: 28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists. He also played great defense, going hard in man-on-man D when matched up with Jrue Holiday or Evan Turner and racking up a steal and a few tipped balls. The other, less surprising, star of this game was Anderson Varejao. He locked down the post, grabbed nineteen boards (7 offensive!) and was generally awesome as usual. Dion Waiters played alright, if inefficiently. He only shot 7-22 from the field, but Dion also put up 6 assists to 2 turnovers and played solid defense. However, the Cavs have had some great individual performances this year in losses. Remember the game in Brooklyn? What made this one different was the bench. C.J. Miles and co. had their best performance of the year by far. Details later. Some bullet points on the game:

- Jeremy Pargo could be the backup point guard the Cavs have been looking for. Obviously we can’t expect him to score like this on a nightly basis, but anything near this type of offensive punch might be just what the Cavs need off the bench when Kyrie comes back. His jumper was clearly falling tonight (4-8 on 3-pointers) at an unsustainable rate, but that’s not really what matters. He was getting to the hole with remarkable consistency against a solid defensive team, and an athletic backcourt. That type of penetration led to open shots on the perimeter for the Cavs all night, and it made a huge difference for the second unit. The open 3-pointers were a world apart from the contested fade-aways that the Cavs had been getting with Donald Sloan on the floor. Let’s hope Pargo keeps it up.

- C.J. Miles may have just broken out of his slump in a big way. The release on his jumper still seems a little slow, but he was hitting it with regularity tonight, and he looked much more comfortable in the offense. If his perimeter play can remain close to this for the rest of the season, the team will be helped tremendously. Omri Casspi also looked decent, though he’s clearly still dealing with some shaky nerves. He seemed to lack confidence in his dribbling and shooting. In short, he played much like I did on the 7th grade basketball team. Needless to say, I played sparingly. As does he. I think that Byron Scott hasn’t been entirely fair in his treatment of Casspi, and while Kyrie is out, I would like to see him get some actual run.

- Tristan Thompson was pretty awful, unfortunately, but his line wasn’t anything remotely surprising. He rebounded well, played solid defense, and shot 1-7 from the field. We won, so I’ll try and keep this positive. He made 2-3 free throws! Someone call Rick Barry! Tyler Zeller was slightly worse, but I think he wore his gas-mask a little more jauntily than Tristan, so props to him. Any ideas for nicknames as long as they still both have the masks?

- Alonzo Gee dropped 14 points and shot 5-9 from the field, 4-6 from 3-point range, and played some truly spectacular defense. in particular, there was a fastbreak block that needs to be seen to be believed. Really, exactly the kind of game Chris Grant payed him for. If he can keep putting up numbers like this, and playing defense the way he does, we can all pretend like we’ve never heard of Nicolas Batum before.

-Luke Walton did not play tonight. Hallelujah. Byron Scott, thank you.

Byron’s Problems: Edition #1

Friday, November 9th, 2012

This year’s Cavaliers average 22.7 years of age. The oldest player on the roster is Anderson Varejao, and he’s only 30. Admittedly, Luke Walton is 32, but I’m doing my best to pretend he isn’t on this team. Regardless, the Cavs are a young team. Young teams make mistakes. Enter Byron Scott. Occupation: coach. Favorite mode of communication: yelling. Byron Scott is not known for going easy on his players, and he’s going to have plenty to get angry about this year. Just five games in, Coach Scott has seen it all: bad inbounds defense that leads to a game-winner, myriad turnovers, and Tristan Thompson’s insatiable desire to block mid-range jumpers, to name a few. In honor and respect of Byron’s ability to mold this young squad to his will, we’ll be highlighting the most debilitating issue this team faces semi-weekly, and speculating on what Coach will do about it.

Through five games, the Cavs’ biggest problem has been free throws. As a team, they’re shooting 61. 2 percent (74-of-121). That’s last in the NBA. Unsurprisingly, the main contributor to this debauchery of basketball fundamentals is the much-maligned Tristan Thompson, who’s hit on exactly 50 percent of his free throws this year. (The positive outlook on this: Shaq never hit his free throws either! The negative: Tristan doesn’t do anything effectively other than rebound on offense, and hasn’t improved from last year.) But to be fair, this is to be expected from Tristan. More alarmingly, Dion Waiters has hit only 6-11 free throws so far. As a player with a reputation as a shooter, that isn’t good enough, especially for someone who figures to be on the floor at the end of close games quite often. Even Kyrie Irving, the Anointed Son, is only hitting on 78 percent of his free throws so far. The average free throw percentage in the NBA usually hovers around 75 percent. If the Cavs had hit on 75 percent of their free throws this year, 16 more points would have been scored. That’s 16 points left on the table.

It’s safe to assume that approximately 10,000 free throws will be attempted in practice this week. Allen Iverson’s emotions on the subject notwithstanding (yes, I’m aware that reference is about three years past its expiration date), Coach Scott knows practice makes perfect. There isn’t much else to do, anyways, when it comes to free throws. As opposed to defensive rotations or the pick-and-roll, repetition is really the only path to improvement. Let’s hope things pick up. In the meantime, it makes me smile to imagine Dion Waiters shooting free throw after free throw while Byron stands and screams in his ear about FIFTY FOUR PERCENT. Practice is supposed to make perfect, but let’s just hope practice makes three of four.

(Stats from:

http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2012/11/cleveland_cavaliers_free-throw.html)

Cavs vs. Wizards

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Waiters serving the Wizards.

The Cavs lost to the Wizards at home last night, 99-95. The Cavs kept it tight all game, and even had the lead after the half. I don’t think it’s that important (at all) that we lost. Given the proclivity for coaches to play rookies and bench warmers big minutes, preseason games can hardly be a legitimate indicator of regular season performance. However, preseason is the first time we get to see the Cavs play, and it’s definitely a showcase for players to impress and prove themselves.

From the get-go, Tristan Thompson was the most impressive player on the floor. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor, putting up 18 points, 10 rebounds (8 offensive!), 4 blocks, and shooting 6-7 from the free throw line. He was insanely active on the offensive boards, overpowering or over-jumping the Wizard boxing him out time and time again. Of course, that probably has something to do with the fact that the frontcourt he was going up against consisted of Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Shavlik Randolph. But, hey- 8 offensive rebounds is impressive regardless. By the way, I checked it out and Shavlik Randolph, does, in fact, appear to be a real person.

Shavlik Randolph.

Kyrie’s jumper was off all night, as it has been for most of the preseason so far, but he partially made up for it with 7 assists, most notably a sweet alley-oop to Tristan that has the Q rocking. There was also a wicked spin move and floater off the glass, the kind of move Antawn Jamison used to fail at spectacularly on the daily. I’m not worried about his jumper in the slightest, and I don’t think anyone should be. The form is still there, and he should pick it up again soon.

Varejao gave the team what he always gives the team: 11 points, 10 rebounds, great defense and hyper-activity on both ends. I’ll understand if Chris Grant trades him, but he is so gosh-darn effective. Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles were both ineffective and unexciting, with a caveat or two: Waiter’s fast break explosion past Beal was fun, and Miles did shoot 2-3 on three-pointers. Alonzo Gee finally had a nice game, shooting 4-7 from the field for 13 points. But a single rebound isn’t going to cut it from him. Zeller, Gibson, Sloan and Leuer (sounds like a law firm, don’t it?) were all competent to some extent.

As a team, the Cavs looked fairly fluid offensively. Kyrie facilitated well throughout the game, unsurprisingly. Sloan played some decent ball backing up Kyrie. The Cavs had a great game down low, with 54 points in the paint. That was mostly due to Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao’s activity on the boards, and some nice interior passing.

The team defense was less pleasing. Rotations to the shooter were mostly awful, and as a result of that, Brian Cook scored 14 points. That’s unacceptable, much as Jan Vesely shooting 5-5 from the floor is unacceptable. Waiters, especially, needs some serious help in one-on-one defense. Bradley Beal put 14 points easily, and Dion often looked lost. Tristan seems to have grown defensively, though, and the added weight definitely helps. He looks quite a lot thicker.

Overall, it was a solid effort from the Cavs. Save Donald Sloan and C.J. Miles, the outside shooting was off all night, and that played a large role in the loss. 54 points in the paint will win you most games. Tonight just wasn’t one of them. With Byron Scott bellowing at them daily, I’m confident this team will start to execute and win some games.

Sporting News on the Cavs

Friday, October 12th, 2012

You just got served... by Waiters

The Sporting News previewed the Cavs upcoming season on Thursday. I have to agree with the article’s central point: the season hinges on Dion Waiters and what he can bring to the team. Everyone’s heard plenty about Dion, though. How about some Tristan Thompson? From 3 to 9 feet, Tristan shot 31.7 percent. That’s nearly unheard of for a power forward. Here’s the link.

Wine v. Gold Scrimmage

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Dion to the hoop!

The Cavaliers played an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday, pitting Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Jeremy Pargo, Omri Casspi and C.J. Miles on the Gold team against Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Alonzo Gee and Jon Leuer on the Wine team. The Gold team won 52-44, despite a combined 25 points on 9-22 shooting from Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. But it’s nice to see the young guns going at it in practice. Here’s the link.

10 Awful Things from 11-12

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Luke Harangody has no place on an NBA roster. Here’s the link.

Skyrie, Alonzo and Some Ramon: Top Ten

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The NBA released the Cavs’ official top ten plays for the season recently. They are a hell of a lot more exciting than last year’s highlights, thankfully, and Austin Carr provides the usual. GET THAT WEAK STUFF OUTTA HERE’S THE LINK.

Mary Schmitt Boyer On the Cavs

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

A young(er) Tristan Thompson

Mary Schmitt Boyer, of the Plain Dealer, answered a few questions on the Cavs. Here’s the link.