Are you ready? Cavaliers begin their quest….now!

Written October 27th, 2009 by Jeff

10:16pm – Winding it down.  Stretches of success, stretches of failure.  This was a playoff game without the playoff atmosphere.

10:12pm – Cavs going to lose their opening game for the second year in a row to Boston, have lost 5 of the 7 openers in LeBron James era.  Have lost at least two of their first three games in 5 of last 6 years.

10:11pm – Son of a bitch, Parker.  Catch the ball.

10:09pm – I’m not sure how Pierce gets away with shoving Mo Williams to the floor, but he just did.  Cavs down 6 with 1 minute left.

10:07pm – Two minutes left, pulls within 4 points!

10:06pm – Pierce gets his fifth foul trying to murder LeBron.

10:05pm – As it looks right now, the supporting cast is not pulling their weight.  Anthony Parker is 3-for-9 from the field.  Still have a shot

10:03pm – Uh, ohhhh, Shaq’s first FTs of his Cavalier career.  Clank, clank.

10:00pm – Yes, LeBron palmed that ball.  But if you’re going to call that, then you’ve GOT to call three steps on Pierce and Allen.

9:58pm – It’s LeBron time!  3-pointer brings us to within four!

9:55pm – Sweet Jesus, I hate Paul Pierce

9:54pm – Chances to get closer being wasted.  We need one more burst to win this.  6 minutes remain in a five-point game.

9:52pm – Z hits two FTs, within 5 now!

9:47pm – Crowd very quiet, almost waiting for a reason to get excited.

9:42pm – Z finally scores a FG, but the defense overall is lagging again.  Fresh Shaq and LeBron on the floor for the stretch.

9:38pm – It’s only three-quarters of one game, but Zydrunas is officially the Derek Anderson of the Cavaliers.  Can’t pass, refuses to score, looks scared with the ball.

9:34pm – The difference in the past 6 minutes has been defense.  Boston was shooting 57%, now down to 48%.  Boston has missed 8 of their last 10 shots and only has three FGs in the last 9 minutes of play.

9:33pm – Cavs turn a 15-point deficit into a 7-point one in half a quarter.  Looking better….here comes the 4th!

9:29pm – LeBron’s first “and-one” brings us to within 9… but not 8.

9:27pm – Watching Ilgauskas exclusively, and it’s very very ugly.  He has no speed to return to his player when he jumps off the screen.

9:25pm – LeBron takes over again!  Blocks another layup and then buries a three!  DEEP at the Q!

9:24pm – Mo Williams has arisen

9:23pm – Z refuses to jump and doesnt get the rebound because of it

9:20pm – Oh, shit here comes Z

9:18 pm- Replays at The Q show Allen took three steps to the hoop and got the foul call for him.

9:14pm – Back to within ten points.  The defense has stepped up again and forced three turnovers by Boston in four possessions.  5-0 run brings them to within 62-52.

9:12pm – Shaq’s first dunk as a Cav

9:10pm – Shaq is not working to the rim anymore.  He’s getting the ball and shooting too quickly.  Kendrick Perkins has only one foul, because he’s not being forced to foul.

9:07pm – Celtics on a run of 54-26.  No excuse for that at all.

9:06pm – Boston shooting 57 percent from the field.

9:05pm – Now its getting embarrassing.  No defense whatsoever.  When a guy like Rajon freaking Rondo can get to the rim with his head intact, it’s ridiculous.

9:04pm – Mo Williams trying to do too much, ends up turning it over.  The rhythm is gone for now.

9:03pm – Garnett tastes floorboard, crowd loves it.

9:01pm – Third quarter about to begin, usually our worst period.  Maybe we transferred that to the second quarter for this game?  One can only hope, as we were outscored by 13 in the 2nd.

8:55pm – Only two players shooting over 50% for Cleveland – Shaq and LeBron.

8:46pm – LeBron with 14 points, no other Cav in double digits (earlier report of Shaq with 10 was wrong).  Mo Williams struggling with his shot, but his defense has been good.  We’re allowing over 51% shooting from Boston, and 78% from 3-point land.  Adjustments need to be made, and fast.

8:40pm – Officiating crew, in an attempt to be correct, have failed.  They called a conference, then called a foul on Moon (before the travel was called), but failed to recognize that if the foul is called, it’s not a shooting situation.  Pierce gets two free points.  Cavs failing down the stretch and have a horrible second quarter, down by six at the half.

8:29pm – Now it’s looking like the playoff game all the pundits said it would.  Shaq has ten points, LeBron with 13.  Celtics hitting 3s at a 75% clip, keeping them in the game.  Tied at 44, 2 minutes left in the half.

8:25pm – Regarding Jamario Moon – Never mind.

8:20pm – Boston decided not to run away from the early deficit.  The Cavs are not in sync at the moment, and a couple of ill-advised shots haven’t fallen.  Meanwhile, the typical “close my eyes, throw it in the air, and bitch at the ref” strategy by Pierce is working for him.

8:18pm – Now it’s a game again.  Tied at 34, but the starters are all back on the floor.

8:14pm – Yes, Varejao has a better FT % than Ray Allen

8:09pm – Jamario Moon can’t hold onto the ball inside, and shoots like Wally Szczerbiak outside.  The bad Wally Szczerbiak.  Cavs lead about to disappear.  Get Z and Moon on the bench and get the flow back on the floor.

8:07pm – Ilgauskas is a liability again

8:00pm – Cavs lead at the end of the first quarter by only 7 points.  Celtics made a run against second-teamers mostly.  Not impressed with Ilgauskas or Jamario Moon yet.  One key factor is that LeBron doesn’t HAVE to take over a game anymore.  Multiple players to help out with the offense, potentially.  However, the Celtics are back in the game and the early burst has ended.  The 14-point lead is cut in half.

7:52pm – When are players going to learn that if LeBron is within twenty feet of a layup, you’re not going to score?  Even Boobie Gibson is looking sharp.  Cavs keeping a double-digit lead on a surging Boston team.

7:48pm – Celtics on a little run, Shaq looking AWESOME.

7:38pm – Cavaliers have a flow, momentum, they look relaxed and calm.  Celtics can’t find a rhythm and looked pissed.  Pierce hasn’t even tried a shot yet and the Cavs are dominating.  13-2 good guys already!

7:33pm – Here we go!!

7:25pm – I’m thinking the fans are going to let out a LOT of frustration from months of suffering over the Indians/Browns.  The Cavs will be the recpients of a warm, overdue reception tonight, ALL night.

7:10pm – Glen “Big Baby” Davis not playing (for a long time).  Surgery today on a broken thumb, then discussion of being suspended by the Celtics for misconduct.  Davis wasn’t a main cog, but he was a big part of the backup that got Boston through their injury stage last year.  It will hurt having him out.

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Quicken Loans Arena filled up in a hurry tonight and the fans are LOUD already.  Updates throughout the night….

Well…..dammit. Now what?

Written June 2nd, 2009 by Jeff

Yeah, I’ve been avoiding writing this because I was just too irritated, but the time has come to sit down and begin planning for the ’09-’10 Cavaliers season (and beyond).

Frankly, the discussion about Game 6 has been played out already.  We had our runs at it and Orlando just had everything working for them (including getting the calls when Anderson Varejao touches Howard’s back, but not when LeBron gets tackled on his way to the basket).  But whose fault is it?  It’s everybody’s fault.  Nobody had a full game Saturday night and as a result, everybody has the summer off.

Now for the good news.

After his brief hiatus from the media, LeBron James stepped forward and discussed his satisfaction with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including their front office and the direction of the team. Contrary to popular belief, LeBron has NEVER said that he wanted to leave this city (that’s the product of a frenzied media and several thousand internet trolls).  What he DID say was that he wanted to stay in Cleveland as long as the Cavaliers continue building towards success and keep him happy.

Monday’s press conference with LeBron brought some sighs of relief to a city.

“I’m great. I feel great about this situation that’s going on.  You want to continue to get better, that’s all you can ask. We got better and I feel this team will be better next season. You don’t want to take a step backward. I think we went forward from the Boston series last year.  Hopefully we can go forward next year.”

Upon being immediately deluged with claims of LeBron going to New York after the Eastern Finals loss, this was a welcome sound for Cavalier fans worldwide.

Now, LeBron did NOT say he was going to re-sign with the Cavs, but this was a STRONG step towards that inevitable conclusion.  The facts are laid out before him, he knows it, and everybody with half a brain knows it too.

The Cavaliers are the only team that can offer him everything he wants and needs, and his family is here.  No major city, especially one that is in a rebuilding phase of it’s own, can give him anything more except money…..and the Cavaliers just got a HUGE infusion of cash to offer James.  The news of a Chinese investment group offering to buy 15% of the Cavs will all but seal the deal to keep LBJ in wine and gold.  With that move, LeBron can successfully market himself, his shoes, his jerseys, and anything else he wants to a billion chinese people who are starved for NBA stars.  The Chinese government doesn’t allow an open and free market as much as we do, but with part-ownership in the team, expect to see Hu Jintao open the gates for anything with LeBron’s name on it.

But that won’t happen if LeBron leaves the Cavs….because the Chinese ownership is NOT of LeBron, it’s of the Cavs.  Sucks to be you, Knicks.

Here’s our current money situation, seen through the eyes of an optimist like me;

  • Currently, LeBron makes 14.4 million dollars, and he’ll want to sign for more before the next season begins.  We can lock him up for a long-term deal at around 20 million a year plus bonuses that do not count towards the salary cap.
  • Wally Szczerbiak has played his last game as a Cavalier.  His contract is up, and we will not sign him again….making 13.8 million per year to be a bench player is not what we want or need.  We loved you, Wally….but sorry.
  • Joe Smith’s contract is also up, but he’s making 1.2 million.  Give him more if he needs it, he’s a big part of this team’s chemistry and he’s inexpensive to boot.  If he wants to break the bank though, we’ll have to let him go.
  • Ben Wallace is talking retirement and he might want a buyout of his final year.  Hell, we KNOW he’ll want a buyout.  Anything we spend on the buyout also does not count towards the salary cap, so we should offer him that and wish him well.  It’ll add to our coffers, as Ben was making nearly 15 million this year.  Again, Ben…we loved you, thanks for your dedication and spirit.
  • Anderson Varejao will be looking for more money.  Again.  His current 5.8 million dollar contract is not going to be enough to keep him, and we’re going to have to up that to 9 or 10 million per season.  There’s very little question about that right now, especially with the possibility of losing Wallace and Smith.  Also, Z’s age doesn’t make anybody comfortable in C-town.

This all adds up to good fortune for the Cavs.  We’ll have to add 10-12 million a year to LeBron, Smith and Varejao’s contracts, but we save about 19 million with the losses of Wally and Big Ben.  That leaves us with 7-9 million dollars left to grab a strong player to add to LeBron’s arsenal, and that’s only if we want to keep the same salary as 2008-09.  We can go over the limit and pay a luxury tax to the NBA since we have that money to spend (hello, China!).

Translation – relax, Cavs fans.  LeBron will stay, and with the mastermind known as Danny Ferry at the helm, we will get everything we need and start fresh again in October.

Day off, but plenty to do still

Written May 10th, 2009 by Jeff

The front page of your local sports page probably has a nice picture of LeBron James today, doing something that you’ll never do ever.  It probably has a headline about a blowout win and most of the story is about LBJ and how he took over another game and it was unbelieveable.

Yeah, The BBC did it last night too.  So did every other onlite site that I frequent.

On further review, the Cavaliers didn’t quite look so good last night.

Yes, it’s nice to know that LeBron can take over a game when he has to, but this is NOT the team of two years ago where LeBron needs to do that.  We’ve got five All-Stars on the team and, despite being very young, enough playoff experience to make James Worthy go “DAAAAAAAAMN”.  This is a team that should still extend leads with their star resting on the bench, but last night they couldn’t do much without him.

And that’s not good.

  • Ben Wallace was out of sync and never got his defense going.
  • Wally Szczerbiak missed four wide-open shots and gave the Hawks the ball under their own basket on a turnover
  • Mo Williams couldn’t find the net with any regularity (5-13 shooting, 1-6 from long range)
  • Daniel Gibson still can’t find his shot, and has put out an APB for it.  Police have been led to a secure location in the year 2007

Fortunately, this team is led by two factors….LeBron, and defense.  Both were outstanding as usual.  Holding the Hawks (who played their best game of the round) to 82 points is no small feat.  Their interior defense was unstoppable and they did exactly what they wanted to do, which was to force Josh Smith into shooting anything from more than 10 feet away from the rim.  When Smith begins to do that, he doesn’t know how to stop, short of several fans emerging from the stands to tackle him.

I don’t like to look for the bad in games like that…..I prefer to appreciate the winning while we have it, because any Cleveland fan can tell you about how it’ll end in a heartbeat.  But I think that it’s crucial to get better as the playoffs linger, because the opposition will most certainly get better as we advance.  While Atlanta is no pushover (ask Boston from their title season), winning by 15 should be thrilling….but it isn’t.

Call it Playstation Syndrome.  You play on rookie level for so long, and you get used to winning games by huge margins, then you get really upset with yourself when you “only” win by a mere double-digit margin.

The good news is that we played our worst game of the NBA Playoffs, and Atlanta played their best.  And we won by 15.  On the road.

Thanks to LeBron James.

Let’s look at this in the “big picture”…..having a guy that can and will do that when needed is not exactly a bad thing to have on your team.  There’s a reason that fans of the rest of the NBA troll our cavaliers, and it’s not because they DON’T want LeBron James on their team too.

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I actually didn’t see the end of the Dallas-Denver game until it was on Sportscenter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on it.

If you have a foul to give, don’t pat the guy on the butt just before he shoots it and hope for the call.  TELL the ref you’re going to do it, then WRAP the guy up until the whistle STOPS blowing.

Yes, the ref failed to make the call.  Yes, he admitted it through the NBA.  But Mark Cuban and Josh Howard running around throwing temper tantrums and crying midcourt isn’t the answer.  Playing the game like you’re supposed to IS the answer.    It’s Carmelo freaking Anthony.  He wilts at the first sign of physical defense.  HIT the guy and then you don’t HAVE to rely on a whistle.

If you need the refs to make a call, MAKE them make the call.  That way, no cameramen will get hurt by your owner on his way to a fine and a lawsuit.

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Some really crappy news out of Houston with Yao Ming’s broken foot.  I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like the guy and he was the Rockets’ last hope for beating the Lakers.  At least now Ron Artest can have something new to finish off his usual sentence of “we’d have won if not for (blank).”

I didn’t think the Rockets could knock off L.A. four times in a series, but now there’s no chance of it at all.

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Game 4 of the Magic-Celtics series is at 8pm tonight in Orlando.  The Magic could go up 3-1 if Boston plays like they have since early March.  The Celtics have no fire and no solid gameplan, and Doc Rivers is being exposed as a hack.  And when Stan Van Gundy is looking like the superior coach in a series, you’re got a REALLY shitty coach on the other team.

I’d like to see Boston win tonight and tie the series up at 2-2.  I’d also like to see Boston pull the whole thing out.  I want this for one reason – I want revenge on Boston for last season.