I, Glenn, will be covering the Bulls/Cavaliers game tonight and will have a live game blog. You can join the conversation anytime! Enjoy!
I, Glenn, will be covering the Bulls/Cavaliers game tonight and will have a live game blog. You can join the conversation anytime! Enjoy!
The Cavaliers take on the Bulls tonight down at 'The Q' with tipoff at 8 PM. Here are some quick audio/video from pregame.
Here is Anthony Parker from the Cleveland Cavaliers, speaking with the media after shootaround and before the game vs. the Bulls on 11.05.09
First, Cavs Coach Mike Browns speaks with the media:
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Anthony Parker:
And finally, Chicago Bulls Coach Vinny Del Negro:
I really don't like the Washington Wizards...probably never will. Nevertheless, they'll be in town tonight to take on the Cavaliers tonight at the Q. The Wiz are coming in off a 19 point win over the Nets in their last game, and boast a record of 2-1 so far so on the young season.
If you're ranking this year's Wiz against the teams the Cavaliers have played so far, their probably better than the Bobcats, and definitely better than the T-Wolves. Likewise, they are definitely not better than the Celtics, or the Raptors. A win tonight, to go to 3-2, would be a step forward of sorts for the Cavaliers.
Antawn Jamison is out, and Caron Butler is probable - he didn't play last game - but Butler is expected to play. If he does, their starting line-up will look like this:
PG - Gilbert Arenas
SG - Randy Foye
SF - Caron Butler
PF - Fabricio Oberto
C - Brendan Haywood
Mike Miller (7 points 10 rebounds per) started in the last game in Butler's place, but expect him to come off the bench tonight. No word on whether he'll be intentionally pissing DeShawn Stevenson off by wearing his LBJ's in the King's house like he did during their preseason match-up at this point, however. Hopefully he does.
Speaking of the biggest hater in the NBA, DeShawn is currently averaging 4 points per game, over a span of 19 minutes per. He plays a quarter and a half per game, so I'm not really referencing him as if he's a key reserve, because he's not. Andray Blatche and Jevelle McGee are however, and Blatche scored 30 last game.
Arenas has been locked-in to be sure so far through three, averaging 28 points per game. If healthy, I don't need to tell you that Butler is always tough. Did we draft DaJaun Wagner over Butler, or was that someone else?
Score Prediction: Cavs 88 - Wiz 80
Nick Koudas, CEO and founder of Sysomos Inc, sent me a link to an interesting study that was conducted on his website recently about the way NBA Players were using Twitter.
In the study, they broke down the NBA's team of Tweeters into a variety of categories, which includes the following, amongst others:
And in those first three categories, the Cavaliers top the charts. Shaq is the most popular NBA player - as you might have imagined - and the most popular team as viewed by both having the most other NBA followers, as well as having the most total followers is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
What's also interesting is that neither Shaq, nor any other Cavalier top the charts in the latter three categories...follow the most people...most active...or NBA players who follow the most other NBA players.
Guess that makes the Cavs the cool kids in school then, no?
Go to Sysomos Inc for the complete details on the study...its worth the read.
I'm not trying to say the Cavs had mono...I mean they just lost two games really, but they weren't right. Even in the win Friday, there was something missing. Or someone missing. They were missing their best two guard. They were missing their back-up point guard. They were missing that little spark at that point in a game when you needed one. They were missing defensive toughness on the perimeter. They were missing one more guy that had the ability to stop a run by knocking down a perimeter three. They were missing one more guy who could create his own shot. One more guy that could find the open man. Austin Carr was missing his favorite player...you know...the one from those same D.C. playgrounds he hails from. In short, the Cavaliers were missing Delonte West...we all were.
Great news reported by Windhorst about 30 minutes ago...Delonte's back. We're rooting for you kid...all the way around. Glad to have you back.
Brian Windhorst Reports:
"Cavaliers guard Delonte West has been activated and is expected to play against the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. West missed all eight preseason games and the first three regular-season games for what the team deemed personal reasons. He has been practicing with the team for the last three weeks. Cavs coach Mike Brown said West would come off the bench as the backup point guard."
He completes this team...they're good to go with D-West.
After the 0-2 start I can't say that I entered panic mode, but I was getting a little worried. Maybe a bit more worried than I should have. The Cavs got into the win column last night beating the Timberwolves on the road 104-87. A game they should have won to be sure, but they still won it. And with the Bobcats up next - a team better than Minnesota but not as good as Boston or Toronto - the Cavaliers have a good chance to get to 2-2, drive another hour on that 18-hour car ride they were talking about, and allow the city of Cleveland to exhale.
A look back...Cavaliers 104 Timberwolves 87:
Playing Through Shaq:
The best thing I saw last night was when the ball went into Shaquille O'Neal, who drew a double team, and then found a wide-open LeBron James cutting to the basket for an electric finish above the rim. I don't know if its just because we haven't seen it since last season, but I swear LeBron (24-9-6) looks quicker, and his finishes look stronger than they did a year ago. Is that possible? Anyways, the fact the ball went into Shaq as many times as it did last night was encouraging. Why? Because he's not drawing a double team unless he has the basketball. And when he does, everything opens up, and the Cavaliers took advantage of that last night. Sure Shaq's line only read 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists, but if the NBAtracked hockey assists, hed have had a few more of those...like the time he found a cutting LBJ, who then found a cutting Varejao for an easy dunk.
Another good sign last night was Mo Williams. Sure Jonny Flynn got his, but Jonny Flynn's gonna get his every night. Watch out for this kid, he's going to be a star in this league for 10 years. But offensively, was assertive, and he looked like an All Star, veteran PG last night for the first time this season (20-2-6). And if he plays like he did Friday, on a consistent basis this season, he will be a legit second scoring option to LBJ, just like he was during the regular season last year.
Benchwise, Boobie came in and shot it well. He still shouldn't have a Superman emblem in his head, but if he comes off the bench going 4 of 8 for 14 points, it won't really bother me as much. As for Ilgauskas, maybe calls to retire after two games were a bit premature. He went for 15-5, and if the Cavaliers bench can consistently produce (29) points from their 6th and 7th man, look out.
A look forward....Cavaliers vs. Bobcats...Tonight at 7:30:
If the Bobcatsmade the playoffs this season occupying the 8th, 7th, or even 6th spot, I wouldn't be all that surprised. I don't expect them to be a team to advance in the playoffs, but Larry Brown's club will get there. They beat the Knicks last night 102-100, and are 1-1 on this young season. Expect Raja Bell and Flip Murray to be inactive again tonight, but even with those two guys - who figure to be key pieces for this club - in street clothes, the Bobcats will roll out a top-seven certainly capable of giving Cleveland a game. I don't expect them to beat the Cavaliers, and the Cavs should get to 2-2 tonight, but it will be a good test.
The starting line-up should look like this for the bad guys:
1. PG - Raymond Felton
2. SG - Stephen Graham
3. SF - Gerald Wallace
4. PF - Boris Diaw
5. C - Tyson Chandler
Key Reserves: D.J. Augustin, Vladimir Radmonovic
Score Prediction: Cavaliers by (9)...91-82
There are a lot of questions being asked about the Cavs right now, and none of them are, do you think they will win 60 games again?
Those questions are more like...
* If Shaq and Z are forced chosen to play together, can the Cavaliers petition the league to implement a rule that mandates the opposing team to hold the ball at half court for 10 seconds to allow each of them to get back on defense?
* If Jon Kuester was the offensive coordinator last season, and he's gone, but all the same coaches that were there with him while he implemented his system - all year long - are still here, do any of those guys have an extra playbook laying around?
* If the Cavs seemingly don't run any plays, how does J.J. Hickson forget them so bad that he can't get on the floor?
But I don't want to go into those questions, or others like them right now. Its game 3, and we are only 2.4% of the way through the regular season. So with that said, lets just stop thinking about that right now, and focus on the Minnesota Timberwolves...
Friday Night - on FSN's Sorta HD - Cavs vs. T-Wolves:
The Cavaliers tip-off game 3 on Friday night in Minnesota against the undefeated (1-0) Kurt Rambis led Timberwolves. Sasha Pavlovic will be in the house, and in a 95-93 opening night win over the New Jersey Nets decided by a Damien Wilkens tip-in as time expired, Sasha did hit two big free throws during the final stretch, which saw the young T-Wolves overcome a 16 point second half deficit. My preseason favorite for Rookie of the Year - Jonny Flynn - will be running the point for the Wolves, who's starting five looks like this:
1. PG Jonny Flynn
2. SG Corey Brewer
3. SF Damien Wilkens
4. PF Ryan Gomes
5. C Al Jefferson
The rest of their listed roster includes the following:Mark Blount, Brian Cardinal, Wayne Ellington, Jason Hart, Ryan Hollins, Nathan Jawai, Kevin Love, Sasha Pavlovic, Oleksiy Pecherov, Ramon Sessions
The Cavaliers starting line-up will look like this again Friday:
1. Mo Williams
2. Anthony Parker
3. LeBron James
4. Anderson Varejao
5. Shaquille O'Neal
Match-ups of interst:
* Jonny Flynn vs. Mo Williams: I am no doctor, but Mo Williams'groin has got to be still bothering him...at least I hope it is. He has looked extremely unexplosive and plodding, and the All Star has been severely outplayed on both ends of the floor by two PG's who weren't All Stars last year, thus far through the season (Rajon Rando, Jose Calderone). If Williams isn't careful - or healthy - Flynn - who went for 18 in his NBA debut - could be the third straight lead guard to get the better of him in as many games.
* Al Jefferson vs. The Cavaliers Bigs: Jefferson has come into the season a bit banged up, and was held under double figures in game one, but if he gets his legs under him, the Cavaliers could be in trouble. When healthy, he's as athletic, and as explosive as any big in the NBA. The Cavalier bigs (Z, Shaq, Andy) on the other hand, are healthy, but nowhere near as athletic or as explosive as AJ.
* LeBron James vs. The Whole Team: Exciting game one win or not, the T-Wolves are stil a bottom feeder. If LeBron James plays like he did in the first two games, he could win this one himself even if everyone else plays the same way they did through the first two.
* Cavaliers Bench vs. T-Wolves Bench:The Cavs bench hasn't been too good, but I have to think they can outplay a reserve group that features Sasha Pavlovic and Brian Cardinal getting major minutes...if it doesn't, its time to panic.
Tip-off at 7:30.
While I didn't make any comments in the comment box for the Bloguin Power Rankings, I did submit my teams as I saw them from 1-30 on Monday night. I will be getting a voter badge shortly, which is known in some circles as a babe magnet...I'm really looking forward to that. Nevertheless, I did rank the Cavaliers as Number 2personally. After all the votes were tabulated, they came out at a Bloguin power position of Number 3. Then they dumped their opener, and lost last night to the Raptors - who feature the RuPaul of big men? And through those first two games, they've looked pretty confused out there...LBJ notwithstanding. When the polls open again for the Power Rankings take two, how far should the Cavaliers fall? Right now, I'm leaning towards somewhere between 5-10...but we'll see...
For the Complete Bloguin Preseason Power Rankings Click Here.
The NBA season is (82) games long. The Cavaliers played just one of those last night, and lost 95-89.
I'm not one to overreact, but if I were, these are the things I'd say in response to the game one loss:
1. The Cavaliers have already lost half as many home games as they did all of last season.
2. Jumping out to a 13-2 lead at home only to end up losing kinda reminds me of a certain Orlando Magic home playoff game.
3. Shaq may never make a free-throw as a Cav (he's 0-2)...how long before Cleveland fans start booing him at the stripe?
4. If Delonte West doesn't come back the Cavs are screwed at both ends of the floor...Moon and Gibson can't fill his minutes.
5. The offense looks terrible...without Coach Kuester?
6. Z looks old...real old, and Mike Brown appears to hate J.J. Hickson.
7. Gibson's hair looks ridiculous.
8. Jamario Moon doesn't really look like he can bring all that much to the line-up. And Parker looked just so-so.
9. Rajon Rando is a flat-out better player than Mo Williams.
10. I think I saw one of LBJ's 4 Horsemen sitting court-side wearing a NY Yankees hat on opening night...actually I know I did.
But hey, like I said, I'm not one to overreact, and - all joking aside - there really isn't any reason to over-react at this point. It would have been nice to get the first one, no doubt, but this is going to take some time. The Cavaliers were basically just a team of guys who looked like they never played together before, and that's to be expected. LeBron looked like LeBron, and eventually, if he just keeps looking like LeBron, I think everyone else will figure out what they need to do to best compliment him. Looked like the defensive schemes are still a work in progress as well, but I expect the Cavaliers to be on all cylinders at both ends of the floor by game 10. And if they're not clicking by then, maybe then its time to...oh never never mind. Lets just get ready for game two, and if you're an optimistic Cavaliers fan, don't listen to sports talk radio tomorrow.