Shocking to not one single person alive, the Cavaliers dropped another one on Saturday. This time to Derrick Rose and the Bulls.
I mostly sat staring blankly at my television watching for the better part of two quarters in a daze though, wondering how things would've shook out if Boozer didn't pull that 'gotcha' move on that nice old blind guy way back when he did.
I then realized that was what I was thinking about, and spent the duration trying to get through to Dr. Melfi's office. Time to talk some things out this week. This hasn't been a healthy stretch, thanks Cavs.
But part of the unhealthy ramifications of following what might be the worst team in the NBA afterall are things that can be controlled. No reason I can't focus my attention elsewhere, I mean.
Sure there's some in-game blogworthy material I could mention in a positive light with regards to the latest loss. I could talk about how the Cavaliers played hard for a half with as many guys out as they had. I could say they didn't appear to be hung-over after NYE also, and I could even work in a hopeful rant about maybe J.J. Hickson "getting it" after entering the 20-point category for the first time in a while.
I'm going to start talking trades instead, however.
NBA.com felt it necessary to post their countdown to the trade deadline the other day, so I guess it's time, and it might help actually.
So first off, here's what they're said recently about the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Shocking to not one single person alive, the Cavaliers dropped another one on Saturday. This time to Derrick Rose and the Bulls.
Rookie time. Rookie report card time I should say. Not only that, you’re getting a double-blog right about now as with the 2nd part I’m giving you five guys currently plying their time in college that our Cavaliers should be monitoring…closely. People are starting to say it’s “tank time” with regards to our season, others are a little hesitant regarding the same issue. Look, I’ll give you my opinion in a minute, first off let’s get into my five rookies…
He’s missed a chunk of games with that injury, he hasn’t exactly shot the ball well at times, he’s averaging a rookie-high (worst?) in turnovers – but the kid’s just awesome for me. He’s everything you want your rookie point guard and franchise guy to be – athletic, quick (like, really quick) can pass, can drive, makes the impossible look possible – just incredible. If he didn’t miss all those games with injury people wouldn’t already be crowning Blake Griffin with the ROY award. Fact. Wall leads all rookies in assists (by some way) and steals, is in the top ten in rebounding and blocks and second in scoring. Sure he plays for a pretty crappy team who are reportedly shopping their starting frontcourt duo – but I know that if I had to have the future of my organistaion in the hands of a rookie point guard, those hands would be John Wall’s. Give him a week or two to get back into the swing of things, then sit back and enjoy. You know what I really can’t wait for? The Rookie/Sophomore game at All Start Weekend, when he’s throwing alley oops to this fella…
Reason number 319 Blake Griffin is cool – he has more double-double’s than Dwight Howard does at this stage of the season. That’s like eating more sandwiches Renardo Sidney does, just impressive. Griffin is everything the Clippers in general are not – fun, athletic, competent, hungry, determined and entertaining (for the right reasons). He works his butt off every single night – point being that he’s played every single game this year and not had double digit-rebounds in only 7 of them. Baron Davis has broken a sweat 7 times this season. Griffin leads all rookies in scoring and rebounding, is second in FG%, is in the top ten in blocks and assists and leads pretty much every athlete alive in plays that make you say “Holy Crap”. He could genuinely be the reason why the Clippers will soon be very, very relevant in the West. Actually, scratch the word “could” – he will be the reason why they become relevant. I actually can’t even begin to imagine how good he’ll be if he develops a reliable jump shot.no comments
Cavs v Orlando
1. Free Throws again – you can’t leave ten points slip when you’re battling against a top team
2. If Mo Williams had played the final three quarters like he had the first (14 points) things might have been different
3. You cannot allow two teams on two separate occasions to come to your home building and break records for three pointers made
4. If Anderson Varejao were wearing a Magic uniform last night, God only knows how big the final margin would have been
5. Coach Scott: “JJ, 5,000 made free throws in practice today or you don’t go home”, JJ: “Guess that’s what I get for going 1-7 when my team needed those points last night”no comments
I was just amazed by this while watching at home...had to hit rewind and break out the flip cam. My head hurts just watching this series of self-inflicted shots the grill. Whatever pumps you up, Andy.
In the end on Sunday, the Cavaliers were as close as Jawad Williams is in the picture below to grabbing the ball, tipping it in, and preventing their 13 loss in the last 14 games.
Photo Credit: Stepien Rules / BB
He'd never actually touch the ball though from best I can tell, and the desperation fall-away-heave from Antawn Jamison that he attempted to put back in the picture above never had a chance of touching the net either seconds earlier.
Jamison did put the Cavaliers up one with less than 10 seconds to go though, but then he'd play "defense" like this on Micheal Beasley who'd dribble straight to the hoop for what would prove to be enough for the W (Beasley finished with 28, 6 and 1 on 10 of 25 shooting from the field).
Jamsion would've probably been better served just taking off to the other end of the court cherry picker style and attempting to catch a length of the floor inbounds pass off that lay-up they let Beasley have, but they don't do that kind of thing in the NBA. I didn't think they played that type of defense either with the game on the line, but I guess it happens sometimes.
With the Cavaliers up double digit points late though, this game should've obviously never come down to being decided by either of those plays. Up 10 and 12 points with 2 and 3 minutes to go at home, you really have to know how to lose to drop a game like the Cavs dropped tonight. Which is probably why it stung so much.
Byron Scott said postgame that this latest loss "stings more than the others this season." Mo Williams would go on to echo those same sentiments.
Said Scott: "It was almost like we were afraid to win late in the game."
More from Byron Scott's postgame presser is below:
Mo would follow Byron up postgame by saing:
"This one probably hurts the most out of all the losses this year." He would also add in regards to the final possesion: "We thought Kevin Love had some contact."
Video from Mo's postgame presser is below:
From the Minnesota side, Kurt Rambis said postgame of that eventual game winner by Beasley:
"We just put the ball in his hands and looked for him to make a play."
He would do just that, and Minnesota (7-24) would get the win.
If you found a bookie taking action on the Over/Under 17 Rebounds for Kevin Love I set pregame though - and bet the over - you would've got the win too. Love finished with 18 rebounds to go along with 16 points.
Luke Ridenour finished with 23-5-6 for the Twolves as well - ummm that's not a normal night, is it? - and on the flip side of that match-up Mo finished with 17 points and 10 assists. Jamison had a team-high 24 and Anthony Parker scored 21 points to go with 7 dimes of his own (nice game AP).
J.J. Hickson only played 12 minutes but did manage 11 points and 5 rebounds while he was out there.
Jawad Williams finished with 9 points, and said when asked how close he was to that final put-back:
"I was very close. I don't know who hit me, maybe it was a teammate, but somebody did and I missed it."
Cavs missed it too, they won't get many chances like this to win games this season.
Ever been genuinely terrified of getting your Christmas Report Card from school? You know, you’ve just lumbered through the first few months, done enough to get by but not enough to stand out, then the report card comes home and the instant thought of “Oh Crap!!” pops into your head as your mom opens up that hideous brown envelope all schools use. Well today is our very own Cavaliers turn to feel nervous and uneasy as we present the Official, NBA Certified Cleveland Cavaliers Report Card, Christmas 2010 (Yeah, good old Mr. Stern gave us his seal of authenticity today over lunch incase you were wondering on the validity of that previous sentence. Funny, at that exact same lunch he also preached how sad he was to see the Knicks doing well again? David’s a strange kinda guy).
So anyways, below are first my thoughts and grades, as well as those of Kirk and Brendan...
Mo Williams – No surprise he’s leading the team in points per game, but I kinda expected more. Last season he averaged more points (15.8 – 14.4) shot better from the free throw line and from long range. He’s shooting the three ball at a 29% clip this season by the way. His assists have gone up, but not significantly enough to make that difference we all hoped it would. Game winner against the Bucks, big night against NY, but outside of that not much else to note from our floor general. Grade – B
Kirk: Mo’s in a no-win situation; we all know that. He has and is going to take more criticism on this team than probably anybody else. He’s had some ups (aforementioned game-winner over Jennings being one of them) and some downs (see: every single night on the defensive end of the floor and hideous shooting nights, including 1-of-10 from three in the second Miami game). Overall, Mo’s been a better team player this season (four straight double digit assist games, obvious step-up in leadership and accountability), but his own skills have suffered. His unbelievable strengths of the past (three point shooting, clutch shooting) are no longer strengths, and his overwhelming defensive handicap remains. Grade: B
Brendan: Mo's averaging a career high in assists so far this season, so props for that, and I did appreciate the game against NY, the buzzer beater to win it as well, and I also agree that he is in a spot where he will get the most criticisim. I'd love to say it's unfair criticism too, but beyond some very solid nights, I can't get past how hard he tanked it during that 10-game stretch to bury the season. He's shown above average flashes at times, but given his ability - read grading scale - I can't say he's been anything more than slightly above average so far. Grade: C+
This has been a very painful month for the Cavaliers. In the month of December they are 1-11. There has not been very many things to get us fans excited to watch the games. In fact the lack of effort displayed by many of the players, especially earlier in the month, has left a very bad taste in our mouths. While I am not here to say that our current starting line-up (Mo Williams, Boobie Gibson, Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, and Antawn Jamison) is going to bring a championship here, at least we have five men on the floor who are hustling, caring and showing the effort it takes to get a win in the NBA.
We still have no small forward who can do anything, our starting shooting guard is 6’2”, our power forward is like 50 years old, and our starting center is a great back-up power forward. Despite all of that, we are seeing some production from these players, especially in the last five games. The first seven games of December were a complete disaster. After losing games by 28, 34, 10 and 20 points, Byron Scott changed the line-up, moving Boobie Gibson and Antawn Jamison into the line-up, moving Joey Graham and JJ Hickson out of the line-up and moving Anthony Parker from SG to SF. The Cavaliers responded by losing the next three games by 5, 15 and 29 points. That means the Cavaliers lost the first seven games of the month by an average margin of 20.1 points per game.
The Cavaliers then traveled to Miami for a rematch with the Heat, and responded with a 6 point loss to the streaking Heat. This started a five game stretch where the Cavaliers lost by 6 and 9, won by 7, then lost by 11 and 14. More importantly, the five starters have settled in nicely into their new roles. Lets look at each of these guys more in depth:
Furthermore, what if Mike Brown was the coach right now and the Cavaliers had the EXACT same results as they've had so far this season? All final scores the same, the lay down against Miami at home, brains blown out against Minnesota for example as an encore to that give-up job at home, all of what we've seen from this team so far this season. What if it was under Mike Brown's watch?
How mad would you be at Mike Brown right now if that was the case, Cleveland?
When I asked this same question on twitter during the game on Wednesday, 'beserk' was a quality response I received. One which I feel sums it up quite adequately actually (thanks @Susie_B_).
I mean, you think Mangini is on the hot seat right now? Think he has it rough? If Mike Brown was the coach, and he was coming back to Cleveland tonight after dropping another one to an Atlanta team on Wednesday (98-84) that didn't even try to beat the Cavs and still did by 14, he would need more security at the Q than they had for LeBron's return at the next home game.
I'm just saying.
Not really a point here, this was just a place my mind drifted as I sat watching the Cavaliers drop another one without even really minding that they did. It's officially now a 10-game losing streak, an OT win, and then back to back losses. They've lost 12 of 13, the team is absolutely horrible, and their leader in that propensity to be awful category is undeniably Jawad Williams.
And real quick before I jump back to the head coach here - Jawad Williams is without question the worst player in the entire NBA of all players currently on the active roster. But not only does he stink, he doesn't care that he stinks, which is the worst part.
He played over 10 minutes tonight, went 1 of 6, played 0 defense, commited a foul, turned it over once, had an assist, and then sat back down hopefully for the rest of the season. Never did I think I would pine for the day that Joey Graham was healthy again, but I really do hope that guy gets back soon.
To be clear on my point to open though, I do like Byron Scott. He is a very good coach, and I trust him with this rebuild going forward completely. I just think - generally - we sold Mike Brown the head coach a little short in what he was able to do here. Would he have lost 12 of 13 this season? Would he have lost 10 straight? Would the team be this bad on D?
Byron Scott can X and O Mike Brown right out the gym on offense, no question there. But there also aren't any X's to combat the opposing O's on this team offensively right now. They would need to play a tich better defense because of this then, no?
But maybe that's just why we don't fully appreciate Byron yet because he doesn't have the pieces to work with. Which is also why we give him a pass. It is tough to draw up a winning play when your guys can't throw it in Lake Erie. And it is also tough when you do practice and draw up a play and then the guy with the ball in the fourth quarter decides that he doesn't feel like....oh never mind.
Regardless of all that, tonight Antawn Jamison did shoot it okay, only everyone else didn't. Jamsion was 10 of 16 for 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Not bad, congrats, way to bounce back from last game. And Andy kept up his habit of boarding - 13 - while Mo again led the team in assists - 8. But check out this stat from the remainder of the starting five:
Mo, Gibson, Varejao, and Parker shot a combined 16 of 46 from the floor. That's 34%. The Hawks - led by Joe Johnson who had 23 on 9 of 17 shooting - shot 45 % combined as a starting unit outside Joe. Horford had 18, Marv Williams 17, and Josh Smith 16.
So that's it, Cavs lose again. I am going to the game on Sunday...just thought I'd mention that for no reason really.
The Cavs welcome the Jazz tonight in a few, and below is link to a podcast I jumped into on Sunday with good folks from the Utah Jazz Blog. It's a quality podcast as always from those guys, and a great primer for tonight's game. Click - here - to listen...I join them talking all things Cleveland Cavaliers at the 11 minute mark.
I also had a chance to join Adam Copeland of The Exiled Clevelander Podcast as well on Saturday afternoon (prior to beating the Knicks). Adam talks Brownies to open the show, and I joined him at the mark talking Cavs at the 9:30 mark. That link is also here.
I may weigh in on tonight's Cavs / Jazz game later. If I do, those words can be found in this same blog entry. If I don't, you won't be able to find those words anywhere.
Regardless though, let's get that streak out to two tonight, fellas.
Cavs lose 101-90...not much to say here, though I did rattle off a few more paragraphs than I thought I would:
Not that I blame Byron Scott for making the move, but all that really happens when you insert Antawn Jamison and Daniel Gibson into this Cavaliers starting five is you delay the inevitable.
This group (w/ those two guys) who have started the last few games isn't too bad. They started off tonight playing well together too earlier. Moving the ball, keeping it close, giving it the proverbial college try for a half. Only thing is these guys are about 10 to 15 years removed from college on average, and they ran out of gas by the 3rd Q.
Don't think Byron Scott didn't know they would, and then did, run out of gas either. He knows that. He also knows he's got nobody else worth putting in at this point, which makes the decision quite simple really. Put your arm down out there fellas, just keep playing. I'm leaving you all in so stop asking for a breather.
Which is the reason a guy who shoots it as woefully as Antawn Jamison did tonight just kept playing, and just kept chucking. He came up short on 12 jumpers through his forty one minutes of action tonight - after going for 40+ on Saturday - and he looked it. He seemed notably gassed to me by the 2nd quarter, and his old tired knees just didn't have enough lift to give that thing a chance to get up over that rim. He did get five through though (of 17 tries) and finished with 13.
But while he didn't help Cleveland win tonight, he wasn't the sole reason they lost. Mo missed 10 of his 15 shots too, did finish with 15 points and 10 assists though, and he didn't help them win either tonight. But to blame either one of those guys for the loss would be to scapegoat the worthless bench players that all but sealed the Cavs fate before the game even started.
Two guys helped Daniel Gibson (team high 29 tonight w/ 7 threes) and company in the scoring column tonight who didn't start. Two.
Those two scored 12 points combined. CJ Miles outscored the Cavaliers bench by 10 points tonight himself. JJ Hickson scored 10 of those 12, showed some signs of a life which was somewhat encouraging but not really all that encouraging, and Ramon Sessions converted the other hoop. On a drive to the basket, of course, but a hoop nonetheless, to round out the reserve unit's attack this evening.
Jawad Williams played about 8 minutes and scored 0 points, though he did have a turnover. Jamario Moon missed two shots in that same amount of time and committed a foul. Manny and Samardo got in for the last 38 seconds.
Cavs have lost 11 of last 12. Okay, moving on, next game please.
Whole lotta stuff going on in the NBA right now huh? We’ve got trades, trade talk, streaks being ended and streaks continuing and we haven’t even reached Christmas (though its really close). Today I’m bringing you the first ever “Snowed In Blog Because It’s Sunday And There’s Nothing Else To Do”. It’s going to be brilliant (well, not really but I’m going to always have to build myself up right). In amongst all the trade talk, we’ll talk Cavs and even a Mailbag question from a loyal reader. So without further ado…
Cavs win! End losing streak! Against the Knicks! At the Q! I promise now I’ll stop using my ! button and talk basketball. I genuinely thought with 52 seconds left and down 4 we were heading for 11 straight in the wrong way, but credit our guys for hanging in there and pulling this one out. Credit Mo Williams for having ice in the veins, credit Tawn for scoring like we need him to and credit Andy for 14 points and 17 rebounds. Those 17 rebounds equalled what Stoudemire, Gallinari and Chandler had combined. Finally the monkey on our shoulder (who wears a number 23 jersey I think, well that’s what Brendan told me) has been removed and we can hopefully find the form we had when at 5-5 all those weeks back to begin the season. Both teams fell in love with the long ball a little bit too much (combined to connect on 21 of 61 attempts) which is not what either teams should focus on. Our strength is pushing the tempo and beating teams down the floor to get easy looks. The Knicks strength is Amare inside, so seeing both teams hoist long bomb after long bomb was kinda dumb, but hey we won. We also ran the ball (somewhere at least, in between all those three point attempts) and outscored the Knicks 26-8 on fast break points, which is a good sign for us.
We showed we have character by fighting from behind with under a minute to go when it would have been easier to just collapse and accept yet another loss. Mo Williams showed he has it in him to at least take a shot at being the guy we need him to by making big shots and dishing the rock (14 assists!!!!!!) to his teammates. I truly hope that this win (along with the effort put forward in the two losses previous) will signal a turn in the right direction for us. After the crap we’ve been through, who’d begrudge us of that? Go Cavs baby!!no comments