LeBron cannot watch
LeBron really should hide his face after what Kyle Korver did to him...

The Cleveland Cavaliers: It just figures that the Jazz -- the West's leading candidate for Bipolar Girlfriend Team of the Year -- would be involved in one of this season's craziest games. I know I'm guilty of bouts of hyperbole pretty much always, but this game was a bigger mind fuck than finding out Rick Deckard was also a replicant. Especially the final 12 minutes. The Jazz scored almost half of their total points (42 of 97) in the fourth quarter, but King Crab countered by dropping 20 of his 36 thanks to some heat-seeking threes and, ahem, assistance from the zebras. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me try to break down the major events of the final stanza:

First, the Jazz lost Deron Williams, who aggravated his sprained right wrist after getting tangled up with Mo Williams. The Jazz, whose playmaking was now in the hands of Ronnie Price and Sundiata "The 10-Day Contract Man" Gaines, promptly scored 15 straight points to jumpstart a 21-2 run that seemed to finish the Crabs off.

Bear
Bear!

Too bad nobody told King Crab, who bitchslapped the Jazz with an 11-1 run. LeBron got fouled on a drive and converted a three-point play. He drove again a minute later and earned another foul. James made the first and missed the second, but he got his own rebound and nailed a three to put Cleveland up by a point (86-85) with 1:10 to go. The Crabs forced a turnover and 'Bron drilled another trey with 40 ticks left. C.J. Miles missed a three on the other end, Lebron got the board and drew Carlos Boozer's sixth foul. James sank both freebies to put the Crabs up six points (91-85) with 32.5 seconds on the clock.

That probably should have been the game, but Anthony Parker missed one of two from the line on consecutive trips in the final 22 seconds, which gave the Jazz new life. (Cheater's proof, perhaps?) Then Kyle Korver tossed on a flat-out stupid baseline jumper from behind the friggin' backboard to bring Utah to within a point (95-94) with six seconds left.


The Jazz quickly fouled Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who, like Parker, bricked one of two. In the ensuing madcap scramble, the ball ended up in the hands of Gains, who showed true Balls of Steel by Gains:


Said Sundiata: "I knew if I caught the ball I was going for the win. Once it left my hand it felt good. Just to beat Cleveland, this was a big game."

Like I said: Balls of Steel.

Of course, for some addes perspective, Basketbawful reader BW in Cleveland weighed in on the first three quarters:

Sure the ending was awesome (even for a Cav fan like myself), but lets not get carried away. The first 47 minutes of that shitfest were borderline unwatchable. Utah was jacking up bricks left and right but Cleveland couldnt extend the lead through the 3rd quarter because of turnovers. Theres much more suck to this game but It can be summed up with this:

Start of 4th: 60-55 Cavs
5:58 left: 66-76 Jazz
0:00 left: 96-97 on a desperation 3

Way to go guys, you'de think Mike Brown was coaching that offen...errr wait what?
LeBron James: Yes, he was awesome with 36 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, and several uncalled traveling violations. But he also had a shot swatted by Kyle Korver, who's best known at Basketbawful for his gay elf defense.


Said LeBron: "We lost the ballgame. Me individually means nothing. Everything I did as an individual goes out the window." Just like that Korver block.

But I shouldn't rag too much on 'Bron. His teammates are just...lousy this season. Like, seriously. Are they trying to drive him out of Cleveland or something? What happened to all the crazy-ass chemistry they had last season? Is Shaq that bad of an influence? Or is he just washed up (see the lacktion report for details)? Or is LeBron's vague future acting as a distraction?

The "Boston Celtics": Okay, let me get the extenuating circumstances out of the way. The "Boston Celtics" were playing without their best player (Kevin Garnett), their top reserve (Rasheed Wallace), and another key roleplayer (Marquis Daniels). Due to the extreme shorthandedness, the "Celtics" starters have been putting in a lot of PT lately, particuarly Rajon Rondo, who has now logged 41-50 minutes in eight of the last 10 games. Furthermore, the "Celtics" were playing the second night of back-to-backs and their fourth game in five nights, so they clearly had weary legs.

And did I mention Brian Scalabrine started at power forward?

Obviously, these "Celtics" aren't the same Boston team that destroyed the Bulls twice earlier this season. But then again, this isn't the same Chicago team, either. They certainly aren't the same club that lost at home to the 3-35 New Jersey Nets and choked up a 35-point lead to the Sacramento Kings.

The Bulls are finally healthy -- well, for the most part -- and actually have something resembling a set rotation. After a season-opening slump caused by a bum ankle, Derrick Rose is Derrick Rose again. Joakim Noah is very nearly an All-Star-caliber center. Luol Deng is a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. Rookie Taj Gibson has been an unexpected but exceedingly pleasant surprise. John Salmons has been much improved since losing his starting job to Kirk Hinrich. For that matter, Hinrich has been better too. And Tyrus Thomas, although as on-again/off-again as ever, has been bringing energy off the bench.

Rose (17 points, 8-for-16, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) made some spectacular drives, including one in which he made Rondo look like a Yi Jianlian's chair and then finished over Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. A few minutes later, Rose followed that play by walking around Rondo again and finishing left-handed. Actually, looking back, Yi's chair might have played better defense than Rondo, especially down the stretch.

Speaking of Celtics who got owned last night, Paul Pierce was gobbled up by Luol Deng. Sweet Lou -- whose broken thumb hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as Kobe's busted digit -- has been shooting lights out the last two games (21-for-31). And last night, Deng scored a game-high 25 points thanks to a hot hand and an aggressive streak that earned him a co-game-high 10 free throw attempts. Quite frankly, the former Finals MVP and self-proclaimed "best player in the world" had no idea how to defend Deng.

As a team, the Bulls simply outplayed Boston across the board. Chicago had the edge in rebounding (50-39, including 15-9 on the offensive glass), assists (20-17), steals (9-6), blocked shots (10-5), fast break points (13-10), points in the paint (48-42), and points off turnovers (16-11).

Of course, the Celtics -- who never led after going up 2-0 -- crippled themselves by bricking 13 free throws. Pierce and Rondo both missed four times, Perkins shanked three of seven, and Glen "Big Baby" Davis went 2-for-4. Kicking away freebies can haunt a team, and they certainly gave Boston a Scooby Doo scare last night. Although, again, the C's looked worn out as early as the second quarter. But still.

Chicago's bench: About the only thing that didn't go right for the Bulls last night was their bench play. Chicago's reserves scored only 14 points on 6-for-25 shooting. However, they did contribute 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals (all by Tyrus) and 2 blocks (both by James Johnson). Oh, and speaking of Tyrus...

Tyrus Fallus

The perils of broadcasting: There was a great moment last night when a hustling Thomas landed on Doug Collins and Kevin Harlin:


Lacktion report: Chris gives us a Shaq update in...the lacktion report?!

Bulls-Celtics: JR Giddens picked a Piranha Plant for a 20 second Mario.

Crabs-Jazz: IT IS OFFICIAL, the biggest mouth in the Association is WASHED UP. Shaquille O'Neal, he of the four championships and terrible rapping and movies, scored a 9:8 Voskuhl in 19:29 by negating five points (once from the stripe!!!) and three boards (along with a block) with FOUR giveaways and five fouls!!!!

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42 Comments:
Blogger BadDave said...
A strangely positive WOTN. I think the WOTD is our friends mainstream media. Gaines, living on 10-day contracts by dint of one awesome shot is now.....

in.

Uh huh. I'm going to make sure NOT to put him on fantasy team, because I forsee no significant change in his pro career over the span of the season. As for Balls of Steel? I think he showed his real balls by uttering his confident quotes with a straight face.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Honestly guys. Korver. With the block. 2nd block this season, 148 career blocks. I think his late reaction actually helped time the block, inadvertantly adjusting for LeBron's travel, when most other players would have jumped earlier and been called for a superstar foul.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
That was kyle korvers best game ever. Block on LBJ and the behind the backboard shot. See now we are less impressed by Kobe since Korver can do it too.

I'm going to go practice that shot now too.

Blogger Will said...
chris, was last night the best night of your life, watching Shaq lack it up?
WV natest: Shaq putting up a Voskuhl was the natest thing ever. (said with southern accent)

Blogger Cortez said...
"IT IS OFFICIAL, the biggest mouth in the Association is WASHED UP. Shaquille O'Neal"

There was a debate on the pre-game show concerning the contention that Shaq has improved the Crabs.

Barkley was frank in insisting that he had not done anything positive at all. The other nitwit had the nerve to suggest that not only had he improved the Crabs but he had upgraded their DEFENSE(!) as well.

What a fucking country.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Cortez -- That other nitwit was Kenny Smith, and I too was wondering what kind of crack he was smoking before that segment. Upgraded their defense? Really?!

Chuck was right, as always.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I would also like to point out that Shaq once said that he would retire THE VERY DAY he was "only as good as David Robinson."

Well, I would definitely take end-of-his-career Admiral over end-of-his career Shaq.

Blogger William said...
“But I shouldn't rag too much on 'Bron. His teammates are just...lousy this season. Like, seriously. Are they trying to drive him out of Cleveland or something? What happened to all the crazy-ass chemistry they had last season? Is Shaq that bad of an influence? Or is he just washed up (see the lacktion report for details)? Or is LeBron's vague future acting as a distraction?”

The rest of the Cavs had played lousy? I know the consensus is the Cavs would be the Nets without LeBron (which patently ridiculous hyperbole. They wouldn’t be a playoff team without him but the team has too many excellent and underrated role players for them to flat out suck. I’d contend they’d surprise people like the Rockets are doing this season) but outside of this recent slump, Mo Williams is playing better than he was last year. Varejao is playing the best basketball of his career and is a serious contender for sixth man of the year. Jamario Moon has been James Posey with hops for the Cavs this year. Parker and Boobie Gibson are top 10 in three point percentage. Etc. Etc. The team is so deep right now that Boobie Gibson is having a career year and can’t see court because there is a logjam at quality guards right now.

And while it’s true that Shaq is seeing a career dip in numbers across the board, he’s been a model citizen since he’s come to the Cavs and hasn’t complained about lack of touches or playing time. In fact, some of the Cavs beat writers are lobbying for him to get more touches on HIS behalf. And the true value that Shaq has brought to the team is his interior defense which has become the best in the league for the Cavs because of his presence. He’s doing exactly what they brought him to do. Believe that.

And while this team is certainly not as fun and loose as last year’s squad, it would CRUSH that 66-team in a seven-game series. I HATE when people contend that the rest of the Cavs suck because they don’t have a second star on the team.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...
The Cavs don't suck because of the bench: They suck because they have a superstar who reverts to an ego-centric offense and lacks a coach that lacks the balls to stand up to him. LeIso doesn't show up JUST because his teammates arent playing well - he initiates it himself.

Yeah, sometimes Mo/Shaq aren't contributing, that happens. But in the biggest games and biggest situations, the blame falls at the top. Since Al Roker took over the HC position, a lack of focus, inconsistant offense, and LeBron 1-5 have become COMMONPLACE in tight games against good opponents. Christ on a cracker, look at the Gol_en State game. Ridiculous game by Lebron, he even played a ton at the 4. However, when it came to crunchtime, Bron once again stood around at the top of the key and jacked up a completely ill-advised 3. Again, its Brown's lack of control or Bron's ego to not run the offense. 6 in one half dozen in the other.

Sorry for the Cavs threadjack. I know this isn't a Cavs forum so Ill just stop there.

/end of rant

Blogger Basketbawful said...
but outside of this recent slump, Mo Williams is playing better than he was last year.

I dunno 'bout that. His numbers are down across the board. And I'm talking about his advanced stats: PER, eFG%, Offensive Rating, his Per 36-minute stats...plus his Turnover Percentage has jumped up three percent. Based on watching him and looking at the numbers, I'm not sure Mo is playing even as well as he did last season, let alone better.

Varejao is playing the best basketball of his career and is a serious contender for sixth man of the year.

Uh...the numbers show he's pretty much the same player he was last season. And I haven't seen him doing much this year he wasn't doing before, other than playing a few more MPG.

Jamario Moon has been James Posey with hops for the Cavs this year.

He's also missed 10 games already due to injury and is shooting a career-worst 31 percent from downtown.

And the true value that Shaq has brought to the team is his interior defense which has become the best in the league for the Cavs because of his presence.

It's good but not quite the best in the league. According to HoopData.com, the Bulls and Celtics both do a slightly better job protecting the rim. But while Shaq was brought in to be a Dwight Howard stopper, Cleveland's real problem last season was stopping the pick and roll...and Shaq didn't help with that problem at all. It's just as glaring an issue as it ever was.

Personally, I don't think this team is better than last season's 66-win squad. The record doesn't bear that out, the numbers don't bear that out, nothing bears that out. Or am I missing something?

Blogger Cortez said...
"The team is so deep right now that Boobie Gibson is having a career year and can’t see court because there is a logjam at quality guards right now."

Is it even possible to have a "career year" and at the same time not see the court?

Blogger Cortez said...
"Or am I missing something?"

You're missing the irrational admiration of a former superstar that some of us get from time to time depending on your allegiances.

Hell, in 1990-1991 I convinced myself that the Celts could actually make a run at the title if things fell in place!

Blogger chris said...
Cortez: That's the life of Mario West in a nutshell, right?

Will: A better term would be actually, NOT watching him lack it up! You see, as I watched the fourth quarter unfold...the old man was NOWHERE to be found!

Bawful: You are so tempting me to check out bball-ref in a bit and see if David Robinson had any late-career Voskuhls...

I knew it was bad, bad, bad when at the Crabs-Kings game last month, Donte Greene outperformed Shaq.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...
@Bawful

+1 to all of this. If the Cavs don't make a big trade for a 4 or even a bonafide 2, I have zero confidence in this team to win in the finals by going through te meat grinder of Orlando/Boston/Whoever.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: Korver probably watched this video of the crab dribble so that he could prepare for the anointed crustacean's subtle 1/4th-steps.

Blogger Cortez said...
"That's the life of Mario West in a nutshell, right?"

Touche.

Blogger DocZeus said...
Cortez/Bawful-

Yeah, Kenny must be smoking crack because the Cavs interior defense has suddenly become the best in the league and are holdig their opponents to the lowest field goal percentage because J.J. Hickson is so dominatly defensively!

Shaq's not scoring and rebounding at the same clip obviously (but he's also playing about 1/3 less minutes than he did last year because the Cavs also have Illgauskas too. That contributes, too.) but nearly everything that the Shaq trade naysayers has said would occur HASN'T HAPPENED.

He's not clogging the paint because LeBron is still getting to the rim at will. He's not been a whiner and killed team chemistry.
The Cavs have not been getting killed on pick and rolls.

You only have to look at the win-loss record of the Cavs against the elite teams this year to see the value that Shaq is bringing to the team. And more importantly in large part because of Shaq's presence, the two teams the Cavs couldn't beat last year, the Magic and Lakers, were killed AT HOME playing the Cavs because Shaq neutralized Gasol, Bynum and Howard.

Trust me as Cavs fan. He's being SEVERELY underrated this year.

Blogger Ash B said...
Wow, William is really drinking the Kool-aid.

I won't comment on the rest of his ridiculousness, but Varejo is not a contender for sixth man of the year. It's going to be Carl Landry, Jamal Crawford, or Manu Ginobili, and you can take that to the bank.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...
@DocZeus

The Cavs-Laker game on Christmas should be taken with the least most seriousness. It was Xmas day, Gasol got less than 15 touches, and Kobe jacked up 32 shots in a classic effort of oneupmanship. That coupled with Mo Gotti going off for 28 while shooting 8-13. Where Mo goes, so goes the Cavs plain and simple. If he doesnt score in volume and efficiently, the Cavs have no other offensive threats aside from Lebron.

Also, that claim of Bynam being neutralized is ridiculous - Gasol is the true post threat on that team and creates the most matchup problems when teams try to play him 1 on 1. Bynam is a secondary piece who happens to be a pretty good player.

Blogger William said...
The Cavs are 30-11 right now which is good for the best record in the Eastern Conference. They are two games off the pace that they were last year. They've played the most games on the road of any team this year and currently have the second best road record in the league. They also own the second best home record.

If the Cavs have a flaw this year, its that they seem to dog games against lesser opponents. They seem bored if they aren't playing the Lakers, Magic, Hawks, Suns, or Celtics. They remind of the last year's Lakers where they'll inexplicably lose to the Bobcats at home by 15 before throttingly the Spurs on the road.

I'm not saying Varejao SHOULD win the Sixth Man Of The Year but he's definitely a contender. He leads the league in +/- by something like an insane margin of any other player. And he's also improved his already excellent defense. He won't win the award but I'd rather have him than Jamal Crawford and Carl Landry.

Blogger Ash B said...
He's barely first in +/- (Ron Artest was last week, it fluctuates regularly), and guess who is second? LeBron. If Varejao didn't get run with LeBron, I seriously doubt he'd be up there.

And I forgot where I read it, but the Lakers lead the league in layup-distance shot defense (due to two seven footers sitting down there, probably), not the Cavs.

Let's not quibble here, let's talk about the Bawful! How did the Cavs let the Jazz go on that big run in the first place!? The Big David Robinson must have been on the bench no doubt!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Hell, in 1990-1991 I convinced myself that the Celts could actually make a run at the title if things fell in place!

They could have! If Bird's back hadn't gone out. And McHale's ankle hadn't gone out. And if Parish's ankle hadn't gone out in the playoffs. And if Michael Jordan had been kidnapped by aliens.

And I forgot where I read it, but the Lakers lead the league in layup-distance shot defense (due to two seven footers sitting down there, probably), not the Cavs.

Yeah, that number came from HoopData too. But the stats change all season, and the Lakers have fallen to 6 or 7 in that category, probably because Pau's been out.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Sorry, Lakers have fallen to 8th at protecting the rim, based on field goal percentage. They do give up the 4th most attempts at the rim, though.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Trust me as Cavs fan. He's being SEVERELY underrated this year."

And like Lisa Simpson, I have a Tiger repellent rock on my desk protecting me from tigers. I don't see any tigers. So, ip-so-facto, the rock is the cause of the absence of tigers.

Shaq isn't bringing anything other than the notoriety of being Shaq. And when the playoffs roll around all of the that "interior defense" is going to turn into "unable to defend the pick and roll".

A guy who plays 22 minutes a game and is a known detriment to his team if left in during the fourth quarter is the lynch pin to a dominating defense?

Imagine that.

Like Barkley said, they're a good team with him and they were a good team without him.

He's negligible, at best.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Could we get any more excuses for the Celtics' performance last night? Last I checked they've got the same team out there that beat the Bulls in the playoffs last year (and almost beat Orlando), and still have three guys out there who might make the All Star team this year (while Chicago only has one, maybe). Boston should be able to win games like that one last night, and when they don't, they should probably get mocked here, not have excuses made for them.

LeBron has been lapsing into some of the same poor shot selection issues that Kobe has had for a while now. Too many ill-advised three point shots from a step or two beyond the arc that are just not smart shots. Even though they sometimes go in, it still doesn't change the fact that they aren't smart shots to take (it's the same logic with Kobe: just cause they're going in doesn't suddenly make them good shots). I think BW in Cleveland really nailed it with his comment above.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Yams -- If they had anything resembling fresh legs, they could have won that game. However, playing back to backs with a short bench and scrubs like Scalabrine starting? Ouch. Considering it's just a middle of the season game with little bearing come playoff time, there wasn't much sense in busting their ass to win it either. They got beat, but mostly because they didn't really care about winning this particular game.

Blogger Ash B said...
Back to the Big Voskuhl hanging them up when he's only as good as David Robinson...

I checked basketball reference, and I didn't find any suck differentials or Voskuhls for the Admiral, he did average only 8 points and 8 boards on 46% shooting his final year. The Big Crab is averaging 10 points, 7 boards on 52% shooting.

It's a toss up. Tie goes to the guy with more nicknames, I guess.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Could we get any more excuses for the Celtics' performance last night? Last I checked they've got the same team out there that beat the Bulls in the playoffs last year (and almost beat Orlando), and still have three guys out there who might make the All Star team this year (while Chicago only has one, maybe). Boston should be able to win games like that one last night, and when they don't, they should probably get mocked here, not have excuses made for them.

I brought up the harsh realities. The Celtics aren't a championship team w/o Garnett. It's too easy to simply label this "the same team that beat the Bulls in the playoffs last year." That was nothing but media hype, a case of the TV peeps trying to sell us on memories of a classic playoff matchup.

The reality is, the C's are a year older, the main guys are logging too much PT for the second straight season, and they don't appear to have the same hopeful "Gee, KG will be back soon!" mindset they had last season. Maybe KG is hurt worse than we really know, or maybe they just think he is. But this team does not have the same mindset they had last season, and they're not anywhere close to where they were in 2007-08.

They aren't the same team.

Plus they were worn out. Four games in five nights will do that to an undermanned team. Hey, I've been noting Pau's absence and Kobe's injuries in every writeup of a Lakers loss. You haven't objected to those excuses.

I noted that Rose embarrassed Rondo, Deng owned Pierce and the Bulls outplayed the Celtics in virtually every category. What else am I supposed to say?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Back to the Big Voskuhl hanging them up when he's only as good as David Robinson...I checked basketball reference, and I didn't find any suck differentials or Voskuhls for the Admiral, he did average only 8 points and 8 boards on 46% shooting his final year. The Big Crab is averaging 10 points, 7 boards on 52% shooting. It's a toss up. Tie goes to the guy with more nicknames, I guess.

Robinson was the defensive anchor of that team. Well, co-defensive team alongside Duncan. And that Spurs team won with defense. That led them to a playoff series win over a Lakers team with Shaq and Kobe in their prime...and a championship.

Unless something major happens, I can't see Shaq making the same contribution. I'm not saying the Crabs can't win the title, but if they do win it, Shaq won't be as integral a piece as D-Rob was to the 2002-03 Spurs.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
D-Rob?

mr bawful you should know betterthan that.
these nicknames are for the Knee-Macs and Z-Bos.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
The NBA announces a dunk-in for the 4th spot at the Slam Dunk Contest
Nothing like DeMar DeRozan and Eric Gordon to scream star power. I'm guessing Lebron's promise of veterans retaking the Slam Dunk Contest is going poof?

They suck because they have a superstar who reverts to an ego-centric offense and lacks a coach that lacks the balls to stand up to him
I wouldn't say it's that bad, but it's definitely true that Lebron can hold on to the ball for too long at times. I recall one possession during last night's game (3rd quarter, possession ended at 4:28) where Lebron took the ball at the beginning of the possession, stared down Brewer out past the wing, waved away a Big Z pick, dribbled away, had the ball poked away, got it back, and almost passed before jacking up a 30 footer due to the shot clock (air ball). There were a couple of instances where he definitely didn't leave his teammates a lot of time to work with once he finally gave up the rock. I wouldn't describe it to be as bad as you say though.

I also wouldn't say Lebron's teammates are as bad as they're maligned. They're more defensively oriented, which naturally looks a little worse on the stat sheet. However, I don't think anyone can argue that one of best defenses in the NBA is because of Lebron only. Both this year and last they shoot a hair under Lebron's FG%. You can argue that this number is boosted by the fact that Lebron demands so much attention. However, it is also true that their shot selection is largely limited to what BronBron gives them. They don't get a lot of clock time to work something out for themselves.

Yeah, Kenny must be smoking crack because the Cavs interior defense has suddenly become the best in the league and are holdig their opponents to the lowest field goal percentage because J.J. Hickson is so dominatly defensively!
And yet this defense is actually a little worse than the tied-for-league-lead defense from last year (by FG%). They're 3rd currently Opposing FG% at Rim. Last year, they were 4th. So what, Bobbie Gibson isn't eating his Wheaties? The Cavs have been good at defense; it's not really news, and it doesn't have much to do with Shaq.

Could we get any more excuses for the Celtics' performance last night?
As much as I like seeing the Celtics lose, I think we can cut them a little slack for a 4 in 5.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...
@Bawful

Shaq might not be the key in winning a title, but he will be important in getting by Orlando if only because we will no longer have to double team Dewey. The Cavs now have some size to deal with Orlando in addition to Turkey-Glue not being the key force in that teams backcourt. Still doesn't solve the Cavs offensive woes, but hey, baby steps.

FWIW, I do think the Lakers RIGHT NOW are a better matchup for the Cavs as opposed to Denver or SA because of how terrible the LA backcourt is. A run and gun Denver with a healthy Chauncey/Melo poses a much bigger threat in the west than anyone gives them credit for.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...
@NarS

Sorry everyone for the double post. SARS, the problem is that big because the coach's strengths don't make up for the players weaknesses (in this case, Bron working within the confines of the offense). Look at last nights game. They fed Bron in the post where he was getting harassed and double teamed. Mike Brown being the genious he is didn't adjust to it and it led to multiple wasted possessions. Even furthering his genious, they tried to force feed Shaq down low and turnovers resulted. What I am saying is this: when this offense is working effectively with a lot of P&R and off-the-ball movement, they don't stick with it. Brown seems to find one thing that is successful, then just keeps throwing shit on the wall without any rhyme or reason.

Great Odin's Raven, look at Game 1 Orlando last year. That loss, even with Orlando shooting well, should never have happened. Mo/Delonte were dicating that shit the entire 1st half. Then what happens? Orlando moves in on Mo and Brown doesnt make any adjustments to get his best player in a position to counterpunch. They left undersized Mo up top to get hounded and planted LeBron around the perimeter. Brown's strengths as a defensive coach:LeBron and the Cavs::Square Peg:Round Hole.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How terrible the LA "backcourt" is?
Don't they have Kobe?

Maybe you meant LA's point guards...

Blogger DocZeus said...
As I said last year, I’d rather let the other team try to pick and roll the Cavs to death than watch helplessly as the Cavs scramble to cover wide open three point shooters because they’ve got to double team Dwight Howard in the post.

Why? Because three points is almost always worth more than two points. And when the other team is hot and they couldn’t clamp down on the perimeter players because of the nearly automatic two points, Howard was giving them in the post because no one had a remote chance of guarding him, the Cavs were going down.

I can’t believe how many people took away the lessons from the Magic/Cavs series that the Cavs achilles heel was the “pick and roll.” Did they not just watch as Orlando shot the lights out on them, burying open look after open look, because LeBron was forced to help every time Howard touched the ball within 10 feet of the basket and hewould just pass out of the double team?

Its like ignoring the gaping gut shot wound (the inability to guard open three pointers off mismatches) to worry about a broken hand. The Cavs aren’t going to live and die against the Celtics, Magic and Lakers by defending the pick and roll. They’ll live and die if they can keep the other team from getting open looks off of mismatches. I mean hell, the Cavs were a Game 1 and Game 5 buzzer beater by Rashard Lewis from beating the Magic out right, 4-1, anyway. Defend the open three , you beat the 2008-2009 Orlando Magic.

If you don’t think Shaq helps in the interior guarding big men, I’m not gonna convince you otherwise. But it’s worked thus far. 13-5 against teams that are over .500 is hard evidence to ignore especially considering it’s the only stat that really matters.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Hey, like 'Sheed says: Ball don't lie. We all get to find out if we're right come playoff time.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...
@ Anonymous

I was referring to their PG and bench depth (or lack thereof) in the backcourt. My bad on the ambiguity.

@DocZeus

Go back and look at the box scores of last years ECF and tell me its just making 3s that won the series for Orlando. That's simply not the case....

Game 1: Herculean 20-30 shooting effort from LeBron in a loss

Game 2: Miraculous buzzer beater by Lebron in which the Cavs scored a measly 19 and 21 in the 2nd half.

Game 3: 41 Pt outburst from The King......Cavs lose by 10.

Etc etc etc

I get it, getting Shaq to defend the bigs comes playoff time is going to be a plus compared to last year, but its purely anecdotal. The Cavs woes and shortfalls reside on the offensive side of the ball and they have done very little to address it. JJ is not a starting 4, Sideshow Bob has a limited skillset to fill the Cavs needs at the 4, and Mo Williams has a ton of trouble initiating ANYTHING when teams decide to attack him 5-6 feet behind the arc. If we don't make a trade to land a 2/4 to take the scoring load off of Lebron, no way do they walk a path to the finals to hoise the trohpy come June. I'll gladly eat crow if I am wrong, but I just don't see how a team pridcated on 1 guys' ability to go off (WHOA UIDQM!) can win 3 series in the East then beat any one of the big contenders in the West.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Hey, I've been noting Pau's absence and Kobe's injuries in every writeup of a Lakers loss. You haven't objected to those excuses.

If you put "Los Angeles Lakers" in quotes the way you did with Boston today, and then spend the first 3-4 paragraphs of the write-up explaining away why they'd lost a game, then yes, I probably would wonder what was going on there too. Typically those things get mentioned and then you move on to mocking the losing team. You didn't see me complaining when you singled out Kobe for shooting 4-21 against the Bucks in a win on Sunday did you? Nope, cause you were right to do so (though as somone pointed out in the comments for the weekend entry you neglected to mention Boston's loss to the Hawks, and maybe it's because they didn't deserve a mention).

All I'm saying is that if you think a team deserved to be in the WOTN then don't spend the first couple hundred words explaining why they don't really deserve to be there. You're the one calling them out for putting on one of the worst performances of the night. If you really think they played well under the circumstances, then don't call them out.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The date on this is wrong, it should be Worst of the Night: January 14, 2010

Blogger Dan B. said...
Anonymous -- Good catch. I updated the date accordingly.

Anonymous Ignarus said...
I'm starting to think that not having KG doesn't really count as "extenuating circumstances" since he missed all of the playoffs last year and looks to be on pace to be injured a whole darn lot this season too. Should we still act like it's a fluke when Brian Scalabrine played significant minutes last year, too? At some point we'll need to acknowledge that they're old enough that injuries are expected and not an excuse for losing.

Anonymous shun said...
I agree with Wild Yams. I find the excuses for Celtics a bit too much.

And then often when Atlanta Hawks won, we get a section whining about Hawks not being as great as it is, instead of mocking the losing team for why they lost, particularly if it's the Boston Celtics. I thought this site was supposedly "equal opportunity" in hating? It's like you have an ax to grind with Hawks. What's up with all the excuses for Celtics too?

I understand that when the media hypes a team up it can grate on the nerves, but I don't really know what media you're talking about when you state that it keeps singing praises about Atlanta Hawks. From where I'm reading -- and aside from this blog, I other NBA sources are sports.yahoo.com/nba, nba.com, dimemag and slamonline -- only slamonline can be accused of hyping the Hawks.

By the way, I was the anonymous guy from the weekend entry.

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