Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cleveland 82, San Antonio 78

How the hell did this happen? If you tuned in for just the fourth quarter you saw an entirely different game than the poor bastards who sat through the entire thing. The Cavs scored 44 points after 3 periods. They scored 12 points in the second quarter and 11 in the third. I'm sure coach Brown doesn't mind the third quarter, because somehow the Cavs outscored the Spurs (10 points). It was some ugly basketball.

They also went scoreless for the first 5+ minutes of the second quarter. Felt this needed to be mentioned.

Man, I was ready to tear into these guys. I had had it. Watching those first three periods is a pain I would wish upon no man. It was terrible. Larry Hughes looked awful, Eric Snow (against all odds and logic) kept getting minutes and the offense was clueless. The Cavs kept turning the ball over (and not your normal run-of-the-mill bad pass turnovers. No, these were awful why-would-you-even-consider-throwing-that-pass turnovers), kept missing their free throws and shooting jumpers.

Oh, and having Austin Carr announce the action didn't help matters. Part of me wants to go back and do a shot every time Austin said any kind of variation of the word 'fundamental'. Another part of me likes my liver. Also, I'm pretty sure Carr doesn't know the meaning of the word 'microcosm'. "The Cavs and Spurs are microcosms of each other" Ya... that doesn't make sense.

But honestly, how the hell did this happen? So the Cavs scored 44 points through three quarters... come from behind and beat San Antonio by scoring 38 in the fourth... and LeBron only had 6 in the fourth? He only had 19 for the game.

Why did Eric Snow get 33 minutes? And (not surprisingly) barely play in the fourth. That tells you that he was out there for most of the 'ugly time' that was the first three periods. He made some terrible passes (that bounce pass to Pavlovic? My lord that was awful. Even Fred McLeod called him on it) and missed his fair share of shots. I don't understand why, when the Cavs are struggling, Snow is out there 'running the offense'.

And here's the thing with Snow: he didn't really even play that bad. He had some nice steals (off of Duncan) and played solid(ish) defense most of the game. But that's the problem with Snow, he can play well (for him) and the Cavs are still screwed on offense. Z refuses to pass him the ball, double teams are rough cause Snow's guy doubles down and when Eric does take it to the rim, he's not a good finisher or foul shooter. I hate ripping the guy, cause at least he's trying out there (trying to become more involved on offense by taking it to the rim), but he's just not that good (anymore?).

Dan Gibson deserved more minutes tonight. Gibson hit the only shot he took (a three) and played solid defense (2 blocks. How did that happen). But only 5 minutes of floor time. What gives? Snow wasn't exactly lighting it up.

Also, was Shannon Brown dressed? If Larry Hughes doesn't play well, the Cavs really don't have a reliable backup shooting guard. And Hughes stunk it up during the first half. Turnovers. Terrible terrible terrible terrible passes. Ugly jumpshots. It'd be nice to at least have Brown get some playing time. Having Pavlovic tear off the warmups doesn't exactly inspire much confidence (or intrigue).

Thank the lord that Hughes only had a bad first half. Well, at least he really played poorly in the first half. The third quarter was pretty uneventful; can't really say he played bad, but I refuse to say anyone out there played well (get the point? The third quarter was awful). Hughes had a monster fourth quarter; he scored15 points and basically pulled the Cavs (and the crowd) out of their collective slumber. And the weird thing? He hit some threes. And they looked good. They were in rhythm and he even got fouled on one of 'em (like a good Cavalier, he missed the free throw).

I thought Z and Gooden did alright. Drew was active early on, but seemed to get lost out there in that dynamite third period (the Cavaliers really needed Varejao's energy). I thought Z did pretty well overall and personally, I would've subbed him in for Donyell Marshall long before Marshall got hurt. Z did a good job on Duncan for the most part (a block or two) but too often seemed to settle for jumpers on offense. Maybe he wasn't comfortable going against Duncan on the block but I like the offense a lot better when Z is getting the ball down low rather than on the wing.

and finally

Boston tomorrow (and second game in a 4 in 5 night stretch). This should be fun. The Cavs are A) playing on the road B) on the second night of a back-to-back and C) against a sub .500 team. This has all the makings of a game I'll just loooove.


BW said...

Wow, days after I rip the cavs for a lack of hustle, effort, or offensive ineptitude, they come out and dominate a west coast power in the 4th quarter. How about andy on duncan last night. McCleod actually made a good point last night: Andy, aside from his scoring, is one of the best floor men in the league. I dont remember the last time someone got under duncans skin so much. Also, Its good when tony parker scores a lot because it means hes usally taking a lot of bad shots ala Larry Hughes. We played another terrible game, but still came out with a W. Hard to complain about that, lets see what they do with Boston tonight sans Paul Pierce. Hes usually the only one that hurts us, but watch out for Ryan Gomes *cough, sarcasm, cough*

Ben said...

I thought Z did a fantastic job on Duncan as well (Z blocked him twice).

It was interesting how the Cavs didn't double team him at all in the first half and in the second half sent Snow down there for some steals.

The offense still took too many jumpers, but to be fair, not all of their missed shots in the third were bad shots. Some simply missed.

I'm not sure what it says about the Cavs that they can let the Bulls go on a 24-0 run and only lose by 7 and only score 44 points through 3 quarters vs San Antonio and win.

LargeBill said...

Nice result, but an UGLY game. Hate to imagine what James' shooting percentage was.

Bad Becks said...

I was just relieved I woke up in time for the 4th quarter. Honestly, it was that boring of a game up to that point.

Erik said...

Everybody, even Bud Shaw, called last night's game ugly. That's looking a gift horse in the mouth if I've ever seen it.

They beat the San Antonio Freaking Spurs at their own game. How is that not cool?

I'm not talking about the aesthetic appeal of the game, but Mike Brown will be the first to tell you that you don't get style points in the NBA.

I think the fans want to see the Cavs morph into the Phoenix Suns and win with pretty basketball. Brown wants to coach the love child of the Spurs and Pistons and win 80-75 every night.

That won't happen all the time, but if the Cavs play and win like this in the playoffs, who is going to be complaining then?

Ben said...

I know, I felt kinda bad really ripping the game, cause I mean, they just swept the Spurs. That is fantastic.

But at the same time, this wasn't the perfect game or perfect win. Snow played fantastic on defense and way sub-par on offense. Even with a win, only scoring 44 points through three quarter isn't a good thing by any means.

Now, I don't want the Cavs to be the Suns. You can't emulate the Suns at all. You need a real fast, pass first, deadly shooting point guard, a jack of all trades type small forward and tons of shooters. Oh yea, and Amare. It's not going to happen.

Also, I'm a bit sick of all the Suns love recently, because, really, what have they won. Does anyone think they can beat the Spurs? Hell, they needed 7 games to get past the Lakers. And if Mike Dunleavy wouldn't have subbed in a rookie, the Clippers would've beaten 'em. < /suns rant>

The Cavs are trying to be the Spurs- flexible (in style and personal), lots of continuity and defense. I'm okay with this.