Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Philadelphia 118, Cleveland 115 (2OT)

Wow... just... wow. A double overtime loss to the last place Sixers, at home. Nice job boys.

Well, at least 4 guys came to play. LeBron: 39 points, 10 boards and 5 assists. Zydrunas: 23 points, 10 boards and 1 block. Hughes: 26 points, 4 assists and 2 boards. Anderson Varejao: only 3 points, but 10 boards (5 offense and 5 defensive) and 5 assists (is it time to start him over Gooden yet? When is it OK to start calling for Varejao to start? Are we there yet? Will someone let me know when we are?).

Ugly. The Cavs shot 39% from the field and for most of the game it was worse than that (high 20s). The bench was non-existent besides Pavlovic and Varejao. Andy gave the Cavs some hustle and fire down the stretch (Gooden sat for most of the fourth quarter and all of the overtimes, until late in the second OT when Z fouled out). Sasha did chip in 12 points on 6-8 shooting (he shot with confidence, so that was neat) but he added 0 rebounds and 0 assists. Everyone else? Bleh. Jones was 0-8 and Marshall was 0-2. Daniel Gibson didn't play.

The offense. Here's a though, you know how you guys started off the game, where you force feed Z down low and it netted him 10 first quarter points? How bout doing that throughout the game (not the force feeding every play, but get him the ball on the low block. He'll draw fouls, he's one of the guys who makes his foul shots). In overtime, guys stood around until late in the shot clock and a few times Z got the ball way out of position as the time was running low. Don't get me wrong, I love the big fella, but he shouldn't be the Cavs last option with the clock running down.

What goes on during timeouts?? In the first overtime, the Cavs called a time out to set up a play after a Kyle Korver basket. The result? A LeBron James 25 foot fade away to beat the clock. That's simply good coaching. There was next to no movement. This is getting almost comical.

Free throws are officially a problem. Sure, they've been an issue all season, especially lately, but you could really say that tonight's game came down to the freebies. The Cavs shot 73.5% (25 of 34) and Philadelphia shot 96% (25-26). Now, obviously Philly won't always shoot like that, but down the stretch the Sixers made theirs and the Cavs didn't. Period. LeBron missed 3 in OT and Hughes (while 7-8 for the game) missed one that could've put the Cavs up 3 with 16 seconds left in the fourth.

Here's what's troubling. Late last season and even earlier this season, if the Cavs were in the middle of a close game, I had confidence that they'd execute down the stretch and pull it out. That certainly didn't happen against Philly.

Andre Iguodala is a beast. I really got nothing else here; he hit big shots, he scored 34 points, hit 12-12 free throws and had 9 assists.

Fox Sports Ohio. During the West coast trip, FSN had a Austin Carr teamed up with Jeff Phelps in the studio for their halftime reports and game breaks. I liked this; Austin worked really well there and he wasn't annoying. As a color commentator he becomes too excited and gets ahead of himself; he rushes things and he won't know what to say so he'll just keep repeating the same thing over and over (and over...). Fred McLeod had a quip about some people say that he calls the game through 'wine and gold glasses' (a reference to Bill Livingston's column). Of course he's not... just every time a Cavs player gets picked its always off an opponents moving screen....

More FSN. They really want the Cavs to trade for Andre Miller. Both announcer kept harping on how wonderful he is. He's a leader, a floor general, he sees things on the court that other players don't. We get it.

But at least LeBron played 53 minutes. In a loss. At home. To the Philadelphia 76s. Heckuva job Brownie.

Here's a fun stat: over the last 6 games, the Cavs have shot over 43% just once (Golden State).
New Orleans/Oklahoma City is last in the NBA in FG% and they shoot 43.47%. Starting with the Seattle game, the Cavs had games of: 41%, 35.4%, 42.2%, 47.8%, 39.2% and 39.4%. We all realize how bad this is right? These weren't exactly against any of the NBA defensive stalwarts either.

and finally...

So... wanna do this again Friday? Your place? So the Cavs can't beat the Sixers at home and now they get to go on the road. Fantastic. What's that? Phoenix on Sunday? I'm sure they'll be ready...


Erik said...

I went to the game last night. Comical is right. This team is utterly clueless about offense, and that starts with Brown.

How can Brown let Hughes spend the first half jacking up missed three after missed three with no apparent consequences, yet Drew Gooden spaces out for one possession and spends the entire half on the bench?

My guess: Brown, typically, is only looking at half the game. He doesn't want to bench Hughes for what he brings defensively. Gooden probably gets benched for a missed defensive rotation.

I don't know what Brown tells these guys during timeouts and at halftime, but for some reason, after every stoppage in play, they come out flat.

There was one sequence where the Cavs came back off a Philly timeout and promptly let the Sixers score four points in less than 20 seconds. Another timeout. That should never happen.

I think it's becoming apparent that Brown excels in one area and one area only: defensive strategy. When it comes to offense, adjustments and leadership skills, he is deficient. That's the danger of hiring a specialist assistant to be your head coach.

Why do I get the feeling that Brown is another Bill Belichick? A great tactical mind with zero people skills who is going to learn what not to do in Cleveland, the re-emerge as the total package somewhere else and win championships?

Ben said...

I've NEVER seen them get an easy basket off a time out. It just doesn't happen. I'm not sure what goes on in there, but they must be drawing up the most complicated play ever.

It's time to move Varejao into the starting lineup. Bring Gooden off the bench and let him and Z start the second quarter and feed them the ball in the post. Give Gooden more scoring opportunities with the second team. Plus, he'll only have to focus for 20 minutes a game.