Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cleveland 94, Los Angeles Clippers 77

Solid. That's the one word that sums this game up. Solid. The Cavs gave a solid effort on the defensive end and they did most everything right on the offensive.

And they ran. The Cavaliers actively looked to push the ball up the court and it led to some easy buckets and let them set up the offense just a little bit earlier. This is how I'd like to see them run- they don't have to be the Suns, but push the ball after misses and turnovers. For instance, LeBron got an easy hoop off of a full court drive. We're they going crazy? No, but they ran within their means.

They didn't rely on LeBron. The Cavs had five players in double figures: Z and Pavlovic had 16, Hughes had 15, Gooden had 13 and LeBron finished with 11. I'm not going to lie, it's nice to see the Cavs get a good win without relying on LeBron. The ball moved around the court and the Cavs attacked the basket. They only shot 41% from the floor and just 25% from three; not great numbers but it's nice to see a solid win without them having to be hot.

Pigs flew. LeBron played 'just' 36 minutes. This is down from his usual 41. I harp on this a lot and I really do think this is important. 36 minutes isn't exactly low (that's what Dirk Nowitzki averages) but it is nice to see him a decent amount under 40.

More LeBron. 11 points, 7 boards and 3 assists, not exactly spectacular numbers, but not bad either. He was just 4-13 from the field, but a few of those misses came off of drive that could've/would've/should've gotten James to the foul line (where he was only 2-2).

The young kids. Gibson played pretty well, he didn't shoot much (his two 3s were the Cavs first 6 points) and he finished with zero assists. Simply having him out there changes the way teams guard the Cavaliers, but I'm not gonna lie, it'd be nice to see him set up some of his teammates every once in awhile. Sasha Pavlovic continued his strong play, scoring 16 points and grabbing 5 boards. Hell, we even had a Shannon Brown sighting (which means I can start clamoring for him to play again. I think we're all looking forward to that).

The big men played well. Z had a classic 16-16 game and even had 4 assists. Not too shabby. The bulk of Drew Gooden's 13 points came in the second half and he also had 5 rebounds, all in just 20 minutes of court time. The Cavs ran the offense through Z early on (he got the assists on Gibson's two 3s) and, combined with the effort to push the ball, it really paid off.

Hughes scored 15 and still managed to bug me. 15 points (5-12 shooting), 4 assists and 3 boards. Not exactly a bad game or even bad effort. Hughes seemed engaged and active most of the time but his shot selection still left much to be desired. The man takes too many jumpshots; they went in against the Clippers, but that doesn't exactly make it right.

A lot of those jumpers came in the third period. Both Hughes and James came out firing after halftime. Why does this happen? They play great, team oriented first half and then they come out the second half hoisting jumpers. The Cavs had 28 points in the paint in the first half and just 4 in the third quarter. Makes sense to me.

and finally...

Nice way to bounce back from the Detroit game. The Cavs have had a few days off and we've seen a lot of stories about the offense (or lack thereof) and there's been some grumbling from the players. It was good to see the Cavs get a big, comfortable win after their time off and that the offense ran smoothly. Sure it's just the Clippers, but let's hope that the Cavs can build off this and play well against the Heat on Friday


Erik said...

Good game. As long as they don't give it all back with a terrible outing Friday.

I was in Detroit for a Red Wings game Wednesday, so I didn't get a chance to see this game. But when I hear that the team goes into halftime playing solid team basketball, then comes out of halftime hoisting jumpers, it makes me wonder what was going on in that locker room at halftime.

The players' sluggish reactions coming off halftime/timeouts, combined with Brown's growing reputation for complex play-calling, just makes me wonder if he talks two miles over his players' heads in the locker room and huddle, and they come out and say "F**k this basketball physics stuff, let's just play."

The recent comments of LeBron and Hughes might amount to, "Stop lecturing us, open up the floor and let us play. And simplify the playcalling."

Based on this and everything else I've read, this was a good game. Let's see them figure out a way to at least contain Dwyane Wade Friday. Then I'll believe I'm starting to see the beginnings of a team turnaround.

(By the way, if anyone hasn't yet and lives close enough, you need to go to Joe Louis Arena for a hockey game. It's a true throwback hockey arena: cold inside, concrete floors, cinder block walls, and you are right on top of the action. No-frills hockey in front of a sellout crowd with Gretzky on the other bench. A perfect hockey night.)

BW said...

Erik got it ALL right. Fucking A to hockey. Being a CBJ fan, Im not a fan of the Red Wings. However, its called Hockey Town USA for a reason. As far as the Cavs go, I think you are right. If our offense this season has been predicated on complex schemes by Brown, then the only time weve played good team basketball is when we can either run or have an Ad-lib offense. I have no problem with this. My take on it is that we adlib, we are simply taking what the defense is giving us instead of just running a play to run a play. Its like Stockton to Malone; dont fix something if it aint broke. If we keep the tempo the same as last night, I think we will be fine for the rest of the season. If we can be a pure fast break team against teams like the Heat and Pistons, we will be fine. We should be able to run the heat out of the gym even with wade and running against detroit will keep them from setting up their D and reacting to what we do. Just watch last years playoffs. If the game errs on what detroit does, we get killed. If we run, we win. I think it might be just that simple.

Bad Becks said...

I was at last night's game and you wouldn't believe how stupid some of the fans are. Ok, maybe you can believe that pretty easily.

One example was when LeBron did a nice drive and dish for a WIDE open shot and people were screaming that he didn't "take it to the hole and dunk it." It was pretty comical. Oh, by the way, we were up 19 at the time.

Ben said...

Typically the third quarter is the quarter where the Cavs let games slip away. The third quarter seems to be the jumpshot quarter.

As for Browns time outs... that bugs the shit out me. It's imperative that you get points after a time out, preferably easy points. This never seems to happen.

I don't know if he's so defensive focussed (or as Bill Livingston says "his beloved defense") that he neglects offense or what. But the timeout and halftime situations need to be fixed.

Cavs fans bug the hell out of me (to be honest, Cleveland fans in general piss me off). This isn't really a basketball town...

The Cavs should be able to hang with the Heat, I don't really consider them all that great. It's just when Wade gets going and he's getting insane calls (drive the lane, jump into a guy, get free throws. LeBron can't do that move cause he's too large. But Wade and Arenas can get away with it) the Cavs freeze up.

Personally, I think the Cavs have sufficient talent to compete, they just don't have the mental toughness or the offensive system (I trying real hard not to pile on Brown, I have my issues with him, but the last thing I want is for him to get fired mid-season).