Sunday, February 25, 2007

Miami 86, Cleveland 81

I want my two and a half hours back. That was awful. Would a non-Cleveland/Miami fan actually watch that game? The Pussycat Dolls. Susan Lucci references. Jon Barry and Georgia Tech. The Cavs shooting 36% for the game and still being in it. Free throws... my God the free throws... There was nothing redeeming about that basketball contest. (OK, I lied. Antoine Walker hit his first free throw of 2007. Good for him).

The Cavs offense was terrible. 36% shooting. 10-21 from the line. 37.5% 3pt shooting (It can't be a good thing when you shoot better from 3 than you do normally- and don't hit at least 40% of either). The Cavalier starters shot 13 free throws. LeBron James shot 12. My God that is bad. You're starting back court was 0-1 at the line. Snow and Varejao each shot four apiece (and those sure are the guys you want at the stripe).

Any of this sound familiar. The Cavs didn't move the ball. They took horrible shots. The never went inside.

Give Larry Hughes some credit. It's got to be difficult to score 14 points with out making a free throw, right? 6-17 shooting. 6-17! And these are horrible shots; 19 foot contested jumpers just 4 seconds on the shot clock (with no one down low, so he can't even use this insane excuse). It's almost as if the guy is trying to screw up the offense. At this point Brown should just bench him (and hopefully will once Sasha gets healthy).

Does anyone else hate Alonzo Mourning? I didn't use to feel this way. But over the past season and a half, I've just gotten really annoyed by the guy.

Z's back. And his first game back he gets to guard Shaq (during one of his rare games that he gives a crap). Z didn't particularly have a strong game but he wasn't awful either (8 points, 4-9 shooting, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 6 mostly good fouls).

David Wesley played 5 minutes. It baffles me that he still gets court time. I don't advocate firing Coach Mike, but you could make a case just on the 'Wesley playing time' factor alone.

You're confusing me. At one point in the second quarter the Cavs ran out a lineup of Eric Snow, David Wesley, Larry Hughes, Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Go back and read that again. You have your best post player surrounded by players who can't shoot. Seriously, what offense to you run for that group? You can't go inside-outside, because you have no outside game. But at the same time, your only player with any decent offensive skills is your big man... Hughes set the tone and the Cavs shot contested jumpers. Just good, fundamental basketball.

This is yet another game that shows why the Cavaliers are so vexing. By all accounts, the Cavs played awful. They just looked bad. But here's the thing: with 4 minutes to go the Cavs were just down five. They played so terrible, yet they were in it. If the Cavs would've just played poorly (as opposed to the Norbit-level awful they laid out there), they probably would've won. Everyone who follows this team at all know what they have to do; move the ball, shoot good jumpers, go inside and get to the line. Combine that with their regular dose of good defense and they are pretty hard to beat.

We had a Damon Jones sighting. DJ managed to shoot six shots in ten minutes (four 3s). Very impressive.

Could the Cavs get a whistle? Varejao got pushed around a bit, James got nailed a few times and Z got hit in the head, shoved and pushed. I'm not saying the refs blew this game or it was unfair, but come on.

and finally...

The Hornets in Cleveland on Tuesday (hooray!). Cavs in Dallas on Thursday (gulp). Judging by the Cavs performances on national television this season, that Maverick game is going to be brutal.


Erik said...

I don't believe the Bill Simmons assertion that LeBron is trying to get Mike Brown fired, but you have to wonder why a team that has so many decent offensive weapons looks so routinely bad at the offensive end this year.

You have to womder why Brown can't seem to stop this whole "dribble the ball for 20 seconds and hoist a jumper" mentality, which is a frustrated, disinterested mentality when you get right down to it.

Brown is only coaching half the game. He's only interested in offense as a product of defensive stops. When the team is getting stops and running the floor in transition, they're fine. When the game grinds to a halt and they need execution in the half court, they are brutal.

Save for the third-quarter run in the Chicago game, the Cavs have now been certifiably abysmal on offense for seven straight quarters, and that won't change until they manage to get some stops and transition buckets.

If I were an opposing coach, I'd tell my guys to slow the heck down against the Cavs. It will frustrate them. LeBron and Hughes won't give max effort if they can't run the floor. They'll pout and won't fully concentrate, which means horrid offense and lapses on defense. And Brown can't seem to change that.

Maybe Brown isn't a strong enough personality to kick LeBron and Hughes in the ass when they act like that. Maybe Brown is too much of a bookworm and not enough of a coach. Like I said, I see some significant parallels between Brown and Romeo Crennel.

Ben said...

At this point he needs to bench them if they don't what he asks. Or he fines them. If there's ever a time for the Cavs to risk annoying/pissing off James, it's now. He's already re-upped and he won't be able to walk for awhile. LBJ needs some tough love right now.

As for Hughes, it almost appears to be open rebellion at this point. He needs to be benched. 14 points on 17 shot against the Heat. Just awful.

Erik said...

I expect major changes in the roster this summer. They will try once again to land Bibby, I think that's all but a given, but I also think they are going to try very hard to move Hughes.

Damon Jones is gone, and what, may I ask, happens if some dickhead team decides to offer Andy V Carlos Boozer money and a guaranteed starting job? If the Cavs decide that $60 million is too much to commit to Andy, we might lose him, too.

But I agree with you on LeBron. It's not that he's peaked or that he's not as talented as Dwyane Wade, but maybe LeBron needs to go to finishing school and learn to grow up a bit. Brian Windhorst has said many times that LeBron sulks when he is dissatisfied. I think this season has been one enormous sulk at the offensive end for the Chosen One.