Monday, November 12, 2007

Denver 122, Cleveland 100

Seriously guys, I could've been watching Heroes. Wow, was that game ugly. Sure, you can talk about how it's the second night of a back-to-back, that it's the last game of the trip or any other excuse you can think up(Denver shot well, they're a poor matchup on the best of nights and the Cavs were missing bodies) but the fact is the Cavs didn't show up. There was no movement on offense and the defense was a step slow all night. Tired legs? Maybe. But in Denver, LeBron was getting the ball 25 feet from the hoop, rather than the 15 feet we've been used to seeing.

Larry Hughes had the right idea. Hughes got himself thrown out about 4 minutes into the game for arguing a foul (a foul on a jumpshot. Really? This is what you're getting thrown out for?) and didn't have to participate in the ensuing bloodbath. The Cavs could've used Larry's length in guarding Allen Iverson throughout the night (just to give him some different looks). The Cavs were already without Eric Snow (knee), Donyell Marshall (wrist), Sasha Pavlovic (back) and Anderson Varejao (dumbass) and they couldn't afford to lose another player.

LeBron had the quietest (and ugliest) 27 points you'll ever see. LeBron was attacking the basket early on and got to the line enough (14 FTA) but couldn't convert (8 FTM). Maybe it was his tired legs, maybe it was his poor free throw shooting, but as the game wore, LeBron settled more and more for jumpers (and long ones at that). James only had one rebound and that came early in the first quarter.

Allen Iverson always kills the Cavs. A.I. just had his way with Daniel Gibson (who picked up some dumb fouls again) in route to scoring 37 points on an un-Iverson-like 14-20 shooting. To be fair, when he's shooting at a high percentage (he was 2-4 from 3), he's basically unguardable.
The first half was brutal. The Cavs shot 24% in the first quarter and 35% for the entire half (while Denver was pouring them in at a 58% clip) and only made 9 out of 17 freebies. Somehow they were only down 3 at the end of the first period (21-18) but the lead ballooned to 15 at halftime and the Nuggets never looked back.

Not that the second half was any better. For the game, the Nuggets shot 55% from the floor and 54.5% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Cavs shot 55.3% from the foul line. The entire fourth quarter was garbage time. The game was ugly.

The Cavalier big men were not good. Z was 1-6 and Gooden was 2-9. They still rebounded fairly well (I guess), Z had 6 boards in 20 minutes while Gooden pulled down 9 in 28. They both got burned on the defensive end quite a bit, especially Z (Marcus Camby took him off the dribble multiple times; the big guy just couldn't keep up).

Hey, Shannon Brown got some court time. And it only took a Hughes ejection, injuries to Snow and Pavlovic and a blow out. To his credit, Brown responded to his 16 minutes of PT by scoring 12 points on 4-9 shooting (hell, he also made 4-5 free throws, which was the best on the team).

and finally...

Home! It's too bad the Cavs ended the trip on this note, because they had a real solid first 5 games. 3-3 is not a bad trip at all (but man, 4-2 would've been nice). If there's a silver lining to Monday's game, it's the fact that Coach Mike got the starters some rest due to the blow out (and Hughes' temper). I hope it helps, because the Cavs aren't going to get much rest before facing Orlando in Cleveland on Wednesday in a quick turnaround game. It wouldn't shock me if the look a step slow in the game as well.


Erik said...

Larry Hughes doesn't want to be here anymore. His entire demeanor just says "screw it all."

Hughes touched the ball four times, jacked up a three pointer each time, made one, and got ejected for saying something nasty to the ref on the last one.

He hates Mike Brown's offense, he's afraid of getting hurt, so he won't drive anymore, and he doesn't even really look to pass anymore. He just hoists jumpers, making approximately one in four.

There might also be some tension between him and LeBron as well. I think Windhorst wrote something to that effect over the summer.

I don't know if the Cavs could move him to another team by insisting that he just needs a fresh start somewhere else, but that might be the best for all parties.

Of course, Mike Brown, wearing his defense-colored glasses, would probably gnash his teeth at seeing all that defensive potential leave the roster.

Greg said...

We'll never be able to dump/trade Hughes.

Why are the Cavs always bogged down with such terrible contracts?

Shannon Brown is a bust. Hopefully Boobie will get it together and start being a force again.

- Greg

Ben said...

If Jim Paxson can trade Shawn Kemp, then I'm pretty sure anyone can get traded.

Hughes is obviously unhappy with his current situation. I can't really blame him, this hasn't really worked out for anyone. If he can be traded (without completely killing their cap for the next 3 years) then I say do it, even if it's 50 cents on the dollar.

graham said...

Alot of people say Hughes is in fact tradeable (Brian Windhorst for one). Maybe he is theoretically, but I won't believe he can be traded until it happens.

Kemp's (and the Cavs) one saving grace was that he was a big man, who teams are more willing to take a gamble on.

I just can't imagine someone taking Hughes' contract when its abundantly clear he can't shoot, can't drive, and can't stay healthy. Exactly what can he do for you? He does play pretty good defense, but that doesn't justify his contract.

Perhaps Isiah Thomas would've taken him 2 or 3 years ago but I think he's a bit more wary after making all those mistakes.

I hope Hughes can be moved, but I don't believe it. I think we'd have to take on an even worse contract, like Jerome James or something. It's just a bad all-around situation for Cleveland

Ben said...

Well ya, Kemp was a big man, but Paxson also unloaded Bob Sura and Wes Person somehow (the one thing Paxson was good at was dumping salary).

It might be trading a problem for a problem, but Hughes can be moved (and at this point I think he should be).