Monday, January 21, 2008

Cleveland 97, Miami 90

Was this really LeBron's first win in Miami? Wow, somehow I did not know that. He's played well here before, but they've had some brutal losses down there... blown some huge leads...

LeBron vs Wade, TNT was thrilled. Dwyane Wade had 42 points, 7 assists and 6 boards and he scored Miami's last 18 points. James had 'just' 28 points, 5 assists and 3 boards (to go along with 4 steals and 5 turnovers). You could tell that TNT really wanted a Wade-James battle and for a minute or two it looked almost likely... but James forced the issue and turned the ball over twice in a row (an errant pass and then a charge). However, a duel never really took place. LeBron calmed down and ran the offense while Wade just went 1-on-5 the rest of the way.

I was unaware we got Miami's home announcers for the game. I dunno, maybe it was just me, but the coverage was a little too Miami-centric for my tastes. Interviews with Shaq and Zo, lots of talk about Pat Riley and the future, lot's of talk about Wade, not sure the Cavs were even mentioned at halftime... meh, I dunno, maybe I'm just cranky. Oh, until Wade hit a 3 with under a minute to go, the Heat were in danger of going without a trey for the first time 125 games or something. I'm glad that kept being brought up (meanwhile, Daniel Gibson didn't hit a 3, which I'm pretty sure breaks a streak for him, but that was never mentioned).

The refs bugged me too. Wade got a continuation call against Pavlovic that blew my mind. Varejao was part of two plays that were quite ridiculous. Early in the game Jason Williams shoved Andy out of bounds (with two hands!), Varejao lost the ball and it was called Heat ball. Then somehow Varejao got into a jump ball situation despite nobody else having their hands on the ball. The Heat could've gotten some calls too, but some of the blatant blown calls went against the Cavs (not that TNT pointed it out- I mean seriously, no mention of Williams shoving Varejao? How is that not mentioned?).

The bigs played well. It may have taken 10 years, but Z is finally getting the best of Shaq. Z had a double-double (13 points, 11 boards) and had a big tip-in late in the fourth quarter. Shaq finished with 10 points (all in the first half) and 5 boards. Gooden had a decent game with 11 points and 5 boards (he even went straight up for a dunk once!) but he didn't sniff crunch time. Varejao had 6 points, 10 boards and a nifty assist to Z for a dunk on a 2-on-1 break.

Larry Hughes and Sasha Pavlovic both played really, really decent. Pavlovic went 4-7, scored 11 points, hit the only 3 he took and added 4 assists and 3 boards. Definitely one of his better games of late. And Hughes was decidedly 'not awful' in scoring 9 points on 4-8 shooting (though he did airball a 3 badly) and adding 2 boards (0 assists for the Cavs starting point guard). Would you be shocked to learn that they too didn't sniff the court during crunch time?

Speaking of, I really like the Cavs crunch time lineup. Damon Jones and Daniel Gibson spread the floor really well, Varejao and Z are great on the offensive glass and LeBron is LeBron. That's a lineup that should give you points. Both Z and Andy had big tip-ins late in the game and Jones hit a 3 in the fourth. Gibson didn't have a good game offensively, he shot just 2-10 and he seemed to be pressing.

and finally...

8-1 in January? Well done. At what point do we start hearing about those red hot Cavs? Anytime soon? They've won 4 in a row and 10 of their last 12. Though they have a rough-ish stretch coming up. They play Washington (Wednesday) and Phoenix (Friday) at home before they head out West of a quick three game swing (Lakers, Blazers and Sonics). On a personal note, there's a 99.999999% chance that I won't be recapping Wednesday's game against the Wizards, Friday's game against the Suns and Sunday's game against the Lakers due to a little trip I'll be taking to New York City.

7 comments:

Erik said...

Anymore, I'm starting to become convinced that starting lineups are overrated in basketball. It's all about the lineup you put out there in the fourth quarter, and Mike Brown has apparently found something in the fivesome he has out there.

(You realize, of course, that if Donyell Marshall was healthy, Z would be sitting in the fourth, too. Fortunately, he's playing late, and we're all seeing now that Z isn't the albatross killing fast break opportunities that everyone thinks he is.)

Still, it's a bit disconcerting that three-fifths of the Cavs starting lineup is basically useless in the fourth quarter. At this point, if Drew Gooden is such a detriment late in the game, why not trade him to Sacto for Bibby?

I know everyone (Bill Livingston most recently) says that if Andy starts and plays big minutes, all his weaknesses will be magnified. But there isn't a bigger weakness in the NBA than a guy who has to sit late in the fourth quarter because his coach can't trust him to not screw up.

So take Kenny Thomas' contract along with Bibby, move Andy into the starting lineup and plug Thomas into Andy's role. Andy's already averaging almost 30 minutes a night. He's already pretty much playing starter's minutes, and you know he's going to be out there in the fourth quarter. So what difference does it make if he enters the game at the opening tip or at the five-minute mark of the first quarter?

Plus, it's not like Thomas is signed to an Eddy Curry-type deal. It's ridiculous that his contract would be a deal-breaker. He's making about $7 million this year, and if I remember correctly, he can be a free agent after next season.

Ben said...

I think it's a deal breaker due to the luxury tax. With the addition of Bibby (and only giving up Gooden, Newble and/or Brown) the Cavs would be taking on a ton of money and they are already over the cap. Thomas would basically be costing them $14 million.

(and I'd start Thomas and keep Andy coming in off the bench and playing 4th quarters)

(also, I think the Cavs are being prudent and waiting for a bigger fish than Bibby... like Redd)

Michael Beckwith said...

The more I watch TNT, the more I start wondering if the broadcasters are watching the same game.

For example, NOBODY (game announcers or studio)mentioned Chuncey Billups stop dribbling, run three steps around a Magic defender (an obvious travel), then shoot the three to tie the game during our "bonus coverage." Seriously, I've never seen anybody get away with that for a jumper before.

Instead, it's all love for Mr. Big Shot. It must made me that much happier when Rashard Lewis bounced in that winner off the glass.

Ben said...

ya, my god, Billups literally took four steps... after the Magic fouled him twice (to make him take two free throws).

Terrible officiating and worse announcing.

Erik said...

The question is, what on Earth could the Cavs offer for Redd? He's the face of the Bucks franchise, they'd want emerging stars, expiring contracts and/or draft picks.

To that end, Andy can't be traded until the summer, the Cavs' expiring deals aren't worth much and Ferry had better not go down the road of trading away more picks.

Ben said...

my thoughts are that the Bucks are underachieving and have a lot of big contracts in Redd, Simmons, Mo Williams, Charlie Bell and Bogut. Their record isn't great and they are paying Redd to be the number 1 option, which he isn't.

The Bucks are 16-25 and I don't think they've had significant injuries this year (everyone is healthy right now anyways). If they can't win now, when will they? They may want some salary relief (the Cavs might have to take a contract like Simmons in return) and build around Yi and Bogut...

obviously just pure speculation on my part...

Anonymous said...

.....................nice ^_^v..............