Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cleveland 98, Atlanta 84

LeBron saved their sorry asses. James salvaged an otherwise unwatchable game by scoring 32 of his 36 points in the second half (19 in the fourth quarter... which was the also 19 of the Cavs final 22 points). You may be wondering if he did this while in some kind of offensive flow. Well... no. There was a lot of dribbling around and pulling up for jumpers. But hey, they went in.

Drew Gooden bugs the hell out of me. Gooden got lost on defense countless times (I'm pretty sure he still doesn't know that Josh Smith is left handed), played some terrible point guard (yup) and jumped on every pump fake thrown his way. His stats were decent (13 and 7) but I wasn't impressed.

Mike Brown also bugs the hell out of me. How Drew Gooden stayed in the game was beyond me. How the Cavs scored any points is beyond me (scratch that, LeBron went off). The Cavs offense was extremely sloppy (they started 2008 off with two straight turnovers) and no one seemed to give a crap for most of the game. For some reason Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao both received more shots than Z (1-4 in just 27 minutes) even though Ilgauskas has 5 inches on anyone guarding him.

I think we've found an offense worse than the Cavaliers. My god this game was ugly. The fact that the Cavs were even close to chalupa territory is a minor miracle (and how the final stats show that they were over 50% from the floor is beyond me). Neither team had 20 points during the second quarter and they didn't cross the 40 point barrier until after halftime (and the Hawks didn't cross 50 until there were 5 minutes left in the third).

Speaking of minor miracles... The Cavs played the Hawks and Tyron Lue didn't go off. Thank god.

This was my first Cavs game of the year. Man, I forgot how much I hate Moondog (and I mean really hate). The Cavs had some guys walking around the concourse before the game carrying signs urging fans to vote some Cavs into the All-Star Game... I had a good chuckle every time the guy carrying the Hughes sign walked by. Also, the Q scoreboard totally didn't accept my 'trade larry hughes' text at halftime. Lame (I really hope those marriage proposals were jokes...).

To be fair, Hughes wasn't bad this game. He wasn't even mediocre. He was... good? Hughes had 14 points, 4 assists and 3 boards. The best part is, he shot 6-10 from the field (60%!? Trade him now!). Hughes had a huge jumper under 3 minutes to put the Cavs up 3.

Sasha Pavlovic is still struggling. He had some moments of competenceness (some nice drives, a decent pass or two). But he also had moments of Sashaness (3 turnovers and yet another offensive foul). Overall, he had 7 points (2-6 FG, 3-4 FT) but he did pitch in 6 boards and 4 assists. At least both he and Hughes filled up other columns in the box score...

The Cavs actually got some points from the bench. Daniel Gibson (11 points) nailed some jumpers (which isn't surprising) and so did Anderson Varejao (which is). Varejao gave the Cavs 8 points and Devin Brown gave them 6. Sure, only three guys off the Cavalier bench scored... but the Hawks only had two (Josh Childress and Lue) off their bench put the ball in the hole.

and finally...

Can they win two in a row... please? The Kings come into town on Friday and that should be a very winnable game (plus, future Cavalier savior Mike Bibby could be in town). But honestly, who knows with this team. Frankly, the only reason they beat the (not lowly anymore) Hawks is because LeBron started burying hand-in-the-face jumpers halfway through the fourth quarter. I really have no idea what to expect from this team night in and night out.

6 comments:

davemanddd said...

i think the reason why usual cav-killer tyron lue didn't play that well tonite was because he had cut all his hair off. i guess you can call it the "samson effect" since he was about as effective as tits on a boar. no, actually i think it had more to do with who was guarding him this time. in the last couple of years, mike brown had either eric "yellow" snow or _amon _ones defending him and he made both of those guys look just plain silly. this time, a quicker daniel gibson hounded him and lo' and behold, he didn't kill the cavs. now if only they could find somebody who could do something with ny knicks jamal crawford, we might be on to something.

Ben said...

To be fair, in the past Lue has also killed Larry Hughes along with Snow and _ones.

Gibson did an OK job on Lue, but he only received 15 minutes of PT (in which he went 2-4 and had 8 points).

You're right, Crawford always kills the Cavs (I'm glad the Cavs drafted Crawford then traded him to the Bulls for Chris Mihm).

Erik said...

Again, another struggle of a win for the Cavs -- though to be fair, Joe Johnson singlehandedly kept the Hawks' hopes alive with a couple of ri-gosh-darn-diculous three-balls as time wound down.

Ben, your first paragraph sums up the game in a nutshell. The difference between this game and your garden-variety Cavs loss? LeBron's 20-foot fallaways were dropping last night.

If LeBron doesn't go out of his mind with 32 second-half points, this is another shameful loss for the Cavs. But anymore, I'm wondering if losses might be a good thing for this team because it will hasten change.

Wins seem like a band-aid anymore for this team, a momentary diversion from the serious attitude and roster flaws that are destroying any shot of repeating as East champs.

If the Cavs keep losing, sooner or later Danny Ferry (or if not him, Dan Gilbert), will have to come to the realization that there's more to this than waiting for the Cavs to get back to defensive fundamentals. The only thing that's going to cure the Cavs is change.

The Bulls are off to a lousy start, and they're taking steps to right the ship. Scott Skiles is gone and I bet John Paxson shakes up the roster before the trade deadline. The Cavs, meanwhile, figure that they won a conference title, so they must have the right formula in place. They're taking the Indians tack of not rocking the boat and hoping everything turns out well in the end.

The big difference is the Cavs don't have any Fausto Carmonas waiting in the wings to pair with their ace.

graham said...

Ferry knows he has to make a change, its just the same old story: Cavs don't have any real pieces that other teams want.

I'm kinda glad they're not tanking, b/c I do think that could force a Mike Brown firing. I'm not sure what to think about Brown, but he does deserve to coach a team with a PG and a SG, which the Cavs have yet to have since he came. Coach Brown's grade in my opinion will always be an incomplete until he gets at least that.

Erik said...

True with regard to the backcourt, Graham.

It's just too bad it's not working out with Hughes. He could be a helluva PG if he really embraced the role and prided himself on passing and defense. He handled Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups in the playoffs last year. Having him, Sasha and LeBron on the perimeter gave the Cavs one huge starting lineup for the playoffs last year. They created mismatches all over the place.

Alas, Hughes wants to score and feels he's being misused by the Cavs. So square peg, meet round hole.

In the end, the Cavs probably do need an entirely new starting backcourt. Hughes isn't happy here and Sasha belongs on the bench right now.

Ben said...

To me, January looks to be the Cavs do-or-die month.

They have a decent schedule and all the returning players should have shaken off their rust by now. If the Cavs can gain some ground (over .500, 4th seed) then I think Ferry will stand pat.

But if the Cavs continue to struggle, I think we might see a trade or two come February's deadline.