Friday, January 15, 2010

Wheel of Cheese Moment

Look, I'll be honest, if the Cavs are going to lose (97-96) because a guy just signed to a 10-day contract hits a last second three to win the game, so be it. And to tell ya the truth, the Cavs didn't deserve to win this game. Had they won, it would've been in spite of their bad play (23 turnovers, stagnant offense, missed free throws) and because LeBron went full Video Game James for 3 minutes. Tough loss, but not surprising.

(Plus, if you can't feel at least a little happy for rookie Sundiata Gaines then you have no soul. The dude hit the game winning shot in his first ever NBA game against one of the best teams in the league. That's special).

Overall, it was a weird game. While the Cavs held the lead for most of the night, it wasn't exactly a joy to watch. The third quarter was particularly brutal; Cleveland scored just 13 points while Utah countered with a whopping 15 (it was a combination of good defense and horrendous offense). The Cavs entered the fourth with a 60-55 lead but Utah made a run and with just under four minutes to go, the Jazz led 81-69.

That's when LeBron took over.

Over the next three minutes, LeBron scored 18 of Cleveland's next 20 points (Varejao hit two freebies) and the Cavs stormed back to take a six point lead. James was simply nuts. With around a minute to go, he hit back-to-back treys and, after two more freebies, the Cavs held a 91-85 advantage with 32 seconds to play.

How do you squander a six point lead with half a minute to go? Well, the Cavs sure made it look easy. They missed their free throws (AP went 2-4 and Z was 1-2), ran uninspired inbounds plays (nothing to waste the time) and twice they fouled Utah, allowing the Jazz to put points on the board with the clock stopped. Just not good execution down the stretch.

On one had, I'm pissed they lost this game. There's no excuse for losing a game where you have a six point lead with under a minute to play. Just awful. On the other hand, you can't really make the case that they deserved to win either; Shaq and Z combined for 6 points (2-8 FG) and 6 boards and their starting guards shot 6-18 (and 2-7 from downtown).

West coast swings are tough, no doubt. This loss hurts but if they can win Saturday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers, they'd end up going 3-2 on their trip. I can live with 3-2.

Cross-posted at


The Other Ben said...

I posted my Worst of the Night take over at the bawful comments section, but heres the synopsis

Start of 4th: 60-55 Cavs
5:58 left: 66-76 Jazz
0:00 left: 96-97 on a desperation 3

There was so much suck in this game I am not going into detail. The end was great (and I agree with your take on Gaines) but that entire game up until that shot going in was a complete and utter shitfest.

The Other Ben said...

As an aside to your post Ben, losses like this only make me less comfortable without the Cavs making a huge play for a bonafide 4. Its nights like this where Mike Brown's absolute inability to coach in tight games makes me think we can't get through 3 rounds in the east. And no, Im not ledging here. Its a trend that has developed since he started coaching. Big game, played tight down the stretch with inexcusable meltdowns and bad basketball. If Lebron isn't Lebron, the discussion is why Brown didn't run the offense through Shaq and keep Lebron out of double teams. The guy can't coach anything besides defense and it could cost us just like it did last year. No creativity, no adjustments, and letting LeBron do what he wants is no way to go through life.

Ben said...

While I'm not thrilled with Brown (kinda pissed that he didn't call any T.O.'s while Utah made their fourth quarter run and LBJ definitely should've taken some more late freebies) I don't think you can pin this loss entirely on him.

At the end of the day, it took the Cavs three missed free throws, two dumb fouls, two miracle shots (Korver's behind the basket jumper being the other) and our closer (Mo Williams) fouling out to let Utah win this game.

Obviously they could've played better and it boggles my mind that they can't throw a fucking proper entry past into the low post but Brown isn't the one forcing passes and he's sure not the one calling for 1-on-5 23 foot heaves.

If you want to criticize Brown for not getting on LBJ for ditching the offense, I'm all for it. But the fact is, by James going off script and taking over, the Cavs nearly won a game they had no business winning.

Live by LeBron, die by LeBron, I guess.

Geoffrey said...

I think its just surprising that they didn't get beat by 20. They weren't hitting their shots, and they were getting out muscled, but somehow they had a 4 point lead late in the game, and should have won it if they hit their free throws. Delonte and Mo should be the guys at the line at the end of the game. If they aren't available, then I'll be ok with Lebron taking the freebies. Lebron got us to that point, you gotta give him the chance to seal the game. Losing against a good team on a desperation 3 from a guy who is on a 10 game contract is a "just tip your hat to the man" moment.

Bottom line the game was incredibly winnable when we played a game that should get us beat by 20.