Monday, December 24, 2007

Golden State 105, Cleveland 96

If you didn't see the game, don't kid yourself, the game wasn't remotely this close. The Cavs played a terrible first half, but some how managed to get the lead down to 13 by halftime. They proceeded to get outscored 28-17 in the third and at one point trailed by 28. Merry Christmas Cavs fans!

I blame everyone for this loss. Coaching - awful (Mike Brown's technical foul was maybe the worst thing I've ever seen). Defense - awful (allowed 52% shooting). Offense - awful (41% shooting). The bench - awful (combined to shoot 12-35).

The Warriors did play pretty well. The Cavs didn't play any defense at all, but to their credit, the Warriors actually made their open looks (they made 17 out of their first 21 shots!). Golden State hit their first five 3s and scored 38 points in the first quarter alone (the Cavs didn't cross the 38 point mark until 4:45 in the second). Every time the Cavs got close (like under 14), the Warriors would make another run to push the lead back up to 20.

The Cavs have two players that the Warriors simply cannot guard, LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Both guys got their points (25 for LeBron, 20 for Z) but they needed to be much more involved with the offense. For yet another game, James was receiving the ball way out on the wing and nowhere near the basket. I know its hard to criticize a game where he went for 25, 8 assists and 5 boards... but he has to be more aggressive. He can't spend these possessions watching the ball move around the opposite side of the court while he camps out by the 3 point line. He must demand the ball (and he must get it in a good spot).

The coaching was awful. How Brown isn't calling the James-Z pick and roll every single time is beyond me. I'd also like the Cavs to design a play or two where the goal is to get Daniel Gibson and open look (run him through picks without the ball Reggie Miller style, I don't know). The offense was a complete mess, the defense was out of sorts and Brown did nothing the entire game to give me confidence that this will be fixed any time soon.

The biggest head scratching moment came with 7 minutes to go in the second quarter. Drew Gooden is about to shoot free throws and Mike Brown gets called for a technical foul. Now, normally in a game like this, I want Brown to get a tech. I want him to find some injustice, blow up, get thrown out and hopefully light a fire under his team's ass. Instead, he got a tech after the Cavs got a call! He got it while Drew Gooden was at the line. So Stephen Jackson goes down to the other end and makes a free throw all while Drew is just sitting there at the stripe. Gooden then proceeded to miss both freebies. Only the Cavs can manage to get free throws out of a blocking foul and end up trailing by an addition point. Well done boys!

Larry Hughes is worthless. He was 1-8, with 2 points, 1 board and 1 assist in 18 minutes. He missed long jumpers, he missed short jumpers, he missed wide open layups and he missed the rim on one particular shot. He was nothing short of awful. After the game, Hughes had the balls to say he needed more than 18 minutes to get into a rhythm. Say what you will, but I wish he showed that kind of testicular fortitude during the game.

Sasha Pavlovic is close to worthless. Pavlovic was 2-7 for 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. He got called for another charge foul or two. He needs to learn how to pull up. He needs to learn to take better shots. He needs to learn a lot of things....


If LeBron is serious about being a leader, now is the time. A players only meeting? Hiring a thug to take out Hughes' kneecaps? Demanding 45 shot a game? I don't know. But something has to be done and he's the only player who will get everyone's attention.

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