Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kyrie Irving helps Cavs get back on track, drop Detroit 105-89

Does anybody else love this team?

I know, I know.. we've only beaten the Detroit Pistons and we're 1-1 on the season.  But there's something about this team that I'm already quickly falling in love with.  They're actually fun to watch, something that couldn't be said most nights last season when the dark cloud fell over the city.

Kyrie Irving running the point has energized this team and franchise.  You can see it in the way they play.  Irving's pace of play and unique style are bringing a new-found love for basketball in Cleveland.  5 impressive assists and 12 points in the 1st half gave the Cavs an 11 point lead heading into halftime.

Kyrie Irving makes everyone around him better, and I'm happy to admit I was wrong in rating Derrick Williams higher on my highly revered draft board.
Interestingly enough, Irving didn't play much in the 4th quarter as the Cavs turned the game into a 2011 version of NBA Street, with dunks left and right from Samardo, Thompson, Varejao,and even Jamison.  Sessions remained at the point guard spot, securing a huge victory for the Cavs to even up the record at 1-1 heading into Indiana on Friday.

Ramon Sessions is running the second team extremely well, and the bench is a big reason why I have faith in this year's team.  Sessions has shockingly developed into a perimeter threat, and that will work in our favor to keep defenses' honest throughout the season.

The key to the Cavaliers is that they really do play like a team.  One guy isn't dominating the ball, taking all the shots as we've seen in years past.

Omar Casspi brings a tough defensive minded presence on the floor;  Casspi and Alonzo Gee give the Cavs much-needed defense and size at the guard position.  The defense was key in the 1st half, as the Cavs were scrambling to contest shots and hitting the offensive boards.  Come to think of it, the defense throughout the entire game was in large part why we handed Detroit a 16 point defeat.
There's also the re-vamped play and revitalization of Anderson Varejao, who seems to have more energy than I can ever remember.  His contributions go well beyond the stat line, and offensive rebounding and tip-out abililties can't be overstated.

The Cavaliers bench is surprisingly strong this year.  Led by Sessions and Tristan Thompson (who slammed home a ridiculous 2 handed jam in the face of Ben Wallace) the guys off the bench are really providing a spark and uptempo feel to the already fast-feel of the team.  Serves Ben right for not living up to his contract in a Cavaliers uniform.  Even Samardo Samuels played well off the bench in his first action of the season prompting Dan Gilbert to tweet "Samardooooooooooooo!"

The only problem I saw was that Manny Harris was missing from the lineup. 

One day he'll be inducted into the hall of fame, and we'll remember Chris Grant for letting the Michigan legend find greatness somewhere else. 

That being said, Manny recently signed with the Cavaliers D-league affiliate, the Canton Charge.  In other future hall of fame news, Ricky Davis signed with the Maine Red Claws, another NBDL team. 

The Canton Charge will play the Maine Red Claws in a game soon.  Are you putting together what I just said?  Manny Harris will play against Ricky Davis in a game of basketball.  Depending on who you ask, that means that two former Cavalier legends are facing off in a D-league game.  How such greatness can be playing anywhere other than the Association is a mystery to us all.

Forgetting Harris and focusing on the now, the Cavaliers are shaping up surprisingly well with limited talent beyond Irving.  At the very least, we'll be entertaining to watch throughout the season.  Watching Irving's development and chemistry with the other players will be intriguing. 

Look for a tough battle in Indiana on Friday against Danny Granger's undefeated squad. 2 games down, 64 to go.  Can the Cavaliers string together back-to-back wins this early in the season?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Cleveland Cavaliers draft Kyrie Irving #1 overall, miss out on Derrick Williams

The 2011 NBA Draft came and went, without any major surprises.

In my (highly esteemed and well-regarded) opinion, the Cavaliers did not make the best selection to benefit the franchise moving forward.

Sure, Kyrie Irving has potential to be a great point guard in the NBA. Many draft experts saw him as the consensus overall #1, and Derrick Williams the obvious #2 pick in this year's meager version of the draft.

While I knew the Cavs front office would fall prey to the Irving hype and speculation, I still held out hope that they would take the more talented player in Derrick Williams. 

For some reason I can't explain, I thought Chris Grant might go against the grain, and surprise people by taking the Arizona stud.  As I sat and pondered what had happened, I felt a mix of disappointment and frustration. 

Kyrie Irving is going to be a good player, there's no question about it.  But how do you take the Duke Disappearing Act #1 overall when he played in 11 games last season, and missed 26?  Whether or not his toe issue lingers on moving forward is a serious concern.  Irving and his team would like you to believe that it's a thing of the past, and it won't affect him throughout his NBA career.  If that is the case, then why does he need a specialized shoe made to prevent future injury?

Derrick Williams is the player the Cavaliers should have drafted, and I stand by that statement.  Cavs fans need somebody who can provide the excitement that left this team when the Choke Artist left for his "not 1, not 2, not 7 or 8 rings" in South Beach.  How'd that work out for you LeBron?

Williams has many things Irving does not: Size, leaping ability, dunking prowess, and a resume to back it up.  D-Will was one of the best players in this year's NCAA Tournament, where was Kyrie Irving?   

While I will eventually embrace Kyrie Irving and hope to be proven wrong in the next few years, I am not overly thrilled with the selection and don't feel like we took the most talented player on the board.

All I'm saying is, if I'm spending a #1 lottery pick on a player, I need to be sure about him and feel he's going to make my team better immediately.  The sad truth is, that Irving might be backing Baron Davis this season. 

All that being said, I feel that Kyrie will be a good player, and I hope he surpasses my expectations in the upcoming season. 

That is, if there is a season.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cavaliers win the NBA Draft lottery, Will select 1st and 4th overall

Cleveland needed a miracle, and they got one last night.  The ping-pong balls bounced the Cavaliers' way, and we won the NBA draft lottery.  Thanks to the pick from the Clippers, we also secured the #4 overall pick.

Talk about the kind of night we needed.  The last time an NBA team had two picks in the top 4 goes all the way back to the 1982 Houston Rockets.

Duke guard Kyrie Irving is now within the Cavaliers' sights, but no one really knows how GM Chris Grant will choose to use these picks.  Other contenders are Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, and Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight. 

This gives the Cleveland faithful a reason to cheer.  Things have been going the city's way since the NBA regular season ended.  The Indians are in first place, the Browns had a great draft, Peyton Hillis on the cover of Madden 12 and now the Cavaliers winning the NBA draft lottery.

When rebuilding an NBA franchise, you need a rapid infusion of young talent.  With two of the top 4 picks, the Cavaliers will have exactly that as we move into the future. If this is a sign of things to come, things look good for the state of our franchise.  This will surely motivate Dan Gilbert to continue to back his promise of turning this team into a contender again.      


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NBA draft lottery: Our hopes lie in ping pong balls

After one of the least productive seasons in franchise history, its time for things to go the Cavaliers way. Tonight marks the first step in that direction, with the draft lottery. I've never been more excited abput watching ping pong balls fly since the last time I dominated in beer pong.

I have a lot of faith in the current GM Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert's intention to turn this team into an immediate contender. I'm pretty sure no one thought the Indians would be very good this year, but yet they manage to defy expectations and currently sit atop the AL central. Why not the Cavaliers next season?

Bring in a Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving, use the trade exception to land a proven big man, and this team is not that far out from the 8th seed in the playoffs. (which Andrew Polansky will vehemently tell you is the worst spot for an NBA franchise)

Kyrie is being touted as the likely #1 overall pick, but on what basis?  He played in only a handful of games last year.  Sure, he has a silky smoot jumper, but his foot injury will cause him to wear a special shoe for the rest of his basketball career.  Personally, I favor Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker. In that order. 

Williams is the scoring small forward we need (and a power dunking juggernaut), and Kemba is a clutch shooter.  LeBron James is not walking through that door; we need to land someone with at least the potential to become a star.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the highest percentage of landing the #1 spot, with a 25% chance.  Unforunately for the team that drafted Ricky Rubio, the last time the team with the most ping pong balls won the #1 pick was in 2004.  It just doesn't always work out.  The Cavaliers have the second most ping pong balls. The drama will take place on ESPN at 8:30.

The hopes for this franchise lie in this and the next few drafts, so we need the balls to bounce our way. Thanks to the Clippers, we will likely have two top 10 picks. A la Kobe Byant, "You can call me crazy" but I see a monumental turnaround for this franchise in the next few years. Under the radar, just where we like to be. It's the Cleveland way.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cleveland 102, Miami 90: (Believeland is rocking again... for one night at least)

LeBron James return to Cleveland for the second time was one to remember for the Cavaliers and James himself. It all began with LeBron having trouble entering the underground garage for shootaround.

It was reported that LeBron showed up at the gate with a driver and an extra car with other people, the building denied access to the people and eventually let LeBron in.

All of that just a few hours before the Cavaliers went on to shock the Heat, beating them 102-90 despite LeBron's triple-double.

LeBron witnessed the Cavs instead of the fans witnessing LeBron for a night.
The Cavaliers and the crowds energy was ecstatic from the start of the intros all the way through the game. The crowd gave loud boos for LeBron when his name was announced first for the Miami Heat, only to show up on the bench after the National Anthem (It was reported he was using the "restroom").

The crowd boos eventually turned into cheers once they realized that the Cavaliers showed up and wanted to beat Miami. The Cavaliers jumped out to an 11 point halftime lead and pushing that lead to 23-points in the second half.

JJ Hickson continued his strong play since moving back to power forward, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Anthony Parker, who is in his last year of his contract with Cleveland has his best performance of the season, scoring 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Miami fought back hard and erased the 23-point deficit thanks in-large part to James triple-double performance, who was making his second return to Cleveland since leaving in the summer of 2010.

James scored 27 points, 12 assists and had 10 rebounds, but this time around it was the Miami Heat on the losing end after embarrassing Cleveland on December 2nd. Dwayne Wade scored 24 points and had 6 assists but shot 8-20 from the field and struggled all night.

Part of Wade's struggles may have come from the unsung hero, Ryan Hollins. Hollins got in Wade face in the first half and exchanged heated words and from that point on it seemed to fuel Hollins and the Cavaliers.

Hollins scored 13 points in the game, but was a force in the middle for Cleveland all night and brought the toughness that seemed to be missing from the first meeting of this growing rivalry. Hollins had a +33 per in minutes compared to a -22 per for the third heatle, Chris Bosh who struggled throughout the night.

With the win, Cleveland rocked out and felt like old times, even though it was for one night.
In the final seconds, the crowd of over 20,000 cheered loudly and even Dan Gilbert was high-fiving everyone within reach. Gilbert tweeted "Not in our garage" in reference to LeBron's trouble's at Quicken Loans Arena.
For one night, Believeland was back and it sure felt good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LeBron makes his return (again)

LeBron will make his second return to Cleveland tonight when the Miami Heat play the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland.

On Dec 2nd, Miami and LeBron James return to Cleveland and was greeted with loud boo's and chants. However,that didn't seem to bother Lebron,as he and the Heat scorched the Cavaliers,118-90.

The game was marked as one of the must see games of the year and tnt covered the game. The game was considered Cleveland's championship game, only to fall flat on their feet.

At that time the Heat were 11-8 and Cleveland was 7-9 but since that Miami win, Cleveland has been the worst team in the league and currently has the worst record (14-58) in the league.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and will look to make a deep playoff run.

Tonight will be Cleveland's last change this season to beat James and the hated Heat. Baron Davis,who came over from the Clippers at the trade deadline, is expected to make his first start for the Cavaliers.

Samardo Samuels is out for at least the next few games thanks to a wrist injury he suffered. The frontcourt of the Cavaliers is even thinner without Samuels. Anderson Varejao,Antawn Jason and Semih Erdan are still out with injuries.

Tonight, the fans will be passionate,begging for a victory over the former Cavalier. I expect to see a Cavalier team tonight with the most passion fans have never seen before.

Go Cavs.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Cleveland 83, Atlanta 99: (The return of Joe Tait... and then defeat)

Cleveland fans that were watching the Cavs game last night had their TV's on mute and the radio turned on. Thanks to the return of famous Cavaliers announcer, Joe Tait, who returned from a double-bypass surgery last year.

The return however could not will the Cavaliers (14-58) to a victory. The Atlanta Hawks (42-32) never trailed as they beat Cleveland 99-83.

The Hawks have now won two games in a row after losing eight of 11.

Atlanta was without their star player, Joe Johnson but that didn't stop the Hawks. Marvin Williams made the most of his extra minutes, scoring a season-high 31 points. Also, all-star forward, Al Horford chipped in 20 points of his own and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Marvin was in the zone for the majority of the night, shooting 9 of 14 from the field and also making three 3-pointers.

For Cleveland its the same story as it has been the entire season. No energy, no aggressiveness, and got off to a rough start.

Baron Davis, who is expected eventually be the starting lineup, came off the bench and scored 19 points. Starting point guard, Ramon Sessions scored 13 points for Cleveland, who have now lost nine of 11.

Daniel Gibson chipped in with 11 points, while Alonzo Gee and JJ Hickson scored 10 points each. The promising undrafted rookie, Samardo Samuels left the game with a wrist injury.

The Cavaliers are back in action, Tuesday against the Miami Heat. LeBron James return, part II is coming. James was welcomed back with a loud building of boo's and chants, but he and the Heat routed Cleveland 118-90.