Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cavs Corner - First Week in the Books!

View from Gainer's seats on Opening Night
After four games, many people can jump to many conclusions about many things.  I will say this regarding the opening week of the Cleveland Cavaliers:  They are young, they are competitive, they will make you angry but they will continually improve and occasionally wow you.  


The season/home opener against the Washington Wizards was a chance to wow us.  They in fact did just that.  They not only man handled the old Bullets 94-84 but there were a couple of stand out performances and plays.  Also, I was in attendance thanks to Moondog.  I received a great shirt and schedule magnet.  Got my Cavs swag on!


First off, Andy "Wild Thing" Varejao had 9 points, 9 assists and 23 REBOUNDS.  He completely dominated the paint and created several second, third and fourth chance scoring opportunities as well as taking a few charges.  He didn't realize until after the game how close he was to his first career triple double.  Goes to show you how selfless this guy really is and how much he captures what the Cavs are trying to build.  Oh yeah, PG Kyrie Irving dropped 29 points, had some sick crossovers, and did dirty sexual things to the Wizards defense.  Rookie Dion Waiters (the 4th overall draft pick) played well scoring 17 points and outplaying the #3 overall pick Bradley Beal including a great steal at the top of the key leading to a breakaway dunk.  Last year's #4 pick Tristan Thompson finished the night with a double double (12 pts, 10 reb).  


The start of the fourth quarter.  For nearly five minutes, the Wizards went from being down 12 to up 2.  The Cavs second unit struggled the second time back out on the court (Luke Walton, Donald Sloan, CJ Miles, Tyler Zeller, and Boobie Gibson).  Thankfully, the Wizards were gassed when Coach Scott put the starters back in and the Cavs along with 3 straight Tristan Thompson dunks put them away.  Irving, while at the table waiting to check back in literally said to Coach Scott "Don't worry, I got this."  That's quality leadership skills from a 20 year old.


Alonzo Gee and CJ Miles.  They play the same position and both stunk it up.  Gee took ill advised shots all night and Miles couldn't generate any kind of offense.

SUMMARY:  Good first win against a John Wall-less and Nene-less Wizards team.  Not sure about the 2nd unit at this point but a good overall team victory.  The rookies didn't seem overwhelmed and I'm still not sure who Washington's head coach is haha!


Friday night was their next game and it was night and day from their first one.  I only could watch the first half of this slaughter fest.  The Cavs forgot to show up.  Coach Scott said it best:
"That's what you call a good, old-fashioned butt-whipping," he said following the Bulls' 115-86 win.
The starting unit of Boozer, Deng, Hinrich, Hamilton and Noah just dismantled the Cavs from the very start.

I have nothing else to say about this game.  The Cavs have seriously struggled against this team with or without Rose over the past year.


I called this a must win game in my preview.  They lost at the buzzer 105-102 thanks to a 3 point shot by Brandon Jennings (and a little controversial at that!) with 0.7 seconds left.  Watch for Coach Scott to get fined for some of his remarks following the game about the clock management in the Bucks home opener.  This was the Cavs first road game the night after the Bulls game.  It was a good response following the blow out but a loss is a loss.


Andy and Irving both had great nights again with Andy going for 20 pts and 17 boards and Kyrie adding 27 points and 7 assists.  Alonzo Gee appeared for the first time this season (giggles) and dropped 18 points.


Mike Dunleavy, OFF THE BENCH, for Milwaukee led all scorers with 29 points including 6-7 from three point land.  MIKE FREAKIN DUNLEAVY.  You cannot let that happen.  You just can't. He's so white.


Again, the second unit was awful tonight.  All the starters were in the plus statistically where as all the subs were in the minus.  For such a close game and to see that, some minor line up changes need to occur.  Some sort of split so that the duo of Irving and Waiters aren't both out for extended periods of time.  Your back up PG can't lead your bench with 8 points.  Again CJ Miles is nonexistent and needs to find his game quick.  Zeller is struggling a bit against bigger, stronger NBA guys but he's holding his own.


It's only 3 games but that was a tough pill to swallow.  Should have at least gone to overtime to see this played out.  Nonetheless, it's game 1 of their 6 game road trip.  Can't let the season slip away in the first 2-3 weeks.


Ok, this is the opposite of the Bucks game!  The Clippers, I thought, were going to be an automatic loss and the Cavs proved me wrong with a 108-101 victory on the road Monday night.  After a sluggish start a few minutes into the game, Coach Scott called timeout, rallied the troops and the Cavs really never looked back.


The rookies. Dion Waiters.  7 three pointers and 28 points in a coming out game so-to-speak.  It's only his 4th NBA game but you caught a glimpse of what the dynamic duo of Irving and Waiters is capable of as they combined for 52 points.  Tyler Zeller.  15 points and  7 boards in only 24 minutes.  This also was Z's best game early in his career.  For a seven footer, this guy can move up and down the court!  Alonzo Gee is quickly becoming a force defensively and had the assignment on Chris Paul.  CP3 had a decent game but Gee kept him in check the majority of the night.  Remember, Coach Scott drafted Paul in New Orleans and made him into one of the elite PG's in the NBA.  That's good news for Irving and Waiters!

Coach Scott also mixed up his first set of rotations tonight.  Instead of putting 5 new guys out there at once, he slowly took a few guys out at a time to make sure it was relatively even.  Also Luke Walton didn't play so that's got to be good right?  CJ Miles had his best game as the new guy with 10 points in 14 minutes.  It's also funny that Andy was just being Andy with his 15 pts and 15 rebounds.  Machine-like.  Plus this halftime buzzer beater!  45 second mark.  It's also a full highlight clip too enjoy!  Watch for CJ Miles nearly halfcourt bomb of a 3 with no time left on the shot clock.  Everyone was getting buckets last night...


As you saw towards the end of the video Zeller got elbowed in the face and had to leave the game.  X-rays were negative but his eye will swell up pretty good.  His status will be up in the air for Wednesday night's game in Golden State.  Tristan Thompson didn't have his best game tonight but played solid defense on Blake Griffin most of the evening.


This is sort of Cavs related.  It is more Clippers related though.  Watching Ryan Hollins play basketball is difficult.  It is painful.  He's a goofy dude that somehow stays in the league because he is super tall.  He sucks.  Glad he's now in LA.


Easily the best game of the short season so far.  At 2-2, the Cavs are where I expected them to be after one week.  The next week still features the final 4 games of their road trip so they can't back down now!


Wednesday at Golden State Warriors (2-2):  Another chance for the Cavs young bloods to outshine another lottery draft pick in Harrison Barnes.  Barnes is a guy a lot of people felt the Cavs should have taken over Waiters.  Barnes is barely averaging 7 pts, 2 rebounds and 2 assists a game.  Waiters is over 16 pts a game. Warriors beat the Clippers too but lost to the lowly Kings Monday night.

Friday at Phoenix Suns (1-3):  The Suns no longer are considered good, let alone elite, as they hope not to finish dead last in the West this year.  They've only beaten the terrible Pistons.  Without Steve Nash, this team is going to have to find a new identity.  Never a good defensive team, the Cavs need to capitalize by scoring in bunches.

Sunday at Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2):  OKC is off to a sluggish start most likely due to the shock that James Harden was traded and implementing new guys into their offense.  However don't expect them to stay down for long with elite players like Durant and Westbrook.  People are starting to compare how the Cavs are drafting and building their team to the likes of Sam Presti and Co. down in OKC.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday at Brooklyn Nets (1-1):  The Cavs first visit to the new franchise and the Barclays Center.  Don't know if Jay-Z/Beyonce will be there to see Cleveland ha!  There's a new sense of excitement around the team with the addition of Joe Johnson to the core of D Williams and B Lopez.  However as someone once said, "New haircut...same dead arm."

This game has always been, and always will be, about buckets...