Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cavs Get Big Home Win: Top Seed Within Reach

I don't have much time to write this morning but I wanted to get a few Cavs thoughts out there to start the discussion. I'm interested to get the pulse of CMCR nation regarding this team right now.

1. In full disclosure, I only really watched the last quarter of the game as I was out and about in Cleveland taking in the St. Patrick's day festivities. With that being said, I think I pretty much got the gist of things: The Cavs tried to limit the damage caused by Howard down low and ended up getting scorched by Orlando's bigger perimeter players. At the same time, our beloved Cavs, now reincarnated as a pure jump shooting team, hit enough shots and got enough stops and friendly whistles down the stretch to pull it out. Not exactly the way I'd want to win but a win nonetheless.

2. Orlando is a huge problem for us because they have the best frontcourt player in the league and a ton of tall guys that can stroke it from the outside. That's not to say that the Cavs couldn't beat them in a seven game series, but I would absolutely rather play the Celtics. That's right Jon Barry, I said I would rather play the Celtics. Your idiotic Daily Dime notwithstanding Jon, I would rather play the Celtics. I encourage all of you to go read his Daily Dime column on ESPN this morning and go tell him what an idiot he is. Right Jon, the most "mentally tough" team in the Eastern Conference is the same one that couldn't stand upright away from home last year in the playoffs. Why is it that the "experts" over at ESPN only mention the Cavs as a contender with flaws? When LA shits the bed at home to a crappy Philly team, it's because they're realizing that they don't need home court in the playoffs and the Sixers are really playing tough. When Boston folds down the stretch, it's because of Garnett. When Cleveland keeps winning, it doesn't matter because they don't have a "legitimate third option" and they can't win without Ben Wallace. Great analysis this morning fellas.

3. I said it in a comment earlier this week: I'm not alarmed about the Cavs right now but I'm definitely concerned. This team can't jump shoot their way to a title. Lebron has to be attacking the rim all night and when teams take him away, Mo and Delonte need to be penetrating and Z needs to be getting the ball down low. Honestly, I'm more concerned with the offense right now than I am the defense. A few matchup problems aside (Guys like Yao and Howard), the Cavs can turn the screws on anyone defensively when they want to, especially at home. But, if they continue to develop an identity as a jump shooting team, it will be hard to break out of it in May and June.

4. Everyone talks about Ben Wallace being a huge difference maker but from where I stand, the biggest difference between the current version of the Cavs and the one that was mauling everyone earlier in the year is Delonte West. He doesn't look like he's ever been fully healthy since he came back from the wrist injury. Before he got hurt, his shooting was fantastic and he was attacking the basket with regularity. Now, he just disappears on the court for long periods of time. I know with his psychological issues, there is a lot that can be going on at any given time that can impact his play but this team desperately needs him to return to his early-season form.

5. Like I said, I missed three quarters of this game and I can see from the box that Lebron played out of his head. That being said, the deep three he hit at the end of the game made me want to vomit. I know, I know, I'm Mr. negativity but come on: You're comfortable with Lebron taking ridiculously deep 3's when we're down at the end of games? Me either. Yes, I know he made it and that's what great players do but I just hope that in his head, he knows that such a shot would never be acceptable with the season on the line. Sure, he tried the dribble drive and kick in the few possessions before that and guys were missing the open shots but it still didn't justify what he did. I'll take the win and not say any more about it but please, someone out there just assure me that Lebron understands that he can't take these shots in the playoffs.

6. LA lost and the Cavs now have the best record in the league. Will they hold on to it? I'd say it's 50/50. The Cavs aren't playing that well right now and still have plenty of tough games ahead. They need to treat every one of them like a playoff game because as much as this team can win on their road, their best bet to win a title is an 08 Celtics type playoff course where they win everything at home and try to steal a couple of games on the road.

Ok, that's it for this morning. I honestly don't even know how to feel right now. We have the best record in the NBA but I felt much better about this team two months ago. I need some reassurance people. What do all of you have to say?

51 comments:

The Talented Lamond Murray said...

I liked the way the cavs started the game and I liked the way they finished. That said, the middle of the game seemed to be a regression towards previous seasons where they would consistently blow leads in the 3rd quarter and have to claw out a win in the 4th. But I'll take a win against Orlando (or any team that espn decides to romanticize) any day of the week.

Regarding Delonte, I don't think we'll see him attack the basket as much anymore. The busted wrist, coupled with the nasty fall he had against the suns has probably shaken him a bit. Hopefully he'll get that confidence back before the playoffs, but only time will tell.

Pete Incaviglia said...

Good read Biff. Todays daily dime seriously made me want to claw my eyeballs out of my head. I've long contested that the Barrys are the Freakin' Kennedys of asshattery, but Jon's work this morning takes things to an new level. Sure Boston is only playing .580 ball since new years but Kevin Garnett is really intense and lots of their players are famous so they should win it all. What stunning analysis.

As far as the Cavs are concerned, I really don't think we are in as dire straits as you think. Just in the last two games since they've been home I feel that I've seen marked improvement in many facets of their play. They have a ways to go but with all of their home games and all the practice time they should have available to them between now and the end of the season, they should be able to get the kinks worked out.

It is March 18, and we are 41 games over .500! I truly believe that this is it Cleveland fans. We finally possess the team that's going to bring home the big one. Lets enjoy it for what it is because we are only gonna pop our championship cherry one time and I for one don't want to miss a moment.

Go Cavs!!

Anonymous said...

Lebron hits cluth jumpshots and free throws and you bitch about it, get a life and enjoy this team, dont criticize. Lebron has developed his jumpshote tremendously, since defenders tend to play off of him, leaving him open for a three or jumper he's going to take it. Why the hell not he's a great player. We just pulled ahead big time for homecourt last night, and all I read is how "im not convinced that the cavs are playing the way they should".

I am, they are winning ballgames, enjoy the team if not then quit blogging about your worries, christ.

Biff said...

Great points by both of you. Lamond, I forgot about the spill Delonte took in Phoenix. I sincerely hope that it hasn't made him hesitant to penetrate but then again, if it were me in that position, I'd think twice before going in there again. Still, we need him. He's "x-factor" (cliche' alert!) on our offense.

Incy, thank you for introducing asshatery into the CMCR vernacular. ESPN's writers really do amaze me sometimes. Barry, Bucher, and Adande know less about the NBA than you or I, Stephen A. flagrantly invents stories, and Hollinger gets so wrapped up in the numbers sometimes that he forgets to watch the games (hence the reason I think he actually overrates the Cavs sometimes).

I like your attitude on this team. An NBA season is full of peaks and valleys and if this team is going through a valley while continuing to beat good teams and clinch the top seed, well I'd say that's a pretty tollerable valley.

Go Cavs

Biff said...

I do enjoy the team anonymous, I just don't want to pin our title hopes on a 33% 3 point shooter pulling up from 4 feet behind the line with the game on the line. Does that make me a bad fan? I'm not allowed to enjoy a win and express concern that the manner in which it was achieved is not sufficient to sustain our winning ways throughout the playoffs?

Don't you see the difference between a post like yours and one like Incy's? Yours basically says "Ignore everything that doesn't support your theory of the Cavs winning a title and just blindly assume that because they're winning in March, they'll win in June." The other point of view essentially states that while we should focus on enjoying the ride and be optimistic about the future, it's ok as intelligent fans to be concerned about the way the team is currently playing.

One view is ignorant; the other is insightful. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which is which.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that yes they have been winning in march, but they also have been doing this in feb,jan, dec..etc do i have to go on.

the cavs are very close to clinching home court- FYI look at their shooting percentages at home when compared to the road biff..get a clue....that 33% suddenly turns much better- doesnt it??? I see who is ignorant, but dont think i need to say who.

Anonymous said...

*not 33%- team shooting percentages, sorry my mistake*

Biff said...

Well now don't I feel sheepish. Now that I look at it, Lebron only shoots 31% from 3 at home. As you promised, "that 33% suddenly turn[ed] much better."

Listen buddy, if you want to have an intelligent discussion about the Cavs on this blog, by all means, that's what it's hear for. But don't come strutting in here calling people out and shitting at the mouth if you aren't going to do your homework.

Here's the link to LBJ's splits in case you actually want to learn something today.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/splits?playerId=1966

Anonymous said...

Exactly, thank you for proving my point "buddy" i think its clear that everyone knows your wrong. I saw danny ferry and LJS eating some fish sticks and he was pleased with the result of the game. Just enjoy this team and quit bitching when we win...why such negativity towards the best team in the league.

Biff said...

LJS? Long John Silver?

pete Pincaviglia said...

Ya i sort of disagree with you biff, cavs have been shooting well all year, not just march at the q. They are a solid team with good shooters and i am not affraid of them showing this off at the end of big games.

Lebron is a cluth player, and would welcome him taking any shot in crunchtime, not real sure what you are implying by lebron's 3 pt%, how many field goals has he hit in the fourth quarter this year. Not as many as previous years because this team is playing so well that he is usually resting in the 4th qtr.

Biff said...

Ok, we're getting a little side tracked here. Do you want Lebron taking deep contested 3's with the game on the line? Call me crazy but my answer is no. I want him driving to the rim where he's the most unstoppable player in the game. But then again, I just like to be negative.

Stan Van Dundy said...

Just dont understand you cleveland fans. Lebron hits a 3 pointer to win a game, and you complain that he should have gone to the hoop.

Lebron drives to the lane and doesnt get fouled, you complain that lebron gets no calls.

Lebron drives to the hole and passes, he's affraid of taking the last shot.



Make up your mind. cleveland had a quality win against my magic and you amuse me when you are critique the chosen one's shot selection. get a life bottomline.

Anonymous said...

yes i do want him taking a three pointer when the defender steps off of him, leaving lebron WIDE OPEN, not sure whats so hard to understand, it wasnt a bad shot, the defender gave him the three and he took it, and MADE IT BIFF. point done.

Biff said...

Stan:

Yes, we want Lebron to go to the hope. On the dribble drive, he's the most dominant player I've ever seen. From the outside, he's just another guy.

In his first few years in the league, he didn't get calls. Now, for the most part, he gets those calls. You won't hear us complaining about them too often.

Your third point was an invention of the national media. Cleveland fans never criticized Lebron for passing to open teamates.

Anonymous, you should e-mail the Magic and tell them not to back off Lebron from 25 feet. I'm surprised after watching all that film that they didn't understand how to get him to take a low-percentage shot.

Anonymous said...

Ill watch lebron take wide open threes to win a game all day. it wasnt a forced shot, off balance 3 as you are trying to make it out to be, not sure what your beef with that shot is biff?

Stan Van Dundy said...

thats a joke, all i hear out of cleveland is how he gets no respect, and no fouls and moaning all his career. I will enjoy the day that he leaves that city, he deserves better support from his fans. go to the cavs boards and you will see what i see. i agree with the other poster, enjoy the team that you have and stop trying to find problems with them.

Anonymous said...

another thing why that 3 ptr being huge, it also set him up to go to the free throw to ice the game. you dont think that defender would jump in the air if he doesnt sink that open 3 does he?

Anon-2
Biff-1

Biff said...

Anonymous, look at the picture that I posted with the article. I assume that's a shot of the go-ahead 3. Is the shot contested? Is Lebron going straight up? The means justify the ends in the playoffs. In the regular season, you're still trying to get things right so that when crunch time comes, you know how to execute. That's not how the Cavs should be executing their offense in playoff crunch time.

Stan, why don't you go watch some more "Around the Horn" or "ESPN first take" because that seems to be your source of information. Lebron is leaving. Cleveland fans whine about the officials. blah blah blah. Way to bring some original thoughts to the table.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are clueless...did any thought cross your mind that the defender was playing off of hmi so much that he couldnt recover, look at how high in his jump shot lebron is in comparison to the defender, he is barely leaving his feet by the time lebron shoots, im done- i thought you had some basketball knowledge but it is apparent i was "ignorant" on this knowledge you had.

Anon-3
Biff-1


Why bother blogging about something you know nothing of...hilarious.

Anonymous said...

The time to criticize that shot by lebron is when he misses it, not makes the gw shot. What would your response be Biff if he took and made that same 3 pt shot in game 7 on the finals to win against the lakers??? answer that biff. would u bitch and moan..oh he should have gone to the rim...or would you celebrate a larry O'brien?????????????????????????????

Point done,

anon-4
biff-1

Roger Podacter said...

Anon, You have made few somewhat valid points but claiming that LBJ's three was a smart bet just isn't one of them. Look at the picture bro. Does that look like an on balance, high percentage shot to you?

It's a fine line to walk because like it or not, superstars have a different set of rules than everyone else on the court. Yes Lebron has earned the right over the years to take that shot, and yes he made it. But for you to claim that you'd be happy with him taking that shot with our season on the line is silly at best and idiotic at worst.

Just my opinion.

Biff said...

Why I don't I just make a new rule for you Anon: No more making nuanced arguments. Everything must be black and white. All actions must be classified as either good or bad. Would that make things easier for you?

Anonymous said...

So by you dodging my question biff, i take it as you know im right? well thank you.

If you feel so inclined to give me an answer id appreciate it, would you celebrate or write a blog criticizing that horrible "low percentage shot"...

Anonymous said...

anon-5
biff-1

thank you, again

Biff said...

Your premise is that Lebron taking an off-balance 25 footer at the end of a game is a good shot. What do you want me to argue? Would I be happy if he made it to win a game 7 in the playoffs? Um, yeah. Except this isn't the playoffs. This is the regular season meaning I can't ignore the fact that, aside from giving us the win, that shot probably just encouraged Lebron to take that shot again when it really counts even though he'll miss it 70% of the time.

Anonymous said...

dont dodge the question- would you criticize him or not,,,,


let me put this into your terms


YES or NO?

Anonymous said...

would you criticize him?----Not would you be happy. read the question carefully as you have misread what i said.



Yes or NO?

Alvaro Espinoza said...

The question is would you rather have Lebron shooting a three-pointer, which he may make around 30% of the time or driving to the hop for a shot and a possible foul, which occurs 50% of the time, if not more.

Anonymous said...

Maybe thats your question alv, but MY QUESTION to biff is would you critize him?

Can anyone answer MY question, am i not typing in english? tell me if im not then i will say im sorry.

Biff said...

If Lebron made a 3 to win us a title, no, I wouldn't criticize him because I wouldn't care how he did it because we would've reached our ultimate goal. Instead, what we're really talking about is a regular season game in which said 3-pointer probably undermines our ability to reach that goal.

Anonymous said...

Thank the lord, he answered NO, which is the answer I was looking for, your damn right you wouldnt criticize him, why? because he made it and won that game 7, hypothetically.

Why should you not criticize him for last night's shot? HMM...tough one let me read what you just posted...because he made the shot and won the game...its not that hard (I would think).

mikey said...

Just wanted to throw in that over the past 2 months lebron has been shooting 40% from 3 point land.
that is pretty damn good if you ask me, but get what your saying about lebron shooting jumpshots at the end of the game he does tend to struggle. Last night he had a good look at it, but he wasnt wide open by no means "anon". but do agree its not our place to critique him when he makes it, if he misses then he will get alot of criticism. When he makes shots like that I cant really say much but celebrate another cavs W.

mikey said...

biff- also i wouldnt pay to much attention to "anon" as i believe it the same poster who posts under snowfall or snowball for the plain dealer. haha...his long john silvers comment i believe gave it away.

I have read stuff from him accusing danny ferry of throwing the season because he "scheduled" back to back games for the cavs, so wouldnt put to much effort in responding to this guy.

Biff said...

Mikey

Good comments. I like to respond to everyone if I can because I enjoy talking about the Cavs, as nonsensical as the discussion may be. That's why we have the blog. It's not that much fun to write posts. It's much more enjoyable to read people's comments and engage them in dialogue.

As for Lebron, here's the thing: As a fan, I'm allowed to be selfish. I care about titles, plain and simple. So if Lebron takes a bad shot and gets a good result in a regular season game, I'm entitled to be concerned that he's going to take the same bad shot in a playoff game and get a negative result. Being able to criticize him after the ball clangs off the rim and the season is over isn't going to do a whole lot to make me feel better.

And keep in mind, there is a difference between criticizing Lebron and expressing concern that Lebron is starting to think he's capable of doing things on a consistent basis that he really doesn't have the ability to do.

Art Brosef said...

I cannot believe this debate, or lack thereof I should say.

Obviously no Cavs fan would criticize Lebron hitting a game winner in game 7 of the finals, because that would achieve the ultimate goal. Thats not the issue in question.

Biffs point, which is accurate, is that with the game on the line, Lebron shooting 3s isnt utilizing the Cavs strengths.

Yes, he made it last night. We are happy he did and it was a good win. Biffs merely saying that if the ultimate goal is a NBA championship, the cavs cannot rely on jump shooting and must go back to moving the ball and attacking the basket.

The Cavs can be inefficient on offense and get away with it most nights, due to their ability to play defense and the overall depth of their roster. But when it comes down to crunch time, they need to maximize their talents and having Lebron on the perimeter isnt doing that. Trust me, the Magic got just want they wanted when Lebron shot that 3 late in the game. Obviously, they didnt want him to make it. But they knew he was going to have the ball, and they got the attempt they wanted.

mikey said...

Ya i agree with you on that one, lebron, to often, looks for the jaw dropping jumpshot for the game winner. I agree thats not his game, he's much better getting to the hole for an old fashioned 3, or go to the line for free ones. that is why its so much better being a cavs fan this year, we can express concerns that we see because there is a "bigger picture" of a championship. Anon dont worry to much about this one 3 pointer he made but rather look at the grand scheme of things as the championship is ultimatly what we are after. Biff is so right, we are better off with him driving to the hoop either dishing to mo or taking it strong to the hole.

keep the blog going man, dont worry about D's like "anon"

Art Brosef said...

Right. The fact that the shot went in last night is completely irrelevant to Biffs point.

I was at the game and about 3 people around me, myself included, all said "nooooo" as Lebron was pulling up for that 3.

Biff said...

Haha, that's fantastic. I was in a bar in the warehouse district and people had the same reaction.

Snowfall said...

Hey yo biff
was talking with my man Danny at Long John Silvers this morning, he said he's a bit nervous abuot the game tonight. I reasurred him that the wonderful fans at the q will bring the noise in this one and propel them to victory. He then thanked me and continued reading "for the record" page on the plain dealer as i walked out.

My boy Danny is always looking out for his team, but lets bring the noise tonight cleveland as they will need the energy to get them through this game tonight.



gamez'd

Biff said...

Wow, Danny really loves him some LJS

snowfall said...

I see him there every day except on Wednesdays where he meets with Gilbert in the late morning. He's actually a cool guy, just a matter of finding which one he is at.




Silver'd

Kermit Washington said...

Funny, I always would've pegged Dan Ferry as an Arthur Treachers kind of fella. Now I find out he love LJSs. You truly do learn Something new every day.

I am attending the game tonite and I'm very excited to see Greg Oden drag his rickety old body up and down the court for 30 minutes. Should be a real hoot. Anyway, Hopefully the team's day off yesterday was a big help and they don't come out looking like they've never played the game before. Portland is a very talented team but unfortunately for them this is OUR time to shine.

Go Cavs tonight, should be a good one.

Biff said...

I concur on the Aurthur Treachers sentiment. Any man shrewd enough to wait out Mo Williams is dining on some quality fish & chips. That guy you're seeing at LJS is probably just a decoy to throw the media off the scent. Meanwhile, Ferry is probably down in Warrensville Heights mauling a delicious meal.

Kermit Washington said...

I concur Biff, the man that snowfall saw was probably Tim Misny. It's an honest mistake. It just seems to me that my man Dan Ferry isn't interested in any old slop. He craves a Higher quality mass-produced, fried, seafoodesque product. There is only one place in NE Ohio for that---Big Art Treachers.

snowfall said...

Nope, you both are wrong. i just talked to him today at Long John silvers, we had a good conversation, that danny has a way with words, i tell ya...

Biff said...

No no, Kermit is right. When big Dan wakes up with a hankering for hushpuppies, he most certainly makes his way down to Artie Treachers. He's a millionaire snowfall. Do you really think he would subject himself to anything less than the swankiest most upscale fast food seafood restaurant in northeast Ohio? Come on man.

Kermit Washington said...

"that danny has a way with words, i tell ya..."


Snowfall, did he tell you "I'll be there for you, and I'll make them pay."? Because that man is not Dan Ferry.

snowfall said...

NO


It is Danny Ferry.







Believe it, dont be mad you dont have insider conversations with the MAN.

Biff said...

So, snow, what does big Dan order at LJS? What do the two of you chat about?

Barry Lakin said...

Ferry should be at the NCAA tournament scouting for centers. No way is he still in town eating at LJS, AT, Yours Truly, or Corky and Lennys.