Posted on: June 2, 2009 2:55 am
Edited on: June 2, 2009 5:44 am
 

My Blog is Moving

I will no longer be writing here on CBS sports.  My blog has been moved to the following site:

www.cavalierscentral.blogspot.com


If you would like to read anything else I write, that's where it will be.


Category: NBA
Posted on: June 1, 2009 9:56 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2009 9:57 pm
 

Trade LeBron?

Now, I know what most of you are thinking:  "That's insane!  It would be the dumbest move ever!"  I read this in the comments section on a Boston Celtics blog, and that's the first thing I thought too.  I also thought to myself, "of course it wasn't from a Cleveland blog.  Trading LeBron would be like trading KG, Ray, and Paul Pierce if you were the Celtics."  But then I really thought about it, and it started to make sense.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think LeBron will leave, but you're kidding yourself if its not a possibility.  I, as well as other Cavs fans, have argued with numerous people that LeBron won't leave, but I've always acknowledged that it's there.  Well, what if LeBron had made it known privately that he intends to bolt Cleveland?  Then you have to trade him right?  You can't lose him for nothing.  So, with that thought in mind, I went over to the ESPN trade machine to see if I could find a logical landing spot for LeBron. 

Keep in mind we are talking about trading the best player in the league before he has even reached his prime.  To do that, the other team would need to have a lot of pieces to make a deal.  Those pieces include:

  1. An emerging star (can't be over 26-27)
  2. Several good, young players
  3. A few expiring contracts
  4. Draft picks galore
  5. Not in the EASTERN CONFERENCE
Knowing this, I was able to narrow it down to two teams (that's right, only two teams really work here).  They are:


PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS

They have the emerging star (Roy), they have several good, young players (Aldridge, Fernandez, Batum, Webster), they don't have the major expiring deal, but it's ok because you don't really need it with the other stuff they have.  Now, let's say the Cavs throw this offer out there:

Roy
Aldridge
Pryzbilla
Batum
2010 1st round pick

for

James
Hickson

Do the Blazers bite?  If I were running Portland, I don't think I would, but this is LeBron James we are talking about.  I think you have to at least see what happens.  And if they don't take it, so what?  There is one other team out there that fits the description even moreso than Portland.


OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder

You had to know this was coming, didn't you?  The Thunder are in position to get ANYTHING they want through a trade.  And, in this case, anything is the best player in the game.  Now, it would take quite a lot, but the Thunder, more than any other team, would be able to give up a lot and still be in the hunt.  What would they have to give up?  Well, if I'm Cleveland, I'm asking for no less than:

Kevin Durant
Jeff Green OR Russell Westbrook
Nick Collison
Three future first round picks

Do the Thunder take this?  It's tough to say.  On the one hand, Durant looks like he could be a star.  On the other hand, it's LeBron James.  And if you're the Thunder, you can fill the shoes of Green or Westbrook through the draft (either with Rubio or Jordan Hill).  In fact, if you include Russell in the deal, and draft Rubio, the Thunder could go to a more uptempo style of play which would really suit LeBron (let's face it, the guy can play in any system).



These are just two scenarios, and if you're a Cavs fan, you might think it's crazy.  But let it sink in for a moment.  You have a chance to increase the talent level, as well as get a few picks.  Of course, you would be losing the greatest player in Cavalier history, while he can still play, but if the Cavs go on to raise a couple of banners without him, that would take away some of the sting, right?

Posted on: May 31, 2009 4:25 pm
 

Well, That's It

The Magic have finally finished the Cavaliers, winning the series 4-2.  I'm not really sure how to go about this entry, but I will go ahead and wing it.


-The Magic were better.  It's really as simple as that.  At every position other than Small Forward, the Magic had the advantage. 


-That being said, it was really Dwight Howard who ruined the Cavs' chances.  Duh.  All year, the Cavs struggled with teams that had major frontcourt players (Boston, LA, Orlando, Houston).  The Cavaliers just don't have the interior defender they need to get the job done.


-However, don't get carried away.  Let's just look back at what the Cavs were able to accomplish.  They won 66 games.  Finished first in an Eastern Conference that had two other ELITE teams, something that hasn't been said for a while.  They were the second best defensive team in the league. 


-Sometimes when things end too quickly, we have a tendency to try to find more fault than there is.  In the shock and pain of defeat, even the most rational tend to want to criticize anything and everything.  That was the reason I chose not to write this entry after the game.  I was ready to tear in to everyone, but I am glad I didn't.  Just that one night of sleep has given me a chance to put things in perspective a little bit.  Look, when a team wins 66 games, there is not a whole lot they are doing wrong.  This team could have won a title.  They lost one game by one, and another game by two.  They were two Rashard Lewis threes from the NBA finals.  They were outplayed in 5 of the 6 games, yet they were more than capable of getting four wins in this series.  There is no guarantee they could have beaten the Lakers, but they could have won this series.


-Of course, the fact that they could have won does not mean they should stand pat with this roster.  It's painfully obvious what this team is lacking:  a low post defender.  If they ever want to get past Orlando, or take down the Lakers, they need a player in the post who can defend and hold his own.  We saw what Dwight Howard looked like against a team that has very good interior defense (Boston).  Yes he had his games, but it was a lot tougher, and it didn't happen every time.  The problem is, I'm not sure who the Cavs trade to get that post presence.  Wally's deal's expired, Ben Wallace's might not be there if he retires, no one is going to want Varajeo if that $10 mil asking price is met, and I don't think the Cavs are ready to field offers for Hickson.  And don't even start on Ilgauskas because, even though he would be a perfect trade candidate, you just can't move him.  Cavs fans know you can't move him.  So, that leaves the draft, and I don't know about you, but I don't see anyone in the draft that could fit the Cavs' need for a frontcourt stopper. 


-Going back to the Magic series, please, no more criticism of LeBron.  The guy put up a 39-8-8 against the best defensive team in the league.  He's done more than enough in six years to "prove" himself.  If you are upset about the amount of hype placed on him, that's fine.  It's just something you are going to have to deal with.  Whether the guy has won a title or not, he is clearly one of the top-2 players in the league.  Taking absolutley nothing away from Howard, he was a monster in this series, but LeBron was better.  The Magic had the better team, and ultimately, that's why they won.  LeBron played as well as humanly possible, and was the reason the Cavs could have won this series.  There is really nothing people can knock him on either.  He has become a good three point shooter, his midrange game is up to the point where you have to guard him, and he is still the best finisher in the league.  He is arguably the best weakside defender in the league, as well as, arguably, the best individual defender.  Again, you can hate the hype, but don't hate the man.  Or, as Mac Dre put it, "Don't hate the player, hate the game."


-Wrapping it all up, there are a few more things I'd like to say.  First, a quote from Wendell Phillips:

"What is defeat?  Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better."

Remember that.  Especially with a player like LeBron, there is no need to worry about this team not coming back with the same attitude next year.  LeBron will stop at nothing to get that ring.  We all wondered how, after maybe his best 82-game season ever, he would elevate his game in the playoffs.  No one thought it could get any higher.  It did.  No one thought he could elevate his game beyond that in the Eastern Conference Finals.  He did.  There is no ceiling for this guy.  He is ceiling-less.  And the more times he walks off the floor beaten at the end of the year, the better he is going to come back.  He is on the Michael Jordan career path right now.  And this is not an overreaction from a fan, this is analysis from someone who doesn't throw around insane praise unless it's warranted.  There is really only one hole in LeBron's game:  his post moves.  Once he develops a post game, he will truly be unstoppable. 


Well, that's it.  It was a long, fun ride, that unfortunately, ended all too quickly.  But here's the thing:  as much as it hurts right now to say "wait till next year" again, it will only make victory that much sweeter.  It feels even worse after this year, but when that team is finally holding up the trophy at the end of the season, you will look back and be glad to have been a part of this year.  After all, what fun is winning if you can't enjoy the ride, no matter what happens?  So, with that, I will leave you all with this thought:

"We find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve."

 

This is just another obstacle to conquer.  The goal is defined.  We'll be back next year.  Thanks everyone, it has been, and will continue to be, a fun ride.

Category: NBA
Posted on: May 29, 2009 3:16 am
 

It's About Freakin' Time!

Thank the Lord!  Sorry though, apparently the other Cavs have not yet been introduced.  Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Daniel Gibson:  Welcome to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.  LeBron James has solidified himself as the best in the game through the first four games in this series (even though they were down 3-1), but none of his other teammates got the memo that the playoffs aren't over.  Tonight though, the rest of the team showed up.  Mo Williams finally (FINALLY!) shot the ball well, going 7-14 (6-9 from three) for 24 points.  Big Z went 6-8 from the floor for 16 points, and even Daniel "Boobie" Gibson got his shot going, hitting 3 three-pointers.  (Including two HUGE three pointers in the fourth quarter).  That being said, let's get right down to business.


LeBron James.   What more needs to be said.  The guy was averaging 42-7-7 on 51% shooting coming in to game 5, and in the biggest game of the season, he came through in a BIG way.  37-14-12, and he was involved in 28 consecutive points in the 4th quarter.  The guy was unreal tonight.  Absolutely incredible.  Just when you thought he couldn't do anything else to prove he is the best player, he comes up with this.  I have nothing more to say.


Mo Williams.  Tonight was just what he needed.  11 points in the first quarter, hitting pretty much everything in sight.  If he can have the same kind of performance in Orlando, then the Cavs will be in good shape.


Daniel Gibson.  The guy could do nothing right when he came in to the game in the first half.  However, when the Cavs needed big plays from someone not named LeBron, "Boobie" provided those plays.  He hit a big three at the end of the third quarter, and, like I mentioned earlier, two GIGANTIC threes in the fourth quarter.  He then finished off the Cavs' seven straight free throw makes.  Finally, someone off the Cavs bench did something tonight.



Now, not everything was good tonight.  For the third time in this series, the Cavs jumped out to a big lead, only to lose it all.  The Cavs have to realize that this Magic team does not give in.  The way they shoot the ball, they can come back from any lead, at any time.  This is not the Hawks or the Pistons.  The Cavs CANNOT let up once they get a big lead.  That being said, I would much rather be the team continually jumping out to big leads rather than the team needing to come back from them. 

The Cavs finally out shot the Magic for the first time in this series, and it showed on the scoreboard.  Pietrus, Turkoglu, and Lee had decent to good shooting games, but Rashard and Alston were TERRIBLE.  While they both missed some open shots, the Cavs defense was much better rotating and finding them. 

The Magic went to the line 7 more times tonight, making them +10 in attempts for the series.  So, anyone trying to claim the officiating is biased is no longer paying attention to the facts.  Even with the advantage, the Magic didn't shoot that well from the line, going just 28-41. 

Game 5 is over, and it wasn't pretty.  But the important thing is, the Cavs came out with a win.  Now they have to focus on playing even better if they want to get game 6 and bring this thing back to Cleveland.
Posted on: May 27, 2009 2:38 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2009 7:30 pm
 

Trying To Stay Positive

(DISCLAIMER:  This is likely to be an extremely biased post.  I have tried to keep it as unbiased as possible, and I think I have done a good job of that, but this will be all from a Cavs point of view.  So, if you are going to respond to this blog, please keep that in mind!)


This is it.  The Cavaliers are on the brink.  They've got one foot over the ledge and are on their heel, teetering.  Up to this point, I have tried to keep a level head.  However, one of the great things about being a fan is being totally, and completely biased until the end.  Well my fellow Cavs fans, we have reached the point of no return.  It is officially win or go home in C-Town.  There is nothing to fear but fear itself (WARNING:  there are going to be a lot of cliches in this entry).  There is no reason to be scared or nervous.  They will have to win three games in a row against a team it does not match up well, and has had little success, against.  The Q needs to be loud on Thursday.  The fans need to cheer like they've never cheered before.  There is no tomorrow if they don't win.  That should motivate the crowd (hopefully). 

Anyways, now that that's out of the way, let's review some of what has happened.


Mo Williams and Delonte West have disappeared.   We all know this.  It's no secret.  Mo Williams is a horrid 23-71 from the floor and 6-27 from the three.  There's a dirty little secret here though:  Mo hasn't played well for the entire postseason.  Under 40% from the floor and just 32% from the three, not to mention his well below average 75% from the line.  It's not Orlando stopping Mo Williams, it's Mo Williams stopping Mo Williams.  This is one thing Cavs fans can find hope in.  If Mo Williams turns it around, the Cavs are right back in this thing.

However, his backcourt mate Delonte West is not fairing much better.  Delonte has shot better than Mo throughout the playoffs (46% FG, but 32% from three), but he is having a subpar series against the Magic (43.5% FG, 5-17 from three).  Not to mention the numerous open three pointers he has had against Orlando but has failed to make.  I know many Cavs fans may have lost hope on these two, but don't.  We just need them to pick it up for game 5.  If we can get them going in game 5, there is no telling what can happen.


LeBron is playing out of his mind.  Please, no more LeBron bashing.  I'm getting real tired of it.  Can you blame the guy for his team being down 3-1?  He's averaging 42, 7, 7 on 51% FG shooting.  He is doing everything he possibly can do to keep his team in this series.  The Cavs bench has given them 41 points through 4 games, or, to look at it another way, 15 points less than Mickael Pietrus has scored in the same 4 games.  For all that LeBron has done, I will say this:  18 turnovers through four games is too much.  Especially last night's 8.  They were a killer.  But when you give him the ball 95% of the time and tell him to make things happen, that's what you get.  Just look at the turnover leaders for the regular season:

  1. Stephen Jackson 3.9
  2. Dwyane Wade 3.4
  3. Deron Williams 3.4
  4. Steve Nash 3.4
I could go on and on with that list, but the point is pretty simple.  If you look at the list, you will see some of the biggest ball dominators at the top.  Why?  Because they control the ball more.  Wade, Williams, Nash, all of them control the ball well over 75% of the time.  You are going to turn it over. 

Back to LeBron.  Look, if you are tired of hearing about LeBron, then I'm sorry.  There is nothing anyone can do about it.  As long as the guy is in the league, you are going to hear about him.  There were people who were sick of Jordan too, but the NBA is a superstar driven league.  LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade.  Those are the guys that are going to get marketed.  The thing is, all of them can back up the "hype."  I know I've gotten off topic a bit, but I have a lot to get off my chest today.  And besides, LeBron is the reason the Cavs still have a chance.  They could be up 3-1 right now, instead of down 3-1 (conversely, this series could be over, but I told you before it would be a biased post). 


The Magic continue to outshoot the Cavs.  I'm optimistic, but, at the same time, I'm realistic.  The Cavs have been outplayed for 7/10 halves in this series, yet they have had a chance to win each game.  Hell, they are two Rashard Lewis three pointers from being up 3-1.  The Cavs have been outshot %-wise in every single game.  They have made 18 fewer threes.  They have shot 3 fewer free throws. 

Alright, I know I said I was going to write more, but I have to wrap it up.  I will leave everyone with this.  If the Cavs hit at least one more three in games 1 and 4, they are up 3-1.  If you are a Cavs fan, take comfort in that.  This series is not over until the Magic outscore the Cavs for 48 minutes one more time. 

Posted on: May 17, 2009 4:50 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2009 10:49 pm
 

Conference Finals

In what was supposedly a wide-open playoffs, we will see the top two seeds from the Western Conference face off in the conference finals.  As always, before I move on to the preview, I have one thing to say.  The Lakers were never going to lose this series... and it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OFFICIALS!  Look, the Lakers have been like this all season.  When they want to play, they will come out and play, usually winning.  However, they take games off.  Some might find that hard to believe, but its true.  And in this series, the Lakers have taken three games off.  Anything CAN'T happen in this series.  The Lakers came to play in game 7, and it has showed.  OK, now that I've got that off my chest, here is the Western Conference finals preview.


LOS ANGELES vs. DENVER

The Nuggets have looked very good in the first two rounds.  They have been the second most impressive team of the postseason thus far.  However, this series will come down to, again, if the Lakers decide to show up for four games.  If they show up for four games, they will win this series.  Denver, in my opinion, actually matches up quite well with the Lakers.  They have the edge at Point Guard, Small Forward, and with the way Bynum has played, Center.  They have no answer for Gasol and Kobe offensively, but lining up opposite of those two are two very good defenders in Dahntay Jones and Kenyon Martin.  The Nuggets played the Lakers once without Billups, once without Martin, and the other loss was just after they picked up Billups.  Of course, the Denver win came with Bynum out with a knee injury, so we really haven't seen these two play when both are at full strength.  Well, they are both full strength now, so it will be interesting. 

WHO I WANT TO WIN:  Denver Nuggets


WHO I THINK WILL WIN:  Los Angeles in 5




CLEVELAND vs. ORLANDO

I knew Orlando would win in Boston.  The Magic were just better.  In a seven game series, the better team wins.  If the Celtics had had Garnett and Powe, then this series would have turned out differently.  Alas, they just did not have enough to get past Orlando, home court or not.  As for this ECF matchup, the Magic are scary.  I long held the belief that if there was one team to beat Cleveland in the postseason, it could be the Magic.  It's no secret the Magic won two games easily against Cleveland (both at home).  If there is one thing Cavs fans can take solace in it's that the first meeting in Orlando took place without Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Jameer Nelson was playing.  Of course, these two teams met again late in the season with Cleveland at full strength, and Orlando missing Jameer, and the Magic won easily.  The only meeting in Cleveland was a back and forth affair which the Cavs eventually won on a game winning three from LeBron James.  Looking at the regular season, all the signs point to an Orlando victory.  However, Cleveland has been above phenomenal in the postseason.  They had no problems dispatching Detroit and Atlanta in eight straight games, while the Magic have looked anything but in struggling against the 76ers and an undermanned Boston team.  That being said, I believe we are getting the top two eastern conference teams in the league at this moment.  Right now, Orlando and Cleveland are just beter than Boston.  As for who wins, I don't know.  My head says Orlando, but my gut tells me Cleveland gets it done.


WHO I WANT TO WIN:  Cleveland Cavaliers


WHO I THINK WILL WIN:  Cleveland in 7




2ND ROUND RECAP

4/4
0 bonus points
Posted on: May 15, 2009 2:04 am
 

Lakers Lose again?

I am at a complete loss of words for this Lakers-Rockets series.  Part of me wants to just bash the Lakers for not showing up, but then another part of me remembers the Celtics from last year.  Is there really any difference between Boston last year, and LA this year?  (And I am not talking about the players that make up the team, or how they play.  I am talking about the paths the two have taken.  It's almost identical, without the first round series).  So, that being said, I will make it short and simple.


-Pau Gasol is pathetic
.  Look, Pau is a heckuva player.  I had him on my fantasy team, and he was great this year.  However, this guy got owned tonight by a player who is not even close to as talented, or as tall.  Luis Scola wiped the floor with Pau to the tune of 24-12.  Simply put, the Lakers cannot survive another stinker like that from Gasol.


-Shane Battier had his best defensive night .  Yeah, I said it.  Battier's defense on Kobe was awesome.  Kobe had 32, but on 11-27 shooting.  To really judge how he did defensively, you just need to look at Kobe's assist and rebound totals.  We all know Kobe's going to score, but if his assist and rebound totals are low, then it means he is frustrated by how difficult scoring is.  We've seen it before.  The more difficult it is for Kobe to score, the harder is going to try.  The harder he tries, the more he neglects everything else.  Kobe had two boards and three assists.  Battier was great tonight.


-Is Andrew Bynum alive?   Seriously, has he been playing?  I'm starting to think that knee is not fully healed.  He was 0-3 with no points and seven rebounds.  That is inexcusable.  There is no reason Bynum and Gasol should not be dominating this series with Yao out.  They are facing Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Carl Landry for crying out loud!  I'm not trying to discredit what those three have done, they've been great, but come on.  There's no reason two seven footers should not be destroying them, the tallest of which is 6'-9". 



I honestly don't know what else to say about this game.  I expect the Lakers to win on Sunday just because it seems like there's a pattern here.  
Posted on: May 15, 2009 1:49 am
 

Denver Nuggets Advance

Sorry for the late post everyone, rough last two days.  Anyway, Denver finally did it.  It took a game longer than it should have, but they put the Mavs out of their misery.  Looking back on this series, the Nuggets were just the better team.  Three blowout wins at home, and two close games in Dallas.  I'm really happy for Denver.  I said this on one of the threads on the NBA message boards, but I will say it again:  I love this Nuggets team.  I've always liked Melo, I love what Chauncey brings to the table, I could watch J.R. Smith shoot all day.  Nene and Chris Andersen are two of the more inspiring stories in the league.  Two things in this game really stood out to me.

1.  With just under 7 minutes left, the Mavericks cut the lead to 6.  It looked like the Mavericks were going to come back and possibly steal this when the shot clock got down to 2 seconds.  However, Carmelo Anthony hit a fadeaway three as the clock expired to put Denver back up by 9.  Carmelo is putting it together.  That may be the second biggest shot of his NBA career (game 3 winner in this series being the biggest). 


2.  Chauncey closed it out again.  He hit the free throw to put them up 10.  The Mavs cut it to seven, and Billups hits a three to put them back up 10.  The lead was still 10 when he hit another jumper to put them up 12.  However, the Mavs got it back to eight.  BUT... that's right, Billups hits another jumper.  Basically, every time the Mavs tried to make a run in the 4th, Chauncey stopped it.  This team is going to be very dangerous against LA/Houston.



Speaking of LA/Houston, I will have a post on them shortly.  I will not talk about Orlando/Boston because I have nothing to say on that game.  I missed all of it up to the 4th and was not really paying attention.
 
 
 
 
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