This is my opportunity to share a little knowledge (assists) and cast a little judgement (turnovers) with you, the adoring readers. Post deadline, the NBA title picture has become a lot clearer, with the big moves like Butler/Haywood to the Mavs, and Jamison to the Cavaliers, et cetera. The Cavs were and still are my favorite to win the Title, but Jamison’s presence hasn’t translated in to wins – yet. It will, though, and a tough loss to Orlando is nothing to be ashamed of. A big bright spot for the Cavs in that loss – Shaq outscored Dwight Howard 14-9 when they were actively guarding each other. I guess Superman isn’t quite ready to give up his title yet. More after the jump …
Archive for Cavaliers
Since I can remember paying attention to the NBA, I’m fairly certain there’s been at least one trade every season. The trend lately has been that teams in contention for the title at the point in the season the trading deadline rolls around (mid-February) are under a lot of pressure to “fix” any lingering weaknesses perceived about their lineups, or else a weakness in their balance sheets (more on this in a later post). The Lakers epitomized this last season with their mid-season move to acquire Pau Gasol, who turned out to be their “missing piece.” More after the jump …
Just a few thoughts about the all-star game and all the festivities.
The Slam Dunk Contest, if you can even call it that, was terrible. It was, by far, the worst ever. We’ve gotten to the point that just because some guy is our size, and can dunk, we deem him a great dunker. That’s stupid. Nate Robinson is athletic and has amazing hops. He’s not a great dunker though. Look, we all know that the dunk contest isn’t what it used to be. As Rick Pitino would say Dr. J, Dominique, MJ, Vince Carter, they aren’t walking through that door. The best players in the NBA are not going to compete in the dunk contest. We won’t ever see LeBron, Wade, Melo, etc. That doesn’t mean the dunk contest has to lay a big one. There are tons of athletically gifted players in the NBA who do not get much playing time or aren’t well known to the average fan. If they compete in the dunk contest, they should take that opportunity to get their name out there. Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace, and DeMar DeRozan all had that chance, but they failed. You would think they would take advantage of being in the national spotlight. Instead, it seemed like they really didn’t care. I was very disappointed. Hopefully Dwight Howard will come back next year and add some excitement to the slam dunk contest again.
The All-Star game played out like it normally does. For the first three and half quarters, we get to see the most star-studded pick up game. Then for the last 6 minutes it becomes a real competition and the players actually care who wins or loses. While it’s hard to judge players based on one exhibition game, there were a few who stood out to me.
- Deron Williams: I stated in an earlier post that Chris Paul was much better than Williams; that the debate between them shouldn’t even be a debate. Well, I was wrong. Paul is still better than Williams, but the difference between them is minimal. Williams is a great jump shooter, and while he isn’t the quickest PG, he is very strong and can get any spot on the floor when he wants to. He’s also taken charge of the Jazz and become the leader of the team. The Jazz are 9-1 in their last 10 games and are only 2 games behind the Nuggets for 2nd place in the division. They’ve always had enough talent and coaching to be contenders in the West. Now they have a leader to match.
- Chris Bosh: Toronto doesn’t get much national attention, so Bosh doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, which is a shame. He has led the Raptors to a 29-23 record and he consistently puts up a 23 and 11 every game. Take into account that Jose Calderon has been plagued by injuries this year and Andrea Bargnani hasn’t progressed as the Raptors had hoped, and it becomes very obvious that Bosh is one of the top 10 talents in the league. It will very interesting to see where he goes after this year, along with LeBron and Wade.
- Speaking of LeBron and Wade, they put on quite a show playing on the same team yesterday. Heat fans can only hope that LeBron joins Wade next year in Miami, forming the greatest duo since Shaq and Kobe. ESPN’s John Hollinger has more information about it here.
With the all-star game behind us we can get on with the final third of the season. There are many questions still to be answered. Is Stoudemire going to the Cavs? Who else is going to make a big trade? Can the Celtics and Spurs get healthy and make a strong run into the playoffs? Can any team or teams keep a Lakers-Cavs final from happening? I’m a fan of the unpredictable, but I hope the answer to the last questions is no. I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see and enjoy the rest of the season.
The Cavaliers take on the Heat tonight at 8pm. While LeBron versus Wade is a great individual match up, this is not a great team match up. Over the last 3 years the Cavs are 8-1 against the Heat. That’s the equivalent of any random army facing the French army. Just complete domination. Wade just does not have enough support on his team. The Heat are currently starting Rafer “Skip to my lou” Alston at PG. Unless you are playing outdoors and on concrete, you don’t want Alston as your starting PG. Wade is basically the facilitator and scoring options 1 through 3 for his team. He is currently averaging 28% of his team’s points. If you contain Wade you have an excellent chance of defeating the Heat. Of course containing one of the greatest players in the game is easier said than done, but if you play discipline team defense, it’s possible. During the Heat-Celtics game yesterday, there was a critical possession late in the 4th quarter with the game still up for grabs. Wade tried to drive to the hole with his patented inside-out dribble and the Celtics collapsed on him. Tony Allen was able to strip him and the game was basically over after that. No matter how good you are, you cannot carry your team night in and night out and expect to compete all the time. The fact that the Heat are on the second day of a back-to-back and the Cavs are 20-3 at home means that this game will not be close. Wade and James get theirs and the Cavs get the win 98-86.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Phil Jackson passed Pat Riley to become the winningest coach in Laker history. He, of course, is also the winningest coach in Chicago Bulls history. Critics always point to the fact that Jackson has benefited by having an immense amount of talent on his teams, but all I care about is that he has a ring for every one of his fingers. As Herm Edwards said “you play to win the game.” Hello! Well Jackson gets his players to play to win the championship and he has done that better than any coach in the history of the NBA. So here’s to Phil Jackson, the Zen master.