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First Edition of Coach's Corner and Mid-Point Report

Week 4 for the Cavs Optimist and mid-point in the regular season for the Cavaliers. This is a special week for a couple of reasons: 1) The half-point is a perfect time to reflect where a team in the NBA is right now and where it could be going and 2) This special week deserves expert commentary from one of the Cavs Optimist's main resources - Coach. We appreciate your support Coach and are looking forward to your insights - Take it Away!

Coach's Corner

Welcome to the first edition of the Coach's Corner. I wanted to get some of my opinions out on the site and see if the readers agree with what the Optimist and I believe. Like the Optimist, I have been a life-long Cavs fan and would love to see them finally bring some hardware to our city.

First, I would like to say that the Cavs record to this point is second best in the NBA and the best record in the Eastern Conference. I believe we have had the toughest schedule to this point as well. We have finished both west coast trips this year (7-3), have the best record versus the western conference, and we have eight more home games than away games to finish out the regular season. However, with this being said, the Cavs still have to play great basketball to beat the rest of the teams in the NBA. We are 17-8 on the road so far this season. It is really hard to win games on the road. Also, we have played the most back to back games so far this season. With all of these great stats we a have a 31-11 record halfway through the year.

However, I have noticed throughout this season that we have played to the level of competition more then years past. I'm not worried about this when we get to the playoffs but I am worried about it right now. I think it is critical for the Cavs to get home court advantage. I think we have learned from last season that it is important and we can not afford to lose it. The way I can see us lose this advantage is by losing to teams that are under .500. We play so well against the elite teams in the NBA. We have beaten all of the teams except Boston but they will get theirs in due time. If the Cavs just play the way they can we know they can play we might be able to have the best record in the NBA again this year. I think that is crucial. If we would have beaten the teams we should beat then we would have the best record in the league.

Overall, the Cavs report card mid-way through the year has to be an A. With the additions of Shaq, Parker, Moon, and Powe combined with the difficult schedule the Cavs have done exactly what they needed to do to get better. The second half of the season is favorable and we must continue getting better. We have a couple long homestands and I expect the Cavs to continue their upwards crescendo into a 60+ win season and the coveted # 1 seed in the East. Let's see how they got there during this week:

Cavs (29-10) vs. Golden State Warriors

Key Points:

  • Good start (33 point first quarter) and use of mismatches in a frenzied game.
  • Cavs are 20-6 when leading after the first quarter.
  • Cavs bench did a nice job of holding the lead while LBJ rests.
  • Attacking the basket with LeBron and Shaq created And-1s that we must convert!
  • Three 7+ scoring runs.
  • We have the best record in NBA vs. West over past 2 seasons and must continue it.

Key Player:

  • LeBron - I had to give this game to him. He was a leader and helped us build the lead, created fear on defense, and finished the game. Our closer came through once again.

Theme:

  • Controlling the tempo - This was crucial off a tiring back-to-back shootout with how Golden State plays the game.

Summary:

This game absolutely came down to defense and which team's style would prevail. Our strong defense and precision offensive execution helped us get the lead and we should've won easily. However, the one small chink in our armor so far has been ability to close out quarters/games. We have the ultimate closer as shown in this game's key player, but being up 112-102 with 3 minutes to go and only win by 3 isn't a great sign. Hopefully, it doesn't come back to haunt us in the future. This was a solid win, especially off a tough road back-to-back. Great toughness guys!

Cavs (30-10) vs. Utah Jazz

Key Points:

  • Delonte West - perfect first half. Attacked deron Williams, even causing injury.
  • Controlled defense boards - jazz shot <40%>Moe Williams fouled out. This proved critical in why he is so important to the Cavs. It was evident this game. Come on Parker!

Key Player:

  • TNT Announcers - As we mentioned before, this blog opens up the playbook for a # of things. This game, it was absolutely evident how terrible TNT announcers can be, specifically Reggie Miller. He be-rated Moe Williams for taking a quick three, that he made, calling it an absolutely horrible shot. It happened to be a critical shot and good for Moe taking it "DEEEEP" as a true announcer, Austin Carr would say. Only TNT announcers worth a darn are Doug Collins and Hubie Brown. Do yourself a favor Reggie - your sister is a better announcer than you, listen to Austin Carr, and go back to Indiana.
  • Special Mention - LeBron. Never say die attitude. He put us in his back and took over the game in the fourth quarter.

Theme:

  • Missing Free Throws - If we would have made our we would have flown to LA with a win. I think that we got the players to line that we wanted they just did not convert.

Summary:

Utah is a tough place to play. Looking for payback for easy Cavs win at home vs. undermanned team last time we played . I thought the Cavs were in control much of this game. Then, the wheels started to fall off. But LeBron was awesome in the fourth quarter. As mentioned above, I feel a major reason why we lost game was because Mo Williams fouled out. If he was able to finish the game I think he would have been shooting the free throws and the end of the game would have different. Down the stretch the Jazz did get a little bit lucky. The reason why is that Korver hit a shot from behind the backboard to keep them in the game. I also thought Anthony Parker's defense was poor on the last play. He fell asleep on that play. However, if anyone was going to take that last shot, I would have wanted Sondiatta Gaines to take it. A player on a ten day contract from the D league? Hey you gotta give it to him, he made a great shot. It takes luck to beat the Cavs it seems but in this case, we also let one get way from us in some ways.

Cavs (30-11) vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Key Points:

  • 2-2 on the road trip. Must win to have a successful road trip.
  • Coming off a loss it is important finish the road off the right way.
  • Clippers only have a poor record this year. However, they have played the best teams very well this year.
  • Will we make our free throws?

Key Player(s):

  • Delonte West - I thought Delonte played a great game. When we were struggling he came off the bench and gave us live. He scored 10 of 16 points in the first half. He kept us in the game. Also, he also came up with a huge put back and steal in the late minutes of the game to prserve a victory. When Delonte is playing good and being aggresive the Cavs are very hard to beat.
  • Anderson Varejao - What can I say, he is the heart and sole of our team. His hustle and perserverence is a big reason why we have the record we do. Anderson is also getting better in other aspects of his game. He is becoming a very good all around player. I love watching him. Anderson also shut down Craig Smith on defense. Smith is a good post up player and Anderson shut him down. He played him in a couple of different ways and confused Smith. Great job Andy!
  • Moe Williams - I know Moe has not been playing well the last couple of games but he made up for it against the clippers. He hit a number of important shots and his hustle and desire is a big reason why we won the game. We need Mo to play like he can play!

Theme:

  • Winning - I feel the theme of this game would have to be winning so we had a successful west coast trip. The team knew that if we won this game we would be 3-2 on the trip and gain a two game lead on the Celtics. It was a very important game and I am glad that we won it.

Summary:

This game was a tough game for the Cavs. The last game of the longest road trip of our season. You could tell that we did not have much legs. Also, the Clippers shot the lights out the whole game. They shot 60%. That is unreal. Buttler and Gordon were very hard to stop and hit some very tough shots. The game came down to the hustle plays by Mo, Anderson, and Delonte made. As we made our come back you could see the Clippers started to play tight. They were so conscious not to make a mistake that they eneded up making bad plays. The cavs played their best defense of the night when it mattered the most. Anderson switched onto Baron Davis and made him take a tough shot that he missed badly.

Also, the bench came on with 31 points. I thought the bench played great. When we came out sluggish they picked us up. When LeBron came off the floor our bench was able to cut into the league. Great Job guys.

In conclusion, 3-2 road trip and 31-11 record. I like the position we are in right now.

Optimist Summary:

To paraphrase Coach, this week does not get any easier when we come home the Q. We play the Raptors, Lakers and an up-and-coming Oklahoma City team. We need to bring our "A" game and we need the fans at the Q to be loud and supportive.

I will be coming out with a special article regarding the NBA trade deadline shortly. This will feature what the Cavs should do and who, if anyone, they should move. My inspiration came from taking in a Washington Capital's game this weekend while wearing my "Got LeBron - We do!" Cavs gear. Jamison would be nice but, like I said, only certain people should be moved or don't do it. Our Mid-Point report is an A, let's keep it up and stay tuned!


Cavs Optimist

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