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Off to the Delonte West

It is Week 16 for the Cavaliers and Week 3 for the Cavs Optimist. After continuing the winning momentum into the new year, the Cavs had a tune-up at home vs. Washington and then off to the Delonte West they went. With our longest road trip of the season, this was a key time for our Cavaliers in continuing their dominance vs. the West. We've been see-sawing back and forth with the Celtics for the crucial # 1 seed in the East and this was a big week to take care of our business. Let's get to it:

Cavs (27-9) vs. Washington Wizards

Key Points:

  • Solid start after an uncharacteristic loss. The extra day off proved fatigue was a factor against Charlotte.
  • Bench play - Delonte West and his post-up ability. Jawad Williams insertion with Jamario Moon out and his defensive effort.
  • Hickson was very aggressive attacking Jamison. Jamison warmed up in the 3rd and showed what a threat he can be. An article about Cavs trade rumors will be coming soon and Jamison will definitely be featured.
  • LBJ was off from the outside but got the line, found shooters against the zone, and when he got stuck - made shots over the backboard like I used to on good ole Tarrytown just for fun.

Key Player:

  • Shaquille O’Neal - Have not had Shaq in this role yet and I think it is time. He has been playing much better lately, looks fresh, and is asserting his dominance. His interior passing this game was exceptional.

Theme:

  • Smelling Blood - Rivalry right Arenas and Stevenson? What a joke. The Cavs were fresh, knew they should win this game, and went out and did it.

Summary:

This was a solid win and a good way to start the week. Amazing when the Cavs have rest and motivation. They were not motivated because it was a rivalry simply because they needed the bounce-back win. On a side note, I know the Wizards played without their leader/gunslinger, Gilbert Arenas and that was a loss. Washington is garbage with or without him. And, as I told one of my readers, the NBA made the right decision! Suspend that bum for the rest of the year at least. Good overall win and congrats on the season high in points fellas!

Cavs (28-9) vs. Denver Nuggets

Key Points:

  • Nuggets won 7 of last 9 in Denver.
  • Nuggets frontcourt was more active but this comes down to stopping Billups. Kmart and Nene cannot beat us.
  • After another sloppy 3rd quarter start the end of 3rd quarter defense was solid. Andy block.
  • A re-current issue for the Cavs has emerged in end of quarter scoring and execution.
  • We didn't play our best but showed toughness with guys stepping up at key times but Affalo and Smith's 3s vs. Varajeo's offensive foul hurt us. 19 T.O.s also.

Key Player:

  • Referees - This is a first time for these clowns named key player also. Nonetheless, they were certainly a factor. A couple ridiculous no calls on LBJ drives and didn't help Shaq as he was in foul trouble all game. Shaq was dominating Nene and that certainly was a factor with him on the bench. We always know the calls are going to be tough on the road but let me digress into the gutlessness of Billups. I'm starting an all-gutless team: Chauncey Billups, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Roy, and Paul Pierce so far. These are guys that when playing the game would rather play for the referees to call fouls then play the game. Have some guts and if you’re going to get fouled, I pray it is by Shaq.

Theme:

  • Free Throws and Tos - Too few made and too many made for these categories. They were crucial. When the Donaghy led referees do put you to the line, you must convert! The Cavs rarely lose and rarely lose big. Free Throws have been an Achilles heel for us in the past and proved it this game. I know the Cavs and it will be better next game.
  • Special mention theme - Cavs toughness to continue to fight back. LeBron continued to attack and without the calls finished. Z hit a nice turnaround jumper and it sure looked like the Cavs put themselves in a good position to win.

Summary:

The Cavs had won 5 straight road game and we're a solid 14-6 on the road. This was a let-down and unfortunately because Denver was without Melo Tony. Also unfortunate the ending, because both Orlando and Boston lost. We did not close the game. Couple key 3s by Affalo and Smith vs. our missed Z three point attempt and Varajeo's offense foul led to poor final 2 minutes execution. Hint Mike Brown - run Victory for LeBron.

Cavs (28-10) vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Key Points:

  • Great Start on key bounce back after a loss.
  • Better second quarter defense - fear. Took them out of what they wanted. We are a defensive team!
  • Delonte West - with this week's posting named after him it's no surprise his aggressiveness and scoring helped finished off this week's recap.
  • Shaq/Z/Andy - dominating inside against an under-manned Blazer's frontcourt. Varajeo's fourth quarter defense/hustle proves he's easily the 6th man of the year.
  • Big 3s by Moe (Yes, ESPN he’s a pure shooter! He shoots 90+% from the line also guys) and Jawad Williams.

Key Player:

  • LeBron - Per LeBron, he got upset that he had to wait so long after loss and did he ever bounce back. Leadership, aggressiveness, and overall domination of the Blazers, who he always plays well against. 31 point first half led to a contagious team effort and unheard of near 70% first half shooting. Needs the rest to get ready for a tough back-to-back vs. the Warriors.
  • Special mention - Jawad Williams. Local St. Iggy product with the big, timely shots. We'll take it!

Theme:

  • Perseverance - 15-7 now on the road. Proved don't like the taste of defeat. Only 7 Turnovers.

Summary-Coach's analysis:

I'm replacing the Cavs Optimist summary here with my great resource - Coach. He was unhappy this game. LeBron was great but not aggressive in 2nd quarter. He sure did close it though. ESPN announcers are pathetic (besides Hubie Brown) - see Moe Williams - not a pure shooter above. Also, they made a huge deal about Shaq having season lows. Of course they haven't watched a single game and don't realize we have the two-headed monster and we want Shaq playing limited minutes! Finally, the Joey Crawford factor - He doesn't like players who discuss nearly every call and that doesn't bode well for LBJ or Varajeo. It was evident this game. The Cavs only do it because they must (especially with how outrageous the Celts, Lakers, and Magic get). Any coincidence the teams (minus the Cavs because they earn calls) who complain the most have the best records? We’ll win this year with or without the referees. Coach hit this one right on the head.

Despite our streak of holding teams to <50%>On a final side note, I received a text message today from my Cavs Updates and, of course, it was notifying me that LeBron won the LeBron James Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award. Anyone else see this trend?



Cavs Optimist

2 comments:

  1. Optimist,
    Love the article that you posted. I think that you have shown good insight and back your opinions with stats. How do you feel about Mike Brown. I really like him but I feel he does get out coached.
    Dan
    from A-Town

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dan from A-Town. You couldn't be more right. I struggle with his substitutions and tactics in big games. Of course, if Moe Williams fouls out, it's not his fault Parker and Z (both over 80%) missed free throws. Keep reading and stay tuned for my special article on the trade deadline, I think you may find it interesting..

    ReplyDelete