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Home Sweet Q

Happy Super Bowl Sunday fellow Cavs Fans. Week 20 for the Cavs and Week 7 for the Cavs Optimist. As you will tell by this week's post and this week's title, the Cavs continued their home stand with 3 more home games. We have 3 more to go but it was important to protect that beautiful Q court and continue our momentum. Let's see why it was "Home Sweet Q:"

Cavs (38-11) vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Key Points:

  • 4-1 in payback games after loss.
  • 59 straight sell-outs.
  • 58-5 at home in last 2 seasons!
  • Must control their Big 3 of Randolph, Mayo, and Gay.
  • Read Joe Gabriele Blog "January Jones" - Excellent Read.
  • Andys 4Q hustle was great leading to extra shots.
  • Boobie's big 3 as the Cavs PA plays the Deep in the Q signature by AC!

Key Player:

  • Shaq - I'm going with the Big Fella again. He has really stepped up for our team as LeBron has had to log more minutes playing point with only Gibson available. When LeBron goes out, especially in this game, he was dominate. He and LeBron together were huge in the 3rd to push the game completely out of reach. Again, we have learned to play through him and he has delivered. Don't forget he has delivered on defense too. We completely dominated them inside and scoring in the paint. As Z said, "Shaq is playing his best basketball of the season."

Theme:

  • Transition - The Grizzlies have beat some good teams this year including us and on the road they led the league in transition scoring. The Cavs totally flipped this on them and went on the attack in transition mode. They tried to jump on them early and it started with Shaq controlling the boards and as the best outlet Big Man in the league put Memphis on their heels. This helped Parker and Hickson get easy looks early. We are deep and can play any style. We proved it again tonight.

Summary:

This was going to be a tough back-to-back game for Memphis coming off a big win last night at home vs. the Lakers (Thank you). We jumped on them early with another tremendous first quarter adding to our league-leading 1Q differential 28-16. The ball movement was amazing and LeBron asserted himself when he needed. He did it by leading the team with 15 assists. I've said this before, LeBron could have 20+ assists per night if his teammates are finishing.

I have to talk about our defense tonight in limiting their big 3. We took them completely out of their game and wow it was great to see Mike Brown applauding the guys in the first half. I know he must remain humble and push our team but we're doing a tremendous job in the paint and holding opponents defensive fg%. As I said before, Shaq has a lot to do with that and LeBron's absolutely sick rejections help. They create fear and can take teams completely out of what they want to do or are comfortable doing. That is the mark of a good team.


Teams don't have a great record facing Kobe then LBJ, but this was about the Cavs stepping up at home and it showed. We need some dominating wins like this against teams we should beat. We've seemed to rally around the injuries very well allowing extra rest for Delonte and Moe. As I've said before, our role guys get more comfortable and how important was Anderson with his effort. Mike Brown's right, Varejeo and LBJ should be first team all-defense. I'm a little concerned with LBJs minutes but never under-estimate him EVER. We extended our 9 game win streak, won 18 out of our last 19, and are undefeated at home vs the West. Winning at home is critical to our Cavs improving each game and winning that coveted championship.

Did anyone see the post-game interview with LeBron? The ONLY picture in his locker is him tea-bagging Tim Duncan. I'm sure it's his motivation to get back to the Finals and take over the league as Duncan proclaimed.

Cavs (39-11) vs. Miami Heat

Key Points:

  • Miami coming off their back-to-back with Boston.
  • Jawad at point guard? Boobie is gonna be a daddy soon but not yet.
  • Not having a true point guard may hurt us with our defensive rotations.
  • Cavs must control inside the paint.
  • Pay back dunk by Hickson and no foul on D-Wade?
  • Second chance points and effort by Miami. The Cavs needed to outlast this burst and Miami shouldn't have the energy to make a comeback.

Key Player(s)

  • LeBron - I'm going to give player of the game LBJ this game. He came out very aggressive and got his rythem at the line early. Mike Brown also made a smart move in keeping LBJ in to start the 4th. On a overall note, he won his 5 straight player of the month and won all 3 months this year? I mean really. He is THE player of the month and player of the year. Well deserved MVP chant Cavs fans!
  • Reggie Miller says he's not defensive player of the year because he doesn't rebound? Howabout these stats Reggie: 36, 7, 8, and 2 steals. Realizing those are both offensive and defensive #s but he didn't even have to step up and shut down the best player in the 4th. Also, he would've had 15+ assists had his teammates made even more of their wide open shots. I think I speak for everyone when I saw TNT announcers, specifically Reggie Miller are overpaid, gutless, absolute idiots.
  • Special Mention - Bench/Role Players: I want to give our role guys some serious credit. From the defensive effort of Jawad Williams to Boobie's energetic second half, what a team effort. It helped getting a true point guard back not so much for offense but for defense as Bobbie is excellent at keeping our rotations/assignments. Z and Hickson were terrific. Both were attacking and converting. We shoot it Deep and we are Deep as a team!

Theme:

  • Attacking the weaker/tired team - The Heat are a tough physical team. Playing on a back-to-back after losing a hard fought game to Boston was the perfect opportunity for the Cavs to jump on them early. They did that but Miami fought back. We did a great job limiting them in the 3rd and our depth took over. We were very physical with Dwayne Wade and it paid off. We never let off the gas as evident in our well deserved free throw advantage attempting 36 and converting 81%. Finally, referees watched the right game!

Summary:

This became an excellent team win. Getting Boobie back really helped us on defense as evident by holding Miami to 36 second half points. He knows his assignments and helped open up the floor for steals by teammates. We held home-court, controlled D-Wade and made it a sweep the of season series. I wouldn't mind playing Miami in 1st round of the playoffs! Yes, I said it. Riley has done absolutely nothing to help Wade unlike GM over the year Danny Ferry and owner of the year Dan Gilbert. Great job keeping the winning streak going at 10 and let's get the Knicks over with so we don't have to talk about LBJ to New York ever again.

On a sidenote, I'm going to add a post from one of my favorite followers and avid reader - Scott Tarrytown. He said, "Now that we have Shaq teams must adjust to us rather than year's past where we tried to adjust to other teams. It's becoming more apparent each game." Scott, I couldn't agree more! Great thought and stay tuned for my article on the Cavs trade decision for even more thoughts on that!

Cavs ( 40 - 11 ) vs. New York Knickerbockers

Key Points:

  • Although we play them at home 1 more time. Let's end the LeBron to New York talk. Good not to hear much this game.
  • Knicks coming off a loss. Another game against a back-to-back opponent.
  • Control the Knicks style and execute against their lack of defensive focus.

Key Player:

  • LeBron James - Key player in this game goes to the opener/closer and league MVP. Of course LBJ always has to play at another level vs. the Knicks, but really? He was unconscious in the first quarter and Mike Brown did do the smart thing and left him in. Congratulations on another franchise record, this time most points in the first half. When he's playing at that level you might as well just get out of the way. Unfortunately, we went to that strategy a little too much in the 3rd and 4th but late in the 4th Lebron delivered as usual. After being on pace for 70, this game's player of the game will just have to settle for 47.
  • Side note - love his singing to the theme music from his movie "More Than A Game” when it's played during game time. Solid.

Theme:

  • Playing our game (Like our intro music says) - Interesting theme to this game because the Cavs really didn't play their game. They came out in the first half and played the Knicks game (minus a superstar). They had 17 fast break points. However, in the second half, we had zero. I bring this up because the Cavs went back to an old bad habit - stand around and watch LeBron. I somewhat like that Mike Brown went ZenMaster Phil Jackson on the Cavs to see how they'd respond to the Knicks comeback.
  • The Cavs win by playing defense and leading to their offense. They play unbeatable basketball when they move on offense. Unfortunately, the team went back to its crutch through Mike Brown's test and played Bron-ball. Although this won this game, it's not a good habit to get into. Again, Bron came through and overall a good win to keep the momentum going. See Summary:

Summary:

First, let me say great job in extending the league-best win streak to 11 games and doing what we need to do. The first quarter starts by the Cavs have really been special and different from last year. This game was no different and with 46 first quarter points and a season-best point total in the first half. As I said above, I'm a bit perturbed about why they went away from the winning formula of defense to offense but the Knicks had a little to do with it. Their 99% offense and 1% defense style can cause teams to get comfortable/bored.

I compare the Knicks to that pretty decent player in a pick-up game that makes one nice move and beats 5 guys for a basket only to lose the game 11-1. Their coach is an offensive genius and has LeBron's respect but he's gutless towards officials. Almost as bad as Doc Rivers and that's saying something. I think he purposely had the Knicks come out gutless to lure the Cavs into a weakness. It upsets me because the Cavs have been playing so well and I hope it's just a slight hiccup in the 3rd and 4th. Yes, we got the win and that is what counts at the end of the day.

Optimist Summary:

Another supurb week for our Cavs 3-0! Our difficult schedule over the past couple years and the first half of this year paid off this week. We have a long home-stand and all 3 teams played us on the second half of a back-to-back. Thanks D Stern.

We improved the best record in the league and got some help with Boston and LA losing. As you'll hear in my Cavs trade rumor article, I think the biggest worry the Cavs have is Boston (because we're in the East) and then the Nuggets. Notice I didn't say the Magic or Lakers or Spurs (why even mention SA experts?).

We have been playing our best team basketball lately and everyone still thinks we're a one-man show (as proved by our All-Star respect). I'm hoping the Knicks game is a slight blip to that because LeBron went out of character, despite having 8 assists. We got very stagnant watching him think he's on Broadway. Granted amazing, but as Shaq said we have a team. 1 closer, spot shooters, a slashing 4, and a 2-head monster center. We're a team and we have depth!

I'm hopeful that it was just a - took an hour looking at the internet at work and not a looking at the internet every day at work - theme. We need to continue the momentum into the All-Star break and beat the teams we should at home. We have not letdown over the past 2 season and I think we'll come out strong vs the lowly Nets on Tuesday. Then, Superman's Dad and crew should put the Magic to bed before the break.

Finally, a bit of house-keeping. There will be no article this next week due to the upcoming All-Star break. Instead, my reader's will find a special article with the trade deadline approaching entitled "Deal or No Deal." No schmucks like Howie Mandell I promise. See you guys after the break!

Thanks again for reading. One Goal. Go Cavs!


Cavs Optimist

2 comments:

  1. GO Cavs. Read a brief article about us peaking too soon? I believe thats impossible for a team to do. Your goal as an organization is to be playing the best basketball by playoff time. At this point no one can argue that we havent gotten significantly better month by month this year which is a credit to the coaching staff and the players. I believe without a doubt we will continue to improve especially when we are "fully loaded." On that note, Leone Powe? Will he eventually take JJ Hicksons minutes? If we want another big name in a trade (Jamison, Amare etc) its a fact that Hickson most likely will be involved. With that being said he needs to continue to show what he can do to make a trade possible.

    Scott Terrytown
    Milford, Ohio

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Scott from Milford. With the trade deline coming soon I feel that if we trade Z the only player we could get in return would be Amare being that he is a big man.
    Dan from A-Town

    ReplyDelete