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LeBron's last-second turnover seals Cavs' 92-90 loss to the Spurs

Nov 19, 2014 -- 11:37pm

By Tony Cartagena | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

CLEVELAND – LeBron James raised his hand and took ownership.

It wasn’t the deciding play of the game -- the Cleveland Cavaliers had a multitude of opportunities to tie or take the lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the closing minutes -- but after Manu Ginobili missed a free throw, and with the Cavs trailing by two with 10-seconds to play, James corralled the rebound and looked up court to start reading the defense.

Except he bounced the ball off his leg, back into Ginobili’s possession who dribbled out the clock.

And the Cavs fell to San Antonio, 92-90.

“We had an opportunity to tie the game, or win it,” James said after the game. “You want to at least give yourself an opportunity. For me, get myself an opportunity to make a shot or get somebody a look.

“I turned the ball over and I was the first person to acknowledge that was my fault.”

James had a game-high five turnovers and shot just 6-of-17 from the floor for 15 points in 34 minutes.

It wasn’t all bad for the Cavs -- at the end of the day the team seemed to take solace in losing to the defending NBA Champions by just two points and with a chance to win it at the end.

Head coach David Blatt was encouraged when comparing the loss to the Spurs to Monday’s loss against Denver.

“I thought we played this game much better and I thought we played it with the right level of intensity and focus and determination,” Blatt said.

Point guard Kyrie Irving played with a visible level of intensity, especially on the defensive end, limiting Tony Parker to just eight points and three assists.

“I thought Kyrie played the best defensive game I’ve seen him play, all season,” Blatt said of Irving’s performance. “He really, really got after it. He played against a great guard, one of the greatest guards we’ve seen in the last decade or more, both here and over seas. He took the challenge and did a terrific job guarding Tony Parker.

“I really see that as one of the biggest positive out of this game – the way that (Irving) played.”

“I was just trying to stay in front of him,” Irving added. “He’s a great guard, one of the best to ever do it. A true hall of famer and I have nothing but respect for him. I just tried to make his touches tough tonight.”

The Cavaliers are on a two-game losing streak and sit at 5-5 just three weeks into the season.

Quote of the Night

“That’s a question that really doesn’t mean much. For me, I don’t place predictions on things of that nature. That’s for critics.”

-- LeBron James, when asked if he ever envisioned this team starting the year with a 5-5 record.

Photo of the Night

Photo/Cavs

The Real American Hero, Hulk Hogan was in attendance at tonight’s game. Before things got underway, Hogan and Cavaliers guard Joe Harris presented Staff Sargent Nathan Zeller with a WWE Championship Belt.

Harris is growing his handlebar mustache as part of a “Movember” charity promotion. As for Hogan, he has donned the facial handlebars since Hulkamania took over.

Tweet of the Night

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon – who is eligible to play this Sunday after serving a 10-game suspension – wasn’t happy with the referees tonight.

San Antonio was 17-of-25 from the charity stripe, meanwhile Cleveland just 9-of-13. 

Video of the Night

The Cavaliers recognize Indians pitcher and 2014 Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber: 

 

 

Winning streak ends, Cavaliers fall to Nuggets, 106-97

Nov 17, 2014 -- 11:03pm

By Tony Cartagena | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

CLEVELAND – Just 10 days ago, an ailing Cleveland Cavaliers team ended a two-game losing streak in Denver defeating the Nuggets by nine points.

This time, with starting point guard Ty Lawson back in the lineup, Denver responded with a nine-point road victory of their own – surprising the Cavs at home 106-97.

“Honestly I thought the problem defensively started before the game,” head coach David Blatt said of his teams’ defensive struggles. “We just didn’t come with the proper mindset and the energy level that we had the other night, that we’ve had the last several games.

“This is a tough league, and if you don’t bring it, and if you don’t come with a minimum standard of the highest level of energy and competitiveness, you’re going to get beat. Or you can get beat. And that is what happened.”

LeBron James didn’t participate in this morning’s shoot around while battling a head cold, however he did lead the team in points, scoring 22 in a team-high 41-minutes.

Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters contributed 20 points apiece as well.

Lawson was able to orchestrate a slower tempo than the Nuggets are accustomed to running, dishing out 12 assists and scoring a game high 24 points.

“Oh, he played great,” Blatt said. “You have to credit him for the job that he did. There are so many things that go into a basketball game. Obviously it’s not just one guy or one play, but he put his mark on this game and he was a difference maker tonight.”

Cleveland drops to 5-4 on the season and host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Quote of the Night

“If we’re not mentally focused they’re going to embarrass us.”

- LeBron James, looking ahead to the Cavaliers upcoming matchup with the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Photo of the Night

Photo/Cavs

Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” played on The Q’s speakers, and this graphic (above) was shown on The Humungotron as the Cavs recognized LeBron James for receiving the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award for the 46th time in his career – an NBA record.  

Tweet of the Night

Cleveland continued to struggle on the defensive end, giving up 106 points to the Denver Nuggets. Going into tonight’s game, the Cavs gave up an average of 101 points per game per 100 possessions to their oppositions.

The four teams ranked defensively worse than Cleveland have a combined record of 10-28.

Video of the Night

Even during a loss, the Cavaliers find ways to entertain the fans. Why miss out on some of the action going to concession stands when the SugarDale Hot Dog Launcher can deliver snacks right to your seats?

This is what a Hot Dog wrapped in a T-shirt being launched out of a gun by mascot Sir CC looks like:

 

 

LeBron James - Eastern Conference Player of the Week

Nov 17, 2014 -- 6:49pm

By Tony Cartagena | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

Cleveland – Following a week where the Cleveland Cavaliers won three consecutive games, superstar LeBron James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

James, who averaged 35 points per game, seven rebounds and nearly eight assists during the week of Nov. 10 through Nov. 16, has received this honor 46 times during his career – an NBA record.

“Happy to be a part of a team that wins,” James told members of the media Monday afternoon. “My teammates have given me the opportunity to go out and do what I need to do to help them win and for me to be successful individually.

“Any time I am awarded that award it is very humbling. Seeing today that I was number one in league history, I hope I can continue to add and continue to stay healthy and help my teammates win.”

Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard won the award for the Western Conference.

 

 

 

Cavaliers set franchise record beyond the arc, steamroll Hawks

Nov 15, 2014 -- 11:46pm

By Tony Cartagena | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

CLEVELAND -- The cold, the wind and the snow -- Cleveland has transformed into a winter wonderland over the past 48 hours.

But don’t tell that to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Following a 38-point fourth quarter Friday night in Boston, the Cavs stayed red hot by doing something that no other NBA team in history has ever done before – shoot nine-for-nine from 3-point range to start a game.

James got things heated up early, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes, including going three-of-three from beyond the arc, setting the tone for what ended up being a 33-point blowout win of the Atlanta Hawks.

Things really began to boil as Kevin Love, Joe Harris, Shawn Marion and Dion Waiters all added at least one 3-pointer in the first quarter. Point guard Kyrie Irving joined the party in the second quarter, hitting the teams’ 10th and 11th three’s of the night before eventually missing their 12th attempt – dropping their 3-point percentage to a scorching 91%.

“I want to sort of put this in perspective that we were just in Boston last night,” head coach David Blatt said of the overall performance. “(We) struggled mightily to beat a good club on their home court in a game that obviously we pulled a rabbit out of our hat and won.

“It sort of stands to reason that tonight we might come out with a little bit less energy, and our guys made a point to do just the opposite. To come out with great energy, aggressive, and come out willing to commit on the defensive end in a manner that we have not done thus far this year.”

Cleveland finished the night hitting a franchise record 19-of-31 (61 percent) 3-point attempts. James, Irving and Harris had four makes apiece in the rout.

“Coming off of a back-to-back I didn’t want us to have a slow start,” James said. “I feel like the guys kind of feed off of my energy and I wanted to come out and be aggressive and see where it takes us.

“It got us a huge lead in the first quarter.”

Defensively the Cavs held Atlanta to just 44 percent from the floor and 13 percent from long range. As a team that usually thrives on the accuracy of Kyle Korver from three, their rhythm was thrown off by the defensive prowess of Marion – hawking Korver, holding him to just one-shot attempt, a miss.

“We have to give credit to The Matrix tonight,” Irving added of Marion’s performance. “He did an incredible job on Kyle Korver. We were watching film today and he’s a sniper out there, shooting the ball incredibly well and tonight (Marion) did a great job of staying attached to him all night.”

Quote of the Night

“Did we make nine in a row? Is that an NBA record? I’ve never been anywhere where my team set an NBA record.”

-- David Blatt, responding to his thoughts on the hot start from long range.

Media members followed-up by asking if he’d ever been involved with a similar shooting performance.

“Not at Princeton. When I was playing they didn’t have a three-ball.”

Photo of the Night

Photo/Cavs

The Cavs made a point to raise Breast Cancer Awareness throughout the game tonight. The team store sold special edition pink Cavaliers logo t-shirts with proceeds going to the Komen North East Ohio foundation and the Cleveland Clinic.  

Tweet of the Night

When the Cavs led 62-27 with 6 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, the Hawks had had enough:

Video of the Night

There usually aren't many things to critique in a 33-point blowout, however LeBron James wants Joe Harris to learn why he fouled out: 

 

 

 

LeBron's triple-double leads the Cavs to a 118-111 win over the Pelicans

Nov 10, 2014 -- 11:57pm

By Tony Cartagena | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

CLEVELAND – Eight minutes into a ten-minute post-game press conference, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt had had enough. 

Question after question, national journalists, local beat writers and media outlets of every platform asked questions about his teams’ defensive woes and the electric atmosphere that was The Q. But, up until that point no one mentioned the name, “LeBron James.”

Blatt changed that.

“Hey that guy, No. 23, was pretty good tonight wasn’t he?” Blatt said in reference to James recording a triple-double in the Cavs 118-111 defeat of the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Nobody mentioned him. He did a pretty good job. But, you know what? Everybody expects that. I don’t care that we all know he can do it. But, you go out there and you have a triple-double and lead your team in the moment of truth the way he did, it’s easy to overlook that. It’s easy to overlook that guy.”

That ‘moment of truth’ Blatt alluded to came right after halftime.

Trailing by five, James stormed out of the locker room and scored the first nine Cavaliers’ points of the half – finishing the third quarter alone with 17 points en route to a dominant 32-point, 12 rebound and 10 assist stat line.

“I thought we played with a slow pace in the first half, so I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace and see where it takes us,” James said.

The effort was infectious. Point Guard Kyrie Irving added 13 third-quarter points including a twenty-five foot three-point shot to tie the game at 78.

James capped off the comeback quarter with a driving slam dunk that set the Q’s crowd into an untamable frenzy.

Kevin Love added 22 points as the ‘big three’ combined for 86 points, 21 assists and 22 rebounds.

It was a week and a half later than most fans would have liked, but with the wins the Cavs improved to 3-3 on the young season and notched their first home victory.

“They act as our sixth man,” Love said of the energy Cavaliers fans brought to the arena. “We got the crowd into it and I think all that worked in our favor and kept the momentum pushing in our direction.”

Quote of the Night

“I wish people would make more of that than the 34-point game with no assists that everybody talks about all the time. ... How many point guards in the world do you know that play four games and have one turnover? One! That’s an amazing stat.”

-- David Blatt, crediting Kyrie Irving for averaging only one turnover per game over the last four games

Media members corrected Blatt to let him know it was one turnover per game, not one overall, but Blatt was still impressed.

“Yeah, one per game. That’s a nine-to-one ratio today. That’s pretty good. Kyrie is making good decisions. He is understanding how to feed off other players as well as feed other players and he is a great basketball player. ... He is definitely making progress but he is pretty good to begin with.”

Photo of the Night

Photo/Getty

The Cavaliers honored all of The United States Armed Forces on the eve of Veterans Day. Veterans participated in on-the-court ceremonies, received multiple standing ovations from the crowd and led the singing of “The National Anthem” before the game and “God Bless America” during halftime.

Tweet of the Night

ESPN Stats and Info took note of the “Big Three’s” impressive stat line:

Video of the Night

Blatt said the team played with a little “lethargy” on the defensive end, when James  was asked about that statement – in good fun -- needed a little clarification of the word used.

 

 

 

Goldhammer: A night with LeBron

Oct 31, 2014 -- 12:28am

By Aaron Goldhammer | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

CLEVELAND -- Since LeBron's first game back in town was a one-in-a-lifetime moment for Cleveland sport fans, I decided to take fans behind the scenes with me as I chronicled LeBron's every move from pregame to the final buzzer.

6:45pm: The doors to the locker room open and the Cavaliers public relations staff informs the media that LeBron and Kevin Love won’t be available pre-game. Still, the media makes a beeline to LeBron’s locker.

6:47pm: NBA and TNT cameras are taking video of LeBron’s jersey for tonight. It’s neatly folded on the floor in front of his locker. The tank top and shorts are getting more media attention than any Cavs player over the last four seasons.

7:03pm: I’ve been in the arena for over an hour and finally have my first glimpse of LeBron. He isn’t going to say a word on camera, but the photographers engulf him. He seems loose and is smiling and chatting with pal Damon Jones.

7:10pm: Time for LeBron to put some tunes on his Beats Pill to get amped for the game. Tonight’s choice, appropriately enough, is a medley of tracks from Cleveland natives Bone-Thugs In Harmony. LeBron knows every word. It’s not “The Crossroads” or “I Tried,” so I can’t sing along. Emmett? What song is this again?

7:12pm: Cameras are still glued on LeBron as he puts on this impromptu concert, but there are so many F-bombs and curse words in this song, outlets are never going to be able to use the video with audio.

7:15pm: I decide to tweet a pic of LBJ in the locker room. I debated internally whether it was creepy or cool, but decided that fans would want it. PR Czar Tad Carper closes the locker room. “Folks, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here…”

7:40pm: LeBron and the Cavs run through the tunnel for warm-ups. This is getting real.

7:44pm: LeBron is showed on the “Humongotron” for the first time. Crowd in the arena goes bananas. To me, the cheers are already as loud as boos were on December 2nd, 2010.  

7:52pm: Cavs PA announcer Olivier Sedra announces that the key match-up tonight is LeBron vs Carmelo. Frankly, I think Alex Kirk is going to be a bigger story.

7:54pm: Every fan in the arena is standing. Every. Single. One.  

7:58pm: Nike commercial airs on the “Humongotron.” Awesome. I just realized via YouTube that it’s 2:16 long. 1-2-3…4-5-6…TOGETHER!!

Photo/Getty

7:59pm: LeBron is standing by himself on the baseline singing “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. Where are Stu, Phil, and Mike Tyson?

8:04pm: Usher. National anthem. Crowd starts singing along half way through. Chills…

Photo/Getty

8:09pm: Chalk toss…

Photo/Getty

8:12pm: LeBron misses first shot. Jumper from the right side.

8:17pm: LeBron’s first Cavalier points in four and a half years involve a break-away three point play with an acrobatic finish. Not shabby. He missed the free throw, however.

8:19pm: A new in-timeout feature called “Nice Tweets.” LeBron reads one, but the best was Anderson Varejao. “Dear Andy. Can I rent a one bedroom apartment in your hair?”

8:28pm: LeBron is 1-4 to start the game. Playing a little too fast for my liking.

8:32pm: Bieber just got booed. Loudly. Usher and Michael Strahan felt bad for him.

8:39pm: Significant bench time for LeBron. Blatt clearly realizes that they have a bigger game in Chicago tomorrow night.

8:55pm: LeBron at the foul line. Still not the strongest part of his game, but he makes them both.

8:58pm: Make it down people. History is made with the first re-appearance of the LeBron “stanky-leg.” Missed three makes LBJ 1-7 from the floor.

9:05pm: Airball. 1-9. Crowd murmurs.

9:09pm: LeBron tells Rachel Nichols that he needs to slow down. Agreed

9:36pm: LeBron finally cans his second field goal. It’s his first three since he came home.

9:42pm: Carmelo taking over with LeBron guarding him. You can’t blame Chalmers tonight, LBJ…

9:49pm: LeBron getting testy with Jason Smith of the Knicks. Frustration starting to set in for him. He’s 3-12 from the floor through three quarters.

10:01pm: Here we go. LBJ jumps off the bench and promptly has a beautiful assist to Varejao.

10:17pm: Need LeBron to take over here. Finally, a strong drive to the rim a two free throws. The party atmosphere is gone. Need to win tonight to make this day special.

10:36pm: No air in the Q right now. Melo big jumper over LeBron make it a 5 point game. Ugh…it’s over.

10:40pm: Fans heading out unhappy. It’s an unexpected end to a wild day and losing the game takes some of the fun out of the whole experience.

Photo/Getty

 

 

 

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