By Emmett Golden | ESPNCleveland.com
The Nuggets came to Cleveland with a seven game winning streak. They left with that streak no longer intact. The Cavs beat Denver 98-88. The Wine and Gold have put together back to back strong games. They beat the Bulls on Saturday and after this win things look to be trending up. Let's take a look at my notes from the game.
Bennett Sighting – First overall pick Anthony Bennett got a little playing time at small forward against the Nuggets. The struggling rookie hit a three for his first shot of the game. Bennett showed some toughness on defense as well taking a big charge in the fourth quarter.
This was a new wrinkle to Brown's rotation. Bennett hasn't been on the floor when the game mattered in a few weeks. He finished with 5 points but looked more comfortable at the three.
#KNRCavs – How about a little word association for #KNRCavs?
@egoldie80 Cleveland Clinic— Mac (@IAmMikeClark) December 5, 2013
@egoldie80 brian hoyer— The Nush (@Nushwanstein) December 5, 2013
@egoldie80 active— YT (@ditchriderYT) December 5, 2013
Uncle Drew – Kyrie Irving came out super aggressive. The Cavs point guard looked as focused as I've seen him all year. Kyrie was diving on the floor for loose balls and pushing the tempo all night long.
“How you start the game is how you're going to finish it.” said Irving. “Coach has been preaching that in practice and it carried over to the game.” Irving lead the team in scoring with 23 points.
Oh Canada – Tristan Thompson played like a man possessed. The young Canadian pulled down 13 rebounds in the first half to go with his 11 points to give him a double double. Thompson's play helped the Cavs gain the early lead.
He just barely missed having a 20/20 game. Thompson finished with 17 points and 21 rebounds. I asked him if he came out focused on having a big game, “That's our roles as bigs.” said Thompson. “We have to come out there every night and rebound and defend.”
Holding It Down – To say the Cavs front line had a good game would be an understatement. Bynum, Varejao,and Thompson combined for 41 rebounds and 49 points. Coach Brown raved about his bigs after the game. “They were monsters tonight.” said Brown, “They were monsters on the glass, they were monsters on the pick and roll, tonight they were awesome.”
Poor Karasev – Rookie Sergey Karasev's locker is next to Thompson's. With Tristan having a big game everyone wanted to talk him. Reporters spilled over into Karasev's locker space. The look on Karasev's face was priceless when he walked out of the shower to see he had nowhere to get dressed. The poor rookie had to walk around the locker room looking for something to do while we talked to Thompson. Rookies get no respect.
By Emmett Golden | ESPNCleveland.com
The streak is over. The losing streak ends at five games after the Cavs beat the Bulls 97-93. This game was as entertaining as they come. The Wine and Gold got out to a big lead then blew it, but when it was all said and done they overcame adversity and got the win. Let's checkout my notes from the game.
Hot Start – The Cavs looked like a team that was focused at the start of the game. They opened with a 9-0 run. Third year star Kyrie Irving lead the charge with five points. Coach Mike Brown gave Irving a lot of credit for the fast start. “I thought Kyrie set the tone early, with his pace,” said Brown.
The Wine and Gold finally showed signs of what many thought they would be when the season started.
Four players scored in double figures. The team had 20 assist, moving the ball a lot better.
Unfortunately it didn't last. The Bulls took the lead late in the fourth quarter after trailing by 14. The Cavs did not fold after Chicago made their run. Although it took three point blank misses by the Bulls, they stepped up and closed it out.
Bynum's Back – Big man Andrew Bynum looked like his knees were feeling brand new. Early in the first quarter Bynum threw down a monster dunk. Shortly after that he blocked Joakim Noah twice forcing a shot clock violation.
The Cavs looked like a different team with him on the floor. Bynum Finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds and five blocks. Bynum was asked if games like this makes the grind a little easier. “I can’t lie to you, yes,” Bynum said with a big smile on his face.
After the game Brown raved about the amount of work Bynum has put in. “For a guy to be out for a year and play himself back into shape is remarkable,” said Brown.
Tip Your Waiter – Dion Waiters continued to play well in his role coming off the bench. Waiters has lead the team in scoring over the last two games. He took care of the ball and took quality shots.
Waiters was very efficient tonight sharing the team lead in scoring with 20 points on 8-10 shooting.
Who Stole The Show? – Walking around the Q I ran into an old friend of mine. WWE Superstar, former World Champion and show stealer Dolph Ziggler. He was in town for a short Thanksgiving break and sitting court side with his dad. It's always cool when we get a chance catch up on old times. Who knew West 191st would produce two famous people. One world famous and one hood famous.
By Emmett Golden | ESPNCleveland.com
Well folks, it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Lebron and the Heat's return still resulted in 95-84 loss at the Q but it wasn't the blowout many thought it would be. With the Cavs not having much to play for over the last few years this is always the must see game of the year. Quicken Loans Arena was packed and everyone was ready for some action. Let's take a look at my notes from the game.
The Heat Is In The Building – I walked in to the Q and what did I see? A bunch of people in their early to late 20's decked out in Heat gear. Felt like I got punched in the gut. I can almost guarantee that none of these people know anything about Florida. Maybe I'm just old but I was raised to never give up on your team. Guess loyalty means nothing to these youngsters. The fact that they are fans of Lebron should have told me that.
On The Flip Side – The real Cavs fans let Lebron know how they felt. Every time LBJ touched the ball they showered him with boos. Even making him clank his first free throw of the game.
#KNRCavs – Cavs fans on Twitter were fired up tonight. I asked Twitter for predictions on how tonight's game would end. Checkout what they had to say.
Here are a few of the top tweets for tonight's game.
@egoldie80 u can't beat the heat with a roster like the cavs. #knrcavs
— YJR (@YJR) November 28, 2013
Strong Start – For once the Cavs started the game off on a good note. In the first quarter the Wine & Gold played some great defense and shared the ball. That's right.... shared the ball. The bench played really well. Dion Waiters and Earl Clark had 5 points and Anderson Varejao lead the bench with 6. Cavs finished the quarter with a 28-22 lead.
The second quarter was a different story. The Cavs got out scored 27-14 to close the half. They had a tough time getting shots to fall going 5-24.
In the second half the Cavs got very sloppy handling the ball and making bad passes when trying to get the ball the big man Andrew Bynum.
Mike Brown felt that was the reason the Cavaliers could not get over the hump. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers.” said Brown. “Those turnovers were a big factor in the game.”
Wait A Minute – Cavs guard Dion Waiters has had a tough couple of weeks. The news broke of the players only meeting where things reportedly got heated. Next he was taken out of the starting lineup. Then ESPN's Chris Broussard wrote about Waiters being shopped as the Cavs look to make a trade to end the teams struggles.
I asked Waiters if the off court distractions make it harder to stay focused on the court, “I mean you got to block that out.” Waiters said. “A lot of people don't (know) what's going on or what they're talking about.”
He played like he was relaxed. Waiters finished with 24 points, having his best game since being moved to the bench. “You see I'm still out here smiling, doing what I love to do playing basketball.” said Waiters.
By Bruce Hooley | ESPNCleveland.com
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert should be embarrassed by the team he’ll put on the floor tonight at Quicken Loans Arena against LeBron James and the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
Four years ago, when James clumsily left the Cavs and Gilbert fired off his infamous letter to fans, promising to win a title before James and his new team, Gilbert undoubtedly felt his franchise would have made far more progress by now.
Despite getting better draft choices than they ever dreamed, the Cavaliers bring a disappointing 4-10 record into their nationally-televised matchup against the Heat (11-3) on ESPN.
Getting two No. 1 overall picks, two No. 4 picks and a No. 17 choice presented the Cavs exactly the sort of assets they believed would assure a strong bounce-back from James’ departure.
Adding free agents Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark and Jarrett Jack in the off-season supplied a veteran presence for the Cavs to combine with their young talent, supposedly building them into a playoff team.
That, in turn, would ideally lure James back to Cleveland after this season, when he can opt out of his contract in Miami.
Instead, the Cavaliers are a grease fire of underperforming draft choices, simmering inner strife and an apparent wide-spread disconnect between what head coach Mike Brown is preaching and what his players are willing to employ.
There’s no way to fix this by trading players to acquire new talent, because no team thinks as highly of the Cavaliers’ young talent as they do.
Brown’s message is heavy on defensive fundamentals and offensive unselfishness. There’s no disputing the soundness of his strategy, since San Antonio has made those elements the foundation for its success for more than a decade.
The Spurs though, have always featured a mix of strong veteran leadership and developmental talent. That’s how Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli go from being the 28th and 57th picks in the draft to elite talent on which a dynasty is built.
Brown is preaching a message that would resonate with veterans to a team laden with young players bent more on establishing their own individual identities and brands than forging team success.
That’s why the Cavaliers are struggling, and will likely continue to struggle as they play one way with Bynum on the floor and another when his balky knees relegate him to the sideline.
This team doesn’t have the maturity necessary to respond to its head coach, and Brown has never proven he can reach young players.
Gilbert brainstormed this mess with general manager Chris Grant. They, and their defenders, say it is still too early in the season to panic after just 14 of 82 games.
Perhaps, but it’s getting awfully late to impress James adequately to make his ornate estate in Akron anything but a summer home.
|Bruce Hooley hosts The Hooligans from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”|
Email Bruce firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz
LeBron James and the Miami Heat make their 2013 return to Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night. The top story? Will LeBron return to Cleveland next season. So we took the time to ask the ESPN Cleveland staff the three big questions:
1. Were will Lebron Play next season?
2. Why will he / Why won't he choose the Cavs?
3. Would you take Lebron back on the Cavs?
Bruce Hooley - @Bhoolz:
1. LeBron will play in Miami next season, but only after making everyone breathlessly anticipate his next move.
2. He won't choose the Cavs because they have been unsuccessful in getting South Florida cable/satellite providers to drop SportsCenter from their channel offerings, and because the operatives the Cavs have dispatched to disable the video element on LeBron's iPhone have proven as inept at what they do as the Cavaliers are at what they do. Thus, LeBron is unfortunately aware of how awful the Cavs are and therefore has no interest in hoisting Anthony Bennett, Mike Brown, Chris Grant and others onto his back for the remainder of his career.
3. I would do anything short of joining Ted Strickland in a duet to bring LeBron back to Cleveland, and if the basketball I've seen so far at The Q persists for another 20 games or so, I'll be signing up for voice lessons and checking LinkedIn for the former Ohio governor's contact information.
Aaron Goldhammer - @HammerNation19:
1. LeBron James will play for the Clippers next season.
2. He won't choose the Cavs because they don't give him the best chance to win more championships.
3. It's my dream.
Dave DeNatale - @DinoCleveland:
1. He's staying put in Miami. It's his best chance to approach MJ's mark of six championships.
2. This team is light years away from being a championship contender. LeBron wants to win now!
3. I'll pick him up at the airport and drive him to the Q for his return press conference!
Mark "Munch" Bishop - @MunchOnSports:
1. Miami! (Gonna put soccer team there! Not gonna move.)
2. How can he choose a team that will not take him back!
3. No no no no no! I was raised to be a man. I stand in the restroom! He quit on a city and team and led a dog & pony show to make us play the fool!
Tony Grossi - @TonyGrossi:
1. LeBron will re-sign with Miami.
2. He won't sign with Cleveland because the Cavs have not built a team capable of winning a championship and LeBron wants more championships.
3. In a heartbeat.
Emmett Golden - @Egoldie80:
1. In South Beach
2. He won't because he has nothing to prove. He is the best player in the NBA and that won't change regardless of where he plays.
3. I much rather win without him but it wouldn't ruin my day if he returned.
Greg Brinda - @SirFranksnBacon:
1. Lebron will resign with Miami
2. He's very comfortable where he is. Pat Riley won't let him go.
3. Yes, it's the only sure way to an NBA Championship!
Matt Fontana - @MattFontana83:
1. LBJ will resign with the Heat - he will recruit another top player to come to Miami and take over for D-Wade.
2. He won't choose the Cavs because they aren't good enough. He doesn't want to come to a "rebuilding" team. He wants to win rings, he doesn't want to wait.
3. I would absolutely take him back in CLE. He will become the greatest player in NBA history and you won't take him back?
By Emmett Golden | ESPNCleveland.com
Just when thought it couldn't get any worst the Cavs laid an egg at home. The Wine and Gold fall 98-91 to the Wizards. The game wasn't as close as the score makes it look. How long will the team stand pat before making a big move to shake things up? I don't have the answer, but I believe it may be sooner then later. Here are my notes from the game.
Ain't That A Bench – Dion Waiters made his debut as part of the bench bunch against the Wizards. Waiters entered the game sooner then anyone thought he would. C.J. Miles left the game early in the first quarter with a calf strain.
Waiters struggled in this role. To be fair, everyone struggled for the Cavs tonight. Dion finished with 11 points on 2-13 shooting. After the game Brown was asked why he moved Waiters to the bench, “I wanted to give us some punch off the bench. We could play through Bynum, then he could come in and give us some juice.” said Brown.
Over the last week or so Waiters has been the whipping boy of many fans. His performance against the Wiz won't win any of those people over.
#KNRCavs - Let's see what the fans had to say about this mollywhopper.
I asked Twitter Land to fill in the blank. The first half of the Cavs game was ____
You can always count on Twitter!
@egoldie80 a fireable offense— Dan Desai (@CLE_Sports88) November 21, 2013
@egoldie80 a dumpster fire— Joe DeLuca (@joeflex73) November 21, 2013
Another Slow Start – The Cavs have put themselves in tough situations at the start of games. Tonight was no different. The Wine & Gold gave up 30 points in the first quarter. They allowed the Wizards to to shoot 57% from the field in the opening frame.
“We didn't compete.” said Brown, “One guy competed the entire time he was on the floor. Matthew Dellavedova.”
By halftime the Cavs trailed 56-38. The Wine & Gold shot 44% from the field and turned the ball over 12 times.
The Cavs got back into in the fourth to make it a game. Jarrett Jack was asked if there was anything good about the team getting back in the game. “We played good enough to lose. No moral victories.” said Jack.
Boo Birds Out – The Q wasn't so friendly for the home team. With 5:56 left in the first half after giving up a few easy baskets, Brown called a timeout and the fans let the team have it. The boos got louder in the second half and understandably so.
Kyrie Irving, who finished with 28 points, was asked about the boos from the home crowd. “We have the best fans whether they boo or cheer I know they have our backs.” said Irving.
There are no games scheduled for today.
There are no games scheduled for today.