Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cliff's Edge 11.20.14: Chance Against the Champs

By @CLG2282

What I'm seeing so far with the Cleveland Cavaliers is that they don't really have much of an identity.  Offensive or defensively.  And that is as a team for the young season, not just this game.

No one is really the focal point of the offense. And we rival the pits of James Harden on the defensive end.

Late rotation after late rotation seems to be our theme as we are destroyed by the pick and roll. Which is and will always be the NBA's most efficient play. Cc: Stockton and Malone.

And yea Tim Duncan is still, well,  Tim Duncan.

Scoring the first seven Spurs points, Duncan quickly reminded us why his is the greatest Power Forward of all time. As well as one of the greatest players to ever do it.

Duncan and Diaw sent a pretty obvious reminder that the Cavs still lack size on the front line.  It seems to be apparent that another center will be needed down the road.

While the motor and effort are there for both Varejao(who played a tremendous game) and Thompson, it is clear that Tristan is still undersized as well as Love. And quite frankly you don't know what you're going to get out of Love as far as defense is concerned. Not right now anyway

Side note: I would like to see James, Thompson and Varejao play together more. Since they seem to obviously have most natural chemistry. I think that unit would look and play well together.

Ok, back to it...

Weak side defensive rotations are still VERY weak(no pun). The defense is easily thrown off after the second pass following the pick and the bigs are lost when having to move and rotate away from the basket.

Offensively guys are getting their shots and touches in the rotation and flow of the offense. Both very good things. Good job guys.

The Cavs seem to have better than average bench scoring as well as being able to move off the ball.

At times though, the spacing needs work. Over crowding and improper spacing sometimes leads to stagnant offense and stops the ball from moving making difficult to score.

That goes for all units, not just the bench guys.

A few things that I was encouraged by: a good extended rest for LeBron, who picked up 3 fouls early. Even though it didn't seem to help him much tonight.

Waiters is dribbling less, not a lot, but still less.  He is moving the ball more and not forcing shots much. I like to see that.  Waiters is also playing as the offense is flowing.  Still some kinks but he seem as if he wants to fit into the team well.

It took a while, as a team, to get the the rhythm going. But once they woke up and got moving, things looked smooth and fluid.

Cleveland built decent leads between 7-9 points. Only to see them slip away at the end of quarters.

The Spurs ended the second quarter on an 8-0 run. They were also able to put together a quick 7-0 run in the last 1:40 or so of the third quarter.

Late in the third was the seemingly typical over thinking and over passing led to momentum and leads swinging away from the Cavs.  That looks to be a trend throughout the previous 9 games.  It's almost as if the Cavs like shooting themselves in the foot during the 3rd quarter. They seem to rise to the moment in the 4th like they are auditioning for the latest Marvel flick.

A competitive 4th quarter was nothing short of being worth the price of admission. Both teams played physically and made their respective runs.

However, the bumpy road of a young inexperienced team felt like it was too rough to travel tonight. The over passing reared its ugly head again and over shadowed another tremendous 4th quarter from Kyrie Irving.

Boris Diaw(tonight's X-factor), as he did the entire game, used his cunning veteran play to keep control for the Spurs. Out playing and out smarting Love, Diaw put the Cleveland bigs in uncomfortable space and picked them apart with precision passing and accurate touch around the rim.

Having no answer for the Spurs talented bigs, the Cavs lost grip of another late lead giving up key parameter shots to Parker, Joseph and Ginobili.

Overall the Cavs played about 3.25 quarters worth of good basketball. Unfortunately you need to play well all 4 quarters to beat a team as disciplined and as talented as the defending champs.

And they just happen to have a guy by the name of Popovich. Who, in my opinion is the greatest NBA coach that I have seen (yes that includes Phil Jackson).

So looking on the bright side, the young and hardly matured Cavs gave it a good run. Against a team that is as well oiled as any, this new Cavs team didn't look embarrassingly bad.  Outside of the game's last possession and turnover by LeBron, of course.

They just need to continue on that road of progress.

Goodnight and #GoCavs #OhioAgainstTheWorld ClevelandOverEverything #CLEOVE

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