2015 NBA Finals Preview

As I sit here waiting for the NBA Finals in about 2 hours Cavalier fan is waiting to see what our team will do. Can this franchise win it’s first NBA title and bring the first professional championship to Cleveland in 51 years. On the other side Golden State hasn’t won a championship in 40 years. The Warriors have no players with NBA Finals experience, which may or may not play a factor in this series. Tonight begins the road to that elusive championship for both teams.

Backcourt

The Warriors have the best backcourt in the league in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. They are two of the best shooters in the league from the three point line. Curry has made himself a top five player with his MVP season. Thompson has grown each season into one of the better two way players in the NBA. Cleveland’s backcourt story is a little different with Kyrie Irving being limited because of injuries. Irving and Iman Shumpert will need to do something special to keep this matchup close.

Edge: Warriors

Frontcourt

Lebron James is on a mission that could enhance his legacy to an even higher level if he brings the trophy back to Cleveland. Draymond Green who has become the Warriors best frontcourt player will have his hands full trying to check the King. Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes will need to keep Tristan Thompson off the boards, which nobody has been able to do this post season.

Edge: Cavaliers

Bench

There is no question the Warriors have the deeper bench in which they can go five deep into the bench. At the most Cleveland will go three deep into their bench. No Warriors bench player is as explosive as J.R. Smith who can go off for 30+ points on any given night will be an x factor.

Edge: Even

Prediction: Cavaliers in 6.

Cleveland Cavaliers Top 5 Scoring Trios

Below are the top 5 scoring trios in Cavaliers history. Lebron James is a member of the top 2 trios of course. Tomorrow the new Big 3 era starts in Cleveland. Can this new trio climb to the top in wins and scoring ?

2005-06

  1. Lebron James              31.4
  2. Zydrunas Iigauskas     15.6
  3. Larry Hughes               15.5

2009-10

  1. Lebron James            29.7
  2. Antawn Jamison        15.8
  3. Mo Williams               15.8

1982-83

  1. World B. Free           24.2
  2. Scott Wedman         18.1
  3. Cliff Robinson           18.0

1989-90

  1. Ron Harper          22.0
  2. Mark Price           19.6
  3. Brad Daugherty   16.8

1990-91

  1. Brad Daugherty    21.6
  2. Larry Nance         19.2
  3. Mark Price           16.9

The Players Who Deserve To Be All-Star Reserves

Eastern Conference Reserves

This is my take on who should be the reserves for the NBA All-Star game. Unlike the starters the reserves are picked by the coaches and not the fans. We all know the NBA is a star driven league with a focus on big market teams.

Backcourt

Kyrie Irving Cleveland PER = 21.96

Many consider him a superstar in waiting and the future top lead guard in the league. Irving has all the skills to reach the lofty expectations. Pair him with another all-star player and watch him move quickly to the top point guard in the league.

Jrue Holiday   Philadelphia    PER = 19.67

This kid is playing like an elite level point guard scoring 19 ppg and dishing 9 assists per game. Holiday is ready break out into a top level lead guard if he hasn’t already.

Frontcourt

Chris Bosh Miami PER = 21.26

Bosh is the third member of the Big 3 who is playing center this year for the Heat. Bosh is shooting a career high 55% from the field and scoring 17 points per game.

Joakim Noah Chicago PER = 17.12

Noah is averaging a double-double for the season scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. This a high energy big with a big motor.

Paul Pierce Boston PER = 19.62

At the ripe old age of 35 Pierce is scoring 19 points per game and still playing at a high level for his age. The question is how long he will maintain this level of play.

Wildcards

Paul George Indiana PER = 17.40

With Danny Granger out George has become the Pacers go to guy this season. George is scoring 17 points per game and grabbing 7 rebounds.

Arron Afflalo Orlando PER = 13.87

Yeah I know this one is questionable but he is averaging a career high 17 points per game. Plus let’s give Orlando some representation in Houston.

Western Conference Reserves

Backcourt

James Harden Houston PER = 22.47

Harden is the fifth leading scorer in the NBA at 26 points per game. He has settled in nicely as the alpha dog for Rockets. Harden has a lot all-star games in his future.

Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City PER = 23.96

Westbrook is a one man fastbreak and the most athletic lead guard in the league right now. Russell is going for 22 points and 8 dimes every night. He is a great 2nd option on a great team.

Frontcourt

Tim Duncan San Antonio PER = 26.59

Duncan has found the fountain of youth at age 36. He is scoring 17 points and 9 rebounds per game. Duncan is future Hall of Famer probably playing in one his last star games.

Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City PER = 19.04

He is one best young bigs in the league if not the best. Once just a shot blocker Ibaka has developed other parts of his game to make him a better all-around player. Serge is getting 14 and 8 every night.

David Lee Golden State PER = 20.20

Lee is averaging a double-double for the surprise team in the NBA. Lee is getting 19 and 10 for the Warriors.

Wildcards

Tony Parker San Antonio PER = 22.65

The Frenchmen just keeps rolling along with 19 points and 7 dimes per night. Parker can take over a game at times with his mid-range game and his dribble drives.

Lamarcus Aldridge Portland PER = 19.51

He is one the most underrated players in the league. He puts up numbers night after night. LA does 20 and 8 per game for the Trailblazers.

Game #33 New York 120 Cleveland 103

I had to think about this post before I wrote it. After watching this game last night I couldn’t believe what I saw. Cleveland outscored New York by 12 points in the 1st half , then let the Knicks drop 71 points on them in the 2nd half to get outscored by 29 points. Cleveland played no defense in the 2nd half and let the Knicks do whatever they want on offense.

Quote 1

“We gave up 71 points in the second half,” Scott said. “You have to give them all the credit in the world. They were much more aggressive. They came out aggressive and we melted.”

Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 7 dimes. While Daniel Gibson and Tristan Thompson scored 13 and 11 points each.

Quote 2

“Any time a team just takes liberties the way they were guarding and banging and grabbing, you have to do your best to get them off you,” Scott said. “You really can’t succumb to it and we did. I thought we played the whole second half on our heels.”

Final Thoughts

More teams are going to get physical with the Cavaliers in the future especially with Kyrie. Cleveland is in need of big with a physical presence which they don’t have right now. Also defense is what going to keep the Cavaliers in games against teams that more talented than them. Another test comes tomorrow night when the Bulls come the Q.

Game #31 Hornets 89 Cavaliers 84

On the night when Kyrie Irving gets his first double figure assist game you would think that Cleveland would put this game in the victory column. It was the exact opposite Irving was held to 6 points on 2/13 shooting and 0/4 from the 3 point line. Any nobody picked up the slack tonight. On the night Cleveland shoot 32% from the field and 22% from the 3 point line. The free throw shooting wasn’t much better 65% on 24/37. When Irving doesn’t get his points it’s going to hard for Cleveland to win. Losing to the previously 7-25 Hornets won’t feel good. The Cavaliers bigs situation has become a concern with Varejao out until April. Erden isn’t the answer he looks bit soft. On the other hand Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes. His foul trouble cut his minutes tonight. He is the Cavaliers best rebounder with Varejao out. Antawn Jamison led Cleveland 22 points and 12 rebounds, but his lack of defense made those stats a wash. Cleveland has a couple of days to reflect on what they need to do to be competitive. I know one thing if Irving isn’t going getting 20-25 points the victories will few and far between.

Game # 27 Recap Cavaliers Hand Pacers 5th Straight Loss 98-87

Kyrie Irving picked up where he left off before getting the concussion. He led Cleveland with 22 points and 5 dimes. Semih Erden had a career high 18 points and 8 rebounds. Antawn Jamison had 13 points and 8 rebounds, while Omri Casspi had 10 points and 9 rebounds. This is the kind production Cleveland needs from it’s frontcourt with Varejao out for a while. Cleveland record moves to 11-16 with a game looming friday with the Miami Heat at the Q.

Has Key Injuries Change Cavaliers Season

When Kyrie Irving and Andy Vaejao went down last week the course of the season changed. Irving should return sometime this week. Andy was the only legit frontcourt player Cleveland had providing energy on both ends of the court. Now the Cavaliers frontcourt has alot of question marks without Andy. What can Tristan Thompson give you with extended minutes ? He is very raw on the offensive end. He will bring alot more energy than the other frontcourt players. Semih Erden is getting another chance to prove himself with this injury. Not sure what he brings to the table in terms of his ability. He started the last game against the 76ers. In 13 minutes he had 0 points 3 rebounds and 4 fouls. Cleveland needs better production than that to be competitive. Samardo Samuels the other big who could be in the mix for minutes needs to stay out Byron Scott’s doghouse. Right now I believe he could be more productive than Erden. All I am going to say about Jamison and Casppi is they need to step up large.

In the backcourt you have about the same situation. Irving and Sessions play the same position. These are your 2 best backcourt players. Daniel Gibson is shooting guard in a point guards body. He is probably Cleveland’s best backcourt defender. Alonzo Gee is most improved player on the Cavaliers roster. The injuries have hurt his value coming off the bench. He playing starter minutes now with all the injuries. Christian Eyenga is the most athletic player on the roster, but it isn’t translating into results on the court. If he gets mental part of his game right he would get major minutes. He has the physical ability to play both ends of the court. I don’t think you can count on Anthony Parker at this point.

The rest of the season is going to be tough for Cleveland not being at full strength and lacking in the talent department. I look for some player movement via a trade. Sessions and Jamison being the most likely players to be moved. The rest of the roster will be playing for jobs next season.