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.

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Cavalier Grades For 1st Round Of The Playoffs

Starters

Kyrie Irving   Grade = A

In his first playoff series Irving played well offensively. No weakness on offense can score off the bounce, mid-range or downtown. Needs to guard better in the 2nd round of playoffs.

J.R. Smith Grade = C

Smith made his first big mistake since joining Cleveland with Jae Crowder incident. Swish has played solid defense better than expected. Smith becomes 3rd option with Love out, but will miss the first two games of the next series.

Timofey Mozgov Grade = B

Mozgov played decent in this series. He was like the fifth option on offense with most of his points coming off pick and rolls. He did protect the rim pretty good.

Kevin Love Grade = B

Before the injury Love looked like was finding his groove. Love had to two good games before going down. We will have to wait until next year if he opts in.

Lebron James Grade = A

King James does what he does being the best at his craft. It’s championship or bust at this point. Lebron is going to do his part it’s other players who need to step to bring the gold to Cleveland.

The Bench

Iman Shumpert Grade = B

Shumpert played great defense along with some bonus offense. We need more of that as the playoffs continue.

Tristan Thompson Grade = B

Thompson is offensive rebounding machine one of the best in the league. Another player Cleveland will need to get more out of as the playoffs move on.

James Jones Grade = C

The specialist wasn’t hitting the three ball in this series. He has to hit that shot to make up for being a defensive liability.

Matthew Dellavedova Grade = C

Delly will play enough to give Kyrie a breather.

Kendrick Perkins Grade = Inc

Can u say enforcer?

Shawn Marion Grade = Inc

Just a cameo appearance.

Cleveland Cavaliers Final 27 Games Preview

The Cavaliers will come out of the All-Star break playing 11 of their next 14 games on the road. Included in the stretch is 4 back to back games. Eight of these teams are playoff teams right now. This by far is the most important part of the season for Cleveland.

The Next 14

Fri Feb 20 2015 8:00p EST ESPN @ Washington Wizards
Sun Feb 22 2015 1:00p EST ABC @ New York Knicks
Tue Feb 24 2015 7:30p EST   @ Detroit Pistons
Thu Feb 26 2015 8:00p EST TNT Golden State Warriors
Fri Feb 27 2015 7:00p EST   @ Indiana Pacers
Sun Mar 1 2015 7:00p EST NBATV @ Houston Rockets
Tue Mar 3 2015 7:00p EST     Boston Celtics
Wed Mar 4 2015 7:30p EST @ Toronto Raptors
Fri Mar 6 2015 7:30p EST @ Atlanta Hawks
Sat Mar 7 2015 7:30p EST NBATV Phoenix Suns
Tue Mar 10 2015 8:30p EST @ Dallas Mavericks
Thu Mar 12 2015 8:00p EST TNT @ San Antonio Spurs
Sun Mar 15 2015 6:00p EST   @ Orlando Magic
Mon Mar 16 2015 8:00p EST ESPN @ Miami Heat

Quotes

“Playing with a sense of urgency and understanding how important each game is,” James said. “They have never been in this situation where every game is meaningful. It is now. It’s going to set them up for the postseason.”

“Everyone is in a great rhythm and everything is starting to click,” Irving said.

“We have to try to stay focused on all the good things we were doing before the break and to be really, really passionate and professional in our approach to the last part of this season, which will come heavy and fast right away,” Blatt said. “The guys are in a good state of mind and we are ready to go.”

“Oh we can win a championship, yeah, with this roster,” James said after Thursday’s practice.

“Obviously, health is a huge thing, clicking at the right time,” James said. “The team that’s clicking at the right time, is healthy at the right time, can make a huge push. I believe we can make a push to win one. Does it guarantee that? Of course not, we still gotta go out and play. But this roster can challenge any team out there.”

Listen the Cavaliers are going to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Now it’s a matter how they are going to position themselves for the playoffs. This 14 game stretch will tell us if Cleveland are contenders or pretenders. For some of the players on team this is the first time the end of the season means something. At the end of this stretch I will take look at where Cleveland at and how they played. Lebron knows what to expect this time of the year. Let’s see how Kyrie, KLove and the others respond to the pressure.

Cavaliers Roster Rankings Thanksgiving Edition

RK Name POS Comments
1 Lebron James F A triple double waiting to happen.
2 Kyrie Irving G Maybe playing his best overall in career.
3 Kevin Love F Still trying to find his niche.
4 Anderson Varejao F/C Keep his minutes down.
5 Dion Waiters G Too talented not to figure this out.
6 Tristan Thompson F/C Playing for a contract.
7 Shawn Marion F Still good on defense but suspect on offense.
8 Will Cherry G Playing spot minutes.
9 Joe Harris G Has fell off thus lost playing time.
10 Lou Amundson F Playing spot minutes in frontcourt.
11 Mike Miller G/F A lot of DNP
12 Brandon Haywood C A lot of DNP
13 James Jones G/F A lot of DNP
14 Alex Kirk C D-LEAGUE
15 Matthew Delladova G Knee injury out

Memo To The Cavaliers Young Guns

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are talented players with a lot learn about NBA basketball. The first lesson they need to learn is they are playing with the best player on the planet. Lebron James has played in four straight NBA finals. He won two rings in his tenure in Miami.  So there is plenty to learn from the King about winning. These two talked good during training camp and the preseason about learning from Lebron, but seem to be drifting back to their old selfish ways. Three games into the season nobody should be panicking. Some conversations will be had about teamwork and sacrificing for the good of the team.

Over the next couple weeks we are going to find out if Irving and Waiters want to be winners or just self-serving basketball players. I hope these two figure what’s needs to be done to become championship contenders.  When the best player in the world decides to come home and be unselfish to win rings I applaud that. James expects these guys to be unselfish like he is willing to be.

Cleveland has twelve games left in the month November with eight of them at home. That’s favorable for a team trying to find a winning chemistry. I hope these two youngsters figure out what they could have with King James because it could be championship special if they really want it.

Top 10 Scoring Teams In Cleveland Cavalier History

It’s been 21 years since  a Cleveland Cavaliers team has averaged at least 104 points a game. Below are the top ten scoring teams in Cavalier history. Five of those teams made the playoffs. This years team should make the playoffs. The question will be can they put the ball in the basket in record breaking fashion. They won’t beat the 114 points per game, but should break into the top ten.

Rk Season Tm W L W/L% PTS
1 1979-80 CLE 37 45 0.451 114.1
2 1991-92 CLE* 57 25 0.695 108.9
3 1988-89 CLE* 57 25 0.695 108.8
4 1984-85 CLE* 36 46 0.439 108.6
5 1985-86 CLE 29 53 0.354 107.8
6 1992-93 CLE* 54 28 0.659 107.7
7 1978-79 CLE 30 52 0.366 106.5
8 1971-72 CLE 23 59 0.28 105.8
9 1980-81 CLE 28 54 0.341 105.7
10 1987-88 CLE* 42 40 0.512 104.5