Boy, what a lousy week.
As I sit here devouring my mother's leftover pot roast (yum), contemplating the Cavaliers loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday (yuck), I cannot ignore the fact that this was another loss that the presence of Anderson Varejao would have prevented. The Cavs are scoring a lot of points. That's fun to watch, I guess. They are also giving up a lot of points, and that makes for some pretty shitty basketball. Anderson is our second best defensive player (behind LeBron), and there can be little doubt that he would have come up with a couple of decisive plays in the paint that would have turned the tide of at least two games in this early season, the other being that excruciating loss at Utah. So, until he returns, here is a new Cleveland stat: Projected Record With Varejao, or PRWV. The PRWV now stands at 6-3.
People like high-flying offenses. It's nice to have a potent offensive attack. It's even better to have a great defense. I'm still waiting for this team to put together its first great defensive game. That's not going to happen when opposing point guards continuously break down our perimeter D. There have been way, way too many easy layups and dunks so far. That starts with poor backcourt defense. It ends with a Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who is too slow to rotate on help, and Drew Gooden, who doesn't really know how to. Again, Varejao would solve this problem, somewhat.
Watching Dwayne Jones try and clog the middle is just painful.
I guess what I'm really saying is: sign Anderson Varejao! Or rather: sign, Anderson Varejao!
Larry Hughes. He gripes (and lets Gilbert Arenas gripe for him) that he's used wrong in the offense. This year the offense is more up-tempo. What happens? Larry's numbers go DOWN. Not just down, but WAY down, as in down to 29% shooting. He's gotten to the foul line 6 times. As our point guard, he's averaging 2.3 assists. Against Orlando? Try 4 points, 4 rebounds and a whopping one assist in 30 minutes. He misses layups, mid range jumpers, threes, basically everything. After vowing to slash more, he's still chucking bricks. He's the one player on the team who seems to have poor chemistry with LeBron. What the hell happened to this guy???
Daniel Gibson, meet Allen Iverson. Gibson got an NBA education against Denver, to the tune of 37 points for AI. Gibson is an electric shooter who has been abused on defense this season. Not that he doesn't play hard; he's simply been schooled by wily veterans. I suppose that will change in time, but right now he's being exposed.
Anytime you want to start hitting your jumpshot, Sasha Pavlovic, would be just fine with me.
They don't beat Pittsburgh, won't beat Pittsburgh, and simply cannot seem to beat Pittsburgh. Last Sunday the Browns burnt two timeouts on a challenge that was not overturned and then had a critical (phantom) holding penalty that cost them field position in the final seconds of the game. The result? Phil Dawson misses an unmakeable field goal attempt and down we go in flames once more. This is the stuff that curses are made of.
Let's hope we recover this week against the hapless Ravens. If not, kiss the playoffs goodbye.
Sure, C.C. Sabathia's shiny new Cy Young Award is a really neat thing. He is, after all, the first Indian to be voted best pitcher since GAYLORD PERRY. That was 1972, for crying out loud. But getting completely outclassed by runner up Josh Beckett in the ALCS was not such a neat thing. Think C.C. would swap his fun but ultimately meaningless award for the really, truly meaningful one Beckett earned in October? Me and Dirk Nowitzki bet he would. Cleveland needs a title, man. It's about the ring!
Am I bitter? YES!!! How completely unbearable to see Boston run away with absolutely everything. What the hell?
Congrats, too, to Eric Wedge, AL Manager of the Year. He did a lot with a small payroll. Well deserved award that also doesn't really look quite as good as a World Series Ring.
If this was an especially nasty version of NFSE, I apologize. All will be forgiven if the Cavs score a victory tonight at home vs. Utah, a game I will be attending.
Nate's unreasonable prediction of the week:
Larry Hughes will have a good game.