Ah, so close. You could almost remember what winning a game felt like. Almost. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The Cavs simply couldn’t defend (stop me if you’ve heard that before) and couldn’t stop themselves from taking terrible shots down the stretch.
Early, it looked like the Cavs were yet again going to be blown out as they have been much of this losing streak. However, they fought, and by the end of the 1st half had it within 5. From that point on, the game remained a very back and forth afraid with the Cavs taking the lead multiple times, but never able to expand the lead more than 3 points.
Ultimately, the game was decided down the stretch when first JJ Hickson (more on this later) and second Anthony Parker, took some poor shots which doomed the Cavs. Also, the Cavs couldn’t defend the three, but hey, you knew this would be the case.
I have to start here. I told you guys a while back that I had lost all faith in the kid and since then he’s only confirmed my decision to do so. He was TERRIBLE tonight. Let me just share with you some of the JJ plays that I specifically recall from nothing but memory
- Roy Hibbert catches the ball in the post with his back to the basket. Hickson, who is guarding Hibbert, TAKES TWO STEPS BACK AND GIVES HIBBERT NEARLY THREE FEET OF SPACE. Hibbert, already being next to the rim, scores an easy hook. I have no idea why Hickson decided it would be a good idea to just give a man standing at the rim more space to score. But he did it.
- Not long after, Hickson comes out to hedge on a screen with Ramon Sessions. Instead, he takes a giant, looping angle and makes sure to defend the open three point line as opposed to the man with the ball (Collison). Collison easily split the “double-team” (quotes because Hickson was barely in the picture) and went right down the lane for a simply lay-up.
- About 30 seconds later, Ramon Sessions calls for a screen from Hickson. However, after waiting for what seemed like 27 minutes, Sessions takes his man off the dribble. What happened? Hickson decided it best to walk to Sessions to set the screen instead of, at the very least, a light jog. He’s lazy.
- Now, let’s talk about his run killing shots. The first one was the very first time the Cavs managed to tie the game in the 2nd half. With 18 seconds on the shot clock, the ball enters the post to Hickson, and he decides to take an excellent fade-away jumper. I tell you, when I think of a big shot that needs to be made, I think of Hickson taking fall-away jumpers. It didn’t even hit the rim.
- Then, later in thhe 4th quarter, with the game on the line and plenty of time on the shot clock, the ball again goes to Hickson and he takes a really sexy 18 foot, contested jumper. He missed of course.
- Finally, on the last gasp chance by the Cavs, Sessions drives to the hole, draws the double team, and hits a cutting Hickson right in the chest. Hickson dropped the ball. OF COURSE HE DID!!!
Guys, it isn’t just in the box score with this kid. It’s the continued stupid, silly plays. Taking bad jumpers when he can’t make jumpshots. Not hustling to set screens. Not knowing how to play a screen and roll at least somewhat effectively. I have no hope that this kid will ever be anything more than an Andray Blatche with slightly less basketball skill. That’s his ceiling.
The non-obligatory Christian Eyenga and Manny Harris post.
I’m really starting to believe Eyenga has a place on this team for the rebuild and long after. He has a real shot and becoming a lock-down, wing defender, and those guys are simply necessary in this league with all of the dynamic perimiter players. Furthermore, he has a really solid shooting stroke, and if he can just start hitting more shots (and I think he will) he can be a slightly less dynamic Rudy Gay (only a better defender). He might not ever be able to handle the ball as well as some small forwards, but the things he could possibly do one day are enough to get me somewhat excited.
Manny Harris is better than I thought he would be. He’s better in almost every area than I imagined when he came out of college. Better shooter, better passer, a little faster, a little more athletic. I’ve been trying to think of a player to compare him to and the guy I keep thinking of is Leandro Barbosa. Obviously, he isn’t as fast. But, he’s the same type of player. A small combo-guard who will make his living slashing to the rim. He might also have a future on this team, but I’m not nearly that sure about it.
One other note, Anthony Parker played pretty well in this game. He hit some big shots when the Cavs needed it. Yea, his last play sucked, but he was still better than the Anthony Parker we’ve come to know.