Preview and Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

Darius Soriano —  February 16, 2011

Records: Lakers 38-18 (3rd in West), Cavaliers 9-46 (last in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.8 (2nd in NBA), Cavaliers 101.1 (last in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.2 (11th in NBA), Cavaliers 112.8 (last in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Cavaliers: Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Christian Eyenga, Antawn Jamison, JJ Hickson
Injuries: Lakers: Matt Barnes & Theo Ratliff (out); Cavaliers: Leon Powe & Anderson Varejao (out), Daniel Gibson (doubtful)

The Lakers Coming in: Losers of two in a row, the Lakers momentum has ground to a halt. What started out as a very promising road trip has now gone a bit sour with the lackluster play in Orlando and the horrid affair in Charlotte. And while I think some good old fashioned rest can help this team (the All-Star break can’t get here soon enough), I think we should also acknowledge that the team is still up and down in too many areas and struggles to put together complete performances on both sides of the ball consistently. On too many nights solid defense isn’t supported by cohesive offense and vice versa.

The players understand this too. None would claim this team is close to where it needs to and they’d quickly admit that much work needs to be done. Hopefully the time off between tomorrow and Tuesday will recharge the players’ batteries and the eventual return of Barnes (hoping to start practicing on Monday) will help settle the rotation back again.

The Cavaliers Coming in: Nine wins in fifty-five tries pretty much speaks to the state of this franchise. They’re last in both offensive and defensive efficiency, have struggled through countless injuries, suffered a record breaking 26 game losing streak, and have even inspired a website dedicated to answering whether they won last night. All around bad times for the Cavs.

The did win a game recently, however. Downing the Clips in overtime, the Cavs broke their streak of losses this past Friday. Yeah! Then on Sunday they gave the Wizards their lone road win of the season. Ugh. Such is this season for the Cavs. My sympathies to Coach Scott, the Cleveland fans, and the players that are undoubtedly trying but just not good enough to compete with most teams for a full 48 minutes each night.

Cavaliers Blogs: Despite their losing ways, John Krolik continues to provide sharp analysis on this team over at Cavs The Blog.

Keys to game: Let’s keep this simple: the Lakers just need to show up and care. The Cavs are the worst team in the league and it’s not close. But they will play hard and the fact that the Lakers humilated them in their last match up will surely be on the minds of the home team. If the Lakers think they’re just going walk in and the Cavs forfeit, they’ll be mistaken. The Lakers need to play hard and execute their sets on both sides.

On offense that means going inside consistently. Jamison and Hickson are no match for Gasol and Bynum and the Lakers need to exploit these match ups all game. Kobe can get in the fun too by attacking Anthony Parker in isolations at the elbow. As for the other Lakers, just pass to these guys, cut hard, screen hard, and then flow into open space to capitalize on over compensations by a defense that is outmanned.

Defensively, the return of Mo Williams means the Cavs have their offensive catalyst back. The Lakers will be tested with Williams/Hickson pick and rolls and Williams/Jamison pick and pops. They’ll also see plenty of Williams in isolation at the top of the key both in the half court and when he pushes the ball in transition. Defending the paint will be important against his drives and on big man dives but the Lakers also can’t get lazy in rotating back to the perimeter when Williams, Jamison, and Parker spot up around the arc. When given time these guys can knock down the open jumper. Rotate and close out hard and funel offensive players to Bynum and Gasol.

Tonight, there are no excuses. I can see this game being close early but every single team in the past 50 some odd days that’s found themselves in a close game with the Cavs has found a way to turn up their intensity and give the Cavs an L (save the Clippers on Friday). I fully expect the Lakers to do the same. Rarely do I say that a win should be a given but tonight is one of those nights. Despite a 4-0 start to this trip, this roadie will be a complete failure if this team doesn’t leave Cleveland with a W. Just go get it and then take a vacation until next Monday when practice resumes.

Where you can watch: 4:30pm start time out West on KCAL. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

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106 responses to Preview and Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. I’m sure another 50-point drubbing would help our boys’ spirits.

  2. It would help my spirits for sure, as long as the Lakers are giving this drubbing.

  3. Again, looking at a slightly bigger picture, a 5-2 Grammy Trip is something I would have signed off on two weeks ago.

  4. #3. Especially with a win at Boston being one of those 5 wins. Like I said in the preview it’s easy to be sour after the Orlando/Charlotte losses but in the end I’m okay with where we are on this trip. A good win tonight will have a positive effect on this team going into and coming out of the AS break, I think.

  5. It is such a scapegoat response to say that we should be happy with ending the trip 5-2. Everyone always looks at wins vs losses which is obviously important. But I’m more focused on how we are playing. We aren’t playing well at all. For instance, I didn’t think we played particularly well against the Knicks but it’s not magnified because of the fact that we won.

    Let’s all be honest about our team. We are not playing good basketball now, and a win against the Cavaliers isn’t going to prove otherwise.

  6. To respond to the last thread… I realize that we don’t have a back up Center, but that has to be put on both Phil Jackson and Mitch for not making that a priority. After all, they both know that Gasol can’t play in the middle.

  7. 5.)
    To say we are not playing good basketball, I think, is a bit off-base. This trip we have played some of the best defense we’ve seen out of these guys this year. The game against Boston (though they had some injuries) was one, if not, the best of the year. We hadn’t given up 100 points in multiple games. Just because outside shooting hasn’t fallen the past few games doesn’t mean we are now a bad team. I would rather be winning games playing good defense than putting up 115+ and winning by 2. I agree a W vs the Cavs won’t prove anything, except adding another W to the trip and to the season, and that’s something I won’t ever argue with. You’re entitled to your opinion, but if the Spurs weren’t red-hot, we wouldn’t be worrying about having 18 losses right now. We will be ready and right now (the regular season), is the time to prime that.

  8. 39-18 reads like a pretty good record to me. Charlotte’s only hope for a championship is to play the Lakers every game through the season and playoffs.

  9. Here’s how the Lakers can get up for this game. Tell Artest that Antwan Jamison is really Lebron James, and that he’s wearing a human suit just to fool Artest. Oh, and tell the rest of the team this as well.

  10. Of course as soon as I get behind the Memphis playoff push, Rudy Gay’s shoulder explodes.

    I’m hating losing KCAL for Time/Warner. Haaaating it.

  11. We know the Lakers are capable of playing better, a 5-2 road trip when your not playing your best ball is pretty good imo.

  12. Holy shit lamar pau and bynum are all on the floor at the same time

  13. Pau looks like he’s motivated tonight. Looks like he’s tired of being called soft.

  14. 25-15 cavs, why am i watching this

  15. Why am I not surprised.

  16. Well, Pau has certainly shown up. Just waiting for the rest of the guys to come along…

  17. links anyone? much appreciated

  18. Is the F-word allowed on this thread?

  19. Can someone tell me why Bynum is 0-5 against a team with exactly zero centers?

    Edit :0-7

  20. Cavs started 10-22, Lakers 5-22. Since then, the Lakers are 8-13 and the Cavs are 4-13.

    It’ll continue to normalize.

  21. When are the lakers gonna throw that switch? When they are 5th in the West?

  22. Man, the Lakers really have a thing for giving up buzzer beaters.

  23. Lakers doing their best to make fans want to panic

  24. Did we really just give up an 8-0 run to end the half? And only took 1 shot ourselves in the process? 2 turnovers and an offensive board (surprise, surprise) given up.

    And just as I was thinking that LA had switched on…

  25. Hey at least we won a quarter right? 1 of the last 10

  26. Bynum’s first basket is on a goaltend? Way to play like a man Andrew.

  27. Hey, if they lose, can we have a one-night only moratorium on the no- profanity policy? ;-)

  28. Did Phil just announce his retirement to Pau at the timeout? He was very emphatic about it.

  29. The lakers don’t have any chemistry on the defensive end. It’s a lay up drill for the cavs

  30. Sessions 20 pts, yet Fisher keeps taking his eye off of him to play help D.

    WoW Kobe stop the turnovers ffs.

  31. Do you guys still think we’re playing good basketball?

  32. LMFAO! I was just joking about the team losing to the Cavs with the ppl at work, then I look at the score and see them down by 7, absolutely sad. If we lose tonight, Melo trade talks are going up even higher.

  33. JJ Hickson with SEVEN offensive boards.

    I’ve not been a proponent of the Bynum for Melo talk (and I think we all know it’s not going to happen), but if our much vaunted length is going to continue to offer up so many 2nd shots, the temptation to do something grows. Yes, we still have a good record, and yes, I still think LA will win this game, but man, it can be immensely frustrating to watch!

  34. Oh and our important “Big” is 1-10 tonight. A guy with his length should put in at least 50 percent of his shots.

  35. I’m torn because if they lose I know the Lakers will look to make a move which I want, but it would be very embarrassing to lose to the Cavs.

  36. Blake is saving his shots for the playoffs.

  37. I’m the biggest critic of Bynum so take my comments with a agrain of salt.. but c’mon… Dude is getting outrebounded by JJ Hickson?!!? Seriously, what is wrong with this kid?

  38. #35. He shoots 57.5% on the year. He *is* playing terribly tonight. As are many of his teammates.

  39. Maybe the Lakers need a coaching change.

    There! I said it.

  40. You can not breathe confidence into NBA teams, but allowing them to think they can beat you is extremely dangerous.

    They are playing with confidence and are making fadeaways and floaters.

  41. at a certain point, you have to hold the coach accountable for these pathetic performances.

    perhaps phil leaving at the end of last year would have been better than the stale team we have this year and perhaps greater intensity would have been brought to this season.

    kobe bryant has played three straight horrible games since new york

  42. Tej – The whole league should think they can beat the Lakers at this point …

  43. ugly ugly fall by shamwow

  44. Ouch.. poor Shannon, hope he’s not hurt too bad. That was a nasty fall.

  45. Why in the world did Shannon Brown grab the rebound and run out to take a 3 and not take a better FG attempt from 2?

  46. Finally! Be a man Bynum, not a bitch.

  47. #46…lol….

    these cleveland announcers are nuts…

  48. 45. he runs out and shoots 3s cuz there aint no 4s

  49. Why are all our possessions ending with Fisher driving to the basket?

  50. I’m not watching the game, but I really hope the Lakers lose this one just so they can get embarrassed and shamed, and consequently be forced to change their attitude and the way they approach ALL games.

  51. A phrase overheard before the game “Avenge me boys, Avenge me!” Never a good idea to blow a team out by 55.

  52. this is going to be officially the worst loss of the season

  53. Bring on the Melo talks.

  54. Lakers are working on that late Ramon for ASG push.

  55. Lakers 3Peat!!! Can they make it 4?!?!?!?

  56. I am aware that surely it’s all his fault (or at least I am sure someone will say so here sooner or later) but it’s hard to digest, that having a guy scoring 20 pts in the first half (6-12, 8-8) you only feed him thrice in the whole second half…….

  57. WE WANT MELO!! CLAP CLAP CLA CLA CLAP….WE WANT MELO…

  58. Please. I’m begging. Please, someone say something that will keep me from crying all night and calling into work sick tomorrow.

  59. The Lakers truly deserved this loss.

    Andrew really slept through this one – me being one of his big supporters. However, it is Shannon and Lamar that I reserve the most negative comments for. Their poor passing – good passers, but poor at reading situations. And Lamar has a terminal inability to block out.

    It is not only obvious that Cleveland wanted this one more, but they also were much more disciplined.

  60. Shannon Brown has the lowest basketball IQ in the NBA

  61. #58…matt barnes will be back in march. ? will that make it better? hmmm..ok

    bad foul shamwow

  62. bad foul by derek fisher

  63. I don’t get the tactic quite well….just sayi’n

  64. kobe bailed out on a horrible brick

  65. 2 point cleveland lead…22 sec left…not over yet

  66. By the way , right now I would trade Artest and Bynum for a bag of peanuts

  67. Wow…I am surprising shocked though I shouldn’t be. I am pissed. This is totally ridiculous.

  68. Am I wrong in saying this final play has to be for Fisher? He’s the only guy who’s on tonight.

  69. Zephid, apparently Lamar holding the ball on the perimeter while crucial seconds tick away is a better option.

  70. Mimsy’s Hubby (Jim C.) February 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Can we please do the Bynum for Melo trade now?

  71. kobe with another bad shot….at this age and with this much mileage abdul-jabbar was being totally tended to by the lakes…limited playing time, etc. kobe has to play way TOO much for the lakers to be competitive but lakers had a much stronger team then.

  72. 70 I agree completely, that 16# fella, has had an off game, don’t let ourselves be fool by the stats line….

  73. Please shut the forum down Darius nothing good will come out of this.

    Restart after All Star Break

  74. 2 out of 9 Lakers decided to show up for this game. Pau had a great game, and Fisher is just a warrior. Shame on the rest of the team. They should be forced to donate all their salary for that game to charity, because they sure didn’t earn it.

  75. One of the worst losses in Lakers regular season history. Please no recap, links for one day. Check back on Friday for All-Star info

    Lakers waste Gasol’s 30/20 game

  76. Wait, don’t shut it down yet! I want to hear all the excuses from the “it’s just the regular season” fans. Let’s first talk about the “positives” after losing to the worst team in the history of sports. How about, “they’re professionals too”. Uh no, not really. If anyone thinks that, then their standards and expectations of a “professional” are pretty damn low! Absolutely pathetic and embarrassing performance. Let’s see if the team cares, but I highly doubt it…

  77. That’s it, I give up-for now. See you in March.

  78. Embarassing….

  79. This was a bad loss. This team looks like there is something wrong. This was the first game I’ve seen the Lakers lose since Shaq left where they had no business losing. That being said… When the playoffs start nobody will remember the last three games. But can we win playoff games on the road?

  80. Lakers are just getting punked. They really didn’t show the heart of a champion. There was no passion whatsoever.

    Give a hand to Byron Scott, he got his team up tonight. The Lakers would take it to the hole and they were met with tough fouls.

    When the Cavs got to the hole the Lakers just escort them to continuous easy layups.

    When is it going to change? The Lakers need to punish people going to the hole. Stop looking at each other and blaming teammates for getting burned on defense.

    Each team member needs to take a look in the mirror and realize what the team is asking of them. No one is being accountable and that’s what needs to change.

    Just give me one of those Men In Black ray guns and erase my memory of this game.

  81. This loss will put a very small cloud over the All-Star festivities,which include the unveiling of the Jerry West statue and Kobe’s handprints at the Chinese theater.

    I am not calling it quits by any means, but IMO:

    1. It is importnat to realize this team has basic wekanesses–age,slow feet, lack of perimeter shooting. It is not only about execution and focus.
    2. I think an adjustment at the margins, either with a buyout acquisition, a small trade, or the way Phil is using the personnel, is in order. The team the Lakers lost to tonight is 10-46 and lost at home, by double digits, to Washington two nights ago.

  82. i think artest may get released after this game.

  83. I want a refund on my League Pass Broadband because I’m not watching another Lakers regular season game.

  84. it’s 4:25 am in eastern Europe and for the better part of the night i’ve watched this..,i don’t know what to call it,because it really is an embarrassment,i’ll just go to bed,try to fall asleep hoping that somewhere in june we’ll all be laughing at this.i really don’t have anything smart to say.sad sad day.i still think that our team has it what it takes to win it all,so go lakers.good game pau and fish.good night you all,greetings from croatia.

  85. Come on guys, it is only the regular season, only All Star break…CHEER UP! We all know the Lakers will flip that switch come June! Oh wait thats right…this team is not going to make june…sorry.

  86. The Lakers need to change something – now.

  87. This team has no pride, when the clippers lost to the cavs in overtime I thought “poor clippers, to have the humiliation of losing to one of the worst teams of all time its sad. Typical clippers though its bound to happen to a franchise that has been dead and has no pride” and now I see this?

    Remains me when the spurs lost two years ago to the then bottom feeders thunder, I thought it was the lowest of the lows, but in retrospect the thunder had KD and promising young players, this on the other hand? a team where the best players are washed up – never weres Jamison and MO? where their most promising young players such as JJ hickson are filled with weaknesses and are probly worth no more than a 1st round pick?

    This IS the lowest of the lows.

  88. I think it was chearn who posted in a thread recently that one Laker player had a “blockbuster personal problem” affecting the team’s play that would be confirmed or denied after tonight’s game. Any word on that????

  89. Robinred,
    I agree with you. I don’t think anyone on here is abandoning ship or is definitively saything that we have no shot at the title. Am I highly doubting them right now, with every bad loss making me doubt them more and more? Absolutely! But who knows with this team. They seriously make me sick at times.

    But what I’m really hoping for is that the team is royally emabarrassed. Are they? Again, you never know with this team. But I’m hoping with this loss that the team and many of its fans finally realize that they have serious issues and weaknesses, like the ones you pointed out, and they can’t keep using the “it’s just a regular season game” excuse. I’ve always been on board with Joe when it comes to the importance of every game. Maybe the team will also start realizing it and will show up for every game here on out. That would certainly be a start to fixing some of the problems. Not all of them, but caring and not quitting makes a big difference.

  90. There’s something wrong with this *Team* internally. It hasn’t come to the Forefront as of yet, but after a loss such as this, it’s only a matter of time before it does. Hopefully, now we can all stop using the word ‘Tired’ as an excuse for the pathectic play as of late (as if we’ve played 10 more games than anybody else) because obviously it’s much deeper than that. How can we go from defeating, arguably, the best team in the East, to losing to the worst team in the A (Association). Within a week. Pls let this be Rock Bottom.

  91. This team did something similar to this last year right before the end of the season. I think they went 4-6 their last 10 games. They went into the playoffs totally out of synch, and I said they would be one and done to OKC, and we all know how that ended.

    This team, I am convinced, does not care about these losses in the regular season. They believe they can flip the switch when it counts. They did it against Houston two years ago, and they did it last year, so what will prevent them from doing it again? I don’t believe a team can play like this and win a championship, but it doesn’t matter what I believe, they obviously don’t agree, and it shows in their play. And I think they get that from Jackson.

    Oh, and trading Bynum for Anthony is insane. (edited for trade speculation) But, there will be no trade for all the reasons said before. So they will have to play the hand they’ve been given, and see what happens.

  92. There is something brewing in the air. Really, no need to speculate about trades or anything, but I honestly don’t think the crew we have right now is going to be able to win it all. Maybe Phil expressed his reservations about making drastic changes, but it seems that he’s lost Bynum and Artest (emphasis on this dude who was focused enough to release some mixtape on twitter after this debacle).

    Get me some players who care, and please do not recycle the Lakers can just flip the switch. The switch is broken.

  93. magicwouldneverloselike this February 16, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Travesty. Some questionable calls at the end of the game. But you play bad all game, you can’t expect the refs to reward 3-5 minutes of hard work. In 3 games, you see very little change in play by the end of each game. Losing to the cavs is like losing to orlando by 30. Especially when kobe and phil express their disappointment after the bobcats game. Where’s the pride?

  94. Tra, Lakers don’t just have problems internally. They have team weaknesses and had the same weaknesses last season too. Now the Lakers won the last two championships on talent, they were way more talented than everyone. It wasnt that they had awesome offensive or defensive chemistry as a team. This year that is showing even more, the teams are better and talent alone will not get this team a championship. it is so obvious. I can’t see this team playing at a much higher level and just turning it on like before, something is seriously wrong with this team.

  95. Long time Laker fan — since before Magic. Read this blog regularly, but rarely comment. Used to watch them religiously, but now I live out of the area, I have a family and kids, busy work and volunteer schedule. Now I live through the box score, recaps, and this blog.

    I flip to the standings … the Lakers are 38-19. Only a handful of teams with better records, and they’re not a bad set of teams to be in company with. Seems to me this is another year with a deep Lakers run in the playoffs. Will they definitely win the championship? Since when has that ever been possible to tell? Will they have a good shot? Absolutely.

    I see no reason to panic, and every reason to enjoy the ups and downs of another fine Lakers season.

  96. Seriously, our beloved Lakers remind me of that uber smart kid in high school who totally procrastinates, sleeps in classes, plays video games all night, yet gets the A on the exam just because he’s brilliant.
    (This describes our 2010-11 Lakers during the regular season).

    Then, that kid gets into the top college, but lo and behold, there are kids who are as smart as the slacker AND have an amazing work ethic, pays attention in class, etc. Slacker kid’s brilliance is outweighed by other genius’ brilliance plus work ethic. Then slacker kid realizes…that it’s not so easy to get away with this behavior.
    (God forbid, this may be our Lakers in the 2011 playoffs…lots of smart geniuses out there named Celts, Heat, Spurs, Bulls, Magic).

    Just remember, you can’t spell “slacker” without Laker. Team needs to wake up.

  97. There is a lot of talk about this game being the worst loss in Lakers history. Not even close IMO.

    For me it was the 1969 game 7 loss to the Celtics in the NBA finals. And a close second is the 1984 loss to the same Celtics in game 7. In both of those series the Lakers seemed to have the upper hand, and then some strange play – Nelson’s last second shot off the top of the backboard, and Gerald Henderson’s interception of Worthy’s inbounds pass – turned the series around.

    This is a bad loss, but it is just the regular season.

  98. Daniel, has there really been a time to get up this regular season….besdies the Boston win? What is there to really be proud of? This team is underachieving and then there is games like these where they don’t take it seriously. This team has lost to way too many bad teams and is 1-6 against the elite. Lots of downs yes, but not very many ups

  99. Someone should let the Lakers know the CBA doesn’t expire until this summer. Looks like they’ve started the boycott early.

  100. 85. Lol I was thinking the same thing, anyone want my Leaguepass username and password? I can’t watch anymore of this.

    I honestly started laughing when I saw the box score, I had a feeling something bad would happen so I’m glad I was right and didn’t watch. My only thoughts coming from this game (meaningless regular season) is that IF and WHEN the Lakers get things together I hope they do not think they can take nights off in the playoffs like they did two years ago. They had superior talent to everyone in the league then but as for now, the rest of the league has caught up. If they go into the playoffs with the mentality that they just have to win at home and don’t have to put up their best effort on the road then this team is done. Most teams the Lakers could potentially face in the top portion of both Conferences could go into LA and steal at least one game or more.

    Anyways everyone enjoy All-star break weekend it’s a much needed break from mediocrity (looking forward to your coverage of the events Darius). Oh yeah and go buy Lamar and Khloe’s new scent for men and women, it’s absolutely tantalizing. LOL

  101. Joe, 38 ups, 19 downs.

  102. And you think that is acceptable for his Lakers team? I think most fans would disagree

  103. They’re on a pace to win 55 to 57 games. They’ve only won significantly more than that (in the 60s) three times in the last 20 years. Yeah, I’d say this has been a good season for the Lakers so far. Do you really expect them to win 60+ games every year or they’re a failure?