Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good Thing We Got Larry Hughes instead of Michael Redd!

Does this mean the honeymoon is over? It's only one loss folks. Don't flip. Nothing like Lebron shooting 16-24 and still losing. Michael Redd's fadeaway buzzer beating three did in the Cavs on the road. Since Mrs MTAC is still sick and nobody is here to watch MTAC Jr, we are trying to watch him and work at the same time. Not easy. So here is a little recap on the game and opinions from the local beat writers and bloggers.

Asleep on the Red-Eye - Branson "Wrong," Cleveland Plain Dealer

Szczerbiak did everything he could, but Redd still nailed a 27-footer.

“I looked up at the clock, saw they had some time left, ran back on defense and picked him up,” Szczerbiak said of Redd and the frantic finish. “I wanted to keep him in front of me. He pump-faked, and he gets his feet set well. I wanted to stay down and make him make the shot over me.
“That’s all I could do. He made a 30-footer. I give the guy a [heck] of a lot of credit. That was a big shot.”

Szczerbiak has made plenty of them, but not on Tuesday. He made just 5 of 18 shots, just 2 of 9 from 3-point range.

Bucks Kill Buzz For New Cavs - Brian Windhorst, Akron Beacon-Journal

It was a shocking end, but one that fit the way the proceedings had gone.

The Cavs experienced perhaps the first growing pains of their new look, tripping up down the stretch and giving Redd the chance.

While the old incarnation of the Cavs had flaws, the one thing they did know how to do was close.

It was a combination of usually having the best player on the floor in James and having chemistry born from battling through numerous close games.

For now, the second half ofthat formula is in development and this was an example. The Cavs, who are usually rock solid in the fourth quarter, let a seven-point lead slip away in this one as they often seemed out of control.

Even James, usually a model of dominance in winning time, seemed unsure of where he was going and where he was supposed to be. There were unforced turnovers, missed assignments on defense and lots of foggy looks from James and his teammates new and old.

Redd Light - Waiting For Next Year

By now, you already know the results of the game, and have likely read the stellar breakdown by Rick. The free throws easily made the difference in this one, but I have two questions:

1) With Zydrunas Ilgauskas out, the combination of Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao provided very little offense. But where was the defense? The sole block for the Cavaliers was converted by LeBron James, and the two big men combined for one steal. In fact, Delonte West (8) outrebounded Varejao (6). Not good.

2) Given the 5.9 seconds remaining after LeBron’s layup, who decided to put Wally Szczerbiak on Michael Redd defensively? Not that it would have likely made a difference, but someone with a bit more speed and length would have been my choice in that situation.

But enough of the bad. On to the good…

Damon Jones draining all four three-point attempts for 12 points in 21 minutes is great to see. Sad to see it wasted, honestly. Wally getting 18 shots is nice considering that he also had four assists and a steal. He earned ‘em. Joe Smith’s 12 and eight in under 30 minutes is very Drew-ish. Lonestar!!

The Good, The Bad, The Summary - John Hnat, The Cleveland Fan

Last night's game ... was a less-than-stellar future date with the same girl. Sure, she still looks great ... but she drones on and on about herself ... and she laughs like a hyena ... and what is the story with that weird clicking sound she makes when she chews her food?

We're now seeing that Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, and a couple of busted picks from the 2006 draft are not going to fetch four perfect players in return. The new guys have their warts too. Just as Chicago fans are discovering that Hughes will take questionable jumpers with reckless abandon ... or that Gooden will drive you to pull every last hair from your head in frustration at his airheadedness ... so too do Ben Wallace, Wally ("My Last Name Gets You 140 Points In Scrabble") Szczerbiak, Joe Smith, and Delonte West have their shortcomings.

Take some of those negatives, add an unconscious night for Milwaukee guard Mo Williams, and throw in a dash of last-second heroics by Michael Redd, and you get a 105-102 loss to the Bucks. Williams led everybody (even that #23 fella who plays for the Cavs; you may have heard of him) with 37 points. That figure set a new season high for Williams, and was just one point away from tying his career best. Redd chipped in with 25 points, including a last-second, high-arcing three pointer from thirty feet. LeBron James paced the Cavs with 35 points; no other Cavalier scored more than 13 (that coming from Wally Alphabet).

The game was also notable for the return of Anderson Varejao (back in action after missing four weeks with a sprained ankle) and the absence of Zydrunas Ilgauskas (who was described as having an "upper respiratory infection"; that sounds like a "cold" to me, something that should be treated with "chicken soup").

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