Found March 05, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:
Picimg_nba_mar_10_5958

Cavaliers hope to fare better against Utah this time around

The Cleveland Cavaliers (13-22, 10th in the East) can officially kiss the playoffs goodbye. Not many felt the Cavaliers could actually make the playoffs to begin with, but the Anderson Varejao injury just made things that much more difficult. Now the Cavaliers find themselves on season high 5 game losing streak and everything is pretty much fallen apart.

Those who prefer lottery over winning games can rejoice in the fact the Cavaliers are actually closing in on a top 5 pick at this pace. The Cavaliers currently have the 8th lowest win PCT and have just one more win than the four teams currently tied for 4th fewest wins. A few more losses to teams the Cavaliers should be able to beat, along with a few timely wins from fellow bottom dwellers like Detroit, Sacramento, Toronto, and New Jersey, and the Cavaliers just might be in the hunt for a top 5 pick after all.

Those who would prefer to see the Cavaliers developing and winning games, this has been a rough stretch. A frustrating lack of focus and effort, things are starting to feel dangerously close to last season. The team is beginning to have that look in their eye again, where they know they’re going to lose before the game even starts.

Tonight the Cavaliers will try to snap out of this funk against the Utah Jazz (17-19, 11th in the West). The Jazz just beat LeBron James and his Miami Heat over the weekend, and they followed that up with a close loss in Dallas to the defending Champs. The Jazz come into this game with a lot of confidence and no doubt feel that they should be able to escape The Q with a win tonight.

With Anderson Varejao this is a tough matchup for Cleveland. Without Varejao, it’s another nightmare matchup. Al Jefferson (18.5 pts, 9.3 reb, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 blk) and Paul Millsap (15.7 pts, 9.0 reb, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 stl) are one of the finest frontcourt duos in the NBA and both are having really strong seasons. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are both making the most of the minutes they are given and are proving to be very efficient players. And then there’s slam dunk champ Jeremy Evans as well.

Without Varejao, the projected starting PF and C for the Cavaliers are Antawn Jamison and Ryan Hollins. Matched up against Jefferson and Millsap. Yikes. We’ll see if Coach Scott feels the need to play Tristan Thompson big minutes to matchup defensively with the Jazz. I would think Samardo Samuels would be a better physical matchup with Jefferson than either Hollins or Erden, but the Cavalier centers have been so awfully inconsistent that it’s tough to say that with any certainty. The point is, the Cavaliers are going to have their hands full in the paint.

The backcourt matchup is a little more favorable. Devin Harris is a really solid PG, but he has been surprisingly mediocre defensively in recent years. His effort in going around screens lags at times, and Irving should be able to take advantage and find some space to get off some good looks. On defense, the goal should be to make Harris shoot from outside, but Harris is so freaking good at getting around much better defenders than Kyrie Irving, so a lot of talk and help defense is a must.

Gordon Hayward’s scoring is up, but that’s a function of his minutes and usage increasing. His shooting overall and from 3-point range is down. He is one of the worst defenders on the Jazz, but I’m not sure either Anthony Parker or Daniel Gibson will be able to do much to take advantage of this. This is where Cleveland’s lack of an attacking wing scorer, particularly at the 2, really hurts them as they may not be able to take advantage of this particular weakness.

This is another game where, quite frankly, I don’t expect the Cavaliers to be able to win unless the Jazz come out and play poorly and don’t give a strong effort on the glass. With road games at Denver and Oklahoma City coming up this week, too, the Cavaliers’ losing streak could be in danger of stretching out longer than anyone wants to see. So I’m not sure how they can pull it off, other than just giving one of their best efforts of the season, but I really hope the Cavaliers can find a way to sneak out of The Q with a win tonight. Otherwise, I’m a little worried about this losing streak pushing 10 games, and I don’t care how badly anyone wants a high lottery pick, another brutal losing streak is the last thing this young team needs right now.

_____

Image Credit: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cavs lose to Jazz, and really miss Anderson Varejao right now

Vote for STEPIEN RULES in Cleveland Magazine's Nothing But Net #bloggerbrackets - Here's the Tournament Bracket: http://bit.ly/Agh28v Here is the direct link to the survey where you can vote for STEPIEN RULES: http://tinyurl.com/CLEbloggers - Thanks for doing that people, it is very much appreciated! Thanks to Cleveland Magazine for putting this on too.--After the game...

While We’re Waiting… Cleveland blog tournament, Bounty Hunting and Kyrie’s record season

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. Before we get to the links today, just a reminder that WFNY is in the Cleveland Magazine Blogger Bracket this month. We’d appreciate you’re support. Vote here. It is...

Box Score: Jazz 109, Cavaliers 100

Too little, too late. I’m sensing a theme, here. The Cavaliers come out flat, play poorly for much of the game, make a furious 2nd half comeback, only to fall just short at the end. Antawn Jamison tried to carry the load early as Kyrie Irving had an awful first half. To his credit, as he is prone to do, Irving recovered and had an enormous 2nd half. If the Cavaliers are going to...

Kyrie Irving to Skip 2012 Olympics, Aiming to Play in 2016

Kyrie Irving has opted to not play with the Australian national team in the 2012 Olympic Games. Irving, born in Austrailia, has dual-citizenship, thus having the opportunity to represent the nation in the upcoming summer Olympics. Instead, the first-overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft is opting to hold out in hopes of representing America in 2016 under the tutelage of his former...

Cavaliers Assign Eyenga, Harangody To Canton

The Cleveland Cavaliers have assigned guard/forward Christian Eyenga and forward Luke Harangody to the Canton Charge of the D-League.

Moving on from that last shot, and voting Stepien Rules in Cleveland Magazine's Blogger Brackets

It took me all of yesterday to get over that last shot from Anthony Parker on Saturday night. The first time he took and missed that buzzer beater against the Celtics I understood it. I defended the fact that he took it, and gave him a pass for missing. Doc Rivers only left Anthony Parker open in that 86-83 loss, and Kyrie Irving was covered by everybody. AP didn't really need...

From Post-season Hopes to Ping-Pong Balls in Two Short Weeks

The postseason possibilities are fading. The talent gap is widening. With Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott attempting to find the right combination of players and the schedule only getting increasingly more difficult in the coming weeks, what was once a dream is slowly becoming a delusion. On the tails of a reeling and aging Boston Celtics team prior to the All-Star break...

Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Spend Offseason with Tristan Thompson

Former Cavaliers big man and current special assistant to Chris Grant Zydrunas Ilgauskas will be spending a lot of time with current Cleveland power forward Tristan Thompson come this off-season. Prior to the team’s loss to the Utah Jazz, the team stated that the long-time center will work with the very raw Thompson, hopefully expanding an offensive arsenal that is rooted mostly...

Irving won't play for Australia in Olympics

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving won't play for Australia in the London Olympics this summer. Irving was born in Australia in 1992, while his father was playing professional basketball in Melbourne. He holds dual U.S. and Australian citizenship, making him eligible to play for either country under FIBA rules. Irving said Monday night, after Cleveland lost to...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.