Found December 05, 2012 on
Waiting For Next Year:
Is it better to play poorly and win or to play well and lose? The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-14, 13th in the East) have lost quite a few games I’m not sure they deserved to lose this season. The Cavaliers are going through something of an identity crisis at the moment. Or they are a pretty good bad team, or a pretty bad good team?
One of the games they most certainly deserved to lose was the 2nd game of the season against the Chicago Bulls. Tonight the Cavaliers will try to avenge that loss when they host the Bulls (8-8, 4th in the East) at The Q.
The Cavaliers will once again be sans-starting backcourt. PG Kyrie Irving is still out with the finger injury and Dion Waiters is expected to miss this game with an ankle injury. The Bulls know the feeling. They too are missing their starting backcourt as PG Derrick Rose and SG Richard Hamilton are both out as well.
So which backcourt-less team will win? The Bulls have owned the Cavaliers of late. In fact, the Bulls have taken 9 straight regular season games against the Cavaliers. The last time the Cavaliers beat the Bulls was March 19, 2010. The Cavaliers leading scorer that game was LeBron James. And that’s all I have to say about that.
I’m not sure I expect this game to be much different. Kyrie Irving has yet to beat the Bulls despite the fact he’s never played against Derrick Rose. And now the Cavaliers are without both Irving and Waiters. Then again, with this version of Anderson Varejao, anything is possible.
Indeed, the Varejao vs Joakim Noah matchup is always a fun one. If any player resembles Varejao not just physically, but in terms of intangibles, hustle, and effort, it’s Noah. You wonder why opposing fans hate Varejao? It’s for the same reason Cleveland fans hate Noah. That kind of nonstop effort gets under your skin, and both of these players are relentless.
The Bulls this season are boring. After going 2-3 on a recent road trip they have gone 2-2 since. They are 8-8 on the season. They are 22nd in defensive efficiency and 3rd in defensive efficiency. They are about as even, balanced, and boring as it gets. And I don’t even mean boring in a bad way. I mean it in a dependable, reliable way. With the Bulls, you know what you’re going to get. Smart offense, and incredible defensive effort.
It’s exactly the kind of team the Cavaliers struggle with. When the Cavaliers play a team they can at least somewhat match defensive intensity with, they can play their way into games. The Bulls are the most relentless team on defense. They swarm, they communicate, they help out, they do whatever it takes. It’s beautiful to watch when they’re not playing the Cavaliers.
The winner of this game might just come down to which substitute backcourt plays better. Or else it will come down to which team defends better down the stretch. If it’s the former, the Cavaliers have a chance in this game. If it’s the latter, this will be the 10th straight loss to the Bulls for the Cavaliers.
If the Cavaliers can force the Bulls to succumb to the pains of losing Rose and Hamilton, I really expect Alonzo Gee to be a big part of that. I know that Luol Deng is a matchup nightmare for Gee, but in my opinion Gee has shown a lot of composure and leadership in Kyrie’s absence. He has an offensive aggressiveness that the rest of the offense can sometimes be lacking, and they sometimes feed on it.
Otherwise, this has all the makings of a tough game for the Cavaliers. But is there value in playing well, playing hard, and ultimately coming up short against better teams? I think there is. I think the Cavaliers are learning a lot about themselves and their roles as they play through the injuries. It’s certainly been a better experience than getting blown out night in and night out as they frequently did in previous seasons.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Cleveland Cavaliers have recalled forward Kevin Jones from the Canton Charge.
Jones has appeared in five games for the Charge this season, averaging 23.6 points (third in the league), 12.6 rebounds (third in the league) and 1.4 steals in 41.0 minutes (fourth in the league). He has four double-doubles on the season.
An undrafted rookie out of West Virginia, Jones was signed to...
Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott forced the team's three rookies to carry around dolls in strollers before Wednesday's game against the Bulls.
“To be honest I do not think you can make up for it.” — Byron Scott, 12/3/12
It wasn’t all that long ago when a Cavaliers-Pistons match-up was must-watch television. If you need proof, just ask Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, Anderson Varejao or Daniel Gibson — the only four men to play in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals who happen to still be playing for their respective...
CLEVELAND -- Sometimes, you just have no chance.
Oh, you think you do. And you can give it your best. But its just not in the cards, and thats OK.
Thats pretty much the story for the Cavaliers these days, particularly in a game like the one Wednesday at The Q, where the Cavs dropped a 95-85 decision to the Chicago Bulls.
Now, understand that the Cavs battled. In the second half...
Cavaliers rookie guard Dion Waiters is out for Wednesday night's game against the Chicago Bulls because of a sprained left ankle.
Waiters, taken with the No. 4 pick in this year's draft, was injured in Saturday's double-overtime loss to Portland. He didn't play in Monday's game against Detroit and it's uncertain when he will return. Waiters is averaging 15...
Anderson Varejao is averaging 15.2 points and 15.4 rebounds per game heading into tonight's matchup with the Chicago Bulls. He's also shooting 52.2 percent from the floor overall and 77.7 percent from the free throw line.
To that point, Dave Wooley (@dwooley81) emailed me the following statistic.
The players who have averaged at least 15 points and...
Rookie hazing isn’t uncommon in professional sports. Nevertheless, it’s pretty rare that you hear of a head coach leading the charge when it comes to hazing rookies. But that’s exactly what Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott is doing.
According to ESPN, Scott is hazing his rookies Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller and Kevin Jones by making them carry around baby dolls and...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Omri Casspi and positive adverbs can stand to be in the same room with each other lately. Now, I can only count on one hand the number of times I have been forced to pay...
Kyrie Irving's absence caused enough headaches for the Cleveland Cavaliers well before having to contend with a hobbled Dion Waiters.
Beating the Chicago Bulls has been a challenging chore no matter who is in the lineup.
Waiters may miss a second straight game as Cleveland looks to avoid a 10th consecutive loss to visiting Chicago on Wednesday night.
Cleveland (4-14) is 2...
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers were playing without their starting backcourt on Wednesday night. They got no sympathy from the Chicago Bulls, who recorded their 10th consecutive win over the Cavs, 95-85, before an announced crowd of 17,893 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs' last win in the series was March 19, 2010. The Central Division-leading Bulls (9-8) were playing...
Mired in a brutal losing stretch, the Cleveland Cavaliers have proven especially bad over their last two games without their top two scorers.
While the Minnesota Timberwolves have had to deal with their fair share of injuries, it was an inability to convert from the free throw line that plagued them their last time out.
Cleveland, loser of three straight and 13 of 15, could be...
With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance...
You knew this game would be tough to win, with the Cavaliers starting backcourt out with injuries and the Pistons playing good basketball as of late. For a while, that’s exactly what happened, with the Cavaliers falling behind by 20 points in the first half and trailing by 17 at the half.
In the 4th quarter, the Cavaliers made a good effort to try to get back into this one. With...