Cavaliers Outsider: Cavaliers at the crossroads
Game plan to making the Jazz a sour note
The Cavaliers are back home tonight, losers of 5 in a row, and 7 of their last 10. What's most disappointing, is having a record of 8-11 at home. it's time to make some drastic measures to make a final push for the playoffs. Opportunites sqaundered vs Boston, and New York, the teams directly ahead of the Cavaliers, in competing for the 8th, and final playoff spot in the East, were wasted after the All-Star break.
The Cavaliers had C Anderson Varejao, when last they faced Utah, a 113-105 defeat, back on January 10th, at Salt Lake City. While Varejao had a double/double, with 12 points, and 11 rebounds, he was no match, and really had no impact opposing Utah's Al Jefferson, who had 30 points (14-17 FG, 4-6 FT), and 12 rebounds. Paul Milsap 19 points (9-10 FG) pretty much had his way opposing Antawn Jamison, who did have 22 points (7-18 FG, 1-5 3P, 7-11 FT), and 7 rebounds. The Jazz shot 59.2%FG, in DOMINATING the Cavaliers on the front court.
What has plagued the Cavaliers most this season, other than EXTREMELY poor FT shooting, has been the failure to make adjustments, recognizing favorable, or poor match-ups, in other words, getting off to good starts. Line-up adjustments really improved the teams start in losing to the Washington Wizards on Saturday, I say build on that tonight.
The starting line-up for the Jazz should look something like this, as well as how the Cavaliers SHOULD match-up vs them
This has to be the most favorable match-up for the Cavaliers on the floor. Irving went for 20 points, and 5 ssists in their first meeting. While his shot selection, and decision making has improved as the season's progressed, he's also turned it up a notch at the defensive end as well. I look for Irving to attack Harris, maybe even try to push the tempo, with a more athletic supporting cast on the floor with him.
This is a match-up the Cavaliers could probably get away with starting Parker 5.9 PPG...but lets be honest, the production at the position, has just not been there. Neither Parker, or Gibson, has provided much, and that alone, warrants a change. Parker, in his last 10 games has gone for 5.5 PPG, shooting .381 FG%, and Gibson 6.6 PPG, while shooting .276 FG%, though he's only played in 8 of the last 10. What Harris brings to the table, is more athleticism, and physical presence. He can get to the basket, post up around the basket, knock down shots, and has range. He can also be a secondary ball handler. He has the ability to take Haward away, as opposed to matching his productivity.
What this does, is give both Parker, and Gibson, more favorable match-ups, at both ends of the floor. Parker, and Gibson, are primarily spot up jump shooters, and would benefit more from the creativity, and drive and kick ability of Ramon Sessions.
Scott has apparently already made the move to Gee, in place of Omri Casspi 7.5 PPG, I have to say, it was a long time coming. Casspi would have clearly been over-matched here vs the more athletic Howard, but in reality, it just didn't make sense, starting 3 spot up shooters on the perimeter, who don't defend particularly well. In his last 10 games, Cssspi has averaged 6.6 PPG, 5.4 REB, .355 FG%, and an even more disappointing .316 3P% on the year. He hasn't fared well at the defensive end of the floor either. Gee has responded with 10.3 PPG, 5.2 REB, though hi shooting has tailed off as of late, .340 FG% in his last 10.
What this does, is once again, put a more athletic player on the floor, who attacks the basket, thus putting pressure on the opposing defense. Gee has range, can get his own shot, and attacks the basket with a vengeance. Gee is also the Cavaliers best on ball defender.
PF Derrick Favors 8.0 PPG vs Antawn Jamison 17.7 PPG
This was going to be another line-up change, I was leaning towards starting Samardo Samuels, with the sole purpose of having another elbow down player on the floor, who's more than capable of scoring in the post, and a more physical presence around the basket area. I view Samuels as a more favorable match-up vs C.J. Miles. By having more athletic players on the floor, this allows Jamison to stretch the floor, without hurting the team. In his last 10 games, he's responded with 20.3 PPG, 8.1 REB. I'd like to see him attack the basket more, take the ball down on the elbow, and get to the line. C.J. Miles had his way vs the Cavaliers front court, in their first meeting, I think Samuels, and Thompson changes that tonight.
C Al Jefferson 18.5 PPG vs Ryan Hollins 3.6 PPG
Anderson Varejao is unavailable, didn't have much of an impact in first meeting, and a terrible match-up for Semeh Erden. Erden has the physical size, and presence, but to have him on the floor, and not go to him, really serves no purpose. Hollins, coming off 15 points (5-7 FG, 5-8 FT), and 7 rebounds, brings size, and athleticism. I have long said Hollins should start at C, but is most effective with another elbow down player on the floor with him. Hollins finishes strng around the basket, plays with a mean streak, and defends on his feet.
How this effects the bench
The Cavaliers now have more favorable match-ups, pretty much across the board. Its almost like having a starting unit coming off the bench. Sessions running the offense, driving the basket, or kicking to Gibson, Parker, or Casspi, while effectively feeding the post area to Samuels, and Thompson. This affords the Cavaliers better floor balance, and allows Scott the ability to make, and establish, better substitution patterns.
I predict the Cavaliers win tonight 97-91
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