This has been the longest hiatus in posts since I started the blog. My bad. I haven’t always been able to devote myself to recent games (because of Spring Break, being ill, and being under the influence while watching at bars), thus the lack of game Thoughts.
So here’s something I’ve been thinking about…
3rd Qtr Woes. With 10 wins in 11 games this month, Cleveland is only strengthening its lead in the conference (Orlando w/ 7; Boston, a pathetic 4). In eight of those wins, though, they came out sluggish in the second half but somehow still managed to win the game (6 of those wins Cavs down going into the fourth). This is highly reminiscent of last year (without the comebacks), when continuous and horrible third quarter outings made me question the productivity of halftime and what was actually going on in the locker room.
But this March, the fourth quarter has been magical and seems to be a whole new ballgame for them. The following lists second half scoring in those eight wins (Cavs in red). Lebron’s fourth quarter stats show he is the reason they come out winning these games, many which seemed hopeless until the end (5 of 8 won by 5 or less).
vs. Atlanta (3/1)
4th: 21-19, Lebron: 3/2/5
Cavs win by 1
vs. Miami (3/2)
4th: 31-18, Lebron: 12 pts, 3 boards, 1 steal
Cavs by 7
vs. Miami (3/7)
4th: 29-28, Lebron: 2/4/5
Cavs by 10
vs. LA Clippers (3/10)
4th: 35-14, Lebron: 10/4/5
Cavs by 4
vs. Phoenix (3/12)
4th: 30-18, Lebron: 8/5/2 & 2 steals, 1 block
Cavs by 8
vs. Sacramento (3/13)
4th: 32-18, Lebron: 16/1/4 & 1 steal, 2 blocks
Cavs by 3 in OT, Lebron: 6 pts, 1 block
vs. New York (3/15)
4th: 24-21, Lebron: 4/2/3 & 1 steal
Cavs by 5
vs. Orlando (3/17)
4th: 25-18, Lebron: 15/2/2 & 1 steal
Cavs by 4
So what does this tell us? According to these numbers, the Cavs are scoring 8 more points and allowing 8 fewer points in the fourth quarter relative to the 3rd (Cavs averaging 20.4 in 3rd, 28.4 in 4th; Opponents 27.3 in 3rd, 19.3 in 4th). Lebron has been phenomenal at the end of games and is doing everything for his team to win. If he had grabbed two more boards against the Knicks, he would’ve had 5 triple doubles in the last 7 games! Even though the Cavs are turning their game up both defensively and offensively in the fourth, which is encouraging, they need to be able to dictate the entire flow of the game and not just make it about the final 12 minutes.
The other two wins in the month, Milwaukee (3/4) and Portland (3/19), are each unique in their own right. The Bucks game was just Cleveland demolishing a clearly weaker team, outscoring them in every quarter. In yesterday’s game, the 3rd/4th quarter data was flipped and Portland forced the overtime. And even after OT, either team couldn’t reach 100 points.
This is a just a small sample of data that may not even end up reflecting the overall month, but it definitely shows the trend the Cavs are demonstrating right now: they thrive on being down. These 3rd quarter woes are unleashing 4th quarter woah’s!
And what about this….
Being a professional athlete means being a professional kid in some respect. I remember back in the day incorporating Terrell Davis’ “salute” touchdown celebration into a handshake with my friends. It was fun and cool to have a different handshake for each friend. Baseball stars definitely take it to an extreme and now we got this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
So what don’t they do? During intros, the turned-down lights atmosphere is a must to get the crowd riled up and each Cavalier has a different style as they go through the tunnel o’ players when their name is called. Clearly, the low hand slap has evolved.
Damon Jones always did something with LBJ before games and now you have these individual greetings everywhere: the back-of-the-hand high-fives, guns in the holster, pinky high-fives, scratching the cheek, etc. I’m not saying this a bad thing at all; it’s a part of the superstitious side of sports. In fact, it toughens the bond and I really enjoy watching the theatrics.
I also wonder if Cleveland buys the highest quantity of talcum powder in the league now that the King deems himself worthy to use half the bottle for every game (although only a small portion of that actually remains on his palms).
Finally, the Cavs definitely put the “camara” in camaraderie. This “photo shoot” thing is hilarious, especially when Darnell holds up Delonte. And yesterday they actually had their imaginary camera placed on an imaginary tripod with an imaginary self-timer set for what seemed to be 2 seconds – just so everyone could get in the picture.
It’s like Chad Johnson on steroids.