D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards at Cavaliers, Game 11
Cavaliers were once poets. 17th century courtier poets like Ben Jonson. This is not where I compare anything that any basketball player does, including Kyrie Irving, to the poetry of British wordsmiths of yore. I’m just here to drop one of my favorite Ben Jonson lines and tie it in with Wizards-Cavaliers narrative.
“For why / Will man lament the state he should envie?”
Both of these teams would do well to focus less on their lamentable states and more on what it is they want to attain from this season. For the Wizards, as it is emblazoned on John Wall’s sneakers, that means: “playoffs.” And as the great poet Andray Blatche once said, “PLAY OFF STARTS HERE.”
Teams: Wizards vs. Cavaliers
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/THE FAN-FM 106.7
Spread: Cavaliers favored by 3 points.
Wizards tickets … anyone?
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Q #1: After eight games, the Wizards buried the backup point guard they signed in the offseason.
Alas, the harsh clang of the gong heralding #MaynorTime may not be heard again anytime soon in Washington (though he did play briefly yesterday!). Despite being almost universally lauded as a smart offseason addition, Jarrett Jack hasn’t held up his end of the bargain thus far, either. What is standing between him and backup point guard/6th man immortality?
@DavidZavac: So much of the Cavaliers offense has been bad that it is hard to know if everyone is failing because of the system, or if individuals are underperforming. It is, of course, probably a mix of the two. Jack is exhibiting all of the bad characteristics that have kept him from starting in the NBA: atrocious defense, too much time dribbling, an inability to attack the basket, and a lack of interest in getting his teammates involved. His shooting is normally pretty good, but he hasn’t been able to get his midrange game going.
The few times that he has been successful have been playing off the ball and spotting up off of Kyrie Irving. I would like to see more of this. If he recaptures his stroke from 17-20 feet and attempts more 3-pointers, the signing begins to make a bit more sense.
Q #2: Anthony Bennett’s missed dunk the other day was a microcosm of some of the easier criticisms of him thus far:
It reminded everyone that he is overweight and that he hasn’t been able to score from anywhere (in contrast to college Anthony Bennett, who could score from everywhere). But there’s more to it than that, isn’t there? As a Wizards fan, I know what a bad bench unit can do to a guy. How would you free Anthony “Going Ghost” Bennett?
@DavidZavac: I honestly don’t know. Most of his offensive opportunities right now are on pick-and-pops (he doesn’t roll very often, and when he does, it is often without purpose or interest) or on post-up opportunities. He wasn’t good from the post at UNLV, and he has been terrible there thus far from the Cavaliers. He isn’t nimble enough to get separation for a shot, and his moves, such that they are, are slow and formulaic. He tried to post-up Derrick Williams several times against Minnesota last Wednesday, and it went terribly each time.
The pick-and-pops are more interesting. Teams aren’t even guarding him right now, daring him to shoot. He is happy to comply, but can’t make anything to save his life. The strangest thing about his start is that his form on his jump shots is pretty good, he is being left wide-open, and just can’t buy a shot. Because I think eventually he can make those shots with regularity (maybe soon) I don’t know how much we can take from his game yet.
Q #3: After the Wizards-Cavaliers game this past weekend, Kyrie Irving mentioned that teams had been playing him “in between,” which made him proactively choose between driving and shooting instead of reacting to the defense…
At the risk of creating cringes for the Washington-based readers of this site, what about how the Wizards played Irving allowed him to get back to his game? How dependent are the Cavaliers on Irving playing as well as he did against Washington?
@DavidZavac: Without a consistent second scoring option (I honestly had to look up who our second leading scorer was just now… Dion Waiters!) the Cavaliers absolutely need Kyrie Irving to play like he did the other night. Maybe not 41 points, but he has to score if they are going to have a chance. I don’t know if it is something the Wizards can do a whole lot to avoid, but I think Irving plays better when he comes out looking for his offense. Whether or not he takes the open 3 after his man goes under a screen is something I always look for. He is the 3-point shooting champion, and sometimes I think he forgets it.
Over/unders! with @DavidZavac:
Over/under 40.5 wins for the Cavaliers in 2013-2014?
Over. Said 43 wins before the season, and for as bad as the team has looked I better not bail just yet.
Over/under 3.5 mentions of retirement by Andrew Bynum this season?
Over. Bynum says what is on his mind. Have a feeling that as long as his pain is an issue, people will keep asking him about it.
Over/under 2.5 weeks until people let go of the “Evil Dion Waiters” story?
Over. Every bad game from Waiters, every bad game from Irving will bring questions about whether the two can co-exist. Fun!
Over/under 0.5 personal chefs for Anthony Bennett hired by the Cavaliers?
Over. They already got him one!
Philosophical Question! with @DavidZavac
If a Dion Waiters punches a Kyrie Irving in the face and no bloggers are there to see it happen, does it blacken an eye?
@DavidZavac: Bloggers don’t need to see something for it to have happened. They don’t even watch the games! Just sit in their basement and spew out inane stats.
Q #4: Is there such a thing as a letdown game after a one-game winning streak?
@ConorDDirks: No, technically there is not. But “technical” is not a word I’d normally use to describe the Wizards. Manic, maybe. Melancholic, during #MaynorTime. Raw, often. More likely than a prototypical letdown is the onset of exhaustion: the Wizards have two players in the top 10 league-wide in minutes per game. Bradley Beal (1st overall) has played an average of 40 minutes per game, while John Wall (9th overall) clocks in just below him at 37.5 minutes per game. Last night, Bradley Beal once took the briefest of seats: 45 seconds on the Wizards bench, hardly long enough to do away with the inevitable Gatorade brainfreeze.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers haven’t played since their overtime win in Washington on Saturday. However, time has still taken its toll on the Cavaliers, and the last several days have been marred by rampant speculation about the nature of a players-only meeting and whether Dion Waiters is now persona non grata with his Cavaliers teammates. Perhaps a cue from John Wall is in order, who said that the Wizards, in their very own players-only meeting (hot new trend alert) just “kept it one hundred” with each other. I can only speculate as to what that means, since I am not a cool human. But my guess is that Wall meant they were completely (aka 100 percent) open and honest with each other and that there may have been circular couches involved.
It will be interesting to see if the Wizards going back to the staggered rotation that Wittman employed against the Wolves, slowly rotating bench players a la carte instead of a true “second team,” and using Garrett Temple as a jack-of-all-trades (and master of none) to back up both Wall and Beal, will: a) ruin #kevinseraphinlife; b) get role players like Booker and Vesely good minutes with the starters; c) lead to another win.
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- Wizards Take 5-Seed in East, Sam Cassell on Wall and Beal: ‘These My Guards’