Chicago 101, Cleveland 98

I don’t have a lot, but here we go. With six minutes to go and the Cavaliers leading 95-92, Anderson Varejao subbed in for Zydrunas Ilgauskas. At the time, Z had 23 points and had made two of his last three shots. The Cavs went the next four minutes with both Varejao and Ben Wallace on the floor. That’s right, crunch time with Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao. Awesome.

Z came back in later though. The big fella returned with 1:42 left, played about a minute (the Cavs took a bunch of 20 footers) and then was subbed out. I was not pleased.

The Cavs had a shot to win at the end (yes, “a shot to win”, nevermind the fact that they led the entire game). The Cavs had the ball with 24 seconds left and Brown trotted out a lineup of LeBron, West, Gibson, Szczerbiak and Varejao. So you decide to surround LeBron with jump shooters…. but not your best one. Great. Not to harp on this, but what could possibly be the reason that Z wasn’t out there? He shoots better than Andy, he’s taller than Andy and he’s ridiculous at tipping the ball in (so even if you want to argue that Varejao is the better offensive rebounder, it’s not by a large margin). The Cavs needed a bucket and Brown had his 7-3 center on the bench. Fantastic. (and yes, I know that this play wasn’t what lost the game. But seriously, Z had 23 points and yet wasn’t on the floor during the deciding play, explain that to me.)(also, why the fuck are Varejao and Wallace out there together during crunch time?! Joe Smith and Z are both healthy, there are other combos available! Have we not learned that Varejao and Wallace don’t compliment each other? That neither can shoot? Sometimes I think Mike Brown is a good, underrated coach. Other times Mike Brown plays Wallace and Varejao during crunch time, on purpose. The Cavs scored 3 points over the last 6 minutes. I’m sure it’s just coincidence).

Kill me now. The Cavs blow a 17 point lead to the Bulls and Larry Hughes torched them for 25 points, 9 assists and 8 boards. How the hell does this even happen? I’m going to be sick. Hughes 11-17 from the floor…. which isn’t unheard of, it just happens about once every two months or so.

The late game shot selection was atrocious. Joe Smith fade-aways… LeBron airballing 26 footers… Szczerbiak bricking 3s off the side of the backboard… Wallace getting stuffed by the rim… This was not pretty.

and finally…

Orlando on Saturday. Does anyone feel confident about this game? After the horrendous loss to Detroit and this debacle of a game, I’m terrified of what the Cavs will deliver Saturday afternoon. This is a team that should be getting ready for the playoffs, but they’re allowing Larry Hughes a near triple double.

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4 Responses to Chicago 101, Cleveland 98

  1. graham says:

    As someone who defends Brown at times, there really is not excuse for having Z on the bench at the end of the game. He’s been playing great and was having a great game.

    It’s very disconcerning.

  2. Ben says:

    The fact that Brown played Wallace and Varejao together, at crunch time on purpose scares the shit out of me.

    At least when Z was hurt, there was an excuse. But last night? Both Joe Smith and Z were healthy! Z was playing out of his mind! But Wallace and Andy, together?

    Shouldn’t one of the assistants have stepped in and been like “hey coach, our front court has negative offensive talent, we should probably put someone in who can shoot”

    It’s one thing to pair Varejao and Wallace early in the game, when you’re trying to control minutes. But there is no excuse, NONE, for them to be out there late in the game.

  3. graham says:

    I’m actually beginning to have second thoughts on Brown.

    I still believe its unfair to judge him because the front office during the Paxson and Ferry reigns have made some big-time mistakes IMO, but nonetheless, it seems pretty clear Mike Brown has a long way to go in terms of identifying rotations and substitution patterns.

    And in a broader point, he has to be held responsible for his team’s inability play consistent throughout a ballgame. You can’t blow a 17 point lead to the Bulls. Same goes for constantly playing the 3rd quarter like a JV team.

    You’re gonna rumblings this offseason when it comes to Mike’s job.

  4. davemanddd says:

    mike brown is this team’s version of rick carlisle who coached the pistons to back-to-back 50-win seasons earlier this decade and won a coach of the year award only to be replaced by larry brown who promptly took the same team that carlisle had and won an nba title in his very first year there. i honestly think that someone else along the lines of an old-school coach like rudy tomjonavich or heck even mike fratello could do the same for the cavs now.

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