Orbiting Cleveland: James Jones has become an asset to the Cavaliers

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(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

Eighty-two games.

For any team to be successful over the long haul that is an NBA season, contributions must come far and wide. Everyone needs to step up to the proverbial plate when that time comes.

Over the last few weeks, perhaps no player on the Cleveland Cavaliers has personified that idea more than James Jones.

Admit it, when the Cavaliers signed Jones this past August, your response was somewhere along the lines of, “Well, they’re just signing another one of LeBron James’ buddies,” “Who cares, he won’t play anyway,” or “James Jones? Really?”

That type of response was justified, especially considering Jones’ recent track record.

Last season, the small forward played only 20 games for the Miami Heat while averaging 4.9 points. His three-point shooting percentage (51.9 percent) was impressive, but we’re talking about just 20 games here.

Keep in mind that Jones had not averaged more than 13 minutes per game since the 2010-11 season. In fact, over entire 12-year career, he has averaged more than 20 minutes per game on just two occasions.

So yes, by all accounts, it appeared as if this signing was simply an effort to appease the King.

But here is what many of us seem to forget. Continue reading

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Orbiting Cleveland: Kyrie Irving’s rise to greatness

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hi-res-183664824-kyrie-irving-of-the-cleveland-cavaliers-brings-the-ball_crop_exactAt some point this season, Kyrie Irving made the jump from very good NBA player to great one.

Maybe that moment was Nov. 10 when the All-Star point guard scored 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting while recording nine assists and just one turnover in helping the Cleveland Cavaliers earn a 118-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Or, perhaps, it was Dec. 9. In a night that offered quite the juxtaposition from what we had come to expect from previous seasons, Irving gladly took a backseat after realizing his shot was not falling, finishing with 13 points and 10 assists as the Cavs grinded out a 105-101 win over the Toronto Raptors.

No, let’s be honest. Irving’s real graduation into the elite class of NBA players came on Jan. 28. That was the evening in which Irving scored 55 points, the second-highest total in Cavaliers’ history, while leading the team to a 99-94 win over Western Conference power Portland. To cap it off, he did it all while teammate LeBron James sat on the sideline. Continue reading

The Cleveland Browns logo, the sports media in Cleveland and beyond, and Kendrick Perkins–EHC Podcast 12–2/24/2015

Really?

Really?

WFNY’s & FoxSportsOhio.com’s Rick Grayshock joins the show with our first podcast talking Cleveland sports. We dive right into it, talking how the sports media portrays Cleveland, why the Browns should (or shouldn’t) change the logo, the role of Kendrick Perkins, Josh Gordon, and whether or not J.R. Smith can keep it together in 2015 and beyond.

Rick was a co-founder at WFNY, along with Scott Sargent and Andrew Schnitkey. Make sure you check out all of their stuff at http://www.waitingfornextyear.com. There isn’t a better all-encompassing Cleveland sports website on the interwebs. You can also check out Rick’s work at FoxSportsOhio.com.

Subscribe to EHC the Podcast on iTunes right here.

Subscribe to the Everybody Hates Cleveland YouTube channel right here.

Check out the podcast, after the jump: Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: Appreciating the spectacle that is LeBron James and the Cavaliers

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Photo by Nathaniel Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Perspective is everything. I gained a little bit of that Sunday.

Fifteen years ago, when I first fell in love in with the NBA, it was because of Allen Iverson.

Sure, I, like many other elementary school students at the time, proudly wore a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey incessantly throughout my early formative years.

M.J., I would tell you, was the greatest basketball player on the planet. He was the ultimate professional — a champion — and no one could top him.

But did I really and truly appreciate Jordan? I was, after all, just 11 years old when he played his final game with the Chicago Bulls.

Iverson was a different story though.

From the moment I witnessed his signature crossover, I was hooked. The tenacity, bullish attitude, competitiveness — I fell in love with every bit of it. Continue reading

A message from an ailing 76ers fan: It’s all your fault Cleveland!

mcw-76ersFrom all of us Sixers fans to you, the Cleveland Cavaliers: it’s all your fault.

Oh, you don’t know? Understandable. You’re on Cloud Nine now thanks to a resurgent squad that’s made your early-season dumpster fire seem like a distant memory. Kevin Love is getting the rock. Kyrie Irving is doing pretty much whatever he wants still, only it’s working now. Timofy “Named By Penny Hardaway’s Parents” Mozgov has played well enough to make the price Cleveland paid to acquire him look slightly less ridiculous. And J.R. Smith has swayed firmly to the “Dr. Jekyl” side of his personality, at least for this season. (Be warned, though: if Johnny Football can find debaucherous activity in Cleveland, so can J.R.)

We haven’t even mentioned human steamroller LeBron James morphing back into “Oh My God” LeBron since returning from a midseason maintenance break disguised as an injury. He’s even treating coach David Blatt like an actual adult now. Cleveland is making a beeline for, at minimum, the second seed in the East, and all is hunky-dory.

So we’ll forgive you for ignoring the plight of the Philadelphia semi-professional basketball franchise whose general manager just dealt away their supposed franchise point guard Michael Carter-Williams and their gobsmacking second-round standout K.J. McDaniels. In return, the team acquired more draft picks; the Biblical city of Canaan; and JaVale McGee, a government experiment to see if a gazelle crossbred with a puppy could learn to play basketball (it can’t). Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: Jumping aboard the Kevin Love bandwagon

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Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

I’m done criticizing Kevin Love.

From the moment the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the power forward in exchange for former No. 1 overall picks Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future first round pick, the noise has been palpable. That’s true both here in Cleveland and on the national level.

Some have questioned how he fits in. Others have watched the growth of Wiggins with a close eye, questioning the trade every step of the way.

That was again true on Friday after Wiggins scored 22 points to lead the World team to a 121-112 win and earn MVP honors in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend. That’s been true in two contests between the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves this season in which Wiggins scored 27 and 33 points, respectively.

This will also be true for the foreseeable future. Because of Wiggins’ high ceiling and the magnitude of this trade, Love will forever be linked to the former Kansas standout. Even if the Cavaliers win a title this season, there will be naysayers who choose to question the trade. Continue reading

10 Orbservations: Cavaliers’ streak halts, LeBron’s injury scare, the Browns’ dysfunction

10 Orbservations is a regular Saturday piece at Everybody Hates Cleveland where EHC Managing Editor Steve Orbanek offers 10 quick sports takes, both on Cleveland topics and national ones.

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(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

1. And the streak is over. Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell 103-99 to the Indiana Pacers to halt the Cavs’ win streak at 12. Perhaps the team was somewhat tired from this being the second game of a back-to-back, but there’s no denying that both offensively and defensively, the Cavaliers looked sluggish. Still, no win streaks last forever, and let’s consider the progress that has been made in this process. For starters, the Cavaliers have climbed up in the standings where they’re now tied for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls. Before the streak began, they trailed Chicago by seven games. Furthermore, they’re just a half game out of the third seed and 3 ½ games out of the second seed. They’re now also 10 games over .500 after being one game under that mark before this streak started. So yes, Friday’s loss was a bad one, but let’s not take it for anything more than that — one loss. Over the past few weeks, the positives have far outweighed any negatives with this team. Continue reading

Cleveland Cavaliers bolstered by Kyrie Irving–EHC Podcast–2/01/15

LeBron reacts to Kyrie's three-pointer

LeBron reacts to Kyrie’s three-pointer

The Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to look like a team to beat in the East. If it weren’t for the Atlanta Hawks 19-game win streak and their 40-8 record, most eyes would be focused on the team playing their home games at Quicken Loans arena.

The Cavaliers sport a 10-game win streak of their own, and thanks to some fantastic trades pulled off over the past month by general manager David Griffin, the team is finally starting to mesh together.

At the forefront of this big move by the Cavs is the “Big 3.” Over the past three games, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love have all carried the offensive load in an important game.

On Wednesday night, the LeBron-less Cavs won a huge game against the Portland Trail Blazers with Kyrie Irving’s historic performance. His three-pointer with six-seconds left gave the Cavs a 97-94 lead, and gave Irving an NBA leading 55-points this season.

For the first time in his young career, the 22-year old grabbed the team but the scruff of their neck, and dragged them to the win-column. It was something to behold, and a long time coming. Continue reading

10 Orbservations: Cavaliers’ streak hits nine, Josh Gordon’s letter, some T.J. House love

10 Orbservations is a regular Saturday piece at Everybody Hates Cleveland where EHC Managing Editor Steve Orbanek offers 10 quick sports takes, both on Cleveland topics and national ones.

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(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

1. Another night. Another win for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs avenged an earlier loss to the Sacramento Kings last night with a 101-90 win at the Quicken Loans Arena. If anything, it was almost a boring victory, but who says there’s anything wrong with those? The Cavaliers were not really ever challenged throughout the contest and led the entire way. Sure, the Kings are far from one of the NBA’s elite teams, but it says something about how a team has been playing when their latest win is described as “boring.” The key last night was defense as the Cavaliers held the Kings to a 35.7 percent shooting percentage (30-of-84). Defense has been the calling card for the Cavaliers as of late as the team has not allowed an opponent to score more than 100 points in their last seven games. This new commitment to defense coupled with the team’s acquisitions of Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert has had a radical effect on this team. Translation? We’re now seeing a title contender emerge right before our eyes. Continue reading

The Cleveland Cavaliers go streaking–EHC Podcast 7–1/25/15

1If there’s one thing that EHC’s Steve Orbanek, Mike Hattery and I have been discussing a lot over the past several months, it’s, “Who exactly are the Cleveland Cavaliers?”

You would think this would be easy, right? The Cavs sign LeBron James, re-sign Kyrie Irving and trade for Kevin Love; that’s a trio of moves that should make a team really good, right?

You would think.

In the wake of the roster upheaval that took place this past offseason, the Cavs were left with some really good parts, that played with absolutely no cohesiveness whatsoever.

The team started off 1-3, and the spin cycle began to grind early, pondering whether or not Kevin Love would stay in Cleveland, or head off to the West Coast to join L.A. at season’s end.

The Cavs then ran off a streak of four-in-a-row in which they scored 110 points or more in all four games, culminating in a 127-94 shellacking of a pretty good Atlanta Hawks team, and all was right in the world again. The Cavs could score, and while they certainly weren’t clicking on all cylinders, they seemed to be further along then people thought they’d be after eight games.

Then came another four-game losing streak in which they didn’t score over 100, which was followed by an eight-game win streak, then a 1-3 stretch, then a 4-1 stretch, then a 1-9 stretch, which leads to our current 5-0 run.

Enter your profanity induced statements here. Continue reading