Tag: Byron Scott

J.J. Hickson, Marc Gasol, Sam Young

The Cavaliers can’t lose them all… can they?

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It’s just become hard to watch.

What forward J.J. Hickson said after Friday’s loss to the Grizzlies — number 23 in a row — summed the desperation up well.

“They say you can’t win ’em all, but in the same light, you can’t lose ’em all either,” Hickson said. “So, if we stay (focused), I think we can get a couple of wins before the season’s over.”

If they stay focused the can win a couple more games before the season is over. They have eight wins now and he thinks if they play hard they can get to double digit wins by April.

It’s just become hard to watch.

The Cavaliers are not just bad, but epically bad. They have won one game since Nov. 27 and that was a fluky overtime victory over the Knicks. They have lost their last 10 games by an average of 14 points. It’s been painful at both ends of the court — the Cavaliers are shooting 41.7 percent as a team in their last 10, opposing teams are shooting 42.4 percent from three during that same stretch.

Ramon Sessions sets up the offense poorly (unless you love reckless drives), Antawn Jamison’s defense is nonexistent, Hickson proved incapable of taking the step forward many expected, Mo Williams just can’t create that much with nobody around him. They were supposed to get out and run, but their personnel is a poor fit for the style. Coach Byron Scott can’t find a style that does work for this group.

And it’s hard to see any relief in sight. Saturday they will tie the league record for a single-season losing streak at 24 when they take on a Trail Blazers team that has battled through its own injury problems this season by coming hard and never taking a night off. Then Monday it’s Dallas. Wednesday is a Pistons team that has struggled but has been a little better of late, then comes a Clipper team playing well.

Then would come the real showdown — Cleveland at home against winless on the road Washington. Somebody’s streak would have to end. I mean that’s the rules — someone has to win. Right? Because if two teams could both find a way to lose the same game it would be these two.

What has happened to Cleveland is more than LeBron James leaving town, more than too many injuries, more than missteps by ownership, but rather a perfect storm of problems. And now they are stuck in it with no way out until the season mercifully ends.

Until then, it’s just going to be hard to watch.

Cavs’ Antawn Jamison: “I don’t know how much of this I can take”

Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels, Jamario Moon, Alonzo Gee, Ramon Sessions

It was actually hard to watch, it was so ugly. The Cavaliers losing by 55 was just painful.  And apparently we were not the only ones to feel that way — check out what the Cavs’ Antawn Jamison had to say after the game, reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“It can’t get any worse than this,” he said after the Cavaliers suffered the worst loss in team history, 112-57, to the Lakers on Tuesday night in Staples Center. “If it is, y’all going to have to help me. I don’t know how much of this I can take. This, by far, is the bottom.

“Fifty-five points? That’s, like, impossible,” Jamison said. “We’re professional athletes. How do you lose by 55 points? I don’t care who you’re playing against. I mean, if this doesn’t hurt . . . I don’t understand how we’re able to have conversations in the locker room. There’s nothing to talk about.

“We have to do some soul searching quick because no matter who we play, right now they feel like they can beat us. If we don’t have a sense of pride and just play for yourself or something . . . this might be one of the worst teams to go through a season. The frustrating part about it is I know we’re better than this. I don’t know. Something has to change.”

The Cavs are not going to be good this season, particularly with Anderson Varejao out the rest of the way. But these are still NBA players — pride and effort can keep a game closer than what happened last night. That was a team that quit. And you can be sure coach Byron Scott and veterans like Jamison will not tolerate that, regardless of the situation.

Byron Scott has “no regrets” about taking Cleveland job

Byron Scott
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Things haven’t gone so well for Byron Scott this year. He took over as head coach of the Cavaliers with no knowledge of whether or not LeBron James was going to return to the team, but he was confident that he could have success whether James stayed or left. LeBron left, of course, and the Cavalier wins never came. After a semi-promising start, the Cavs have won one game since November 27th, and they needed overtime to get that one win.

The Cavs were the worst team in basketball before their recent slew of injuries; having Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe, and Daniel Gibson hurt will only make Cleveland’s nightmare season worse. Given that Scott has long been rumored to be a candidate to take over for Phil Jackson as head coach of the Lakers when he retires, one could think that Scott regrets his decision to take the Cleveland job. However, as the Cavs got ready to take on the Lakers on Tuesday night, Scott was adamant that he still believes he made the right decision.

“My decision wasn’t based on what [LeBron James] was going to do, it was based on what I thought we had at that point,” Scott said. “Do I regret that decision? By no means. I tell you, the organization is top of the line. Dan Gilbert is unbelievable. Working with Chris Grant has been unbelievable. It’s like a family here. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of being [in Los Angeles]. I know that we can turn this thing back around, and I like I told Chris the other day, it will make it that much more gratifying. Because we’ve gone through this, we’re going through this. That’s how I look at everything. The glass is half-full as far as I’m concerned. We’re going to be right back up at the top soon.”

Scott’s optimism is probably what the Cavaliers need right now — the Cavs won’t make the playoffs this year, or come close to it, but fortunes can change quickly in the NBA on a year-to-year basis. If the Cavs rebuild with patience, draft well, and get a few lucky breaks, they could make Scott’s optimistic view into a realistic one over the next couple of years. However, getting a win in 2011 would probably benefit the team’s confidence more than any declarations from their coach would — we’ll see when the Cavaliers can pull of that feat.

Byron Scott, J.J. Hickson have clear the air meeting

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns
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It was going to be an ugly year in Cleveland, we all knew that. Even Dan Gilbert knew that, whether he would admit it or not (even to himself).

One of the expected silver linings was going to be the growth and emergence of J.J. Hickson, who was going to finally get plenty of chances and… regress?

Hickson’s shooting has fallen from 55.4 percent last season to 45.1 percent this season. He is getting more minutes and chances but has become considerably less efficient. Defenses started to pay attention to him (now that LeBron was not drawing all the focus). That and he started trusting his weak jump shot from distance — just like last season he hits about 29 percent of his shots beyond 16 feet (27 percent last year) but now he takes 2.5 a game rather than just one like last season.

Cavs coach Byron Scot has questioned Hickson’s effort and eventually took him out of the starting lineup. Hickson maintained he was doing what Scott asked and at one point questioned why Scott would blame the bench for the team’s problems.

At one point this week, Hickson and Scot talked it out, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. We have no idea what was said — although the smart money says Scott did most of the talking — but it seems to have worked.

”It’s no secret our relationship hasn’t been the best,” Hickson said. ”But as a young player, it’s up to me to be humbled by the whole situation and listen to him. He played in the league for a long time. Who am I to question his actions?…”

”My main goal is to win basketball games. To do that, I think I need to be on the floor,” Hickson said. ”But to be on the floor, I need to do the things [Scott] asks me to do.”

Hickson admitted that everything this season has taken a toll on his confidence. Combine that with the usual ups and downs seen with young players (this is Hickson’s third year in the league) and you have a player Scott felt he couldn’t trust to help win games. Scott wanted defense and rebounding first out of Hickson then let the points come where they may, but that can be hard for young players to grasp and execute

Maybe Hickson is starting turn that corner. Maybe he is getting it. Maybe. He looked good in dropping 21 on the Bulls, but followed that up with a rough outing in Dallas. But at least Hickson seems now to really understanding what Scott is asking of him.

Byron Scott calls lack of effort around NBA “scary”

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers

Byron Scott is old school — he played for Pat Riley and his legendary four-hour practices. He was a scrappy role player on a team filled with competitive people — Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — who only knew one way to play. That was not a team where you gave 50 percent some nights. Plus, like other players of that era they have forgotten the bad times and remember only the good.

So the inconsistent effort Scott is getting from his Cavs this season frustrates him. Because he doesn’t remember his Lakers taking nights off (they did). The fact he has to constantly remind them to give their all is doubly frustrating.

But that’s today’s NBA, where Scott told Waiting for Next Year the effort level is “scary.”

“Around this league, it’s like that,” said Scott on Monday afternoon. “I’m sure I’m not the only coach that has to tell his guys that they have to go out and play hard every single night, ‘We have to compete tonight’ and things like that. I talk to other coaches and it’s almost universal, which is kind of weird. To me, that should be a part of your job, to compete and play hard every single night….”

“My job is to be a little more harsh, keep them a little more accountable as we can’t keep making the same mistakes.”

First off, realize this is a motivational tactic by Scott. However, a coach can do part of the motivating. To be really effective that drive and effort has to demanded by other players. Kevin Garnett is a legendary practice demon. Kobe Bryant will let you know in no uncertain terms if you don’t bust it on his team. There are others, but there is a reason those two guys led their teams to the finals last season.

Scott can talk to his Cavs all he wants, until someone in the locker room steps up and demands effort and accountability they will be inconsistent. At best.