We’re talking ‘bout practice …
Sunshine Statement … After Tuesday night’s home win – Cleveland’s fourth straight at The Q – the big question surrounding the Wine and Gold on Wednesday was how they can take that mojo on the road.
The Cavaliers, who are 1-10 away from home this year -- but now 7-3 at home -- head to Florida this weekend for a back-to-back – against the Magic on Friday and the Heat the next evening. In their own respective gyms, Orlando is 5-5 and the Heat, 6-2. (Indiana and Oklahoma City are the league’s remaining undefeated teams at home, both 10-0.)
On several occasions, sometimes in consecutive games, the Cavaliers have looked like two different teams at home and on the road – and on Wednesday, Mike Brown illustrated this to his team in black and white.
With the caveat that he’s not a big “stats guy,” Brown showed his squad a chart after their film session that featured two columns, neither with a heading. In one column, the rankings were in single digits. In the other, numbers ranging from 25-30.
The categories were defensive efficiency, opponents’ field goal percentage and opponents’ three-point field goal percentage. Brown couldn’t remember the exact rankings, but in all three respective categories, the Cavaliers were top 5 at home and bottom 5 on the road.
“We need to play with more intensity (on the road),” said Brown. “We need to understand that shots aren’t always going to go in. And we have to accept that, which is hard for a young team. We have to accept that that’s the reality of playing on the road in this business and we really have to hang our hat on our identity which is on the defensive end of the floor.”
Brown has been preaching the same mantra since his first go-round with Cleveland. Shots don’t fall every night, but you can bring your hard hat defensively every night.
“We have to know that we have to get stops because shots aren’t always going to go in,” continued Brown. “The more stops you get, the more you’re going to take the crowd out of the game.”
Anderson Varejao, who’s heard said mantra countless times, agrees with Brown’s defensive philosophy. But he also knows that both sides of the ball have affected their play away from The Q.
“I think it’s because we’re having a lot of ups and downs now on offense and defense – especially on offense, that we are not moving the ball the right way. And if you do that on the road, if you don’t move the ball and you turn the ball over, teams are going to make you pay for that.”
One big problem for Cleveland on the road has been recovering from slow starts. They trailed San Antonio by nine after one quarter, trailed Boston by 17 after one, and Atlanta, by 18 last Friday night.
“We know we have to get better on the road,” continued Varejao. “We know we have to take care of the ball and hopefully, in the next couple games, we do that.”
All Charged Up … On Wednesday, the Cavaliers assigned Carrick Felix, Sergey Karasev and Henry Sims to the Canton Charge, and all three should see action in Wednesday night’s contest against the Tulsa 66ers at the Canton Civic Center.
Felix has appeared in three games for the Cavaliers this season and two with the Charge – where he averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 boards. Karasev has played in 12 games with Cleveland and has yet to appear with the Charge. And Sims has appeared in six games for the Wine and Gold and two with Canton, averaging 15.0 points and 5.0 boards per contest.
Listen as Anderson Varejao and Head Coach Mike Brown discuss Wednesday's practice with the media.