Joe G's Practice Notebook
We’re talking ‘bout practice …
Blazing Through … After splitting their Sunshine State back-to-back over the weekend, it doesn’t get any easier for the Cavaliers early this week, as the Western Conference-leading Portland Trail Blazers come to The Q on Tuesday night.
The Blazers lead the league with 21 wins, including Sunday’s overtime thriller over Detroit, overcoming a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit. But the Cavaliers have been very good at home this season – winning their last four (and five of their last seven) at The Q.
(The Cavs also won seven of the last nine against the Blazers in Cleveland. (Although Portland has won four of the last five matchups overall.))
“(The Blazers) have a lot of veterans on their team that know how to play the game the right way on both ends of the floor,” praised Coach Mike Brown. “And a lot of those guys have had success. Maybe not last year, but LeMarcus (Aldridge) has won before, (Nicolas) Batum has won before, (Wesley) Matthews has won before – (in Portland) and in Utah – and the (Robin) Lopez kid is the right fit. They needed a big body that doesn’t need to score or anything and will do the dirty work because they have enough scorers.”
During the Cavs’ recent four-game run at The Q, they’re holding opponents to 89.3 points per game on .411 shooting, including .279 from the three-point line. They’ll have their work cut out for them with the Blazers, who come to town averaging 117 points per contest over their last six games.
Special K … On Tuesday night, it’ll be a matchup of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Players of the Week – as Kyrie Irving (and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge) were announced as the respective winners on Monday afternoon.
In three games last week, Irving averaged 29.0 points, 6.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 34.3 minutes per game. Kyrie shot .508 (32-of-63) shooting, including .409 (9-of-22) from beyond the arc and .933 (14-for-15) from the stripe. His 29.0 points per game average was tops among all Eastern Conference guards this week and second-highest among all East players.
It was the second time in his career that the former Blue Devil has won the award. After leading Cleveland to a 2-1 mark this week, Irving beat out Deron Williams, Roy Hibbert, LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan.
“He deserves it – he put up some big numbers for us,” said Coach Brown. “He’s got special talents. And the neat part about it is: Can he continue to find ways to attain those accolades while the team is winning or helping the team win? And when that happens, to me, that’s very, very, very meaningful.
“No matter who’s on the floor with him, he’s capable of putting up points. And he’s capable of putting up assists. He’s capable of putting highlight films together. But now can you continue doing that and propel your team to wins? And that’s the process that he’s going through right now. And that’s what’s been happening to us as of late. So it’s a well-deserved honor.”
Listen as Tristan Thompson and Head Coach Mike Brown discuss Monday's practice with the media.