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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tremont Farm & Market to Open in April

Posted By on Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 1:26 PM

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Detroit Shoreway home, garden and pet owners likely are familiar with Grace Brothers Nursery (1907 W. 65th St., 216-513-3262), a wonderful shop loaded with essential home and garden products. Since it opened four years ago, the shop has been managed by Kevin Kubovcik, the resident expert on all things urban farming.

In April, Kubovcik will partner with Alan Glazen to open a similar style operation in the heart of Tremont. Tremont Farm & Market will be located in a sunny storefront at the corner of Professor and Jefferson, a building owned by Glazen. The location features a 1,600-square-foor main floor plus a large yard for a nursery.

“I’m very excited about it,” says Kubovcik. “It’s such a wonderful opportunity.”

When it first opened, Grace Brothers had a few staple products like dog food, chicken feed and plants. In the intervening years, Kubovcik continued to grow the inventory, adding tons of local food products like eggs, milk, cheese, meat and fermented products. Books guide readers through the finer points of urban homesteading. And Grace Brothers has become the number one spot for chicken owners and beekeepers (including this writer).

“I’ll be taking the best of that store and bringing it to Tremont,” Kubovcik says. “Location is everything.”

The spot, across the street from Fahrenheit, will provide easy access to scores of urban gardeners. Kubovcik intends to stay open late on Artwalk nights, with open houses and workshops on urban farm topics like container gardening.

“It’s beautiful on the inside,” he says. “The only thing left to do is fill it.”

The endeavor might sound like a departure for Glazen, who is best known (these days, anyway) as the man behind popular bars and taverns like ABC the Tavern, XYZ Tavern, and Ontario Street Café. But the same efforts and skills he used to set up restaurant owners could be applied in other disciplines as well, he says. He’s calling his new organization Glazen Urban, and Kubovcik and Tremont Farm & Market are its first beneficiaries.

“I came to realize that I don’t really run bars or restaurants, Randy [Kelly] and Linda [Syrek] do,” Glazen explains. “I looked back and saw that what I’ve really done is take properties – nine different properties – and by my investment and getting somebody else we turn those properties into good places in the city. And I’m going to continue doing that.

“This turns really deserving business people, who were never going to get anywhere equity-wise, now to own their own business without penalizing them for not having the money.”

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Cavaliers Melt Down Spurs, Make Paperweights

Posted By on Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 8:44 AM

Here Comes LeBron, Here Comes LeBron
  • Here Comes LeBron, Here Comes LeBron
Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers gave the San Antonio Spurs a Near Death Experience (NDE) while expediting a half-brilliant 117-103 victory. The Cavs scored 66 first half points, against not only the league’s best defense, but the league’s best road defense.

For the Spurs it was akin to the part of an NDE where the person experiences their personal impact on others. Yup, the shoes were on the other feet for San Antonio last night. They were uncomfortable, they smelled, and afterwards their toes itched.

The 66 points tied Cleveland’s season-high for a half, as the Cavs shot 57% (25-44) and had assists on 17 of their 25 hoops. They finished the game shooting 55%. We haven’t seen a demonstration of force like this since Alderaan got Death Starred.

The Cavs built a 17-point lead that the Spurs were never able to significantly reduce (for long). Everything Tyronn Lue has been trying to do was in full effect from better tempo to shot selection to defense. The win is even more impressive when you consider Cleveland was on the back-end of a back-to-back while this was the first day of the Spurs road trip after three days off.

Things went so well most will probably ignore a potentially worrisome sign in the second half. Only 7 of the team’s 20 second half buckets were assisted, led by Irving with 2. The team also had as many turnovers as assists. LeBron, who had six assists and no turnovers in the first half, gathered one assist and two turnovers in the second half.

After blowing up with 18 points in the first 19 minutes of the game, Love took four more shots over his last 17 minutes of play.

Irving and James took over in the second half and were very efficient if not particularly generous. They missed three shots apiece, going a collective 14-20 from the field and 7-8 from the line in the second half, scoring 35 of the team’s 51 points. No big deal, though the Spurs kept threatening, the individual skills of the Cavs stars were enough to hold them off.

However it seems the idea all along has been to develop better habits. Replicating the ball movement of the first half seems a lot more productive than the team’s two dominating ballhandlers each scratching off a quarter as their own.

We know that’s not how they see it, and tonight’s effort certainly knocked over every milk bottle, but it still made us wonder how committed the team is to its newfound attitude.

Or maybe it’s not even new. That’s what Kyrie Irving suggested when queried about the team’s “new personality” and how quickly they’d changed their nature.

“I don’t think it’s a new personality. I just think our pace is a lot better. It’s not necessarily a new personality,” Irving said, running his hand down his knitted brow. “We had it last year. Coming back from injury me not getting up and down the floor like I should’ve been in the beginning coming back.”

It’s worth noting here that the whole pick-up-the-pace theme is something Blatt had preached unsuccessfully all season, but with even greater force his final days. Just goes to show both, how important buy-in is and how easy it is to lead the media on a snipe hunt.

Stalking the Snipe of Pace

As an aside, it’s worth noting here the press’ willingness to grab a narrative like Mark Foley would a sixteen-year old page and wring it for all its worth. It can be very, “Don't try to understand ‘em, just rope, throw, and brand’em” in this business, which is why some reporters seem to be under the false impression that Lue is trying to or has gotten the team to create more possessions.

The truth of the matter is the Cavaliers actually have been averaging one less possession a game (93.19 or 93.95 if you throw out the Bulls game) than under Blatt (94.93). This is a red herring that some media have bought unexamined.

They think pace mean possessions. It’s really as much about getting the ball into the frontcourt quickly so they can perhaps take advantage of LeBron and Kyrie’s great 1-on-1 skills on breaks or in transition. It also allows for early offense when the defense isn’t set. If not, they're happy to go back into their very good halfcourt offense.

“The best thing about it is we’re not turning the ball over while we’re doing it,” said LeBron. “It’s about getting up the floor if we’ve got something, and go for it early, if not then run our stuff.”

Under former Coach David Blatt, the Cavs took 27% of their shots in the first nine seconds, and 19.8% in the last seven seconds of the shot clock. Now that’s 35.4% in the first nine seconds and 20% in the final seven. The Cavaliers are definitely creating early offense while shooting at a similar clip.

Another notable difference you see is the team is taking more 15’-19’ jumpers now (12.4 to 9.4), where they’re shooting even better than their league-leading rate (50%-45%). They’ve also been getting about 3 less shots at the rim, but are making more (74%-61%)

The Balanced Scoring Plan

Some in the media have suggested the Cavaliers were going to play at a fast enough pace to create more offensive possessions for the Big 3 to share. So if that continues not to happen, can we trust these guys not to feel left out if they’re not getting their shots?

Who is going to bite the bullet on this, because whatever James says, he gets his, he’s the King, and Irving is going to get his too, it would seem.

“It isn’t necessarily planned,” said Irving of the alternating takeover modes. “We sat down and addressed what we needed to address. Coming in we’re not worried about shots. We’re not worried about people being selfish with the shots that they’re getting. We just want to have an equal offense. If you’re open take the shot and we get back on defense. Miss or make we hold each other accountable on defensive end and then offensively, we’re talented enough to get any shot we want.”

This is an interesting theme we’ve picked up woven into the conversation. You work on defense and then the offense is like the treat. The wide-open feel is supposed to get everyone involved.

“Open up the floor, let everybody play, move the ball and not plays so much 1-on-1,” Lue said before the game.

It’s great rhetoric for so long as it lasts, but it will be a test to see how long it persists. This team is nothing if not consistent in their inconstant good habits.

Lue said several very interesting things yesterday, suggesting something of a different role for Irving and James offensively than they had under Blatt. Love, obviously, has had such a different role since Lue came on, you have to wonder if Blatt disliked him, because of how he’s spread his wings in his new role.

Irving! Attack!

One of the most fascinating things we heard yesterday was Lue’s response to a good Chris Fedor question about LeBron’s high assist totals since the coaching change. Lue admitted he had indeed elaborated a different role for James.

“I want the ball in LeBron’s hands to facilitate and create for other guys,” said Lue. “I want Kyrie to be in attack mode, more aggressive, looking to score because I don’t think anyone can stop him 1-on-1… also having Kevin at the elbow opens things up because he’s a great passer.”

He’s essentially made LeBron the point guard and Irving the shooting guard, though as Jalen Rose has mentioned more than once, positions don’t really matter anymore for the NBA. “Scorer,” “Facilitator,” “Rim Protector,” and “Rebounder” are more appropriate descriptors in a league where position is becoming as fluid as gender.

This all seems part of a Lue plan to make better use of his big three than Blatt did. While hoarding his talent and then playing it together in devastating bursts sounds like a strategy for Magic the Gathering, it wasn’t very satisfying for the Cavaliers, especially given the power issues already at play over who shoots when.

So Lue’s decision to try and play Love with the second team is a sound and welcome plan. It did not come to fruition last night because Kevin Love was so freaking en fuego. (We do appreciate Lue’s flexibility on his rotational plans.)

Lue was moved to scrap the plan and go with Love's hot hand for most of the quarter, until he subbed all three stars near the end of the first. In the second half Lue split Ky and LeBron’s time on the floor to some extent so the two didn’t have to compete for shots as much. This actually worked rather well.

This of course did nothing for the formerly on fire Love. We don’t need no water gentlemen, just deprive him of oxygen (the ball), and watch him die.

If Lue can get these guys to follow through on what he’s suggesting, it’s clear their combined firepower, working in the same direction instead of cross-purposes can mete out some destruction like the Avengers or Michael Bay. But that’s easier said than done.

“I think sometimes we resorted to the 1-on-1 game because we have guys that can ISO,” James noted. “Coach gets on us in film sessions about one pass shots. He wants us to work the offense. If we don’t have something early in the transition game. He put this on the board a few games ago 5+ passes we’re shooting 58% from 3 and it goes down with less passes. So we’ve always been conscious about it but he’s put even more of an emphasis.”

More of an emphasis than Blatt who complained bitterly about ball movement after every game? Just saying. Sometimes turning the page is more important than who’s right.

Love Leads the Way

Over the last two nights, the Cavaliers have been treated to a display by Kevin Love reminiscent of the archetypal school librarian throwing off her glasses and letting down her hair to be revealed as a total hottie. (We don’t write the archetypes, just acknowledge them.)

He’s scored all over the place (much like Wilt Chamberlain, and we don’t mean hoops), and his play resounded with confidence. He now made plays without hesitation, and between the head fakes and the nice setups he’s rarely had anyone in his face of late.

This is how Love looked when it was just a twosome; turning the offensive bonanza into a threesome with Irving back meant somebody had to serve as meat instead of bun. That’s been a tough transition for Love because he must rely on the other two for his opportunities. (His usage went from around where it was in Minnesota during the first six weeks to lower than it was last year after Kyrie’s return.)

It’s like waiting in line behind the guy who keeps going “hold on,” “only going to be a second,” and “I’m almost finished” to the point where you’re about to make it true for him. Love’s impatience has been apparent in a low, constant roar of complaint about shots not unlike a whale’s song, and his tendency to mope on defense.

Let’s hope he keeps getting shots because lately he’s also played damn good defense and can be found running all over the court to meet his help D responsibilities. This is quite the switch from when Love's idea of help defense appeared to be turning his head.
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As you can see, Love got lots of great looks. Only one of his seven first half buckets was even contested and he finished with three contested shots versus 10- uncontested ones. LeBron made many of them happen by breaking the defense down then dishing.

This was clearly Lue’s plan and looked pretty effective. LeBron is an amazing passer and says he prefers to make plays for others. We’re not always so sure, but we’re cynics by birth.

Another noticeable difference in the offense under Lue is the prevalence of screens and picks involving the Big 3. While Blatt was using Love more in pick-and-rolls as the season went on, it was nowhere the frequency we’ve seen lately. We also saw LeBron set several screens for Kyrie. Using LeBron as ball screener is new, and the whole idea seems to be built upon overloading one side with the Cavs’ Big Three, then throw weakside when defense collapses on penetration, as with the first bucket of the game.

The Parker Tweak

Tony Parker ran wild over the Cavaliers last time they faced him, and he caused some issues again on Saturday, but not nearly to nearly the same extent. He finished 5-10 with 13 points and six assists against three turnovers.

One factor was the general level of Kyrie Irving’s defense has picked up of late. He wasn’t great at staying in front of Parker, but he chased vigorously to get back into place. This is another change from Blatt, under whom the team tended to switch and double more often. (Even though Lue had run of defense, Blatt had input.)

Against the Spurs, we saw much more one-on-one defensive play. Guys had to recover, they couldn’t just pass the responsibility onto someone else.

Diaw didn’t get a double and neither did Aldridge. They did double Leonard on the block (he still finished with 24), but played the Spurs pretty straight-up.

Another difference was when Parker received picks from David West and LaMarcus Aldridge, the bigs covering them stepped out or “hedged,” keeping Parker from gathering any momentum as he detoured around, giving Kyrie or whomever time to recover. In the last game against the Spurs they’d hung back from him, allowing Parker to take it right at them, much how you run right at a pass-rushing end in football.
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“What was different tonight is we went to the show,” Lue said. “Last game they took advantage of us being on drop and isos and Tony went 1-on-1 against our bigs a lot the whole night. So tonight coming into this game we decided we wanted to show and make them veer out, and then play one-on-one against our guards, and it was effective for us tonight.”

Call Me Some Defense, Not Ishmael

The team has played some pretty good defense the last few games, or at least they’re challenging shots. Like in Detroit, the team contested more than 60% of the Spurs shots, though they still hit 50% of them. The Cavs rim protection hasn’t been good (Spurs made 17-22) but the Cavs keep winning.

As we noted when Thompson replaced Mozgov, the Cavaliers are more concerned about their ability to extend the defense to the three line than with the peril of substandard rim protection. Just one of many ways the three-ball’s changed the game. Indeed, Lue wasn’t even so concerned about the Spurs high shooting percentage (49%).

“I really don’t go off field goal percentage, I go off 3s and 3 point field goal percentage,” said Lue. “What we’ve been doing is taking teams out of making their 3 point shot – running guys off so they’re getting easier 2s and pullups. We’ll have to live with that. But nowadays in this game the 3s hurt you so we want to limit guys' 3s and live with our rim protection.”

Kevin Love suggested that the quicker pace has helped them get to those 50-50 balls. It’s like the difference between being on one’s toes or heels. “The pace kind of helps us,” he says. “Playing fast but under control is helping us get to those.”

Final Analysis

The Cavs came up with their fourth straight game with 114 points or more. The team hadn’t even had consecutive games over 110 this year, before running up three games in excess of 120 points at the beginning of the month. That too faded.

The question isn’t whether Tyronn Lue has made the Cavaliers better. Without a doubt he has, even though many of his thoughts simply reiterate ideas of his former boss.. It’s sorta sad Blatt had to lose his job for the team to start listening to what he had to say, but that’s life. (Lesson: Don’t go looking for justice from man-made institutions.)

The second half showed that the team can still win without ball movement, we just kinda wish they didn’t have to prove it. In our mind it just makes it easier for them to go away from sharing the ball and not feel like it hurts the team. It’s not debilitating, but it’s still sub-optimal.

Only when they share the ball does Love have a chance to truly shine, and he’s one of the most devastating offensive players in the game. But he needs those chances, and they simply aren’t always forthcoming.

Lue also seems to have these guys feeling accountable on defense. They played hard and really boxed out. (Weird how they’re rediscovering basketball fundamentals suddenly.)

We don’t like to admit it, but there does seem to be a different vibe in the locker room and around the team. Players seem to be going out of their way to make more friendly gestures and overtures towards each other. It feels more playful and not so tense.

Maybe it’s superficial, maybe it won’t last, but like everything else in life, there’s only so much margin in being a curmudgeon and not enjoying at least a Dixie Cup of the Kool-Aid. This is Cleveland, sometimes the Kool-Aid is as far as it gets.

We don’t think that’s the case, but at the same time, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the-team-that-shall-remain-nameless are on a pace to shatter the record for best regular season win percentage. At the very least, we’re going to try to enjoy those moments when it looks all downhill, knowing it probably won’t remain that way for long.

We’re traveling to Indianapolis where the Cavs will meet the Pacers on Monday. We’ll be posting video, analysis and snark, follow along on Twitter @CRS_1ne. You can hear us tomorrow morning at 10am on the Defend Cleveland Show with Michael James, on WRUR, 91.1. You can read our analysis of the Pacers game on Tuesday on the Scene blog.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Opening Soon: Market Garden's Production Brewery, Tour and Tasting Room

Posted By on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 2:53 PM

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The beer brewing process begins in the milling room where the grains are weighed and crushed. Then it’s off to the three-vessel brewhouse where those grains are steeped in hot water, strained and the resulting liquid boiled. When cooled, the liquid is inoculated with yeast and stashed in a fermentation tank. When ready to drink, the beer is popped into a keg or bottle.

When the Market Garden Brewery production facility opens to the public in the coming weeks, visitors will get an up-close and personal look at every step along that path. The Ohio City brewery was custom built to maximize the visitor experience, with elevated catwalks guiding guests on a delicious loop from mill to bottle fill.

More than a year’s time – and “a few million dollars” – went into the construction of this modern, sun-soaked brewery in the heart of Cleveland. It wasn’t easy converting the largely unused Culinary Arts Building, tucked behind the West Side Market, into the large-scale brewery, but the owners wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Mark Priemer
  • Mark Priemer
“You toy with the idea of going to a small parcel of land in an industrial park, and how much money you’d save with little to no construction and less investment,” says co-founder Mark Priemer. “It teases you. But this was a chance in a lifetime to be right here in Ohio City, right by the West Side Market, next to our restaurant, so the decision was made.”

Located on an acre of land in one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods, the site was not without its challenges. Co-founder Sam McNulty whips out an old residential map from the 1840s showing the houses that once existed beneath our very feet.

“It looked like an archeological dig,” McNulty says of the site. “There was hand-cut sandstone foundations, there was an old German cellar.”

The exposed brick wall of one of those houses still stands in striking contrast to the modern stainless steel brewing equipment.

Andy Tveekrem
  • Andy Tveekrem
This is the sixth brewery that head brewer Andy Tveekrem has had a hand in building. His beer-brewing resume stretches back to Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head, before starting with Market Garden and then Nano Brew. With each new gig, he says, he’s gotten smarter about building a better brewery.

It starts, literally, with the floor. Every square inch of the production facility has radiant heating, which in addition to being cozy on the toes happens to be a lot safer. Brewery floors are constantly being hosed down, and warm tile floors dry considerably quicker than cold ones.

The brewing equipment was designed and built in Germany by Esau & Hueber and shipped over. But it didn't come alone. The 90-year-old company also sends over an assembler, who works on site for three weeks. That person is then replaced by an electrical controls technician, who also sticks around for three weeks, all the way through first test brews.

Tveekrem, who stands six-foot-four, had the company customize his brewing equipment so that it stands higher off the ground than what is considered standard, providing easier access to the valves, pipework and motors that typically sit just above the floor.

“It’s important to have the brewhouse customized to the brewer,” he says only half-jokingly. “If you try and do maintenance on them, you’re literally laying on your back in a puddle of dripping-hot stuff. It’s a nightmare.”

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The new production facility brews 35-barrel batches of beer compared to the 10-barrel batches next door at the brewpub. But that doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to brewing capacity, the brewer explains.

“The capacity is determined by the fermenters we have,” he says. “Right now we have enough for about 7,000 barrels per year. But we’ve got room for two more rows of larger tanks, so we’ll be able to do about 20 or 25,000 barrels in the fermentation hall that we have.”

Down the road, when the back half building is put into play, the capacity can ultimately reach 80 to 100,000 barrels per year in the 44,000-square-foot complex.

“We’ve invested a lot up front in the ability to expand fairly seamlessly,” adds Tveekrem. “We really wanted to think this through and make the brewhouse fit the building.”

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As visitors make their way out of the fermentation tank room they’ll pass a row of labs, which Tveekrem refers to as “the pilot house on the ship.” In order he designates them as the analytical lab, microbiological lab and sensory analysis lab.

“The back of the house is every bit as important,” explains McNulty. “We’re making sure that every beer that we send to market is the best possible beer we can brew. It may not be sexy, but it tells the story of how obsessed we are with making sure this is beer we’re proud of.”

This week, the very first batch of beer was brewed at the production facility. It was the Prosperity Wheat, which will soon be joined by batches of other Market Garden flagship brews, Progress Pilsner and Citramax IPA. In addition, seasonal beers like Hella Mango IPA, which, like all beers, started life as an experimental brew at Nano, will be brewed and released.

“We also have the Nano Series, single batches that we’ll drop a few times per year that scratch the itch of the beer geek,” says co-founder Mike Foran. Think Trouble Honey IPA and Wallace Tavern Scotch Ale, he adds.

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As early as April, Market Garden beers that are bottled and kegged in the onsite packaging room will be distributed by Superior Beverage throughout Cuyahoga County. They’ll be showing up in bars, restaurants and retail stores, something the company couldn’t do prior because of demand and capacity issues at the brewpub.

Tours ends in a sunny tasting room that overlooks the heart of Ohio City. Through the massive two-story windows, guests have views of the West Side Market, Market Garden brewpub and a wide swath of W. 25th Street businesses. Here, visitors can sip fresh beer and purchase beer to go at retail. In addition to six-packs, customers can call and order a keg, which will be loaded directly into one’s car via the curbside pick-up system.

Leaning against a temporary railing, owner Mark Priemer tells the small group, “This is where we all started in the neighborhood, maybe 11 or 12 years ago with Bier Markt. Being here is absolutely being part of the neighborhood. Having that view onto what is our home, Ohio City, the Market District, is so important for us. Putting our best face forward to the neighborhood.”

Earlier, brewer Tveekrem echoed those sentiments. “It’s what we want to give to the area.” he says. “I want people to say hey, we‘ve got to go down to W. 25th and check out the brewery, and go to the market and hit some of the bars and restaurants and bring it all together.”

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VIDEO: Former Cleveland Heartthrob Chris Van Vliet Gets Hit On By "How To Be Single" Stars

Posted By on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM

@CHRISVANVLIET
  • @ChrisVanVliet
Friday, during a promotional interview for the new film How to Be Single, starring 50 Shades of Gray's Dakota Johnson, former Cleveland entertainment reporter Chris Van Vliet got royally hit on by his interview subjects. 

Van Vliet, a Canada native, worked for 19 Action News and WDOK for nearly five years. He took his talents to South Beach last year and is now an entertainment reporter for Miami's Fox affiliate WSVN. He's on the nightly entertainment show Deco Drive. 

During the "interview," both Johnson and co-star Leslie Mann (George of the Jungle, Big Daddy) don't give Van Vliet any time to ask his questions.

First it's his cute socks. Then it's his handsome face. Then it's his incredible muscles — #swollpatrol, Johnson avers. In due course, the celebs invite Van Vliet to conduct the interview with his shirt unbuttoned.

Van Vliet, ever the charmer, obliges.

This is precisely the sort of thing that these promotional film junkets are intended to accomplish, so don't lose sleep over the two minutes that Johnson and Mann commandeered.   

Obviously, the How to be Single stars were unaware by whom they were being interviewed: Cosmopolitan's 2011 Bachelor of the Year.

Van Vliet's now taking the opportunity to start shit with Leslie Mann's husband, Trainwreck director Judd Apatow. 


Video below:  


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Friday, January 29, 2016

Better Horsepower Guides Cavaliers Past Pistons

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 11:30 PM

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If this were an early Bruce Springsteen song, the Cavaliers would own the Pistons pink slip, after outracing them to a 114-106 victory. The screen door slammed and Detroit was left waving from the front porch.

While it’s an open question whether the Cavs can play enough defense to beat the NBA’s elite teams, they demonstrated last night that even at 75% their offense is a load worthy of William “The Refrigerator” Perry.

It’s evident in the fact the Cavaliers dominated much of the game but didn’t force the 20 turnovers for 30 points they did Wednesday against Phoenix, nor did they hit an extraordinary number of threes (9-23).

Despite this, the Cavaliers were able to get up the court and create more possessions. This helps in because their better offensive efficiency helps them create bigger leads going into the fourth quarter (see, Golden State). Indeed the Cavaliers led by 18 at the end of three before surrender some of that in the fourth quarter.

The ball movement was very good in the early going, but diminished as the game went on. The Cavaliers had 12 first-half assists on 21 buckets. In the second half that shrunk back to 8 assists on 18 buckets.

The Cavaliers adrenalized pace was definitely apparent in the first half as the team scored 66 points. The Cavaliers only forced two first half turnovers, but still got to the line 21 times, and shot 48% from the field, including 5-12 (42%) from the boundary.

As has been the case, the quicker pace seemed to be accompanied by less intense defensive effort. While the team doesn’t seem to get beat up the court (Detroit had 13 fastbreak points to Cavs' 11), the Pistons were able to create opportunities with transition offense before the Cavaliers got set, particularly in the first half.

“We know we have to do a better job on the defensive end and that’s everybody, 1 through 15,” said Kevin Love after the game. “Our coaching staff is really putting us in the right position. That’s really our main focus because when we do that and whether it’s a miss or a make we get out on transition, we’re devastating on that end.”

The promised increased offensive focus on Love was in full effect, taking a team-leading 10 first half shots (3-5 from three) and going a perfect 6-6 from the line. He finally really looked like a focal point, and even though he only had six second half shots, he finished the team's lead scorer with 29 including 5 of 7 from international waters.

Kyrie showed the ability to turn the corner on the pick-and-roll and finish, something missing the past few games. He knocked down several midrange jumpers and drives putting up 16 in the first half, including 6-7 from the line, without taking a single three. Of course, he only had one assist, so there’s that.

“We want to prove that every game we’re getting in better shape,” said Kyrie Love. “TLue is always saying how we have to get in better shape and tonight everyone had great possession and great looks, and being aggressive.”

Lue had mentioned in the last game his desire for the Cavaliers to get more free throws than threes, which they did 21-12 in the first half and 29 to 23 for the game.

A pretty good Cavaliers first half ended on a discordant note when the Cavaliers surrendered a layup to Reggie Jackson (15 pts, 6 ast) with six seconds left on the clock.

As they went to the locker room LeBron, Tristan and Kyrie could be seen discussing the defensive mistake. As you can see below, it would appear to be LeBron’s fault, unless Tristan was supposed to be able to defend the point guard without help. But what do we know?
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We’d feel much better about such diligence if it seemed to be more a matter of accountability than blame, but hey, it’s still the Cavaliers’ putative preseason. (Certainly for new rookie coach Tyronn Lue.) They’ll find that peaceful, easy feeling with or without Glen Frey’s help, right? Right?

The Cavaliers put it to the Pistons in the third quarter running up an 18-point lead. Four different players had at least two buckets, as the starters put up 26 of the team’s 30 points while holding the Pistons to 40% shooting. Pistons center Andre Drummond was the only guy they couldn’t really stop in the quarter, as he got seven of the Pistons’ 20 points.

After a 17-8 Pistons run to close the Cavs lead to 106-97, the Wine and Gold responded. The Cavs found Kevin Love for a post-up bucket on the left block on an out-of-bounds play with a handful of seconds on the shot clock. A Kyrie steal and fastbreak take the other way pushed the lead to 110-97 and the team would not be seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Love led the team in scoring with 29 points, 19 in the first half. Despite disappearing from the offense at times in the second half, they went back to Love down the stretch, something we certainly didn’t see much of under Blatt.

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Irving added 28 on perhaps his best shooting night of the (for him) adolescent season. He was 11-19, missed all three of his three attempts and added two assists against one turnover. His drive was there though he got more of his points off pull-up jumpers.

James added a relatively quiet 20 points and 8 assists, including six of the team’s 8 second half assists. Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov did a fine job of battling Pistons big man Andre Drummond. He finished with 20 points but only 8 boards, as Thompson (14) and Mozgov (8) pounded the boards like Tim “Toolman” Taylor.

While the outcome many not have been as devastating as the Cavaliers would like, they did a lot of things right. Near 60% of their shots were uncontested (48 of 83) though they only shot 44% on those. (They shot 51% on their contested shots.)

Meanwhile, the defense made Detroit work for the baskets. The Pistons took a lot of contested shots (55 of 84, 65%) but hit them, making 46%. For the game, the Pistons shot better than the Cavaliers, with 48% field goal percentage.

Indeed, it’s a little surprising that Cavaliers could win so convincingly while not stopping the Pistons from making shots (they have a better shooting percentage than the Cavaliers), or even getting to the line. The entire difference in the game proved to be the Cavs going 27-29 from the free throw line while the Pistons only went 19-26.

“The things I thought hurt us were 29 free throw attempts, something we don’t normally do, fouled too much. Seventeen second-chance points, which we don’t normally give up,” said Pistons Coach Stan Van Gundy. “Look, they played great offensively. When you’re playing really talented teams, playing really well, it’s going to be difficult.”

Even if it looked convincing than the stats suggested, there’s no complaints here. The Cavaliers are rounding into form and it they can look pretty good only playing a halfway decent game, we’ll take that as progress. Certainly was nice to see the Cavaliers open the game strongly and finish the first quarter that way as well.

“They scored a lot easier than we wanted to so we couldn’t get out and run like we wanted to but that’s going to come once we get our legs in shape and we can get more defensive stops,” said Coach Lue.

Next time out we’d like to see better defensive intensity all game long (when isn’t that true?), more consistent ball movement in the second half, and more hands in the passing lanes. If Cleveland’s really going to run they’re going to need to do a better job of creating steals and deflections than they have been.

That’s doubly true if they hope to bring this greater pace to the playoffs. It’s twice as hard to run in the postseason, and there won’t be so many easy opportunities. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. The Cavaliers still have to prove than can replicate any part of their game on a consistent basis.

Given the team’s recent improved offensive showing under Lue, perhaps that issue can be rotated down to the bottom of the deck.

Sorry for the abbreviated postgame analysis. We’ve got to drive back from Detroit tonight and get enough sleep to be ready to run it back tomorrow against the San Antonio Spurs. We’ll be at the Q, offering video, analysis and snark. You can follow us on Twitter @CRS_1ne. You can read our postgame analysis of the Spurs game on Sunday morning in the Scene blog. 

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Backstage Pass: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Elle King

Music News

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 5:04 PM

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Pop/rock singer-songwriter Elle King stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum this afternoon to donate one of her dresses. Her full-length debut, Love Stuff, has become a huge hit thanks to the twangy first single, "Ex's & Oh's." Her current tour includes a stop tonight at the Masonic Auditorium.

We spoke to her briefly at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and asked her about her eclectic taste in music and what she learned from busking on the streets of New York and Philadelphia. The brightly colored dress in the background is the dress that she donated. 

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Parker's Grille and Tavern to Open in Schofield Hotel Downtown

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 4:36 PM

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A second Parker's Grille and Tavern restaurant will be opening in downtown Cleveland this spring.

The new location will be located at The Schofield Hotel at E. 9th Street and Euclid Avenue, where it will be called Parker's Downtown. It will house a bar and lounge off the hotel lobby, as well as host a main dining hall and two private dining rooms. In all, it will seat 120 patrons.

The kitchen will initially serve hotel guests before expanding service to also cater to residents living in The Schofield. Details about the menu haven't been released yet, but we're told it will be similar to the Parker's Grille and Tavern in Avon Lake with a few key differences. More about the menu will be released at a later date.

Parker's Downtown is scheduled to open in mid-April.

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