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01-21-2011, 03:53 PM
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Frustration with Cavs builds up for Scott
Losing is bad, but majority of the players only know half of the team's playbook

By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer


Published on Friday, Jan 21, 2011

INDEPENDENCE: Desperate for a win and trying to catch the Phoenix Suns off balance on Wednesday, coach Byron Scott flipped back a few pages in his offensive playbook.
Instead, he caught his own team by surprise.
Cavs players got a tongue lashing from their coach at practice Thursday for still not knowing the plays. Scott isn't installing more than half of the playbook for his Princeton offense this season, yet apparently both veterans and rookies alike forgot a good portion of it already.
Scott called out a play in the loss Wednesday that the team hadn't used in a couple of weeks. As a result, no one was sure where to go in what eventually became a 106-98 loss to the Suns.
Scott tested his players in practice Thursday by shouting out a few other plays off his call sheet. Again, the players struggled to remember where to go.
''If I had hair, I'd pull it out,'' Scott said. ''Since I can use words with them
I can't use with [the media], that's what I did. It's very frustrating when you're going out there running the offense and you see guys that don't have it or don't know it, because it's something we've been doing all season long. There's no excuse for that.''
The Cavs would seem to have a good chance at a victory tonight when they host the Milwaukee Bucks, the worst-scoring team in the league and a team the Cavs already beat at home earlier in the season. But they'll have to execute in the final minutes better than they did Wednesday.
Scott's point is that when games are close in the fourth quarter, players have to know precisely where they're supposed to be at both ends of the floor at all times in order to have a chance. The Cavs lost the game Wednesday because they went six minutes in the fourth quarter without a basket after cutting a 17-point deficit to three.
''If you've got four guys that know and one that doesn't, it messes up everything,'' Scott said. ''Then you get to situations where you don't get the good shots you want, you're taking shots that [opponents] want you to take and not shots that we want to take.''
At least it appears that help is on the way. Both Christian Eyenga and Joey Graham are expected to play tonight, provided they wake up feeling good and make it through the morning shootaround without incident.
Eyenga has missed three games with a sprained right ankle, and Graham revealed Thursday that he had a torn right quadriceps tendon above the kneecap. He believes that he initially tore the tendon late in the preseason, but that he tried to play through it.
''I thought it was regular tendinitis because that's what it felt like at first,'' Graham said. ''Then it got stiffer and stiffer.''
He finally had to rest after reaggravating it in a loss to the Miami Heat on Dec. 15, when he tumbled into the seats after tackling Dwyane Wade on a drive to the basket. Graham, averaging 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds, hasn't played since.
He is more known for his physical defensive play than his offensive skills and hopes to add to the defensive mindset that Scott is trying to re-instill over the final 41 games.
''From the beginning of the season, we've been lacking in that defensive presence and that's one of the reasons why they brought me here,'' Graham said. ''That's one thing I know I'll be able to bring is that defensive toughness.''
Neither Graham nor Eyenga will start. In fact, Scott will leave the starting lineup intact and continue to bring Daniel Gibson off the bench. Gibson is the team's second-leading scorer behind Antawn Jamison, but Scott has been looking for more firepower off the bench since he was forced to move both Gibson and Jamison into the starting lineup.
Now he needs to straighten out the rest of the roster and ensure the players really know the playbook. Scott said he benched three players against the Suns for not knowing the plays, but J.J. Hickson wasn't one of them.
Hickson was called out during the preseason for not knowing the playbook, but Hickson played the entire fourth quarter Wednesday night and finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Scott, in fact, went out of his way to say Hickson is one of the few players with an excuse for not knowing all the plays since he recently changed positions and became the team's starting center. Scott has been pleased lately with Hickson's effort and rebounding.
Now he needs the rest of the players to brush up on some of the offensive sets.
''They have to go back to the drawing board and make sure they go over it every single day,'' Scott said. ''There are probably four or five guys that know 90 percent of the offense. They know it well. Then the other guys are around 50 percent. That's got to go up. There's no excuse for that.''


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Jason Lloyd can be reached at jlloyd@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.cavs.ohio.com. Follow the Cavs on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ABJCavsInsider.
INDEPENDENCE: Desperate for a win and trying to catch the Phoenix Suns off balance on Wednesday, coach Byron Scott flipped back a few pages in his offensive playbook.

Instead, he caught his own team by surprise.

Cavs players got a tongue lashing from their coach at practice Thursday for still not knowing the plays. Scott isn't installing more than half of the playbook for his Princeton offense this season, yet apparently both veterans and rookies alike forgot a good portion of it already.

Scott called out a play in the loss Wednesday that the team hadn't used in a couple of weeks. As a result, no one was sure where to go in what eventually became a 106-98 loss to the Suns.

Scott tested his players in practice Thursday by shouting out a few other plays off his call sheet. Again, the players struggled to remember where to go.

''If I had hair, I'd pull it out,'' Scott said. ''Since I can use words with them
I can't use with [the media], that's what I did. It's very frustrating when you're going out there running the offense and you see guys that don't have it or don't know it, because it's something we've been doing all season long. There's no excuse for that.''

The Cavs would seem to have a good chance at a victory tonight when they host the Milwaukee Bucks, the worst-scoring team in the league and a team the Cavs already beat at home earlier in the season. But they'll have to execute in the final minutes better than they did Wednesday.

Scott's point is that when games are close in the fourth quarter, players have to know precisely where they're supposed to be at both ends of the floor at all times in order to have a chance. The Cavs lost the game Wednesday because they went six minutes in the fourth quarter without a basket after cutting a 17-point deficit to three.

''If you've got four guys that know and one that doesn't, it messes up everything,'' Scott said. ''Then you get to situations where you don't get the good shots you want, you're taking shots that [opponents] want you to take and not shots that we want to take.''

At least it appears that help is on the way. Both Christian Eyenga and Joey Graham are expected to play tonight, provided they wake up feeling good and make it through the morning shootaround without incident.

Eyenga has missed three games with a sprained right ankle, and Graham revealed Thursday that he had a torn right quadriceps tendon above the kneecap. He believes that he initially tore the tendon late in the preseason, but that he tried to play through it.

''I thought it was regular tendinitis because that's what it felt like at first,'' Graham said. ''Then it got stiffer and stiffer.''

He finally had to rest after reaggravating it in a loss to the Miami Heat on Dec. 15, when he tumbled into the seats after tackling Dwyane Wade on a drive to the basket. Graham, averaging 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds, hasn't played since.

He is more known for his physical defensive play than his offensive skills and hopes to add to the defensive mindset that Scott is trying to re-instill over the final 41 games.

''From the beginning of the season, we've been lacking in that defensive presence and that's one of the reasons why they brought me here,'' Graham said. ''That's one thing I know I'll be able to bring is that defensive toughness.''

Neither Graham nor Eyenga will start. In fact, Scott will leave the starting lineup intact and continue to bring Daniel Gibson off the bench. Gibson is the team's second-leading scorer behind Antawn Jamison, but Scott has been looking for more firepower off the bench since he was forced to move both Gibson and Jamison into the starting lineup.

Now he needs to straighten out the rest of the roster and ensure the players really know the playbook. Scott said he benched three players against the Suns for not knowing the plays, but J.J. Hickson wasn't one of them.

Hickson was called out during the preseason for not knowing the playbook, but Hickson played the entire fourth quarter Wednesday night and finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Scott, in fact, went out of his way to say Hickson is one of the few players with an excuse for not knowing all the plays since he recently changed positions and became the team's starting center. Scott has been pleased lately with Hickson's effort and rebounding.

Now he needs the rest of the players to brush up on some of the offensive sets.

''They have to go back to the drawing board and make sure they go over it every single day,'' Scott said. ''There are probably four or five guys that know 90 percent of the offense. They know it well. Then the other guys are around 50 percent. That's got to go up. There's no excuse for that.''