CLEVELAND: Twenty thoughts for 20 fouls in Wednesday’s 114-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets…
1. While one of the Cavs’ trainers began Kevin Love’s postgame icing routine, a freshly showered Channing Frye leaned over and asked to borrow one of the bags of ice. He placed it on top of his head, then the back of his neck.
2. “I’m still hot,” Frye said. He was referring to the sweat he was wiping off his forehead, but he just as easily could’ve been referencing his performance. Frye scored 15 points, 2 shy of his season high, and made four 3-pointers in his second game with his new team.
MORE: Cavaliers notebook: LeBron James praises Warriors’ record, warns it means little in the playoffs
3. Frye still hasn’t had a practice with the Cavs, but he’s proving to be a quick study. He made three 3-pointers in a 90-second span early in the fourth quarter because he followed LeBron James’ one rule for him.
4. “I told him to shoot every time I throw it to him,” James said. “Because I won’t throw it to him unless I know he’s got a shot.”
5. Frye is still basically winging it on both ends. He came in during Tuesday’s off day for extra work with the coaches, but he hasn’t yet had a practice with his new teammates. That will come on Thursday, when the team is hopeful Iman Shumpert can return from his sprained left shoulder as well.
MORE: Cavs-Hornets box score
6. As for Frye, he’s a 10-year veteran who knows how to space the floor and shoot. That makes the offensive side a bit easier. There were times last season when Kevin Love said his role was basically to fill in the open spot on the perimeter and wait for the ball.
7. That’s what Frye is doing right now, except he’s doing it with much more space than he had to work with in Orlando. J.R. Smith said following the trade from the Knicks last season he was shocked at how open he was on the perimeter. Frye is experiencing that now.
8. “It took me a little bit to get used to being open like that,” Frye said. “When they start yelling at you to shoot the ball, you just have to say, ‘Screw it’ and start shooting.”
9. Frye is still in his adjustment period to Cleveland – and not all of it on the court. After spending the last seven years in warm climates like Phoenix and Orlando, he arrived in Cleveland with one jacket and little else in the way of winter clothes. He made a call to Nike to have a box of winter coats shipped to him. His adjustment on the court has been a bit warmer.
10. “We basically told him if no one is in your jersey, just let that thing go,” Kyrie Irving said. “We were trying to explain to him how much attention that myself and Bron draw coming off our pick-and-rolls. He can utilize us any time to get an open shot. We told him, more importantly, if nobody is in your chest, shoot the ball.”
11. Irving took a fair amount of criticism in recent days, including from some former players, after he admitted to missing the Oklahoma City game because of his bout with bed bugs. Irving said he left most of his clothes in the Oklahoma City hotel room because of the incident.
12. Irving scored 23 points Wednesday and passed for five assists after James began the night as the point guard. James said it was just the way the game flowed, but Irving thought James was more aggressive because of how poorly he played in Monday’s loss to the Pistons.
13. “I think as much (criticism) as he took from everyone from last game … as a competitor, the best player in our league, he took it personally,” Irving said. “Just tried to come out and be aggressive. That’s what we need him to do.”
14. The Heat-Warriors game played on the television in the locker room while players showered and dressed late Wednesday night, although admittedly the media members were more fixated on the game than the players. J.R. Smith looked at the score on his way to his locker before offering up a nonchalant, “Who cares?” Kevin Love was paying far more attention to his phone than the game and even Richard Jefferson, sitting next to Love, cracked on reporters who were paying far more attention to the television than they were the players in the locker room.
15. As he dressed, James playfully warned the media not to write how the players were fixated on the Warriors game because it was we who were watching it, not them. He was mostly right. Tristan Thompson asked reporters to move so he had a better view of the screen and James Jones was watching, but few others.
16. James spent plenty of time Wednesday morning talking about the Warriors, particularly after Anderson Varejao wound up in the Bay Area. I argued that the Warriors’ ridiculous 51-5 record is skewing what the rest of the league is doing. The Cavs are quietly on pace to win 60 games while the Spurs are on pace to win 69. In any other season, those would be tremendous feats. But this season they are inferior to the Warriors.
17. “There’s so much great basketball being played, and I understand that those guys are the cream of the crop,” James said. “They’re the defending champions and they’ve continued to get better as they were from last year. But they’re not going to be the only team that enters the playoff pool. You can be 82-0, man, once the playoffs start, everyone’s 0-0. Let’s get back to the beginning. It’s messed up, but that’s what happens. And hopefully you’ve built enough chemistry, which it seems like they have, and enough out on the court where you can take that on to the next phase, but regular season record-wise is great for the record books, but it means nothing for the postseason.”
18. Anderson Varejao may secretly still be working for the Cavs, at least based on this.
19. Wednesday was Varejao’s first game with his new team and it clearly had some rocky moments. It’s Varejao’s job to call out to Steph Curry on that play that Hassan Whiteside was coming with a screen, which clearly he didn’t seem to do here. Imagine what would’ve been said and written if Curry was injured on that play…
20. Big one with the Raptors on Friday. Ty Lue has talked about the importance of clinching home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavs hold a 3 game lead over the Raptors, who have won 17 of 20 since the Cavs beat them by 22 at the Q in early January. This will mark the final meeting of the season between these two teams – at least until the postseason. Talk to you Friday from Air Canada Centre.