The Cavaliers are in the midst of their worst streak of games of the year, the defending champs have gone 5–5 in the past 10 games, losing to the Hawks twice, once against the Hawks bench players, and the other time squandering a 26 point lead in the fourth quarter, losing to the bulls, tied for the last playoff spot in the east, the wizards, who the cavs might face in the playoffs, and more. Their defense is in terrible condition, their bench is non-existent, their role players haven’t been consistent; everything except their big three has been terrible. All of that was in the 2nd half of the regular season.
The Warriors and Spurs (who beat the cavs recently) both are looking unstoppable, especially with KD returning for the Warriors and Stephen Curry looking in MVP form.
But, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue talked about having a secret plan for defense in the playoffs, which could be promising. And really, it’s LeBron James.
A lot of basketball fans and critics around the NBA were saying the Cavs wouldn’t make it to the Finals this year. They were saying the Cavs would be knocked off in the East. They were saying they weren’t as good as they were last year.
I’m going to go out there and say this is all wrong.
Based on this game, and many of the others we have watched this season, the Cavs are better than they were last year. They have added more support for LeBron, signing Deron Williams, Derrick Williams and trading for Kyle Korver. The Cavs are focusing more on ball movement, the way they play best. They’re getting more dribble-drive penetration from LeBron and Kyrie, leading to more open threes.
Looking at the three games against Indiana, the Cavaliers look like they’ve returned to form as the best team in the East. Their shooting and inside scoring is as good as it ever was, and they’re playing strong. The Cavs can pass, and they can rebound.But overall, the most important fact is that they have LeBron. Any team with him is going to make the conference finals, at least.I think the Cavs have what it takes to go all the way this year.
I have no doubt in my mind they will reach the finals. Will they repeat? It depends not on who they play against but on who they play with by the time they do reach the finals, injuries and all. Let’s say all are healthy, I’ll have to say yes, they will repeat. If not, LeBron will find a way to get it to at least game 6 again.
Granted the injuries have beat them down all year long, thus ruining their plays and strategies, they still managed to get this far in the league.
For their losses, I blame the following:
- Player acquisitions - Team chemistry is a necessity in any championship team. You can’t have this at 100% if you keep shuffling your roster. It also lowers player morale and could explain why many of the players in the Cavs aren’t as consistent as they should be, with LeBron, Thompson, and Love being the only ones who are stat-wise.
- No defense - Basketball is largely a defensive game. It doesn’t matter if your team averages 120 pts a game if you allow the other team to score 120 too. No defense leads to pressure on all players and pressure can lead to injuries as seen in this year’s champions. And let’s not forget it was a Block (as well as Love’s guard on Curry) that led to their win.
- Weak coaching - Ty Lue may be a better coach for the Cavs than Blatt was but he has yet to prove he can win good games without LeBron. LeBron is the best in the league right now but he’s still just one player. If they lose him, they might as well brick the whole season.
- Assist issues - LeBron has been open on needing a playmaker and it’s because the bulk of the assists the Cavs get per game comes from just two people: LeBron and Kyrie. LeBron averages 9 assists per game but the Cavs as a whole averages what? 20? 22? LeBron dishes out almost 50% of the assists per game. If they lose The King, they lose half their assists. A team that has better assists average always has a better chance at winning ANY game. It’s the reason why the Spurs are a threat for GSW.
- Kyrie Irving - Speaking of the best ball handler in the game, most of the losses involve Kyrie doing two things: Shooting bricks and not passing. Kyrie is an all star but he’s not so great that he should be having all the shots. The Cavs have a better chance of winning when he aims for 10 assists than when he aims for 20 field goals.On paper the Cavs are the best team and also the most expensive team to assemble this season. Their owner also had to pay the highest luxury tax last year and is also doing the same this year.