Friday, January 16, 2009

Trouble Brewing

I predicted it would happen a couple of weeks ago: The Cavs would get a big win against the Celtics and then they would have a tough month. It looks like I'm probably going to be right, although injuries will probably be an even bigger culprit than the schedule.
A few quick thoughts from a frustrating loss in Chicago:

1. As diehard fans, most of us have watched Lebron for six years now. After that amount of time, you learn certain things about a player that you probably wouldn't know unless you'd been following his career closely. Tonight was a perfect example. To the casual fan, Lebron's jumper at the end of regulation was just a simple case of failed execution. As Cavs fans, however, we know better. We know that it was one of those rare times when Lebron's ego clouds his judgment. I am 95% sure that Lebron could've put the ball on the floor and either made a contested layup or drawn the foul. I'm 100% sure that Lebron could've put the ball on the floor and created an uncontested jumper for one of the Cavs' better shooters. He chose to do neither. Why? Because I think we all know that sometimes, for Lebron, winning isn't quite enough. Sometimes, he wants to win pretty with the Jordanesque jumper splashing down as the horn sounds.

Is this a criticism? I mean I guess it could be construed that way but it's just something I accept in the same way that I accept Lebron saying dumb stuff about other markets. I know it's counterintuitive to everything we're supposed to believe in but the simple fact is that Lebron truly is bigger than the Cavs. So when he wants to do something a certain way, even if it's not necessarily in the best interest of the team, we just have to suck it up and deal. Thankfully, as far as superstars go, Lebron seems to be a very team-oriented guy so those selfish moments are few and far between.

2. The West injury is really really going to hurt the teams' permimeter defense over the next couple of weeks. I think realistically, 4-3 over their next 7 would be a moral victory for the Cavs. Things could get really ugly. Sasha Pavolovic is truly terrible in every sense.

3. The only trend that I see developing that really bothers me is that Mike Brown lets the team go into the high screen offense at the end of every single close game. There is absolutely no reason to do that until the last couple of posessions (where you are basically counting on Lebron getting to the line). There is a reason the offense went from terrible to respectable: Movement. Letting everyone stand around and watch Lebron for a full quarter is unnecessary.

Happy weekend everyone.


Art Brosef said...

Good read and I think your prediction will probably come true.

I fell asleep in the 4th and thus missed the last shot. I havent seen highlights either so Im going off your post.

There are examples though of Lebron giving it up in clutch situation (Wizards series) if he thinks its in the right play.

There is no doubt Lebron is bigger than the cavs. You could make a case he is bigger than the the entire NBA. I dont know if his ego gets in the way though. I mean, the best players take the winning shots. I agree though, he needs to be taking it to the basket.

Also, you are spot on about Delonte and his perimiter D. They will miss that as much as his outside shooting.

Gonna be a tough stretch.

Anonymous said...

Sasha was good a couple years ago when he got actual playing time. Let's see what he can do when he knows he is getting his minutes night in and night out.

I fear Ty Thomas may have scared Lebron into taking the jumper at the end of the game. I'm not sure if he was on the floor or not at the end, but there was a period earlier where Lebron kept trying to get inside and Thomas wouldn't let him get up the shot. Of course, Lebron should still have driven and passed it out to Mo even if he couldn't get the shot off.

Alvaro Espinoza said...

Couldn't agree more about Lebron taking the last shot in the game. You could even see him looking at the clock counting down - waiting to chuck up his last second shot. I knew he was taking that last shot - and I pretty much felt like it wasn't going in. Despite all the confidence I have in Lebron, I don't want him taking jump shots with the game on the line. I have more confidence in someone like Boobie there taking that shot.

Art Brosef said...

Im with you Alvaro

Lebron needs to take it to the basket, and if the defense collapses, find the open man.

Lebron is not who we need taking jumpers with the game on the line.

Alvaro Espinoza said...

Rather off topic - who ever won the bet between Drew Gooden and Deshawn Stevenson in that beard growing competition? Isn't that really the most important basketball story from last season?

Alvaro Espinoza said...

nevermind - found my answer:

Anonymous said...

so much for being all about the team. personally, when it comes down to taking the last shot, i really have next to no confidence in lebron's shot. i saw a graphic on espn recently which said that lebron has been called upon 22 times to take a last second shot in which the cavs would have won the game had he made the shot and he has only been successful just 3 times. 3!!! that is the argument so many of these "talking heads" have in their criticism of lebron supposedly not being "clutch". if that's the only criteria they're gonna use, well then no, he's not clutch when it comes to making last second, game winning shots. that being said. he's the best damn player in the nba for the first 47 minutes and 59 seconds of a game.