The Cleveland Cavaliers seem doomed. More than just fighting the Indiana Pacers, the Cavaliers are legitimately losing in the first round. Even if they do not, they are in big trouble early on in their effort to make the NBA final for the fourth season.
Much of the response to the series' stint and the growing possibility of an early end to the Cavaliers & # 39; run series was to denounce the status of the supporting cast of LeBron James. LeBron has Kevin Love, an excellent shooter, goalscorer, passer and rebounder. And that's it.
It is true that the cavaliers are painfully shallow, even after the series of the Handelszeitung, which has shuffled everything around LeBron and Love. Some of the newcomers have no significant playoff experience. George Hill has apparently aged fairly quickly and has sought to play offensively with a force of nature such as LeBron. Tristan Thompson has transformed himself into a moorland made by himself. J. R. Smith and Jeff Green do not fulfill the unrealistic expectations that are placed on them.
No question: The list of cavaliers is not what it was. Trading Kyrie Irving Devastated Cleveland
Cleveland is trying to control the game with the best player in the series, a strategy that has worked in the past. It does not work now.
Maybe that tells us something about the best player in the series.
This is actually reflected in the style that LeBron adopted here in the first round. It is very similar to the style that LeBron assumed in the 2015 NBA Finals after Love and Irving were cut off due to injury. The Cavaliers, then under David Blatt, brought everything to a halt, played ball control, defenders like Matthew Dellavedova out of necessity and drove LeBron almost completely. It was a brave effort, but it was not close enough. We all announced the heroic effort that was running out.
Cleveland is on his way here in the first round despite the love. The Cavs Pacers series has the slowest pace of all playoff matches so far at 93.6 owners per game. (Four of the eight series have 100 or more possessions per game, though things typically slow down in the playoffs.) Part of that is Indiana playing slow – a Nate McMillan trademark – but the Cavs tend to be, though, in the top half of the league in the regular season.
LeBron is still an absolutely brilliant offensive player – one of the best in the world. That he has the a good fifteen years in his professional career, given the load he wears, and the reliability he shows is simply unbelievable. He has a legitimate case as the best basketball player who has ever entered the earth. (A case that is not dealt with here or wherever I am present, thank you.)
But James was a huge defensive minus the whole season, and it turned out. The cavaliers had the second worst defense in the entire league. Recall that eight teams openly tried to lose, at least for the second half of the season (in some cases the entire season) and to remind that an extra team was so bad that they could keep up with those teams, despite the lack of incentive tried to lose lose every game. The defense of the cavaliers was worse than what all these teams exercised except one . (The winner of this category: your Phoenix Suns who, magically, had the League's worst offense and defense.)
Why were the Cavaliers so mediocre this season? Defense. Is LeBron responsible for any part of the defense? Of course. Did LeBron support or hurt the defense of the Cavaliers? He hurt it.
LeBron is inextricably linked to Cleveland's on-court issues this year, just as he is inseparable from his achievements this year and beyond. Given the evidence, LeBron can not be praised for having won the whole reason the Cavaliers and acquitting LeBron of all charges if the cavaliers fail.
This is complicated by the above-mentioned fact that Cleveland's defense performs well enough against the Pacers, and the offensive breaks apart. There are a few theories. The first – that Tyronn Lue plays defensible lineups to account for the team's difficulties in sacrificing torpedoes – is not really confirmed by the evidence. The only offense-first player from the playoff rotation is Jose Calderon. And frankly, Cleveland does not have many Defense First players who intervene in the lineup.
The second is that the defensive success of the Cavaliers in this series is a mirage. Consider the fourth quarter of Game 3: The Pacers scored 29 points in 23 possessions. Cleveland was six points ahead of fourth place after a terrible offensive in the third quarter. They lost it because they could not stop Indiana, Bojan Bogdanovic. Overall, the Cavaliers defense is good against the Pacers. But when it comes down to it – when it's the turn of the game – the defense failed, because that's what it did all year round.
The third theory states that the cavaliers are aware of their defense problems and make additional efforts to this end to paper over shortcomings, leaving their offense hamstrung. LeBron looked poisoned in the second half on Friday, but was still good in the fourth round (12 points in 4-6 shooting, two assists, two turnovers). But he played the whole neighborhood and the Cavs were outnumbered at eight.
Whatever the reason for Cleveland's misdemeanor to disappear too often against Indiana, you can not remove LeBron from this equation. If in good times it is the sun and stars of this galaxy, it is the sun and stars of this galaxy even in bad times. LeBron may not be the only reason why things have gone dark, but it certainly is part of the explanation. You can not be so central to a team that fails and escapes the stink of defeat.
The good news is that Cleveland is still in the series: a win in Indiana in Game 4 and the Cavaliers win home advantage. The Raptors have also lost on Friday, so Toronto will not get an extra-long break should the two favorite teams progress. No one in the East seems to be really unstoppable at the time, and the Pacers are blessed to rely on comebacks against Cleveland. This too can be saved.
Everything is possible with LeBron. Until they are not.