Monday, November 17, 2014

Cliff's Edge: Under Construction #Cavs

By @CLG2282

So, as I said in New Work Environment everyone needs to relax. What I'm gathering from Cleveland ' collective sigh of relief is that most people took my advice. Or at least LeBron's advice when he tweeted the same thing.

A few more games played and some great study points later, the Cavs are still that same work in progress. I'm not backing off of my circa the All-Star break timetable for them to really start coming around.

It still isn't pretty, as the LeBron and company have had to battle back in pretty much every game.  However, their play has been very encouraging. 

After losing three of the first four games, the Cavs have now won three straight. I won't say that they were against championship contenders,  but they were against teams that are playing well, have good talent and continuity.

Their offense is definitely coming around. Over the three wins the Cavs are averaging just under 117 points a contest.  To boot they put up a fairly decent assist-turnover ratio (73-28) I'm that same span.

Shooting as a team also seems to be a strong point. The team is posting a team field goal percentage in the %48 range, even going over %50 (.506) as a team in the win against Boston. 

Defense, as I said previously has something left to be desired. I mean really, who gives up 120 points to the Celtics? Not the "Big 3" or the 1980s Celtics, but the second year head coach, motley crew Celtics.

The defensive end seems to be a direct mirror of coach Blatt.  As Blatt is trying to figure out who his player units and rotations are, the on the court defense is trying to figure out the same thing. Who rotates where, who covers which lanes, what picks to switch on and when?

All questions that won't be answered until the chemistry continues to build.  Struggling to get key stops and defend the 3-pt line have been the Achilles heal of the Cavs.  In summmation, we are scoring a lot of points but we are also giving up a lot of points.

With all of that said, the overall feel for the Cavs is encouragement and improvement. I'm beginning to see large steps towards improvement as a unit. Not to be confused by you hypochondriacs out there for the final steps to a championship run.

In the game against Boston I saw, other than horrible defense,  resiliency.  I saw a cohesive unit come back from a19-pt deficit. A deficit that was a result of the aforementioned poor defensive effort.

But the weak defense seemed to be bolstered early in the 4th quarter and sustained throughout.  With explosive scoring from Kyrie, our rebounding improved and the defense was stout. Mainly with the switch of LeBron to covering Rondo.

The part that showed the most maturity, to me, was Kyrie's explosive offense and LeBron taking over. Kyrie was instant offense, scoring in a variety of ways.  LeBron? Well he did everything.

James made precise decisions on offense.  Not only precise but dominate and aggressive moves to the basket. He was taking efficient shots, most of which were right at the rim after a strong drive.

The move that showed the biggest promise was coach Blatt switching James onto Rondo defensively. Rondo had the Celtic offense thriving against the lackluster Cavs defense.  His passing and decision making kept Cleveland lost on defense.

However, the length and athleticism of James stifled Rondo.  The stout defense slowed down Rondo's passing ability and basically stop his scoring. James showed great leadership and  pose to close out the game.

We shouldn't get too high on this game and it's positive signs. It is still early in the season. But these are encouraging signs of things to come. Thus far there aren't locker altercations,  players seem to be listening to the coach's and the team appears to just be moving in the right general direction.

As the Cavs continue to take steps toward improvement, let's continue to appreciate and understand "the process". We won't lose the season in one game nor will we win a championship in one game. The process has to continue and the will grow accordingly. 

As Always, #GoCavs and #ClevelandAgainstTheWorld

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