Yeah so, nothing about this series is pretty. They way this is going, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to need to open up a medical facility to ease the stress issues of the fans. They are not putting the supporters' minds at ease whatsoever.
Game 4 may have been the worst game that the Cavs have played in this series. And the sad part is that that's not a run away race. Being objective, the Cavs are not playing well this post season. And that includes when Love played in the Boston series.
I have yet to witness Cleveland put together two consecutive well played games. They have played well for long stretches, even put together some good halves but they are not consistently playing well game in and game out.
I understand that we are missing a key player but that's not an excuse. It's not just the guys that we are not use to seeing, who are playing bad. The usual suspects for Cleveland are struggling to execute.
I cannot remember the last time I've seen a team with so much talent struggle with simple things so terribly. Things like not being able to control the dribble, off target passes and missing open shots have plagued Cleveland for the entire post season.
The first few minutes of Game 4 tell you all you need to know about how the Cavs have been playing. Four turnovers by LeBron. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was throwing bad passes and missing assignments on defense, yet somehow Cleveland was able to remain in the game. There was aggression by Mozgov and hustle by Thompson. For the most part, the energy from Cleveland was good. The unfortunate part was that they could not execute at all.
I'm not sure what the problem is but there seems to be no sense of urgency. A lot of 'deer in the headlights' type of things are happening on both ends of the court. Man to man the Cavs are being outmatched. That grinds my gears more that most anything in basketball. Letting the other team 'out man' you is unacceptable.
I mean, we get it, right? Kyrie Irving, young star on a meteoric rise, Robin to LeBron's Batman. Your complementary star who is almost unguardable and leave defenders in as much as as he does fan. We get it, you want him to be there when it counts. You want the young leader and future of the franchise to be on the floor in crunch time. But at what cost?
I'm sure as fans we all appreciate and applaud Irving's effort to gut it out and show heart. I believe that most find comfort in David Blatt trusting and believing in his guys but we have to be sensible. When you not being as effective as you need to be, you have to come to grips.
Seriously, 2-10 from the field?! Kyrie had 12 points and play 40 minutes. I'll say it again, 40 MINUTES. Eight of those 12 points were from the free throw line. Four points from the field in 40 minutes of game time is unbelievably unacceptable. Especially when you take into account that he did not have much impact anywhere else in the game.
It's not just a Game 4 fluke either. Game 3 was very inefficient for Irving and he cost the team critical points late in the game. He was not able to finish and forced shots late in the 4th quarter that resulted in empty possessions. Kyrie clearly has not been the same since rolling his ankle I'm the 1st quarter of Game 2.
Delly is not an all-star but at the moment he is getting the job done. I know i have given him a lot of flack in the past but he's knocking down the open shots and for the most part protecting the ball. He's finding guys in rotation on offense and pestering the Chicago guards on defense. I would make the switch.
Now of course I am appreciative of the Cavs' win. A win is a win of course no matter what it took to get there (not applicable to the Pats though). I'm glad we won and don't want you to believe otherwise. Winning, however, does not take away the fact that the Cavs are struggling.
Strictly based on the numbers, LeBron is having really good games but his inefficiency is horrid. 10-30 in Game 4 is absolutely ridiculous. James' 3-point percentage is even worse. He's lackadaisical with the ball at times and settles for terrible shots.
If Kyrie is going to be bothered by this foot/ankle issue any longer, Blatt has to bring him off of the bench. Irving just cannot play that many minutes and be that ineffective. It will not allow his injury to heal and it will continue to make the team suffer.
The second thing that needs to be done by Blatt is play the brand of basketball that they have worked on and played all year. That means play Cavs basketball. Play the lineups that work for us not the ones that we think will match or counteract what Chicago will do. Cleveland can't continue to spend the game trying to matchup with the Bulls. Blatt has to make Chicago play with us and what we do well.
Coach Blatt did that for a short stretch in Game 4 and it worked. With Gasol being out due to his hamstring, Blatt played both Thompson and Mozgov when Taj Gibson went to the bench with foul trouble. That made Noah have to deal with both Cavs big men alone and it was effective. Cleveland went on a 12-0 run. The strategy didn't stay in place long and Chicago crept back into the game.
Right now there is a lot of blame that needs to be shared. The injuries are going to happen but there is nothing that can be done about that. Cleveland has to step up and rise to the occasion. Blatt needs to lead the team properly and put his players in a good position to win.
I believe that if Blatt makes these adjustments and the teams plays Cavs' basketball then the rhythm will be found. We can not play to the Bulls or any other team and expect to be successful. Hopefully some momentum and energy was found with LeBron's big shot to end Game 4 and will be carried over into the rest of the postseason. Who knows, maybe being in that position and hitting that shot is what the Cavs needed to get going.
I'm looking forward to see what David Blatt does with his troops. I think LeBron will be a lot better being back at home Tuesday for Game 5 and will step it up. Jr Smith is starting to look like the Jr that we need again. That will be vital if Gasol is to return from his injury.