Tonight’s preseason game between the Cavs and Bulls was the first in a series that should lead to an intense rivalry come playoff time. Both teams came into the game looking at it as dress rehearsal for the regular season, especially the Cavs who will probably be resting LeBron James during their final preseason game against Memphis. This game oscillated between stellar ball movement, great individual play, and transition basketball for the entire 48 minutes. Derrick Rose seemed like he’s back, but Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao didn’t let that stop them from having great games as well.
LeBron James has come out and stated that he thinks the Bulls are the more battle tested team in the East. While some may think LeBron is admitting that he believes the Bulls are a better team, that is not really the case. Brian Windhorst reported on LeBron’s thoughts today.
“[The Bulls] are a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry,” James said. “They’ve been together for awhile, we’ve got a long way to go.”
“You’ve got to go through something to create a bond; that means for the worse,” James said. “We’ve got to lose ballgames that we think we should’ve won, we’ve got to get into an argument every now and then just to test each other out.”
The Central division should be called the crippled division. At the start of the past two seasons, this division has appeared to have two of the top three teams in the East; however, injuries have kept that from actually happening. Derrick Rose missed the past two seasons and kept the Bulls from playing their best, while the Pacers played like the top team behind only Miami. The bad luck continues for the Central division entering the 2014-2015 season. During the offseason, Paul George injured his leg in a FIBA Team USA intrasquad scrimmage and is facing a long rehab and recovery process.
This year the Cavs will surely be the best team in the East, and the Bulls will probably be the second best. The Pacers could have been the third best. The central division looks to be one of the best in the league going into the future, and it will only continue to get better as Detroit and Milwaukee turn their franchises around with new coaches and young talent.
The Cavs will be left out of this preview, so that they can be dealt with properly in their own piece in the coming weeks. (more…)
LeBron James was feuding with Chris Bosh and the Heat. The Cavs and Heat were even trying to avoid each other in Brazil; furthermore, Bosh said LeBron is hard to play with, and ultimately, feelings were hurt. Feelings are miraculously unhurt now. Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel witnessed a true show of affection between the former Heat player and Chris Bosh.
James squashed the thoughts of their strained relationship with a hug at midcourt before Saturday’s tip-off between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers at HSBC Arena. The players supposedly were feuding once James announced he was leaving the Heat to return to the hometown Cavs. Both denied any rift.
The Pacific division looks better than it actually is on first view. However, when you really examine all the Pacific teams, it’s hard to see any of them making it to the finals. These teams are second tier at what they may do best. The Warriors might be able to run and get a bunch of threes, but the Thunder can run faster and probably shut some teams down on the defensive end. The Clippers have a hyper efficient offense led by the brainiac Chris Paul, but the Spurs offense is still better. Even the revamped Mavericks could challenge any team in the Pacific behind a Dirk led offense and Rick Adelman/Tyson Chandler anchored defense.
The Cavs are back. And, the Austin Carr who has an infectious smile is also back. When I turned on the stream tonight, he was the first person I noticed, and he looked happier than he has in any of the past four seasons. His exuberance is definitely because LeBron James is back with a new friend, Kevin Love. (more…)