The Mavericks absolutely steam rolled the Cavs by 29 in their matchup on January 4th at The Q. It was the low point of the season for me. LeBron was in the middle of his rest sabbatical. The following day Dion Waiters was traded for an injured Iman Shumpert and notorious malcontent J.R. Smith. Since that date the Cavs have the best record in the Eastern Conference and the new acquisitions have proved to be the perfect supporting cast for LeBron, Kyrie and Love. If the next five weeks are a playoff primer, the Cavs will be ready for the final coat come mid-April.
Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’
WOW. If this was a playoff game it would have been an all-time classic. The Cavs caught the Raptors foaming at the mouth with revenge and somehow overcame a 69 point half. They blew a 19-point lead and honestly when the Raptors took the lead 93-91 on a backbreaking Lou Williams’ triple I thought the Cavs might lose by 19. But the Cavs absorbed everything the Raptors had to give, and silenced a raucous crowd over and over and over and over. There were a month’s worth of big shots in the second half alone. The Raptors stayed supernova hot, but LeBron James is the cosmic equivalent of a quasar – and his massive presence overshadowed everything that happened down the stretch.
First, if you haven’t read David’s excellent recap of last night’s win over the Celtics, do that first. Then, continue on to—
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) All of the MVP talk that sprouted up around James following the Cavs brilliant performance against the Golden State Warriors last Thursday got me to thinking: what is the most number of games a player has missed in a season and still won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award?
In two games this past week, James came out with guns blazing against the current MVP front-runners, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Stephen Curry of the Warriors. Against the Warriors, James was magnificent, scoring 42 points on 15-25 shooting in what turned into a relatively easy victory against the team with (at the time) the league’s best record. Against Houston, James shot poorly (15-25 from the floor, 3-11 from the free throw line) but played as spirited and springy on defense as he has in a very long time. Regardless of how it ended, put his team in the position to win a game on the road against one of the league’s best teams without the help of the team’s all-star point guard.
Did James do enough in those two games to convince me that he’s still the game’s best player?
For fans of nationally televised, playoff-intensity basketball, it didn’t get much better than this overtime thriller between the Cavs and Rockets. And for fans of MVP-style match ups, there wasn’t a much better one to be had than The King vs. The Beard. Though the Cavs came out on the short end in this one, they fought hard against the third best team in the West and had a shot to win in the end. But, it’s hard to win on the road against good teams… and harder still when plagued by turnovers, rough shooting nights from downtown, too much MVP-ISO ball and (most importantly) poor free throw shooting. (more…)
First off, if you haven’t read Ben’s excellent recap of the Cavs win in Detroit last night, please do yourself that favor. Then, it’s onto—
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) On a recent Cavs telecast, I heard something that gave me pause. It concerned the overall league ranking for the Cavs bench. Anyone want to guess what it was?
Try 30th overall. That’s right, the Cavs bench is ranked dead last in the league averaging just 23.6 points per game according to hoopsstats.com. That is not something that inspires much confidence when talking about a team whose recent stretch of torrid play has vaulted it back in the thick of the championship contender conversation.
[Editor’s Note] The Cavs went into DC to battle a team they were looking up at in the standings. John Wall apparently called this a “must win” game for the Wizards. The Cavs led by as many as 40. With the win, they leapt over Washington to claim 4th place in the East. The Cavs even dominated garbage time, which never happens. The C:tB crew was inactive tonight (we didn’t perfectly align our all-star break), so we tapped some of the veteran commenters for the recap.
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers as they pick back up after the All-Star break…
1.) You may have read the following comment from LeBron James following Sunday’s All-Star Game and raised your eyebrows just a bit.
Asked about his aggressive first quarter of the showcase game (in which he scored 15 points on 6-9 shooting in eight-plus minutes) James said:
It’s my obligation and my responsibility to go out there, if I’m feeling 80 percent or 85 percent or 90, to go out there and give my fans something. Give my fans what they wanted to see. And hopefully I did that.
The good news is that James viewed himself at somewhere between 80-90 percent on a day where he was still looking at several days off before picking the season back up again on Friday night. He also threw out those percentages after he’d scored 30 points on 11-21 shooting with five rebounds and seven assists in a performance that would have surely netted James the game MVP award had the East not fallen to the West 163-158.
So, 80-90 percent of LeBron James is still pretty darned good.
The Bulls came to play, LeBron laid an egg. A win would have been nice for the Cavs, a loss would have hurt the Bulls more than the Cavs. LeBron was -27, Tony Snell, a mutant created when Tony Allen and Ray Allen’s DNA was combined, was +29 and completely dominated LeBron at both ends.
Cavs netted the first five points of the game including a LeBron and-1. After a rebound, LeBron stumbled against the pressure of Tony Snell and coughed it up, leading to a Pau Gasol and-1 the other way: five-point swing for the Bulls. LeBron, seemingly annoyed, calmly stepped into a 3 right in Snell’s eye. And that was the last outside shot LeBron made in the half (and he took quite a few). The Bulls turned up the heat at both ends. Rumors of Gasol’s resurgence turned out to be true. He punished the Cavs inside and even stepped out and swished a corner 3. And then Tony Snell happened. In addition to hounding LeBron like a bulldog, Snell cut right down the lane on back to back possessions and threw down vicious 2-handed dunks. The Bulls continued to flash people down the middle of the lane and the Cavs really didn’t do anything to slow them down. Mozgov showed some life offensively, tossing in a nice left-handed pop shot over Joakim Noah, and drove from the foul line-extended to throw down a brutal left-handed dunk.
Four things I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) LeBron James loves his teammates.
Sorry… change that. LeBron James loves to love his teammates.
From his days playing at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary with Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and Romeo Travis, to his days as a Cavalier and thier elaborate choreographed pre-game introductions, James has always seemed most comfortable when his team exudes a family atmosphere. When they’re close. When everybody fits in.
So, it wasn’t shocking to see that this weekend, as his new version of the Cavaliers continues to round into form, that James would address what he saw as the team’s squeakiest wheel going forward: power forward, Kevin Love.
Four points I’m thinking about the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) This time last season, I couldn’t have expected I’d be uttering the following statement: the two Cavaliers players I most enjoy watching this season are Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.
Now, sure, even before Wednesday night’s Kyrie-a-thon, that’s not the craziest thing in the world to say. It’s not like saying I’m tuning in just for the chance to see three glorious minutes of Mike Miller or James Jones. But this time last year, I was firmly on Team Dion and was more than open to criticizing the highly-susceptible-to-criticism play of Irving and Thompson, a.k.a. Team Buddy Ball.
But here we are now…