“Embarrassed” actually may be an understatement for this one. Heading in to Detroit for a much-needed win, it seems as if the only “W” that LeBron James was able to Witness was thanks to Stephen Curry of Davidson in the NCAA game the night before because losing by 14 to a division rival is simply awful when you’re one year removed from the NBA Finals. Yes, it’s great that this game clinched a playoffs spot for the Cavs, but at this rate we won’t be playing very many games in the post season because this team simply has a TON of work to do if they are going to be successful.
I mentioned earlier this week that with all of the injuries that this team has recently sustained, they have been unable to find a perfect rotation. Reading Brian Windhorst’s blog regarding the game, it appears that this is more troubling than I had originally thought. Not only has the rotation been an issue, but the plays and the ability to answer different defensive sets is apparently still in a state of flux.
Based on my conversations with players and coaches, I think of one the reasons the Cavs and LeBron couldn’t answer the move to put Rip Hamilton on him was due to the limited plays they have installed on offense. I am told they are not yet ready to operate with LeBron in the post because they aren’t crisp with how to handle the double teams. These are the penalites you pay when you make an 11-player deal this late in the season. Not everyone is up to speed, things have been forgotten, things are in disarray.
Disarray may have been putting it kindly. When you’re unable to fully utilize one of the best players in the game due to the personel changes surrounding him, this late in the season, you could be in some big, big trouble.
A few quick thoughts on the rest of the game:
– Though it was great to see Daniel Gibson return (though missing both of his field goal attempts) the injury to Delonte West hurts only because that means Damon Jones gets starters minutes. I like Jones off of the bench for some instant offense, but not to start a game against an opposing guard with the caliber of Chauncey Billups.
– I don’t care what team you’re playing against, but if your starting five shoots 15-for-48 from the floor, it’s going to be a long night.
– The road-home splits are getting worrisome. We beat the Pistons last time out because they were the ones traveling and on the second of a back-to-back. When both teams are rested, and the playing field is leveled out, we’re struggling to match intensity.
– The Wild Card had a nice game, sinking all four field goal attempts and both free throws to finish with 10 and five in only 14 minutes of play. Too bad it was all for naught.
– Spoke with a buddy of mine who works with the Cavs, and he pretty much said that Corporate is pretty much expecting a second-round match-up with either Boston or the Pistons. I’m starting to wonder if we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves…