“Every eight games or so the Cavaliers have one of these games.” Austin Carr
What kind of game are we talking about Austin? You are absolutely right by the way. I don’t know if you could put a number on it, but every couple of weeks the Cavaliers have an absolutely ugly game like this one. They have a game where LeBron feels like he has to do everything in order for the team to win, and nobody tells him he’s wrong.
Now, they often win these games. That might just be part of the problem. LeBron actually IS good enough to beat some teams by going to the one on five offense. Last night they committed too many turnovers and had too many defensive lapses to overcome.
I’m trying not to “overreact”. I think it’s fair to be concerned about it though. Remember the playoffs last year? The team was rolling through the Hawks after completely destroying the Pistons by playing a fantastic brand of team basketball, and then there was that game where LeBron just decided he was going to revert back to the old stand-by. Everyone one else go stand in the corner and I’ll call you if I need you. We saw it again last night. LeBron would get the rebound, or get the inbounds pass and Mo would walk towards him to get the ball to set up the offense, only to be waived off by James. It seems like the team might be better off in the long run if LeBron would let the team concept play out, even if they lost some tough games in the short term.
Ironically, I wrote just the other day that I was impressed that James was not trying to be the focal point of the offense as much lately-
Secondly, LeBron James scored only 14 points on 10 shots. In fact, over the last 4 games LeBron has taken 10, 15, 17 and 20 shots respectively. All games in which the Cavs won handily. The point here is that the team is relying on LeBron to be the offense, and LeBron isn’t determined to keep up his scoring average. That’s a good sign.
The Cavs found themselves in match-up trouble against Memphis, and certainly could have used Jamario Moon (TD will have more on that later). But there were guys who were playing well. Daniel Gibson was hot, hitting all three of his triple attempts. He played only 15 minutes however, and didn’t get to take a shot down the stretch in the fourth or in OT. Shaq had Marc Gasol in serious foul trouble, but the Cavs weren’t able to put the nail in that coffin. Gasol picked up foul number 5 with 4:40 left in the third quarter. He came back in the game with 5:30 left in the fourth and never picked up his 6th foul.
But the real Cav killer last night was Zach Randolph. Watching the game live I kept thinking that Randolph was going to have to take a break at some point in the game, but looking at the box score confirmed what I thought. Randolph played over 47 minutes in this one. Gotta hand it to Memphis, there was no reason to take him out if he was able to go. Once Varejao fouled out we had nobody to stop him. Randolph torched JJ Hickson and the Cavs for 32 points.
Here’s hoping that last night’s final Memphis play will serve as a reminder to Mo Williams that he can’t go under the screen. And here’s hoping that we don’t see a return of the one on five offense again. For a while.
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)