I would give anything to feel as good about losing to the Celtics as the Cavaliers do. Whereas I saw a team that continues to get worse and worse at the FT line, continues to needlessly turn the ball over by making careless and unnecessarily risky passes, continues to shrug their shoulders at the prospect of actually playing defense to the level they are capable of, and continues to be ok with playing bad basketball as long as they still win. Instead, the Cavaliers feel great because they almost beat the Celtics without Shaq and Andy. And here I thought the Cavaliers were beyond the days of moral victories, but what do I know?
This has nothing to do with tonight’s game, but watch the Magic play sometime. That is a team that is tightening up the reigns and working themselves into top form and getting ready for their playoff push. Meanwhile, Cleveland is playing worse and worse by continuing to develop and foster bad habits. A lot of this has to do with boredom and the fact that March was such an easy schedule and the Cavaliers could beat those teams without playing anything even remotely close to their best basketball. And now that the Cavaliers schedule is getting more difficult again, they are going to start winding down and resting guys….which I suppose is a good thing so it gives them more chances to earn more moral victories by just barely losing to good teams.
In case you can’t tell, I am not happy with the way this team is playing basketball. I’m not happy at all that LeBron decided to make a mockery of the game by just pulling up and jacking up a three to win the game when he was already 0-8 from distance when he could have easily driven to the rim and tied the game. I’m not happy that this doesn’t look to me like a team that is ready for the playoffs. I understand it’s easy to get bored when you already have the NBA’s best record clinched and there’s seemingly nothing to play for. But you would think that last year’s loss to Orlando would still be stinging so deeply that this team wouldn’t allow complacency to set in. Turning it off and then back on for the postseason is always a dangerous prospect.
So what about tonight’s game against Toronto? This one certainly means more to the Raptors than it does to the Cavs, so expect Cleveland to mess around and jack up a bunch of jumpers and largely stand around on defense. If they keep it close, they’ll turn it on and win it in the 4th quarter. If not, no big deal, the loss means nothing to them.
No standard preview tonight because I share in this team’s boredom. I’m so done with this regular season. The goal is to get healthy and get to the playoffs without anyone else getting hurt. From there, Cleveland will have 2 rounds to get themselves prepared for Orlando. I would love for Cleveland to start working on cutting down the TOs and ramping up the defensive effort and getting the ball movement on offense back to optimal levels, but I have a feeling Cleveland will wait and use the first 2 rounds of the playoffs to do that.
So since I’m not doing a standard preview, we’ll treat this as an open thread. Let me know, what do you guys think? Is there something here to be worried about? Can this team win in the playoffs in spite of the atrocious FT shooting and the excessive turnovers? Are you worried about how well Orlando is playing right now compared to the Cavs?