CANTON,Ohio- Yes, I will explain myself. 2 weeks ago, Cleveland had a perfect week of basketball. Now, last week, they lost all three games. Suddenly they’ve lost three in a row and have been out-rebounded in every loss. So why am I not freaking out? I’ll explain after I review and preview.
Cavs vs Bucks- (Tuesday, Nov 29th, 2016)- Cleveland came out playing like the 2016 champions. But after that, it was all down hill. Milwaukee showed everyone watching just how good they can be. They played the way I expected. The Cavaliers could not stop the Bucks dribble penetration to the rim and were out-rebounded 51-44. Milwaukee also shot 53 percent from the field. You could tell the Milwaukee Bucks were ready for this game. Milwaukee in a landslide, 101-118.
Clippers vs Cavs- (Thursday, Dec 1st, 2016)- A nationally televised game between a Los Angeles Clippers team that feels they have a legit shot at winning the NBA title. This game went back and forth until the Clippers took control late in the third quarter. Cleveland’s biggest mistake in this second lope-sided loss in a row? The pace of the game favored the Clippers and their half court offense. The Cavs must play fast and play good defense to enable their offense to get out and score on easy baskets. Los Angeles ended their four game losing streak 94-113.
Cavs vs Bulls- (Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016)- Cleveland traveled to Chicago for a divisional match-up with Central rival, the Chicago Bulls. Of course, the media had it labeled LeBron James vs Dwayne Wade. Sorry, never been a fan of statements like that. Anyways, it was on the back end of a back to back and Cleveland had plenty of chances to take control of this game. Especially in the fourth quarter. But their defense and rebounding, or lack there of, once again held them back. Chicago gets the win 105-111.
Cavs vs Raptors (14-6)- (Monday, Dec 5th, 2016)- So far, the first two meetings have gone Cleveland’s way. Both games close. Toronto will look to hand the Cavaliers their 4th loss in a row. Toronto will be looking at this as a statement game, but just because this is an early season game, doesn’t mean Cleveland won’t be taking this game just as serious. LeBron James said to the media after the loss in Chicago “The honeymoon is over”. I’m sure the 3 straight losses have gotten the Cavaliers attention. But will that result in a win at the Air Canada Centre or a fourth straight loss?
Cavs vs Knicks (11-9)- (Wednesday, Dec 7th, 2016)- The New York Knicks will be playing Cleveland on the back end of a back to back. They play in Miami the night before. The Knicks still think they have the type of team to compete with Cleveland. I still say if New York traded Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings away for better “Team players”, they’d be a lot better off. Anthony does not make the players around him better and Brandon Jennings only knows how to shoot. Don’t forget, James loves playing at a very extra high level, if you will, when he’s at Madison Square Garden.
Heat (7-13) vs Cavs- (Friday, Dec 9th, 2016)- Wow! how times have changed. Remember when this was a very hot ticket? Neither James, Wade or Bosh play for Miami and Pat Riley has put all his faith in building around the young Hassan Whiteside at center. Miami has some talent on this team with Goran Dragic at point guard and Justise Winslow at forward and Whiteside. But right now, it’s looking like Riley will either have to accept the fact that Miami is in a rebuild mode or, have to make some major trades at the deadline. Can Riley really accept not making the playoffs for a year? I’m starting to think he won’t have much of a choice.
Hornets (11-9) vs Cavs- (Saturday, Dec 10th, 2016)- The Hornets have a great young talent in Kemba Walker. If Cleveland can slow down Walker and not allow a second and/or third player to have a big night, I see Cleveland getting another win at home.
Now, I get to explain why I’m not freaking out about a 3 game skid. Do I like losing games? Do I really need to answer that? I especially don’t like losing multiple games in a row. But just because your’re the champions of the previous year doesn’t mean your’re excluded from having bumps in the road.
What does bother me? I don’t like seeing whoever is dribbling the ball up the floor for Cleveland just walk the ball up the court or even jog the ball up the court. Cleveland needs to push the pace like they’ve been trained and conditioned to do, starting from last season.
The other? Stop getting out-rebounded. There is no excuse for being out rebounded when you have Kevin Love, Thompson and James down near the rim. I’m not saying it can’t happen ever, but more times than not, Cleveland must win the war under the rim.
I’ll go one step further, but not with what they’re doing wrong. I predict that Cleveland will go on a 10+ game winning streak here soon. I don’t know when it’ll start, but it will happen.
Just please remember that this is a long season and if the Cavs are playing like this come late April and May, then I’d start getting concerned.
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis