Cleveland Cavaliers Down 1-0: Optimist or Pessimist?
The optimist in me wants to feel good about this game. After all, at tip-off Thursday, we’re still only down 1-0 with a chance to steal home court.
And there’s more. We held the Three Amigos to 85 points per 100 possessions. LeBron nearly went for a triple double (*ahem* quadruple double). Mike Brown even got creative in putting pressure on the double teams LeBron saw.
That’s right, tonight was so bad, I’m forced find a silver lining in Mike Brown’s coaching. Still, having Boobie set a screen for LeBron and set up behind the 3 point line is genius. Well, it was genius when Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby did it against the Celtics last round, but it was still exciting to see Mike Brown try it. Once. (It worked!) Before he went back to having Z set the screen and roll into no man’s land.
So, despite digging deep and trying to stay positive, I can’t do it.
The Cavs blew it tonight. Big time. This rings eerily like the Suns’ close Game 1 loss to the Spurs, leading to the "closest 4-1 series ever". I understand that sometimes the shots just don’t fall and you can’t expect a win when there is a lid on the rim, but expectations and reality aren’t the same. We lost last night because we didn’t play smart. Hustle-wise, we did what it takes to win. We hit the boards, we hustled on defense. We even moved off the ball and made the extra pass.
Now, think back to the first half. I know, it’s painful, but try. Halftime. We’re down 4. Why? 18 free throws. If you can’t hit ’em with a hand in your face, make ’em clear the lane. LeBron was leading the charge with 10 of those 18.
Flash forward to the final buzzer. Now check the box score. How did LeMissedLayup fare in the second half? ZERO FREAKING FREE THROWS AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF UGLY 3S! We shot 8 free throws as a team. That’s perfect when the "as a team" means everybody but LeBron. Give LeBron another 6 free throws and this game goes the other way.
So who’s to blame? Mike Brown, LeBron… LeBron, Mike Brown. You pick. Is it the coach’s fault that the star doesn’t drive or the star’s fault for not being aggressive? I just hope they both learn their lesson. 90 games in. Yeah.
Well, our prospects are good for game 2. We know we can defend the Celtics, we know we can pressure them, crash the boards over them and get some open looks against them. And we know the shooting will be there next time, especially LeBron’s. You never want to go down 0-2, so the team will come out aggressive again, just like today. And next time we’ll keep it up and ride the wave to victory.
[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthartman/]