On The Cavs’ Latest Win and Deals
There’s no doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling. What seems to be consistent with the NBA finalists for the past 3 years are their inconsistencies. The Cavs started the season winning only 5 out of 12 games then racked up 13 straight in the win column. They would win 6 more of their next 8 games but lose 6 out of their next 12 outings.
The Cavs are trailing Boston and Toronto in the Eastern Conference and the teams beneath them in the win column are not far behind. Many a basketball pundits have been writing them off doubting their chances of getting deep into the playoffs. They don’t think that the LeBron-led team would make it to the NBA Finals four straight.
So, what’s wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Injuries to key and rotation players have been one of the issues. Thomas started the season recovering from hip injury he suffered when he was still a Celtic. The on-going season saw Thompson, Rose and Shumpert get injured and miss time. So, Lue had to experiment on his line-ups every game to see what would click. And when finally those players returned to play, Love suffered an injury to his hand.
Another issue plaguing the team is chemistry. NBA writers reported how toxic has the Cavs’ locker room been. Meaning it’s not only the string of injuries that could explain the inconsistencies in the on-court performance of the team but also players seemingly disliking and not trusting each other.
The Cavs imploding could be seen from the way they suffered their previous two losses. They were blown up by Houston to whom they lost by 32 points at home and they ran out of gas in Orlando where during the first quarter they scored 42 points but produced a mind-boggling 9 points only in the final canto and eventually lost the game by 21 points.
NBA fans and experts are one in saying that the The Land sink into a hole they may not be capable of climbing out of.
The basketball world is bewildered how deep is LeBron James allowing his team to sink. The King is far from losing his hoops prowess. He seems to have just lost the inspiration.
Then came the Cavs’ game against Minnesota who, just less than a month ago, inflicted them a 28-point shellacking.
Suddenly, the real LeBron came out to play and lit the stat lines with a triple double – 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists. Him delivering the winning basket for the 140-138 overtime win reminded everyone not to count him and the Cavs out.
Of course that one win is not enough to say that the defending Eastern conference champions are back on track. But the moves their front office did before the trade deadline might.
Realizing that team chemistry is the biggest stumbling block standing on the Cavs’ way to the a 4th straight NBA finals appearance, the team’s front office consummated significant deals that effectively restructured the roster of the team.
In three separate deals, the Cavs got Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first round pick. Dwayne Wade was shipped to the Miami Heat for a 2020 second round pick. The Land also got Utah’s Rodney Hood in exchange for Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose and had to give up Iman Shumpert to get Sacramento Kings’ George Hill.
It is yet to be seen if the remix would work wonders in both offense and defense for the beleaguered Cavs. At least such changes would give the team’s locker room a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Surprisingly, Isaiah Thomas was dealt after playing only 15 games and the Cavs winning only 7 of those. Observers say that the reason could not be his average of 14.7 points per game but him becoming too vocal about his team mates and coach Tyron Lue. It could be a combination of both.
The trade deals were intended to not only improve their line-up but to nip the animosity among players in the bud.
LeBron may have known about the deals their front office made before they played the game they won against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. He seemed to have liked the changes made. Was it the reason he played inspired basketball that night? If yes, that could be bad news for the opposition.