Two and ten: The frighteningly bleak future of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Somewhat surprisingly, the Golden State Warriors were three point underdogs Monday night headed into Cleveland.  It was the first time all season long Las Vegas didn’t consider them a favorite.  After a thirty-four point dismantling of the Cavaliers, Monday will probably be the last time you’ll see the Warriors as underdogs until they travel to San Antonio.  (FYI, that game takes place on March 19.  Mark it on your calendar.)

Whatever odds maker thought the Warriors were three points worse than the Cavs that night is probably looking for another job right now or at least brushing up on his basketball.

Leblocked

The Warriors throttled the Cavs so badly that the game was never in question.  They led by thirteen points after the first quarter and twenty-six at the half.  By game’s end, Steph Curry had scored 35.  Draymond Green missed a triple-double by three rebounds.  Speaking of the number three, Kyrie Irving made only three shots that night and Kevin Love finished with three points.  I guess that finally puts to rest the argument that their presence in last year’s Finals would have made a difference.  From the looks of what happened Monday night, it would have made things worse.

I’m not sure I recall a regular season loss demonstrating so clearly that a team presumably headed for a championship run needed to so heavily tinker with its roster.  If the NBA Finals resemble anything like that game, about a million other viewers and I will find something far more entertaining to watch.

Cleveland is now rummaging through the waiver wires and other teams’ rosters to see who they can acquire to match what has become the baddest team in the league, the Golden State Warriors, who are now a rather frightening 39-4.  On Wednesday, they beat Chicago, in Chicago, by 31.  Chicago is the third best team in the East.

Every time the Warriors step on the floor, they chase history.  Meanwhile for Cleveland, it’s back to the drawing board.

LeBron tries to block

After Monday’s game, LeBron James, Cleveland’s unquestioned leader and former face of the league (until Steph Curry wrestled that moniker away from him) said this just shows how far they have to go.  The only problem is there’s not that much time left to get there.  The season is officially half way over and while the Cavs remain the best team in the Eastern Conference, the gap between the top team in the East and the top team in the West might never have been as large.  In other words, LeBron’s clock is ticking.

NBA analyst and former sharp shooter Tim Legler talked about the loss the other night.  With Golden State not going anywhere, San Antonio not too far behind them and Oklahoma City a scary third option, he doesn’t see the Western Conference top teams giving an inch any time soon.  And while those teams beat each other up to get to the Finals with Cleveland traveling through a relatively easier Eastern Conference playoff road to get there, Cleveland is simply not as good.  Not anywhere close.

Then Legs said something that was as much of a gut punch as Craig Ehlo slumping to the floor after a Michael Jordan jumper.  Legs said that he could see LeBron finishing his career with a Finals record of 2-10.  Ouch!  That is NOT what the city of Cleveland wanted to hear.  But you know what?  It’s a distinct possibility.

LeBron James, arguably the best player in the league (although that argument is getting harder and harder to justify), is not progressing like he used to.  Steph Curry is.  For seven straight seasons, LeBron’s field goal percentage increased.  Last year was the first year to break that string.  Chalk it up to really bad timing.  Maybe Cleveland is cursed after all.

Bron

The Cavs will likely make a semi-blockbuster deal to shake things up a bit.  Kevin Love’s name has even been mentioned as a part of it.  It won’t matter.  This side of Kevin Durant, there is nobody that Cleveland can acquire that will intimidate the Golden State Warriors.  They are just too deep, too fluid and too determined.  While chasing the league record of 72 wins in a season is fine and dandy, make no bones about it.  This team has their eyes on a bigger prize.  They want another title.

We’ve seen some great athletes this generation.  Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks we’ve ever seen.  He has one lone Super Bowl ring.  He’s currently going for his second.

LeBron got his two.  He had to go to Miami to get ‘em.  While the Cleveland Cavaliers are a very good team, championship caliber teams generally don’t lose to other championship caliber teams by thirty-some odd points on their own floor.

I’m not counting them out but damn if they don’t have a long way to go to even make anyone think they can stay on the same floor as the Warriors, the defending champions who are far and away the better team.

LeBron will go down as one of the best players to ever play this game.  But two and ten?  That’s not the way he’ll want to be remembered.  It’s looking like he might not have a choice.

14 thoughts on “Two and ten: The frighteningly bleak future of the Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. For those of you who won’t know, Jewce is a life-long Warriors fan.

    Of course, it’s not his life but rather the life of a baby that was born last year during their championship run… but life-long nonetheless.

  2. LBJ’s @ss should’ve remained in Miami , but he felt slighted , because he couldn’t get his way with Pat Rily meeting his demands for more of a say with who the Heat acquired. Now that Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have their lips pressed so firmly against James’ sphincter you can see what a mess has been made concerning the makeup of the roster.

    The Eastern Conference will remain a mess with no one team being a standout. Cleveland’s loss wasn’t a surprise and it simply goes to show the idiots in Vegas are not as clued in as they believe themselves to be.

    Way too much @ss kissing, when it comes to LeBron James concerning his team exploits . Great player that he is, I will consider him nothing more than a mercenary, whose services will always go the highest bidder. When there are likely to be comparisons made between James and Michael Jordan , I wonder what merits they’re actually using to make these comparisons other than their play ?

  3. We may never know the real reasons he went back, Al. Was it guilt? Homesickness? The feeling the Miami experiment had run its course?

    Either way, while he dabbles in the East, the West continues to put forth monster teams. I mean, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are teammates and they can’t even SNIFF the top two teams in the West.

    Monday night, man. Spurs at Warriors. Who needs Monday Night Football. This one should be a pleasure to watch.

  4. My bright idea – after this season, the Spurs lose Manu and Duncan to retirement and pull off blockbuster trade with Cavs to bring in LeBron. I love the Spurs (look up the beautiful game tribute on youtube) and don’t really care for LBJ, but that would be fun to see. Parker, Bron, Aldridge & Leonard? Whew!

  5. David Blatt’s meltdown rant about the “coverage” the team has gotten since the blowout was in some ways more disturbing than the blowout itself. I was puzzled by his hire but didn’t give it much thought since LeBron runs things anyway. But the way he comes across sometimes is as if he’s from another planet. I think he was trying to take some of the grief off the team but he’s just so odd with the media. I am not a fan of the Warriors but it’s not from the style of play (which I think most of their haters hate on) as much as their head coach wandering from the mic onto the bench and now being considered some kind of genius…and admittedly their stars really aren’t my cup of favorite tea either. Anyway, Cleveland’s not even close to Golden State and that game helped any doubters left clear that up. What do you think of ABC putting NBA games in prime time on Saturday nights? Any live sports in the winter should turn a nice number for them…but they appear to have a nice slate of games teed up. Smart move, I think.

  6. I wouldn’t count Cleveland out just yet but I believe LeBron’s on a year-to-year contract so he can bail at the end of the year if he so chooses. Going back to Miami wouldn’t be a bad option. They’d instantly be #1 in the East again, but a couple years older and would need to keep Whiteside or get a Hibbert or someone to man the middle. Not sure they have the money for that.

    …The really scary thing would be if LeBron or Durant goes to the Warriors, who will have the cap space to do that this off season.

    MY favorite scenario is if either of those two comes to the Lakers and we get Joakim Noah to fill the middle 🙂

  7. Alonzo Mourning is now a senior executive (Player Development) with the Miami Heat . Juwan Howard an assistant coach on the staff of Erik Spoelstra. If both Mourning and Howard were said to be questioning LBJ’s commitment with the Heat , prior to his departure, what do you think it all comes down to ?

    LeBron James is nothing more than a mercenary , who also happens to be a great athlete. Should he and the Cavaliers fail this season to win the NBA title , there will be a great deal of finger-pointing aimed in his direction and then we’ll see if the likes of Skip Bayless and Stephen A will still be puckering up their lips to press firmly against LBJ’s sphincter.

  8. Burnsy….

    I’m game for any form of more basketball on TV. I’m not sure how many fans are actually staying home on a Saturday night to watch basketball but I’m sure those out in bars will tune in to whatever tube happens to be in the joint. Hopefully some of those will turn out to be good games.

    I don’t have a problem with these Warriors. Heck, it was only five years ago that fans were booing their GM out of the building.

    But you’re right, it does go to show how relatively unimportant coaching is in the NBA. Just don’t be an idiot and you can probably win as long as your roster is talented.

    Again, a memo Blatt never got.

  9. Bleed…

    I’m pretty sure Noah will recover 100% from that injury and he’ll be a steal. He’s actually just the kind of player LeBron needs.

    I wonder if he’d actually leave Cleveland again. If so, I don’t know that he’d do Miami. I mean, Dwyane Wade is like 45 at this point.

  10. Burnsy…

    It was only a matter of time.

    My follow-up Blatt post was really inspired by the fraternity of NBA coaches who have each others’ backs.

    They cant believe the guy was fired? Uh, why not exactly?

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