Well here we are in April with five games left in the 2016/17 season and something odd has happened…teams are looking forward to facing a LeBron James led team. Coming into the season there were high hopes for the champion Cavs even though the Warriors were the story of the summer with the addition to (in my opinion) the best player in the galaxy Kevin Durant. Most of the experts still had them a lock to win 60+ games before the additions of Williams and Korver, win the east without any resistance and with LBJ still give anyone even the Warriors a run for their money in a 7 game series.
They started out smoking as expected with a 13-3 November and a 12-4 December then came the MLK game vs the Warriors on January 16th…they lost by 30 and the wheels fell all the way off. They went on to lose 4 of their next 6 and finished the month 7-8 and most importantly their mental stronghold on the teams beneath them.
Now when the Cavs step off that bus on the road teams believe they can beat them and for a LeBron led team you’re use to seeing that Meryl Streep “Devil Wears Prada” (awesome movie) I’m better than you swag from LBJ when he walks into opposing arenas but its just not there. Cavs are now 19-19 on the road and 2nd in the conference behind a very cocky and confident Celtics team that is the exact opposite. They win by just out working you for 48 minutes and could put a stamp on the top seed with a win Wednesday night at Cleveland.
The Cavs are 22nd in defensive efficiency and 20th in total team defense (points allowed). Only one team has won a championship with a defense outside of the top 10 and that’s the 2001 Lakers who were ranked 23rd in defense but still had a intimidation factor about them because Shaq and Kobe coached by Phil Jackson still made most of the league sick the second they walked on the floor. This Cavs team seems ripe for the picking and everyone knows it especially the teams near the top of the east.
Most of the experts still think they will turn it on five games from now but I see a team that had a few players get fat and satisfied (Thompson went and got himself a new Kardashian) with winning a ring last summer and aren’t bringing the same heat, intensity and energy as last year. Same core and coach as last year but they were ranked 4th on defense then and 20th now…yeah.
LeBron could play out of his mind and we all know he wants to win it bad but if players 5 through 12 are cool with a ok season after getting those rings it won’t matter what he does and we have seen LBJ mail it in when his team isn’t the bees knees and if that happens they will get all the attention this summer they wanted last summer but it will come with severe consequences and lead to major changes in Cleveland.