Old Habits Die Hard
Yes, the Cavs haven’t enjoyed their optimal rooster so far this year. They suffered many injuries and David Blatt had to open with dozen different line ups in less than 30 games. JR Smith hasn’t gotten his rhythm yet this year. And yet, this all just excuses. Cavs have a problem to perform as a team under pressure.
Many would point out that the Cavaliers won plenty close games, but if you look closely, it was done against teams from the lower part of the table (Cavs had the 7th easiest schedule so far this season). Definitely not the ones they will have to go through to win the title.
Of course, missing one of the best PG in the league has it price. Without Kyrie, Cleveland miss one of the only two players that can create things for themselves when. However, this is not the issue.
The problem is that when under pressure, Cavs play ugly. It’s hard to watch. The ball is not moving. The players aren’t moving. Just standing on the far side waiting for LeBron to do his thing. Sometime he does, many time he doesn’t.
Cavs played amazing team basketball in many games this season, Memphis and the last game against the Nicks are good examples. Yet, in the fourth quarter everything stops.
It’s hard to point why it happens. Maybe LeBron doesn’t trust his teammates enough. Maybe his teammates trust LeBron too much. In any case – this has to be solved. LeBron, as good as he is, won’t be able to win the title on his own. He will be able to get to NBA finals again, but against the Spurs or the Warriors, it’s just won’t be enough.
However, there is still plenty of time. Cleveland, with all their injuries, comfortably lead the surprisingly strong Eastern Conference. They have the privilege to lose a few games and make experiments. They have to learn to share the ball when it really matters, otherwise they will end up exactly in the same way they ended last year… with compliments.