After an embarrassing 132-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers have many questions to answer. NBA fans around the world are now questioning the Cavs as a legitimate contender for the NBA championship.
Not only were the Cavs blown out at home, they failed to compete. The Warriors jumped out to an early 12-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Cleveland simply laid down and took the beating quietly.
Prior to the game, many already doubted the Cavs’ capability of competing in a seven game series with the Warriors, or any of the elite teams in the Western Conference for that matter. Now, one wonders if this team has the will or determination to make the NBA Finals.
Luckily, Cleveland sits atop the clearly weaker Eastern Conference, but in a city that has been praying for a championship for 20-plus years, a regular season first place award isn’t quite enough.
This team is over the salary cap and on paper, they have the scariest team in the league. But on Monday, the Warriors made it seem as if Dan Gilbert wasted his money on this roster. The team’s flaws were picked on from the opening tip and the Cavs had absolutely no answers.
LeBron James, who is supposed to be the best player in the NBA, didn’t look dominant finishing with 16 points and five rebounds.
If LeBron were really a king, he would go down in history for failing his people for the second time. The history books of Cleveland would probably write him off as a man incapable of fulfilling promises.
Kyrie Irving is finally healthy and had the perfect opportunity to prove he would have truly been the difference of last year’s finals. But he left no doubt in critics’ minds that he wouldn’t even have put a dent in that series, finishing with only eight points in 22 minutes of floor time.
Kevin Love will get no love from me: it seems ever since the trade he has become the most complacent player in the league. Sure, when he originally came to Cleveland he dropped 30 pounds to become more athletic and able to run the floor better.
It seems that all he knows how to do is run around and jack threes up at will. Maybe it’s the supermodel girlfriend that’s distracting him, but somehow, some way, Cleveland needs the physical face-up, rebounding forward they asked for. Not the pretty boy version.
Inconsistent two-guard play seems to be the Cavs’ biggest weakness; you never know what you’ll get out of J.R. Smith, who happened to be the Cavalier to care about during Monday’s game before being ejected for the weakest flagrant-2 foul in league history.
Same goes for Iman Shumpert: the verdict is still out on whether his pregame raps are more important to him than the games themselves.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot of work to do in order to bring the city the championship its promising. In the meantime, here is to praying that the San Antonio Spurs are able to bounce the Warriors out of the playoffs.
Ty Sugick is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]