The Overreaction: Game 2

In case you missed the inaugural edition of The Overreaction, this is a place where I’ll explain why the Cavs are a terrible hodge-podge of puke AND why they’re a title-bound juggernaut in the same place. Let’s get to it.

Why the Cavs are gonna win the 2018 NBA title:

  1. LeBron James is still the best player I can imagine. Giannis isn’t terribly far behind, but James makes the right pass every time (even when his teammates are…a mixed bag), finishes at the basket as well as ever, and gets away with fouls when Giannis is spinning toward the hoop. Late in the 3rd, the Cavs ran a lineup of LeBron with a couple of shooters, and Korver/Smith were wide open for something like 5 threes in 2 minutes. Korver hit all of his because he’s a machine, and JR missed at least one, but the point is that this team looked so much better without Rose or Wade on the floor that it’s almost incomprehensible.
  2. Love looked aggressive early. He was the target of the offense because he’s much quicker than the centers he’s going against and that’s a mismatch worth exploiting. It didn’t last all game, but my goodness was he good early. They did feed him late, but the game was largely locked up at that point.
  3. Dwyane Wade is taking charges. That shows something, although I’m not entirely sure what. I guess it’s that they’re putting in some effort and not just wandering through the motions, although it doesn’t always feel that way.
  4. Rose still looks quick on offense. His shot is garbage, but he was able to get to the hoop a few times on very athletic drives. He came up a little hobbled in the 2nd half and that was that.
  5. Jae Crowder is a tremendous offensive fit thus far. He seems kind of like JR Smith two years ago, actually. He’s been making his open 3s and moving without the ball to the right spots. He’s set a few key screens, grabbed a couple ofoffensive rebounds, and gotten to the rim once or twice. He is going to be the league’s quietest 13 point scorer.
  6. Korver is just incredible. His shot is off before you know it, from any angle, from any body-movement, from anywhere on the court. It’s poetry. If you slow it down, you’re looking at art. He was also guarded by Jason Terry for a stretch, which was a matchup with 76 years between them.
  7. They beat a good team by double digits on the road.

Why the Cavs suck:

  1. Most of the Cavs still can’t shoot. As of the 6:00 mark in the 4th quarter, guys not named Kyle Korver were 4–18 on threes.
  2. The Cavs started the second the game with about four isos in a row. Dwyane Wade shooting a 17 foot jumper when 0 other players touched the ball is never a good idea. It’s an extra bad idea when James and Love are still on the floor. The first few possessions were not an anomaly — it continued throughout.
  3. Jeff Green’s playing time is inexplicable to me. He pulled up from 14 feet on a secondary break. That is…a bad basketball play. He’s taking catch and shoot threes but he is a terrible three point shooter. He’s ahead of Korver on the depth chart through two games.
  4. JR Smith is being forced to create offense. In a vacuum, that’s not terrible. On a “title contending team,” it’s not good. His job is to play solid defense, move without the ball, and knock down open shots. He took 5 shots in the first quarter and only hit 1. If he’d made the 2 falling-away-but-that’s-OK-because-it’s-JR shots from the corner, this would feel different.
  5. There is minimal space for LeBron to create. Guys are cutting to the basket sometimes— which is fine — but they’re also inside the arc, so LeBron has nowhere to go.
  6. Rose got dinged. That would leave Jose Calderon as the only point guard available to the Cavs. And he didn’t play until the final 70 seconds. Are we sure cutting RJ was a good idea.
  7. Lue’s rotations are still odd, but they made a little more sense in game 2 than they did in game 1. Lots of guys in the 20–25 minute range. I like that.

That’s it! More positives than negatives. The Cavs looked a little off in the first half but boy did they look great for about 12 minutes from the mid-3rd until late in the 4th. Not an ideal game, but it was more than good enough.

Having LeBron is cool.