The Cavs are rolling, and JR Smith is having the time of his life.
How things have changed. Several weeks ago we had guys like Colin Cowherd stating that Kevin Love would be leaving Cleveland, that Lebron James had to be reconsidering his decision to return and that David Blatt was a dead man walking.
Bill Simmons seemed to lose all perspective as he questioned whether Lebron was still the same player and whether this team could ever play together. He freely took shots at Love and Kyrie Irving. With Love there were obvious struggles (hardly surprising) while with Irving he was completely ignoring how Kyrie had embraced playing defense along with Blatt’s leadership.
Smart analysts, however, looked at the trades made by David Griffin and realized that they had made some very smart adjustments.
Well that was a buzzkill.
Lebron James is a great player, but we’ve all known for years that he doesn’t always react well to pressure. We all remember the Boston meltdown here in Cleveland, even if the national media chose to ignore it. Then of course we had Lebron’s Finals “performance” against the Dallas Mavericks.
Of course, we’ve also seen Lebron when he gets angry and plays like a beast.
Lebron lets the moment get to him sometimes, and unfortunately that happened again last night. With all the hype and hero-worship centered around his return, Lebron had a lot on his mind and it showed. He was terrible last night. He couldn’t shoot and rarely got aggressive on the offensive end. He had eight turnovers!
Of course, this is a new team, and Lebron thrives on working with and setting up his teammates. They’re still learning how to play together, so the inevitable mistakes just made Lebron even less comfortable as the night progressed.
It’s one game. This team will learn how to play together, and the only thing that matters is how they play together next spring in the playoffs and hopefully the Finals.
The journey begins tonight, and Nike kicks it off with a pretty awesome Lebron James commercial focused on the city of Cleveland.
Lebron has been all business so far and has focused more on the challenges ahead versus the idea of being home. But with this ad he reiterates the ultimate goal – a championship for the city of Cleveland.
Bill Simmons returned from his ESPN suspension with his annual NBA rankings, and this comment caught my attention:
The “clueless coach” line cracked me up. I still can’t believe I actually supported the idea of Mike Brown coming back here in 2013. While he was clueless in 2009 as Simmons pointed out, some of us didn’t realize just how bad Brown could be as a head coach until last season, which is one of the worst coaching jobs I’ve ever seen in Cleveland (and that’s saying something!).
In his article, Simmons also raves about David Blatt, so let’s hope he’s right about that one. So far Blatt is living up to his reputation as an innovative coach.