The Cavs have an incredible opportunity as they face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals starting tonight. It’s an opportunity to achieve greatness, and this is what most athletes crave more than anything.
Forget the 52-year championship drought in Cleveland. Forget about what happened last year. This is about an extremely talented Cavs team led by one of the all-time great players going up against another great team chasing history.
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.
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.