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Last night I was sitting with a friend of mine, who I coach basketball with, to watch the Cavaliers game. We were in shock at the attitude and expressions that the Cavaliers players were showing. My friend kept saying that the team is showing no intensity, which was why the Celtics were able to get so many rebounds. None of the players were in position and they did not seem to want the ball.
It also appears that the Cavaliers are not in any type of rhythm. They always feed off of LeBron, but if Lebron does not play well, like last night, then everyone just stood around. The team is full of professionals, let me say that again, professionals. They all know how to play on both sides of the ball and how to excel. Since the team has not been in any type of rhythm offensively or defensively, they are unable to build upon good possessions.
When the team has been down at the closing moments of a quarter, they walk the ball up the court. The team needs a sense of urgency and wanting to go for 2 for 1s. If we continue to play the slow down pace and not move offensively then nothing will happen and we will settle for jump shots like we have in all of our losses.
In the end, it comes down to defense first and foremost. I can understand any of the players having a bad shooting night, but there is no excuse for not playing defense. No matter what happens on the offensive side of the basketball, it does not affect how to play defense. The team gives up way too many offensive rebounds, back door cuts, and points in transition. This starts with the starting 5. There is no reason to give a player 5-8 feet when the have the ball, even though you know that they wonâ€™t shoot the basketball. If you cover them and are on top of them, this makes it tougher for the player to make passes.
I say offensively, keep working the ball inside, and that Mike Brown needs to find out who his post players are. He has many to choose from, and can not settle on a rotation between JJ Hickson, Shaq, Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauska, Antawn Jamison, and Leon Powe. Once Mike Brown knows the 4 that he will play, just play them and stick with them.
Furthermore, it does appear that LeBron James is not attacking the basket as often and is not slashing to the basket when he has the ball. Since he has taken only a few 3s so far this series, use what he has going for him, his height. I would have LeBron James post up on the box and work on the inside. He is taller, stronger, and more physical than most people give him credit for. If he is double teamed, he can pass it to Anthony Parker who shot 54% during the regular season for 3s. Also, if they double team him with the other post player, that will leave Shaq, open for an easy dunk.