There’s only so much you can say. The Cavs played a good first quarter and then got their behinds handed to them. Boston’s pressure D definitely messed up the offense, it seemed as if the Cavs were falling away from every shot they took. They were throwing passes off of each others feet.
Look, this offense has been a problem for awhile. You simply cannot have two quarters where you don’t break the 16 point barrier. You can’t shoot sub-40% in back-to-back games. ESPN’s game recap has a graphic of the Cavs’ lowest point totals in the playoffs, and every single one has come in the LeBron/Mike Brown era. Think about that, they’re scoring less points than Mike Fratello’s walk-it-up teams and they have the greatest player of this generation. That is not good.
I love Z, but he shouldn’t the most consistent offensive threat. The big fella had 19 points on 9-12 shooting. The Cavs shot 36% as a team and non-Ilguaskas players shot 28%. Daniel Gibson played 20 minutes and only attempted 2 shots. Sasha Pavlovic led the bench scoring with a whopping 5 points.
Boston just wanted it more. They played harder, smarter and looked like a team. They were the aggressors, they forced the issue. Their bench stepped up, their role players stepped up and their stars carried them.
And when get down to it, you have to focus on LeBron. I know Coach Mike hasn’t exactly put him in the best situations, but none of this is exactly new. Simply put, the Cavs won’t beat anyone, let alone the Celtics, if LeBron goes 8-42 over two games. Make all the defensive adjustments you want, hustle for more loose balls, get a better sub pattern, doesn’t matter. This team is built around James with the assumption that he’ll get his. And he hasn’t (for a myriad of reasons). Now, I’m not blaming the guy, but this team can’t afford to have him shoot sub 20%. This is a team filled with spot up shooters and offensive rebounders… to work off of James. When he’s not effective, they aren’t effective; they aren’t built to withstand many off nights.
All that being said, we’ve seen them in this position before. If they would’ve lost 99-98 with James scoring 50, the Cavs would still be in the same position: down 0-2 and heading back home. These scores aren’t cumulative, we’re not counting total points here. The Cavs and LeBron have rebounded from 0-2 twice before to make it a series of things, so there’s some reason to be optimistic. They’ve done it before. The Celtics have yet to win a road game all playoffs, they’ve stunk in crunch time away from Boston and they’re still coached by Doc Rivers. All is not lost. But things have to improve.