The Cavs 4-0 record against the Lakers and Magic doesn’t mean anything, because regular season victories aren’t always indicative of postseason success.
Also, the Bobcats 3-1 record against the Cavs shows that Cleveland would lose to Charlotte should they meet in the first round.
Not making excuses for the Cavaliers, but this was a rough way to start post-All Star break. They didn’t play for a week, they’re reintegrating both Mo Williams and Delonte West, they added a major piece and they started out with a back-to-back against two good teams.
To say Antawn Jamison had a rough night is an understatement. Dude was 0-12 in his Cleveland debut and two of those were airballs and another four were blocked. Wasn’t his best night, to say the least.
While I’m not worried about a Cavs-Bobcats playoff series, I am officially concerned. Charlotte has guys who can play defense (the newly acquired Ty Thomas had 6 blocks in is debut) and they’re long and athletic. Offensively, they’re OK but it’s a lot of one-on-one stuff, the Cavs defense has be sub-par these past two games; lot’s of open looks and missed rotations leading to layups plus, they aren’t rebounding well (Bobcats won the battle of the boards 47-37, Denver beat ’em 48-44).
If the Cavs miss Z at all, it isn’t the rebounds but the floor spacing. Z’s shooting ability cleared up the lane and opened up space for LeBron to work. When Shaq and Varejao are paired up (as it’s been these last two games), opposing teams will just pack the lanes and force the ball out of LeBron’s hands. The opposition would absolutely LOVE to see Varejao hoisting 15 footers.
Charlotte (with their defense and slow tempo) is a rough opponent to play when you’re still figuring things out. Once Jamison gets up to speed, the Cavs will be fine (I think should he should start over JJ) but, near term, things aren’t getting any easier, as they’re in Orlando on Sunday, face New Orleans this Tuesday and travel to Boston to play on Thursday night.
Break is over, guys.