I had the game on during my drive home from work and Joe Tait called at least two 'dribble around, chuck up a three" plays. Is there any other elite team (and yes, I consider the Cavs an elite team) that gives away as many possessions as the Cavs do? I'm not even counting turnovers, just plays where the offensive sets never develop (for whatever reason) and the Cavs are forced to throw up a bad shot with the shot clock running down. This happens four or five times a game.
In Brian Windhorst's recap, he makes much the same point:
At the center of the conundrum, as usual, is James.
Simply put, he had another special night. When it was over, he had 36 points -- 13 of them in the fourth quarter -- as he lifted the Cavs to the win. He had six rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
It seems impossible to find much fault in that.
Except in the second half, when he stopped the ball so many times on offense.
During the fourth quarter, he killed ball movement and made it easy for the Sixers (6-19) to guard him. He missed six shots and the Cavs only had three assists in the fourth quarter because James often wouldn't allow things to move.
Then there were his two huge 3-pointers, including one off a steal that was a turning point. Plus he delivered two clutch assists on perfect pick-and-roll plays with Mo Williams that pretty much buried the Sixers. Can he be faulted for succeeding but not succeeding enough?
That's where the entire team is right now.
"That's a tough one," Brown said.
"When you win games and you have success a lot of times it can be fool's gold because the tougher teams are able to load up and play him and us a little bit better.
But he's shown time and time again that he's capable and he's our guy in the fourth quarter.
So as long as we're defending, I'm going to live what he brings to the table for us."
Having the LeBron-on-five offense win a game against Philadelphia or New Jersey can work out because those teams stink. Though it's not going to cut it against a good team and certainly not against one in a seven game series. This is a major major concern for me.
The Cavs are 19-7. This is good. They're currently 4th in the East (one loss behind both Orlando and Atlanta) and you know they'll be better in May than they are in December.
I'm absolutely terrified of this Laker game on Christmas. I really don't want to spend Christmas day watching James chuck up bad jumpers against the Lakers while every analyst on TV laments that the Cavs don't surround him with better talent and let LeBron be a finisher.
Mike Brown has his work cut out for him.