The Cavaliers did so many things wrong in game 1, it’s almost hard to put a finger on what exactly they can improve upon. Instead, it’s easier to point out what they shouldn’t do if they want to pull out an unlikely victory on Sunday Night.
J.R. Smith can’t make mental mistakes
This one is the easiest. Whether he was making a run to nearest Liquor store for Henny, was looking for Lebron (he was wide open at the top of the key), thought the Cavs were up one and he was going to get intentionally fouled, or Ty Lue was going to call a timeout, J.R. Smith could have at least tried to shoot a buzzer-beating attempt at the rim.
I mean what’s one of the first rules you learn in first-grade basketball? First is to get the ball into the hoop. Second, you have to dribble or it’s a travel. Third, you always have to know time and score. JR Smith doesn’t know the basics of basketball.
Jordan Clarkson can’t shoot every time
“Does Jordan Clarkson think the Lebron-Jordan debate is about him?” Nothing more perfectly sums up my exact thoughts as Clarkson continuously built a house constructed of bricks with every overconfident jumper he took.
What’s most surprising is that Clarkson used to be a serviceable starting point guard. Those days are long behind him, he’s shot a pathetic 30.3% from the field and 23.9% from deep these playoffs. Lebron (probably) had one word to describe Clarkson’s play: Sheesh.
One has to wonder whether the Cavaliers would favor Isaiah Thomas over Clarkson. It’s not like Clarkson can play any defense, constantly allowing Shaun Livingston to hit mid-range shots and being no match for Klay. Isaiah, while inconsistent at times, can come off the bench and drop 20 points.
Lebron can’t forget about his teammates, the good ones at least
Lebron produced almost half of Cavs’ points, with 51 points. He also had 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Kevin Love scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, exhibiting his true value as a second option.
Besides that, the Cavs received a meager 32 points from Clarkson, Korver, Tristan Thompson, Jeff Green, George Hill, and Larry Nance Jr.
J.R. Smith was the lone double-digit scorer, aside from K-Love and he shot 30% from the field. Lebron should find the hot hand if there happens to be one, but really he should look to get Kevin Love involved early.
Kyle Korver can’t shoot less than J.R. Smith
Part of the reason the Cavs shot a poor 10-37 from three is that they had the inconsistent Smith chucking threes. Korver shot just 3 times, all three-point attempts, the Cavs went 18-10 in games where Korver shot at least 6 threes. Even if he’s not hitting them, he stretches the floor, allowing for Lebron to attack the rim and Kevin Love to operate on the elbow and in the low post.
Kevin Love can’t forget his low post dominance
Kevin Love drifted away from his spot on the low post, where he used to dominate in Minnesota. Personally, I love those “bring back fat Kevin Love” tweets because it’s so true. Kevin Love, you’re a beast in the post!
They can’t be less aggressive guarding Steph Curry
Remember two years ago when the Cavs pulled away from the Warriors by pummeling Steph Curry and riling up Draymond Green? Yea that happened, they need an enforcer that plays the role that Delly filled then. Jordan Clarkson isn’t nearly the scrapper that Delly is, but he needs to show some fight if the Cavs want a chance. Nonetheless, George Hill will play the role of “veteran newly born in the land”, along with Richard Jefferson. George Hill will need to replace Matthew Dellevedova and get in Steph Curry’s grill.
Cavs can’t get into a fight
Tristan Thompson threw the ball in Draymond’s face after Draymond presumably asked Tristan how his relationship was going (not really but would you be surprised?). Draymond is the undisputed instigator champion. Tristan is irrefutably significant to a Cavs victory, as he’s the only rim protector on their roster. Larry Nance Jr. is his backup and he’s about half the defender TT is in the post.
Draymond even threatened to take the fight out in the street after the game. Put that on my “potential NBA fights I’d love to see.”
Lebron can’t have a bad game
Again, Lebron put up an insane 51-8-8. He’s going to have to have a legendary game that has everyone with their eyes glued to the TV wondering what he’s going to do next. A game that would have MJ lift his eyebrows and wonder if he’s taken the ‘best player of all-time’ mantle. In the end, Lebron will need another 50 point game and even then it might not even be enough.
Nevertheless, Lebron will roll up to the Oracle arena with tremendous swag in those hideous suit shorts, hopeful his teammates will be of any help to him.
And maybe who knows, JR Smith will know the score and win the game for the Cavs.