City Sports Report

LeBron James And The Cleveland Cavaliers Have Found Their Stride

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

It was written. Or so some thought. The return of LeBron James instantly took the Cleveland Cavaliers from cellar dwellers to championship contenders. And with that, there was a power shift once again between Cleveland and Miami. Now don’t get me wrong, Miami will still be a playoff team. But their aspirations to be NBA champions evaporated the second the news dropped that the King was going home. And when he returned, the emotion of the moment was felt. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who was there in Cleveland for opening night this year, had this to say to City Sports Report: “The first game in Cleveland. “There were old folks crying. I have never seen anything like it. People were treating LeBron’s return like a savior had arrived.“ Immediately people began to believe the Cavs were instantly championship material with LeBron and the trade for Minnesota big man Kevin Love. But as a result of all the hype, there was a letdown in the first game. The Cavs were defeated at home by the lowly New York Knicks 95-90. The game itself seemed to not be as entertaining as some expected. The King was not himself as he had eight turnovers and the Cavs as a whole just looked out of sync. And just like that, many began to question whether the Cavs will be contenders in the East.

But after that game, there was even more issues. There was the infamous loss in Utah where Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving had zero assists. Also, who can forget the time where many began to believe that LeBron and Kyrie Irving were already mixing like oil and water? There was also a time where the Cavs look listless defensively. But over the last two weeks, it seems as if the Cavs have righted the ship somewhat. The team has won seven straight ever since that humiliating loss at home to the Raptors (they gave up a big lead in the fourth quarter). And more importantly, the team looks like they have more life. Sure, there is more to happen with this season and with this team. They will surely go through more trials and tribulations as a team. But needless to say, they have started to right the ship just a little bit. But many are wondering how they have done so. The answer lies within the team’s two best players.

In the beginning of the LeBron James/Kevin Love/Kyrie Irving era, you could tell that all of them were unsure of themselves when playing with each other. LeBron was not as dominant with the basketball, Kevin Love was not sure where he needed to be in the offense and Kyrie was just being Kyrie. The uneasiness led to turnovers, inefficient offense and loses. But over the last few weeks, a balance has been found and LeBron has been one of the main reasons. During all of the Cavs loses, LeBron has become more passive. And as a result, the Cavs offense looks like it has no direction. But in the Cavs eleven wins, the difference is startling. LeBron has the ball in his hands more in those games and he averages three more assists, one less turnover and nine more points. As a result of LeBron being the dominant person with the ball, the team functions better and he is a more efficient scorer. It has been reported that LeBron does not want to be the ball-dominant player he was in Miami, but for this team to be the best they can be at this time, he has to do that. And maybe as the season goes on and the team continues to learn each other, then maybe the ball domination by LeBron will go down some. But until then, he has to be the driving force behind their resurgence.

But even though LeBron is the driving force, there has to be some other pieces to the equation. None other than Kyrie Irving has made some adjustments going forward as well. As you see then Cavs play, there are times where he is more off the basketball than he ever was without LeBron there. That means that Kyrie can hunt his offense a little bit more. The one thing that most need to understand is that Kyrie is not your traditional type of point guard. He can score and score well. And as a byproduct of his offensive talent, his assists come. But what he has had to learn is efficiency. As a result of LeBron handling the basketball more, it has made things easier for Kyrie. During the winning streak and succession of good play, Kyrie is shooting the basketball less but with more efficiency. He is also averaging one more assist while having one less turnover. That can be a direct correlation to the fundamental change of the ball-handling duties.

Now this team is still growing and I am sure that the way they are playing right now will not be the same way they play in the playoffs. But for right now, Stephen A. Smith said perfectly what most thought all along with this team: “This team will get it right.” And looking at the most recent results, they are beginning to find their mojo.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

One Comment

  1. Lee Love

    December 11, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    yes sir I agree they are blending nicely

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