The Cleveland Cavaliers have been dethroned in the East.
It started Monday night with the staggering 74-103 loss to the San Antonio Spurs officially made the Boston Celtics the number one seed in the East. It continued Thursday, where the Cavaliers lost their third straight game, with a 93-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
This is the first time LeBron James has lost double digit games (10) in the span of a month since 2003. So far this March, the Cavaliers have only won 6 of their last 16 games. Is this the time for the defending champions to be concerned?
Sorry LeBron, we number 1 now 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/u4jF735W6S
— Spark ⚡️ Sports (@SparkSports) March 28, 2017
The easy answer is yes. The Cavaliers should be worried about their position right now.
Opponents have outscored them by 12 points while shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Also, over the past couple of games, the Cavaliers have allowed 114.8 points.
It’s pretty easy for the opponents to do all of those things playing against a team who doesn’t play any defense. The Cavaliers’ defense can be summed up in one word——non-existent. They are currently ranked 22nd in league in defensive efficiency. No team has had that low of a rating and still made it to the Finals. Monday night’s game against the Spurs blatantly exposed the Cavaliers’ defense.
The Cavaliers’ bench is weak and inefficient. It’s hard to guard a force like Kawhi Leonard when the team is very slow near the rim. That observation is one that makes Andrew Bogut‘s injury sting a little bit more because of the energy he would have provided the team, an energy that the Cavs are in dire need of.
Head coach Tyronn Lue addresses his team being sluggish in his comments after that blowout game. Lue said, according to ESPN, “The crazy part about it — we start off the right way, but teams are so much faster than us. They just look so much faster than we are. I mean, damn. It just looks like–just beat us on the dribble, transition, just looking faster”.
Should the Cavaliers be in panic mode?
No, not at all. The Cavaliers should not be extremely worried about being the second seed in the East. Them being the second seed is not the “end all, be all” for them reaching the Finals. There have been times that a LeBron James team had reached the Finals without being the number one seed.
In 2012, the Chicago Bulls were number one in the league when the Miami Heat won the Finals. The Indiana Pacers were the top seed in the East in 2014 when the Heat loss against the Spurs in the Finals. The Hawks were number one when the Cavaliers made it to the Finals in 2015. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any doubt that the Cavs will make it to the Finals this year.
In response to reporters asking him about being the number two in the East, LeBron James said, according to ESPN, “That’s fine. It matters more that we play better basketball than where we’re at”.
The Cavs have not looked this bad since they were down 3-1 in last year’s Finals. Do not fret. LeBron James’ resume shows that he’s more than capable of leading his team through struggle. Thus, as James said, the team should be more focusing on improving their game than focusing on seeding.