The Cavaliers are going to win a lot of games this season. It might not be 66(remember they started 1-2 last season) but there will be plenty to cheer. In the mean time, as this Cavaliers crew figures out how to play with each other, there are going to be some growing pains. Tonight was one of those.
Looking tired at times, disinterested at others, the Cavaliers dropped to 0-2, losing to the Raptors in Toronto's opener 101-91. For the Cavs the issues through the first two games are too numerous to talk about, but I'll try.
LeBron - Can't really say anything bad about the MVP. 38 points last night, a Triple-Double tonight(23-12-11). He can't do it all but the Cavaliers are forcing him to.
Shaq - The Cavaliers slow start has little to do with Shaq - other than his inability to hit easy shots. That is what Shaq was brought here for. Tonight Shaq missed no fewer than 6 shots inside of 5 feet. That can't happen - especially against a team like the Raptors that lack a true center. If Shaq plays that way he simply isn't helping the Cavaliers.
Anderson Varejao - I'm sure Anderson Varejao worked on his offense during the offseason, but early in the game, when Toronto jumped on the Cavs with a 15-6 start, Andy took shots on 4 straight possessions. To be honest, Varejao should be the 5th option on offense. If he is taking shots(of the fade-away variety) then he isn't in position to do what he does best - hustle for rebounds and get back on defense.
Mo Williams- Williams simply hasn't shown up yet this season. Perhaps it is all the new faces - not knowing how Shaq wants to set a pick, or where Anthony Parker is on the floor - but there really isn't an excuse.
Anthony Parker - Parker wasn't brought in to play 35-40 minutes a night. That is asking him to do way too much. Parker played 40 minutes last night and close to 40 tonight. Of course, much of that has to do with Delonte West's continued absence, the other the fact that Cleveland is getting nothing from the bench.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas - Big Z is suffering the most from Shaq's arrival. Whether it is struggling coming off the bench or something else, Z looks lost on the floor.
Defensively the Cavaliers are really struggling. They are getting burned on pick and rolls and allowing way too many easy baskets. I mean, seriously, Andrea Bargnani scores 28 points? In all, the Raptor front-court outscored the Cavs 'bigs' 49-14.
Let's face it, its tough to put yourself in an 18-point hole at halftime and expect to win. Still, the Cavaliers had tied the game, late in the 3rd, and was in position to get a win. I don't want to hear about new players - Toronto has 9 new players on it's roster and threw over 100 on the board against the Cavs. It goes deeper than that.
Perhaps it was the flu-bug that went through the team during Training Camp, maybe the injuries to Mo, and others. Of course, the uncertainty surrounding Delonte can't be helping.
Whatever the case, the Cavaliers will get it figured out. They have too....Right?