The Cleveland Cavaliers did not exactly give forth their best effort last night. It mostly looked like, for them, the All-Star break had already started. The fact that they were missing Kevin Love did much help matters. And it's too bad, because it was kind of an important game.
But all things considered, wouldn't you say it has been a successful first "half" of the season? (Obviously the All-Star break is past the halfway point.)
Let's get to some quick notes that I have:
-The Cavs are on pace to finish with 49 wins. Now, it's true that in our season preview we all pegged them for somewhere between 56 and 64 wins. But we couldn't have known that LeBron James wouldn't be quite LeBron James for the first few weeks of the season, and that then he'd take a couple of weeks off. For the rest of the season, I think they will play slightly above the .600 clip they're at right now and finish with 51 or 52 wins, which should be good enough for third in the East.
-Their schedule does have some tough games coming up. After the break, they'll be at the Wizards and then a few nights later they host the Warriors. In early March, they have a five-game stretch that goes: at the Raptors, at the Hawks, home for the Suns, and then back on the road for the Mavericks and Spurs. The schedule is the main reason I don't think they'll be able to keep winning 14 out of 16 like they just did, and will instead finish the season something like 19-8.
-LeBron has been turning the ball over a lot. He's currently averaging 4.1 per 36 minutes, by far the most of his career (his previous career-high was 3.3 turnovers per 36 minutes). Maybe he's still getting used to a role where he's handling the ball a lot more again? I don't know.
-The Cavs need a backup point guard. I think that's the only thing the roster is really missing at this point.
-Oh one other thing on LeBron. He is down to 36.6 minutes per game, which would be a new career-low. Good job, David Blatt.
-I must admit that the Kevin Love situation seems to be less than ideal. There are people who write for this blog who think that there is no way that he will leave this summer, and others who think it is 50/50. I'm somewhere in the middle. His fit hasn't been perfect yet, but it's been getting better. And I am sure that there were certain winks and nods made before the Cavs traded for him. Certainly, if they go deep into the playoffs, it would be a bad look for him to walk away from a good team. But if they lose in the first or second round, I think anything is possible.
-Since changing teams, Dion Waiters is shooting 38 percent from the field and 27 percent from three. For the Cavs, J.R. Smith is shooting 41 percent and 36 percent.
-Forget about LeBron being the MVP, the Cavs are 14-5 with Timofey Mozgov. His acquisition did coincide with LeBron's return to being LeBron, but it really is incredible what a difference Mozgov has made. We have all of these advanced stats and different ways of looking at the game now, but there are some fundamental things about basketball that have always been true, and will always be true. One of them is that having tall players helps.
-Do you guys get President's Day off? I did at my old job, but now that I'm back in school I don't. I'm bummed about it.
With that, I think those are all the notes I have. Enjoy watching Matthew Dellavedova dominate the Americans tonight, Kyrie Irving dominate the NBA's other great shooters again tomorrow night, and then LeBron and Kyrie carrying the East to victory on Sunday.
And have a happy President's Day!