The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off yet another game where they played down to the level of their competition and it came back to bite them in the butt.
Luckily there are still a few months for them to right the ship. With only ten games left in the regular season, the Cavs still have yet to establish a set rotation, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are putting up some of the worst shooting numbers of their careers, LeBron James is opening pining for more prehistoric teammates and there's little time left to finish this season strong.
Oh nevermind, we're good now.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (51-21) at New York Knicks (30-43)
Where? Madison Square Garden, New York, New York.
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy Blog: Posting and Toasting
It wouldn't surprise me if a LeBron James tweet turned this season around. In a season where meaningless things have taken on a life of their own, it would be all too appropriate. The team is clearly in their own heads and in desperate need of just focusing on basketball and trying to have fun out there. It doesn't matter if they don't like each other, fake it until you make it and figure things out from there. It's the mental side of the floor that has given the Cavs so much trouble, as Irving and Love continue to miss open shots. Some of Irving's slump could be attributed to coming off of surgery, but given how well he shot the two months prior, I'm not fully buying it. The team seems unsure of their roles and that is clearly impacting their rhythm.
But the Cavs aren't the only team in this game. The Knicks have drama of their own as Carmelo Anthony has been reflecting on his life choices a lot. He's been the big apple of James' eye as of late, a desired future teammate that only wants to play with James if it were "somewhere warm". I consider myself to be a Melo apologist, but "I only want to play with LeBron and have a chance to win it all if it's somewhere warm" is a pretty clear example of the criticisms that surround him.
The Knicks will present yet another challenge for the Cavs. With the exciting Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony and several solid role players, they are a bad team that is capable of capitalizing if the Cavs leave them with an opening. If the Cavs want to make life easier for themselves heading into the playoffs, they need to come out with the same intensity in the five remaining games against teams below .500 as they do in the five remaining games against playoff teams. They are so much better than their recent play would reflect.
The Cavs can't assume they can just coast their way to the Finals, not with so many teams finding their stride and playing great basketball down the stretch. If they can't find a way to flick the switch, they're going to get caught. If that happens who knows what would follow. So maybe all they needed was a tweet. James is playing out of his mind recently, we'll see if everyone else will follow suit.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
Both Irving and James typically go bananas at Madison Square Garden. With the team in desperate need of a feel-good win, I would expect that trend to continue. Cavs win 115-97.