Monday, June 6, 2016

Cavs, where is the fire in your belly?

J.R. Smith, where do you get off saying the Golden State Warriors want to win more than your team, the Cleveland Cavaliers?!

This is what Cavaliers fans want to see J.R. Smith  doing --
not admitting defeat in the NBA Finals.
Don't you know that just gives the Warriors locker-room poster material -- a reason to give your team a bigger beatdown in Game 3? At home no less?!?

Was losing by 33 points not embarrassing enough in Game 2 on Sunday?

I hadn't planned on writing another op-ed about the Cavs so soon.

But with a poor overall shooting percentage (35.4 percent in Game 2 compared to an equally lousy 38,1 percent in the previous game), having their bench outscored 85-41 over two games, LeBron James committing seven turnovers Sunday and the big players not playing like the big-time players they are, what is a Cleveland fan to do?

ESPN staff writer Dave McMenamin does a good job in his story of outlining the many problems the Cavaliers are having, but let me point out a few more things they need to address:

• Keep Draymond Green locked down. He had waaaay too many open looks, giving him free reign to hit 5-of-8 from three-point land. Green also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists to go with his 28 points. That shouldn't be happening.

Photo courtesy of Cavaliers Nation
• Play some defense! Anything resembling defense would be a good start.

• Don't leave "the paint" so wide open. The Warriors have torched the Cavs with their passing -- especially when they see an unguarded man near the basket. That leads to easy points. The Cavs simply haven't played well enough to give up easy baskets. (See my aforementioned bullet point about playing D.)

• LeBron needs to work on his dribbling. One of the reasons James had seven turnovers Sunday was because of his sloppy ball-handling. This is not the time for "Ugly LeBron" to rear his nasty head; we've already seen it too much this series.

• "The King" needs to impose his will on Golden State -- and so does the entire Cavs team. James needs to play like the biggest, baddest dude on the court he is. Hopefully his teammates can feed off that energy and play just as aggressively.

James put it well in his ESPN interview: "I’ve got to be better," he said. "I’ve got to be better with the ball. You know, trying to play-make for myself and play-make for my teammates at the same time; I’ve just got to be more solid."

• Take it to the basket, LeBron. Your three-point shot isn't reliable. So don't count on it. You need to do what you do best: Be the determined, unstoppable locomotive driving to the hoop.

• Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, find your shot! Be the remaining two-thirds of Cleveland's Big 3 that James and your teammates need you to be.

And I said this in my op-ed from yesterday, but it's worth repeating: J.R. Smith, light it up from three-point land! You are the Cavs' three-point maker; it's past your time to shine. Don't disappear like you did in last year's Finals.

Sadly, my nine bullet points about what the Cavs need to do to beat Warriors still remain true. And even sadder, I only repeated one of those recommendations here!

Also, J.R., as if this weren't obvious: Shut your mouth. While it may be true that your opponents "want it" more than you and the Cavs do, for Pete's sake, don't say something so stupid to the press.

Golden State would love nothing more than to cap off its history-making 73-win season by winning the NBA Finals. They have plenty of motivation and they don't need any more. J.R., the Warriors already have embarrassed you and your team in back-to-back decisive victories; don't give them any more fuel to make this a sweep.

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