Friday, June 02, 2017

L'ack Thereof

Cleveland Cavaliers Scribbles: Tyronn Lue's challenge, team's disturbing lack of effort

"He's our coach and if he felt like we weren't giving the effort we needed to do then he has the right to do that," James said. "Our guys that came in, they played as well as they could."

"We need to toughen up," Blatt said. "I didn't think we displayed the kind of toughness that made us a team last year. I didn't see that the last two games, and we need to toughen up -- every aspect."

"Worse, it often seems like he's not giving his usual effort, particularly defensively..."

And you could go back. The 2014 Finals game for Miami against San Antonio. The 2010 playoff game for Cleveland against Boston. The 2008 game against Boston. I do not understand why a hallmark of LeBron James teams has been lack of effort in some games.

James is now 1-7 in Finals first games. It is not over! He's won three of those Finals. The only first game he won, 2011 against Dallas, his team, the "Heat" lost the series. That is the maddening thing about James teams: they have this arrogance that they can just turn it on, and they can!

Lies, damn lies and statistics: LeBron James had 28 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists last night. Eight turnovers too, but that can speak to too much effort. Good game! Not so fast. Maybe the least untruthful statistic is this: -22. James' +/-. His team lost by 22. By this one gross statistic LeBron James contributed this here to his team last night: 0. Which calls to mind this from Miami, 2014 Finals:

"In the Finals, James averaged 28.2 points and 7.8 rebounds, while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor, but somehow the Heat were a minus-13.1 per 100 possessions when he played."

And that gets back to it: it's James' teams. Even when it's not LeBron sleep-walking, the teams he's on sometimes do. Blame it on Tyronn Lue? And Blatt, Eric Spoelstra and Mike Brown, too?

Somewhere along the line James’ two-time defending champions morphed into the Miami Cavaliers...

Read more here:

More than any other these Cleveland teams these last three years have been LBJ's teams. He is the straw that stirs the drink, of course. But he also made the drink, got the ingredients he wanted, mixed them in the proportions he wanted. It's his drink.

That "toughness" that David Blatt bemoaned the lack of, Michael Jordan had that! Hoo-doggie. Mother-fucking M.J. had a FIRE. Of course James can play like he is on fire but at odd times, and repeatedly, it's not been there. 1-7 in first game Finals! This is a blot on James resume in comparison to Jordan. People remember those things! People remember Scottie Pippen refusing to go into a game. They remember Jordan playing when he was dehydrated with the flu and still scoring 38 points! People remember James and his teams' lack of effort. And it makes them mad. It is insulting to the human spirit not to try. Especially in competition. I just don't understand it.