The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are polar opposites right now. The Warriors’ fluid, efficient offense is getting them open looks that they could only dream of in last round’s dogfight with the Thunder. The Cavs, on the other hand, aren’t looking nearly as good. Their offense looks stagnant and lacks the fluidity that that it had mere weeks ago.
It looks as if these Cavaliers have never played a game together, and whatever progress they made on the offensive end during these nearly 2 years as a group is being negated at the first sight of a real NBA defense.
The return of former all-stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love was supposed to make this rematch even better than the first installment, but it’s been anything but. The Warriors’ 48-point margin of victory over the first two games is the most ever through the first two games of the Finals.
This all begs the question; Is hero-ball the best option for Cleveland? Last season, it was the only option for Cavs, and it’s starting to look like the only option this season.
Not only did the iso-ball strategy put the ball in the hands of the best player in the world, but it allowed the ferocious Tristan Thompson to crash the offensive glass. Even though this style of offense is very limited, and can be completely shut down when defended correctly, it’s better than anything else the Eastern Conference Champs have right now.
Apart from the obvious, this scheme has some serious problems with it, though, the main one being the most rapidly declining part of LBJ’s game; his jumpshot. With lockdown defenders such as Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green on the perimeter, and the presence of Andrew Bogut on the interior, LeBron won’t find getting to the basket as easy as he found it against Toronto. And for a player that’s shooting 34% from outside the paint this season, that spells trouble.
With Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving turning in brutally inefficient and totally unimpactful performances, LeBron may have to do this all by myself to save the Cavs’ season, and possibly his legacy.