Bittersweet: Cavs Lost But LeBron Becomes the Youngest to Reach 30,000 Points

The Spurs make the King bleed for his points as Cleveland drops 4 of their last 5 games

There’s no stopping LeBron James now. He has been ripping through numerous history books and some jerseys too. Some even claim that he is the greatest player of all time to play the game of basketball, possibly greater than the likes of Kobe Bryant and yes, even His Airness, Michael Jordan.
While stopping Lebron James seems an impossible task to accomplish even among elite defenders in the NBA, stopping, beating and adding to the miseries of the still losing Cleveland Cavaliers seems a lot easier these days.
On a night when LeBron James became the youngest NBA player to reach 30,000 career points, the San Antonio Spurs finally broke out of their own slump as the Spurs beat the Cavs,114-102.
What were the differences?

LaMarcus Aldridge’s 30 points

With Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol all out and are resting their injured bodies, the Spurs turned to LaMarcus Aldridge this time around. And Aldridge delivered as he led all scorers with 30 points on 12 for 18 field goal shooting. He added 8 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot for another complete big man. Most of his points came from mid-range jumpers off perfect pick-and-roll plays. Now that’s efficiency, folks.

Clamped Down Defense

As mentioned, stopping LeBron James is virtually a nightmare but it doesn’t mean that you can’t slow him down. Sure, he had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists, an MVP-kind of a stat line but the Spurs played suffocating defense on the King which worked to perfection because the King shot 10 for 23 from the field including a horrible 2 for 6 performance from downtown. Also, the King turned the ball over 5 times. 

Conclusion

If you have seen Tyronn Lue’s clueless face during the game, that’s exactly how clueless the Cavs were. While there’s no denying that Cleveland is now in a crisis, they will have to fix whatever issues they have because LeBron James can’t save them every single game even if he goes supernova. 
On the other hand, it seems that the Spurs are slowly learning to play and win without Kawhi Leonard and without Tony Parker as their starting point guard and for San Antonio, that’s definitely a good sign because they continue to trust one another. After all, the Spurs might be the dark horse who can take down the empire of the Golden State Warriors. 

Will Firing Tyron Lue fix the Cavs’ Problems?

Tyron Lue

Here’s why it will and why it will not

Whenever a team struggles on the court, the blame always goes to the coach. ALWAYS. But sometimes, firing your own head coach, who led your team to big wins and championships, doesn’t fix anything.
With the case of Tyronn Lue, coach of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s likely that he will be the next NBA head coach to lose his job this season. Why?
Here’s why:
Instead of leading the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers are currently in the 3rd spot with a 27-18 record. They are only half a game ahead of the Miami Heat. They have dropped 7 of their previous 10 games and things aren’t looking good for the Cavs as they are set to face the San Antonio Spurs.
Defensive problems have been visible in 5 of the last 6 games of the Cavs as they gave up a whopping 148 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of their fans. And apparently, Tyronn Lue was to blame for those defensive lapses.
And apparently, the Cavs are not practicing more often than they should be- that is according to Isaiah Thomas who said that he can only get back into basketball shape if the Cavs are practicing.
So, if the Cavs are not practicing as frequent as they should be given their ongoing struggles, and none of Tyronn Lue’s defensive strategies seems to be producing more wins for Cleveland, will firing him fix things?

Yes

Assuming that the Cavs’ front office has grown tired of seeing Tyronn Lue’s seemingly puzzled face especially when the Cavs are trailing by a big margin, firing him MIGHT be a good move for Cleveland assuming that they will hire a more experienced head coach to replace him, it will help in terms of providing a new face at the helm which could also allow a fresher aura to enter the locker room. But again, that depends on who will replace Tyronn Lue and how will the players react.

Nope!

Regardless of who will replace Tyronn Lue if the problems are continuing to build up internally meaning the problems are caused by the players themselves, then firing Tyronn Lue will be useless because the internal problems will be left undealt with. Success won’t happen overnight and so does ending the Cavs’ struggles. The Cavs will need to make sure that Tyronn Lue’s coaching has been the source of their problems before they could terminate his contract because whether the Cavs will admit it or not, Tyronn Lue has done an amazing job of guiding the Cavs since taking over from David Blatt.Coach Kye has even guided the Cavs when they took down the empire of the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, 3-1.

Conclusion

Assuming that the Cavs pull the trigger on Tyronn Lue, who should they hire to replace him? The best choice would be David Fizdale who was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. Why him? He was one of Erik Spoelstra’s assistants when the Miami Heat had LeBron James so his familiarity with LeBron’s game can work the wonders for the Cavs. 
But at the end of the day, it will be all up to LeBron James himself. And to the Cavs’ front office, too. 

What is Really Wrong with the Cavs?

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas has some ideas

Whether their fans will admit it or not, the struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers are REAL.


To begin with, this is the Cleveland Cavaliers team that erased a 3-1 Finals deficit against the empire of the Golden State Warriors two seasons ago. So what is the difference between that Cavs team and this one that we are seeing right now?

For starters, that team had an effective Tristan Thompson and a KYRIE IRVING. This season, Kyrie Irving is now doing the Alpha dog job for the league-leading Boston Celtics while Tristan Thompson hasn’t been the same since he was dealing with his own injury problem. Thompson has only appeared in 25 games this season, starting 5 of those games. In those games, Thompson averaged 5 points and close to 6 rebounds per game. He used to be the leading rebounder of the team. Now? It’s Kevin Love.
Another big difference between the 2016 champion team and this current team is that ON PAPER, they have gained more firepower after getting Isaiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade and of course, former league MVP, Derrick Rose.  Here’s the problem, folks. Dwayne is no longer the same “Flash” we all loved during his decorated stint with the Miami Heat. Isaiah Thomas is still not the 4th quarter monster we used to see during his stint with the Celtics. Rose? He hasn’t been the same explosive player since he got injured right after winning the MVP award.

So what is wrong with the Cavs, REALLY?

According to the new guy, Isaiah Thomas, there are two reasons why the Cavs are heading into the game against the San Antonio Spurs with a 27-18 record- having lost 7 of their last 10 games.
Firstly, Isaiah Thomas said that the Cavs aren’t trying harder defensively. And that claim can be verified just by looking at easily their opponents have scored in their last 5 defeats were the Cavs up 124 points per game on the average. The Cavs’ lack of defensive intensity was displayed against the Oklahoma City Thunder when they gave up 148 points. Isaiah Thomas even went as far as saying that the Celtics were a defensive team during his stint there. 
Secondly, the Cavs weren’t trusting each other. For a team that is loaded with talented passers, averaging 23 assists per game- the 7th in the league in that category, is totally unacceptable. And that’s one of the many reasons why LeBron James has been on a Super Saiyan mode as of late because of the fact that his teammates weren’t trusting each other. 


Conclusion

Getting new players off trade deals will help improve the Cavs’ situation but first, Cleveland will have to fix their internal problems ON THEIR OWN because that’s a first step towards rediscovering how good they are with the pieces that they have. One thing that the Cavs will need to do is to defend. Why? Even though the Spurs won’t have Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio is still loaded with talented scorers. 

Prediction: Kawhi-less Spurs vs. the Defenseless Cavs

LeBron James and Manu Ginobili

Two struggling teams both on the 3rd spot of both conferences. Who would win? Or who would fall first?

Yes, both squads aren’t standing as tough as they could but they are in different situations.
Cavs is in a conflict despite the team and its key players present all the time while San Antonio struggles without their key player Kawhi Leonard.
The Spurs is dealing with some mental or emotional hardship while the Cavs were really being rained down with embarrassing defeats.
So I guess, San Antonio’s not mentally conditioned while Cleveland couldn’t just give enough to win games.
After all, Cavs mental condition might’ve been affected after losing some must-win games especially the Warriors game followed by another unfortunate loss against OKC recently.
So what would be the story of this matchup?

Weak defense vs. Incomplete Offense

Cavs loss was due to their defensive issues like letting the opponent score too much than usual which is, of course, a result of a very loose wall defense. On the other hand, Spurs would play without Kawhi.
It would be a battle of singlehanded powerhouse teams that are now perhaps not at full power like they used to be.
The outcome would depend on how fast the score would rise. A low scoring ball game means that the Cavs are taking control, otherwise, it would be the Spurs walking with heads high even without Kawhi.
It would be an adjustment within the match. Whoever adopts first with their weaknesses to take advantage of the other side’s vulnerability would prevail.
Cavs way to win is to force Spurs to turnovers, make them miss a lot of shots and deliver empty possessions while the best way for Spurs is for someone off the bench to set up and fill in Kawhi’s void. 

Cavs Interested in Lou Williams

Cleveland has been said to be willing to send two players for Williams

There’s no doubt in the minds of every fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers that their team is struggling DESPITE LeBron James’ brilliance and the fact that Isaiah Thomas has been playing. They have dropped 7 of their last 10 games and the last one wasn’t a good one either. The Cavs got themselves destroyed by the Oklahoma City Thunder. 148-124, ON THE CAVS’ OWN FLOOR.
The Cavs have been included in the teams that are looking to make a move before the trade deadline this February and among the players whom the Cavs are targetting is DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers. And apparently, DJ isn’t the only player from the Clippers who is being targetted by the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Ladies and gentlemen, can you imagine Lou Williams in a Cavs uniform?
Yes, folks. Lou Williams, one of the few bright spots in the otherwise an ugly season for the Clippers, has emerged as a trade target for the Cavaliers who are looking to reshape their roster because people are beginning to worry that they might not make it past the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics- should both squads make it that far.
To begin with, Lou Williams has been on a tear in the last 10 games as he is averaging 31 points and 6 assists per game. And the Clippers are lurking around in the 8th spot in the West with a 23-21 record.
Apparently, the Cavs are willing to send JR Smith alongside Tristan Thompson in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams. While the ESPN Trade Machine has indicated that the trade involving the said players will work without the complexities, the Trade Machine also indicated that the Cavs will add 4 wins to their projected number of wins assuming that they pull the trigger on this one.
Assuming that both teams will make this deal a reality, the Cavs will now have two elite scorers off the bench in Lou Williams and Dwayne Wade. With DeAndre Jordan at the 5 spot, Kevin Love can now focus on playing at his natural position. With JR Smith gone, Tyronn Lue can start Kyle Korver at the 2 spot to provide some early long-range bombs.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the Cavs are in dire need of upgrade despite having one of the best players in the NBA on board. Hopefully, having a player like Lou Williams and having one of the league’s elite rim defenders in DeAndre Jordan will improve the Cavs’  situation because if not, they will become the laughingstock of the NBA. 

Magic Passes: Westbrook’s 20 Assists Outwit Cavs Shaky Defense

Russell Westbrook and LeBron James

The rare simultaneous burst of the triple threat Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook came into a supernova to destroy the Cavs for their 4th straight victory 148 – 124.
Melo hit his season high with 29 points, while George scored 36. But what’s even more jaw-dropping is Westbrook’s 23 points with 20 assists.
Westbrook’s magic passes are at it again. He tends to pass the ball a lot yet still scored more than enough to provide triumph for OKC. He was one board short of getting another astonishing triple-double.
Cleveland’s burden became heavier and heavier. It was a game of frustrations for Cavs. LeBron James was rooting to hit 30 000 career points but was pulled out with only 7 points remaining. Love played 3 minutes due to his sickness.
What’s most frustrating is that their defensive issues apparently are still left unsolved. They let OKC scored so high that they’ve lost with a huge gap. A team with a defensive strength normally does not allow their opponent to hit the century mark even in lost games.
Cleveland became too much of an offensive team yet they were almost outshone by OKC starters alone.
OKC totaled 121 points out of 148 with their 5 starters alone. 7 points behind and Thunder first five could have beaten Cavs’ whole team score.
Cavs just do not have enough force to push forward or pull OKC back in as they could not force a single digit deficit. They reached by as close as being 12 points behind but it turned out to be LBJ’s last hit of the night and OKC stretched once again by as much as 31 points.
Scores:
OKC 148 – George 36, Anthony 29, Adams 25, Westbrook 23, Roberson 8, Bench – 27
Cavs 124 – Thomas 24, James 18, Crowder 17, Smith 8, Love 0, Bench – 57

What is happening to the Cavs?

In the crazy world of NBA basketball, one thing has been a constant in the past few years, the Cleveland Cavs always playing solidly. They might not have won every game, they perhaps haven’t blown too many sides off the court, however, they have rarely been crushed. It has been incredibly rare to see LeBron and co have to slink off the court after suffering a genuine mauling by another side.
Last night though they were left broken and bruised after a stunning performance by the Minnesota Timberwolves who raced in a 20-4 league and didn’t look back for a second. If you are feeling as lucky as the Timberwolves then come shoot some hoops with 243 ways to win on the excellent game basketball star. It is a game that combines the best of basketball with the best of slots. It is easy to play, fun to win and is the perfect way to combine a love of dunks with a passion for spins. The Cavs will be hoping their luck can turn as the season goes on.

Basketball, Spalding, Ball, Sport, Game




They will be particularly worried about the fact that LeBron was kept down to only ten points and with rumours abounding that he might not be sticking around in Ohio for too long, the team need to get back on track and have the King playing at his best, sooner rather than later. It was his lowest points total in a game since October 2007 which was all the way back during his first stint with the Cavs. For a team hoping to win back the title they lost to Golden State Warriors last season they are not in great form having lost four of their last six matches as they experience travel sickness in road matches.
The margins have not made for great reading either, this 28 point loss has come hot on the heels of a 14 point deficit against the Boston Celtics and a 14 point defeat to the Sacramento Kings who currently hold a losing record. While the Cavs themselves are 26-14, they have already lost more than half as many games as they did when they won their last championship with a significant amount of games to go.
They do therefore look a little bit vulnerable, while the Warriors continue to sweep all before them with their 33-8 record, this could be the first year in a while where we do not see LeBron in the NBA finals and he decides his time back in Akron has come to an end. With the Celtics on form and the Raptors firing on all cylinders this could be a very hard year for the Cavs and LeBron.
Basketball, Basket, Ball Game, Sport
It is important for them to get back on track quickly, to get LeBron firing again and to give a boost to the whole team. It absolutely does not feel like they are big trouble or in a crisis but they also are nowhere near their best and if any team are going to stop Golden State then they have to reach a level far higher than where the Cavaliers are at right now. They can start on the road back to the top with a win over the Raptors, a side currently above them in conference, when they meet on Friday.

The Struggle is REAL for LeBron and the Cavs

Lebron James and Stephen Curry

LeBron admits this season is the hardest for him

When the Cleveland Cavaliers swapped Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas who, at the time of the trade, was still recovering from the injury he sustained during the last playoffs, many people were worried that this deal would have a rippling effect to the success rate of the Cavs. Despite getting Derrick Rose who was also dealing with his own injury problems among other matters, and Dwayne Wade, the defending Eastern Conference Champions are not as dominant as they used to be during the previous 3 seasons despite LeBron James playing another MVP-worthy season.
The Cavs began the season inconsistently and right now, they are nowhere near the super team that they should be. Why? If they are, then they should be holding the best record in the Eastern Conference, to say the least. Instead, the Cavs are in the 3rd spot in the East with a 26-17 record- 7 games behind the East-leading Boston Celtics.
Recently, LeBron James, who is averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in 43 games this season has finally admitted one thing that has been observed by many: the 2017-2018 season has been the hardest for LeBron. 

How bad is it? 

Since December 19, 2017, the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone 3-9 and are riding on a 4-game losing streak. The Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors, twice, and to the Celtics of Kyrie Irving. But one of the ugliest defeats that the Cavs have to endure this season was the one against the Toronto Raptors, 133-99. That, by the way, was the most lopsided defeat that has been absorbed by the Cavs. It was so horrible that LeBron James was seen yelling at his teammates at the bench as if he was the coach. 

Conclusion

If the Cavs can’t figure things out before the playoffs, it will put Tyronn Lue’s coaching job in jeopardy and worse, it will almost secure LeBron James’ ticket out of Cleveland. However, we shouldn’t count the Cavs just yet because whether we like it or not, the Cavs are still seasoned for another Finals trip assuming the Cavs make it past the Celtics. And who knows? These struggles might benefit the Cavs in the long run. 

A Better Kyrie Without LeBron or a Better LeBron Without Kyrie?

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

Before this season commenced, the phenomenal duo of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving parted ways.

How are they doing separately so far?
Kyrie Irving with the Boston Celtics is already on fire or should I say, already set a fire. They ran a jaw-dropping 16 straight wins and is holding on the eastern top quite tight until the current time. They’re just so strong despite Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s departure to the Cavs. What’s even more amazing is they withstood an unfortunate scenario of Gordon Hayward being seriously injured.
It is Kyrie Irving who defines Celtics’ success this season so far.
On the other hand, Lebron and the Cavs have been in a swamp on the opening of their season. They stayed for a little bit of time on the lower part of the standings at the number but slowly found their way up to number 3 currently. They also lost to a Curryless Warriors. A very painful defeat tastes against their rivals.
Nevertheless, the Cavs beat Kyrie and the Celtics on their 1st game.
If we would judge LeBron and Kyrie in terms of their performance with their teams, the favor would obviously be on Irving’s side as the Celtics are sizzling hot on this phase.

But how about their performance in individual terms?

Based on my observations, it is and will be both beneficial for LeBron and Kyrie. Why? They are both offensive monsters and both score by themselves most of the time. Two players like this should not stay on one team as it would lead to lack of team play. Them being separated would lead to the maximization of their skills in isolation plays and clutch times. Anyone could score, but in terms of clutch times, it would take a Kyrie or a LeBron to take and make that winning basket.
But as of now, Kyrie with the Celtics is having a great season as compared to King James with the all-out Cavs. In fact, LeBron was deprived of the separation benefits mentioned above because the Cavs had a lot of players that mostly play and finish individually like Derick Rose and Dwyane Wade.

Individually the betterment is in equilibrium but the holistic improvement slid down to the Celtics land. 

Bogut Released by the Lakers

Expected to be signed by a playoff-bound team

The Los Angeles Lakers have just lost their 9-straight game after beating the Houston Rockets. After sticking around within the top 10 in the Western Conference for most of the current season, the no-longer mighty Lakers have stumbled to the bottom of the West as they currently hold an 11-27 record. While injuries to Lonzo Ball and other players plus the Julius Randle problem have led to this struggle of the Purple and Gold, their inconsistencies on both ends of the court are to be blamed why the Lakers are this bad.
The Lakers have also become known as a team who makes bad signings, something that they have done so consistently during the past few seasons. And it appears that they haven’t learned anything at all.
Andrew Bogut is believed by many as one of the greatest players Australia has ever produced. After all, he was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks as the top pick back in 2005. But he hadn’t made a crack this season with the Lakers this season as he only averaged 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 24 games which included 5 starts. Bogut was signed by the Lakers believing that Bogut could bring some veteran presence to a young core. And now, they are finalizing things out to release him.

What’s next for Andrew Bogut?

For a player of Andrew Bogut’s caliber who has been averaging 9 points and 8 rebounds per game throughout his career, it will not be difficult for him to get signed by a potentially-playoff bound team. Teams like the Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers could utilize Bogut’s defensive skills on top of being one of league’s best passing big men. 
But of course, Bogut could make a return to the Bucks to play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe. After all, the Bucks are in deep need of a big man as they have been losing tons of games ever since they played the “Barney song” against the Toronto Raptors. Who knows? Bogut might be the answer to the Bucks’ losing streak. 

Conclusion

While there’s no doubt that Bogut will choose to sign with a championship-contending team, there’s also a big risk. After all, Bogut’s career has been mired with injuries. While there’s no denying that Bogut remains as one of the league’s defensive-minded big men, signing him is definitely a big gamble for any team. But then, who knows? 

The Boston Revenge: 3 Reasons Behind Cavs Defeat Against Celtics

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving Shaking Hands before the Game
After the Boston Celtics’ season opener defeat against the Cleveland Cavaliers, they finally got the chance to strike them back. Celtics redemption thwarted the Cavs 102 – 88.
Kyrie only scored 11 points but still, Celtics destroyed the Cavs completely.

What could be the reasons behind this overwhelming Celtics win over Cavs?

1. A not so dominant LeBron

Surprisingly, in games wherein most expected that he’ll go all out, LeBron scored only 19 points. Though he was the top scorer for the Cavs, still it is unusual for him to play so small. He even missed all his attempts from beyond the arc.

2. Rozier’s big play off the bench

While everyone was expecting and focused on two guys — Irving and James, Terry Rozier came off the bench very efficiently. Rozier rocked the arena with 20 points off the bench within 20 minutes of playing time. While Kyrie Irving struggled from the rainbow country, delivering nothing out of his 5 attempts, Rozier’s just at ease to hit 4 out of 6 long balls.
It was a great trump card that a player off the bench played bigger than the superstars on the floor. Nobody or at least a few anticipated that the biggest point contribution would come from a man who hasn’t played even half of the whole 48 minutes.

3. Disabled I.T.

Isaiah Thomas could’ve been Cavs best card to play against Boston but unfortunately, he is at rest and has just recovered from injury. I.T knows even the bench players of Boston. He could’ve been the key to cease Rozier’s explosion earlier. He could’ve forced to sit out Terry and let the worst shooting Kyrie longer.

Overall, Boston played a not so big game but unfortunately, the Cavs were at their worst form in any aspect.

Kyle Korver delivered well on his task — shooting threes yet he’s alone. As mentioned above, LeBron hit nothing but the steel rim. Same as Kevin Love, a dangerous towering outside shooter was a dormant at the game both inside, perimeter and beyond the arc. Love hit 1 out of his 11 attempts on the field and nothing of 4 outside attempts.
Celtics win over Cavs can be considered as a lucky victory. Nothing turned out to be huge and explosive. It is the other way around instead. Most of their key players were missing in action. It was great for Boston facing the worst Cavs and having a Rozier ready to go to aid the empty-handed Kyrie.

3 Big NBA Stars Likely to be Traded this Month

With trade season already in full swing, expect these players in different teams before February.

The trades that were made during the off-season prior to the current season were blockbuster ones that some fans even made pre-season predictions that their respective teams will beat this and that. And now that the trade restrictions are off the hook, we can expect more of those blockbuster trades especially now that the February trade deadline is fast approaching. 
During the first three months of the 2017-2018 season, the NBA has been rocked by the deafening noise that is created by the trade rumors surrounding big names. With January already a few days old, we should be seeing some of those rumors to become a reality and below are the three BIG stars who are likely to be playing for another team come February: 

1. Paul George

Despite playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George’s name has been connected to various trade rumors which included a trade that could send him to the Los Angeles Lakers- a team PG13 is desiring to play for. For this trade to happen, the Lakers could offer Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson in exchange for Paul George. 
While trading Jordan Clarkson is definitely a heavy decision for the Lakers because JC6 has emerged as a solid leader off the bench, trading Julius Randle will be easier because he isn’t fond of coming off the bench. If this trade happens, it will be a win-win situation for both teams because Paul George now gets to play for his hometown while Julius Randle gets a fresh start with the Thunder alongside Jordan Clarkson who could start at shooting guard for the Thunder. 

2. Julius Randle

As mentioned above, Julius Randle is no longer happy with his decreased role while playing for Luke Walton. So expect him to be sent elsewhere where he would be utilized better. Possible destinations for Randle would be the Thunder, Denver Nuggets and, yes, even the still-struggling New York Knicks. Julius Randle could be a valuable asset to any team who could get him because he is still young and can still develop into a dominant power forward.  

3. DeAndre Jordan

DJ’s Los Angeles Clippers are playing catching up for the 8th spot in the Western Conference as they are riding on their 4-game winning streak. However, with injuries to key players,  the Clippers are no longer the same team they used to be during the Chris Paul era. 
And despite DJ playing well this season, it appears that the Clippers are no longer interested in paying for DJ’s hefty salary as they have been engaged in numerous talks with opposing teams in hopes of getting someone of high quality in exchange for Jordan, one of the league’s elite centers. Right now, there are two teams who have the potential to land DJ: the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.   

Conclusion

Of the three mentioned players, Paul George has the highest possibility of getting traded owing to the current situation in Oklahoma. Why? They have yet to perform like the super team they were supposed to be. Who knows? Trading one of their stars might help actually help the Thunder. 

Highlights: Birthday Boy Cavs LeBron James Bow Down to Jazz Rookie Donovan Mitchell

Cleveland Cavaliers ends the year with a three-game losing skid after falling behind rookie-lead Utah Jazz. LeBron James played well but it wasn’t enough. In fact, a number of Cavs players did pretty well including Jeff Green who scored 22 points and Kevin Love who contributed 20.
But it was the Jazz’ night as they controlled the game in the last two quarters led by Rookie Donovan Mitchel who was scorching hot with 29 points. The rookie played like a veteran and made some difficult shots. The Jazz ended the year with a win.
Highlights of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Utah Jazz game:

NBA in 2018: Questions that Need Answers

Lebron James i the NBA 2018

After a stunning pre-season which rocked the season, there are things that we are looking forward to in 2018

While there’s no question that this year’s pre-season was one of the wildest in recent memory due to the various super teams that were assembled plus the arrival of some of the promising rookies, 2018 should present the answers to the questions most of us asked prior to the start of the regular season and below are just some of the questions:

  1. Will Golden State repeat as champions?
    This is probably the most obvious question everyone asked after the Warriors successfully reclaimed the NBA championship from the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the super-trio of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson still intact to this point in time, many were predicting another dominant season for the Warriors. However, numerous injuries have hit the Warriors during the first two months of the season and the fact that the Houston Rockets have started the season on fire had many questioning the Warriors’ dominance. In fact, many fans are now saying that this is the weakest the Warriors have become over the course of the 3 seasons. Sure, they are back atop the Western Conference but can they repeat as champions? That’s a different story, folks.  
  2. Will OKC make it work?
    One of the stories that rocked the NBA the most was when the Oklahoma City Thunder assembled an on-paper mighty super trio of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George after getting the latter two from separate trades. On paper, this trio can almost beat any super team but the problem is, they haven’t been the team they are meant to be. Until now. Heading into their first game of 2018, the Thunder have won 8 of their last 10 games with a 20-16 record which puts them in 5th place in the West. While the Thunder have been better than they were in November, can they actually keep only winning and make a championship team out of this? We’ll be watching, OKC.
  3. Will Lonzo Ball become the best rookie in history?
    Lonzo Ball was one of the most-hyped rookies in history ever since LeBron James’ pre-draft days. After being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the number two pick, many fans began saying that Lonzo Ball will bring the Lakers back to the Finals. As this point in time, this pundit on wheels is very much disappointed with Lonzo Ball’s performance because he is being outplayed by his own teammate, Kyle Kuzma, who is the 27thy pick in the 2017 Draft. Lonzo is still clanking most of his shots, especially from the three-point line. Will he improve? The season’s still long so there’s still plenty of time. Rookie of the Year material? Nope. 
  4. Where will LeBron James take his talents next?
    This is probably one of the most nagging questions this year even before the start of the season. There were many speculations as to where His Majesty will establish his new kingdom come July of next year. One prominent destination where LeBron could land is the Lakers where he will be joining the young core that includes Lonzo Ball. Or, he could join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. Or what about Houston? The possibilities are limitless. Or, he could remain in Cleveland depending on how far will the Cavaliers go in the playoffs. 

Conclusion

One thing is certain. All of the questions above and more will be answered slowly as 2018 begins unfolding itself soon. Mind you, folks. The trade deadline is almost at hand.Remember those trade rumors? They may make noise anew come January. 

Happy New Year, everyone. 

Balls-Eye: Cavs Could’ve Been Better if Only Wade Was the New Guy

Dwyane Wade

They’ve done it before. They could’ve done it again.

The supposed to be spectacular blast of supernova due to merge of superstars turned out to be a tiny spark with a lot of smoke. Its a foggy path for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Losing Kyrie Irving gave the Cavs the need for LeBron to find another partner. One person would suffice. And if there would be anyone who’d perfectly fit the puzzle, it would be Dwyane Wade of course. They have proven their effectiveness way back when they played together for the Heat.

It would have turned out way better if a team has only one main focus.

1. Derrick Rose

Most of the time, Rose’s plays are isolations wherein he would score the basket himself through a lightning fast cut through to the unprotected rim. We know that LeBron provides this kind of offense already. The one man team style of play. If there’ll be two guys like this on the floor, in times of crisis, teamplay would be as good as dead. Another thing is that two players with this kind of mindset won’t be able to work together. Well, given that they tend to score baskets all by themselves.

2. Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas

These two great players came from the same team — the Boston Celtics and it happened when they were key players of that squad. Meaning, they already have the chemistry and sense of team play inherent between them. As a result, in most of the plays wherein I.T sets up, most probably Crowder would be its focal point.

Conclusion

Cavs maybe very strong as it appears because there are teams within the team. But that’s also what made them weak. They aren’t as compact as one when they play.
If Dwyane Wade would be the only one to be added, despite coming from the Bulls, he’ll had no one with inherent relationship except for former partner LeBron James.
Cavs do not need extra power. They just need to empower their usual source. And this would be done through Dwyane Wade behind LeBron James. 

Scrutinizing Cavs: The Chances of Snatching the Eastern Top Spot


The Cavs has been doing well at this stage of the season despite losing against rival Golden State Warriors recently. The big question is, are they doing enough to boost up from number 3 all the way to the top spot?
Cavaliers run a 12th straight home win when they beat the Chicago Bulls short handed without point guard Isaiah Thomas.
LeBron James is as dominant as ever, averaging 28.1 PPG plus a 9.1 APG almost let his season performance be a double double.
It is a good thing that LeBron James stayed as threatening as he is given that Cavs are saturated with superstars from different teams before. But is it only LeBron doing well for the Cavs?
We could not deny the fact that the Cavs weren’t as explosive as expected. Almost everybody expect them to stay undefeated for a relatively long period of time but that’s not what happened obviously. Cavs experience terrible losses and downfalls against various teams like the Rockets and Warriors.
One good thing the Cavs has done to give them hope to earn the top spot is they have beaten the Boston Celtics in the season opener. It was a really good start that they’ve beaten the currently reigning team.

What does this mean?

It may make or break the Boston Celtics. It may make them extremely hungry for redemption or may scare them if they face Cavs once again anytime soon. Well, in fact Celtics has done well after opening the season with two straight losses against Cavs and Bucks. It was really breath-taking when they unleashed a 16 – 0 win streak.
On the other hand, the Cavs didn’t do well early, but sizzled in the mid phase of the season climbing from number 8 to number 2 and now in number 3.

Would Cavs have a chance to snatch the top spot?

We could not know for certain but if they would win in a match over the Raptors at some point, Celtics would surely be under ultimate pressure. It’s the Cavs, Raptors and Celtics now trying to snatch the top spot.
On what Cavs is currently doing, they’ll have a great chance of being the number one team. Their superstar chemistry is starting to work and be maximized. Point contribution is spreading and a single lose to Warriors is not the end for LeBron and the Cavs.

Scrutinizing Dubs: 3 Reasons Why Curryless Warriors Beat Cavs

Kevin Love

Kevin Love’s double-double of 31 points and 18 rebounds ended in a pit after losing against a Curry-less Warriors.

It would indeed hurt a lot for the Cavs to be beaten by their rival in the last Finals in three years. What made this defeat more painful is the fact that Steph Curry was unable to play. They were beaten despite the Warriors being handicapped.
What could’ve happened in the match that the Cavs weren’t able to capitalize on a short handed Warriors?

1. Worst Shooting Night for Both Squads, But Warriors did a little bit better.

Imagine two of the best teams in the league shooting so bad. That explains the low scoring ball game relatively speaking to both squads considering they are both offensive.
Cavs made 28 out of 88 (31.8 %) while Warriors were 38 out of 82 (46.3) from the field. It is not usual for these squads to miss a lot. 60 shots missed by Cavs. Their offense were way too inefficient.

2. LeBron wasn’t the offensive focus

Kevin Love became the main man of the Cavs when it should’ve been a great chance for James to go all out.

3. No Pachulia for Warriors, Better Inside Production and Faster Pace in Transition

Warriors without a center severely outscored Cavs inside, 44 – 20 in terms of points in the paint. Not just that but also in terms of defense, Warriors blocked Cavs 8 times while Cleveland? Not even once.
Cleveland may have not let the Warriors win the rebounds but still Warriors had the control.
Another thing is that Warriors dominate the transition game, scoring 33 fast break points but Cavs with only 9.

Conclusion

It is worse for the Warriors but way even more for Cavs. They failed to take advantage of Curry’s absence. Set up a wrong offensive focus and became inefficient on the field.

Update: Isaiah Thomas Attitude Getting Worse as he gets Closer to Return says LeBron James

LeBron James Comment on Isaiah Thomas Should Worry Other Teams.

In an interview, LeBron James was asked about the attitude of Isaiah and he was quick to say that it is getting worse and worse everytime you get an inch closer to something you love to do. This should be taken on a positive note as LeBron James are seeing signs of how Thomas wants to be back and make an impact.
Cleveland is not doing bad without him, currently, at 3rd in the Eastern Conference only behind rival Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, Isaiah Thomas entry to the roster is a welcome and anticipated addition but some are already hesitant about how he would greatly impact the chemistry of the Cavs.
Isaiah Thomas has never officially played as a Cavaliers since the blockbuster trade which swapped him for Kyrie Irving. Thomas is eager to be back on the court and has recently posted a video of him dunking.

IT 👀 #thatslowgrind (via @kayla_jasmin_) #thehoopgods

A post shared by The Gods Of Hoops 🔥 (@thehoopgods) on Dec 24, 2017 at 2:08pm PST

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Thomas did not play on Christmas Day against the Warriors, but he recently got through a full-contact, 5-on-5 practice with the Cavs’ G-League affiliate. Thomas is targeted to return January or in two weeks but Coach Tyrone Lue has not ruled out an earlier return.
Thomas was the main man of the Celtics averaging about 28 points per game and while that role will change in Cleveland, he has already promised to score close to 30 points once he returns in the lineup.

Balls-Eye: Boston Celtics in a ‘Must Win’ Situation

Kyrie Irving

Are the Boston Celtics running out of steam? Or is the Cavs on a doubled pace to chase them down?
Still hanging on the eastern top spot at 26-7, the Boston Celtics’ reign is currently in a critical condition. Seeded on the number two spot is their biggest rival Cleveland Cavaliers with 23 – 8.
One more loss and they dug their own grave. It would be very difficult to hold on if Celtics and Cavs would have the equal number of defeats for it means, the first team to lose a game equals a guaranteed fall off the peak of the standings.
Another thing is it’s not just the Cavs but also Toronto Raptors on number three waiting for their bitter 8th downfall.


Celtics’ next opponent is a must beat. Why? Aside from the facts mentioned earlier. Their opponent isn’t just any team. It was the squad who ceased their historical winning streak — the Miami Heat.

If you were Celtics, you cannot lose ‘twice’ especially if that defeat means more than just defeat. At first, it cost their streak to be turned down. If they’ll be crushed again, it’s the top spot that would be put at an extreme risk.
If Celtics would loosen up its grip that easily on the season’s early phase. It’s like they already lost their path to finish strong and win the title. They must not show the Cavs even a bit of weakness. They must be in a very threatening form once they cross paths. 
If there’ll be a team to stop them, it must not be anyone but the Cavs and that way their defeat would somehow mean something valuable. But if they lose into a team out of the battle map, it would just seem like a wasted spark they’ve shown this season. Everything they’ve built with the new Celtics would end up in vain.

Ball Scrutiny: 3 Reasons Why Bucks Crushed Cavs

Giannis Antetokounmpo defending LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers fell one step short, falling into the hands of the mighty Milwaukee. Lebron James with 39 points was worth nothing but a bitter defeat.
What could’ve gone wrong for the Cavs? Or maybe it’s just the Bucks finding the right mix for an impeccable chemistry?

1. Cavs too slow to come back?

Bucks swallowed the Cavs whole in transition basket. Scoring 24 fast break points while Cavs with only 3.
Yes, the Cavs had delivered well in terms of plays but in transition where high defensive vulnerability is present, that is where things got rough for Cleveland. They could not match Bucks’ pace led by the Greek Freak with 27 points.

2. Greek Freak not Alone Anymore

In most games, Giannis frequently scores above 30 points yet Bucks loses. So what’s with a winning 27 point performance?
The Greek Freak didn’t fight alone against the Cavs. A small guy in the name of Eric Bledsoe helped him with 26 points. In fact, 4 of 5 starters finished with double figures.
Khris Middleton with a double-double of 18 points 10 assists to help Bucks slip past Cavs.

3. Cavs wasn’t expecting Bucks as a team

With a misleading anticipation that the biggest problem would be Antetokounmpo, they somehow got him under control but left so many spots open for the rest of the Bucks to deliver.

Conclusion

Milwaukee is a good team with Giannis but a great team which could destroy powerhouses with the rest of the team supporting the Greek Freak.
Cleveland, on the other hand, fell another step back on their race to chase and take away Boston’s spot on the top.

Balls-Eye: Just How Amazing is LeBron’s 17 Assists?

LeBron James

Well, the answer is it reached victory for the Cavs over the Hawks. But this is talking about a game perspective. Now, how about a ‘historical’ perspective?
Before we get into that intriguing question, I must admit that 25 points coupled with 17 assists are just way too far from ordinary basketball. Only those one of a kind players has what it takes to ignite and explode the way he did. It seldom happens that a player reaches more than 20 points but still isn’t selfish of the ball.
25 points and 17 assists are just the perfect epitome of efficiency. It is something we do not see everyday. Really extraordinary.
Okay, let us go back to the question I have raised a while ago. How about this performance on a ‘historical perspective’ let us talk about the 17 assists alone. How amazing are those 17 assists?
Looking back at those legendary records marked, it is far from breaking the highest record of 30 assists by Scott Skiles of the Orlando Magic against the Denver Nuggets when they were tied at the standings 6 wins 23 losses. With him dishing out this 30 magic assists, they went ahead to chase their 7th victory of the season. But this is far back, it happened last December 30, 1990.

Now let’s check out the best passers in today’s basketball era.

If there’d be anyone, it is Rajon Rondo who managed to bag 20 assists and up several times.7 times to be exact and his highest was 24 in a single game against the Knicks last 2010.

What’s Amazing About LeBron’s?

I know you guys would ask if LeBron didn’t break the record then what’s amazing about his performance? Yes, he may have ‘only’ 17 assists and Rondo had 24. It’s a bit far but who performed better? Of course, it is LeBron when talking about the totality. Rondo only scored 10 points that time, relatively small compared to James’ 25.


It is hard to score high while passing effectively for your teammates. But guess what, James did.


Balls-Eye: Warriors-Cavs Match Up Already on Hype, How Crucial Is this Game?

Stephen Curry shooting over Tristan Thompson

Two weeks from now, two teams who clashed in the recent NBA Finals will go head to head once again. Two weeks is still a long wait but not to both squads and to their fans and pretty much everyone who knows about the NBA in every inch of the world.

Given the hype, what’s the buzz behind the buzz? Just how significant will this game be for both ends?
It will be redemption for the Cavs of course. Though not totally because that match is a different story when we talk about a ‘finals series’. For the Warriors, it’s for their team’s morale as well. They do not want to show their rival any signs of weakness at any point. They want to stay as ferocious as they are ’til they meet again in the final stage (if possible).

Finals Rematch Uncertainty

All teams will try to take both of them off the race to the finals especially these two special teams who snatched their usual no. 1 spot in the conference — Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets which even made this game more crucial.
Why?
Warriors are on no. 2 in the West while Cavs hangs on no. 3 in the east. Who knows? The teams above them may slide all of a sudden and whoever wins between Cavs and Warriors will have the higher probability of climbing up the top spot. Though from the looks of things, their spot in the playoffs is secured. It is still best for teams like them to finish second to none in their respective conferences.

Conclusion

Whenever Cavs and Warriors meet up, it will always be more than just winning a game. There’ll always be side dishes that are even more blazing than the game itself. Their story would never end ’til both of them will be shut down completely by an even more powerful squad.
Who knows? That team might be here right here, right now. 

LeBron James to Houston: A Real Chance?

Executives believe Houston has a real chance in landing LeBron 

Lebron James and James Harden

Ever since the possibility of LeBron James leaving his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers next season, for the second time around, has popped up, the scenarios as to where LeBron James would be playing next have been flooding the NBA. 
Initially, the most probable destination for the King would be the Los Angeles Lakers to team up with Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Then, the Philadelphia 76ers have indicated that they would be making a push to sign LeBron James at the end of the current season. 
Now? Another team from the Western Conference has appeared to be another candidate to win LeBron’s services- that if you will believe the league executives. That team is none other than the Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets are enjoying a big amount of success as evident by their 20-4 record- the best in the West. They are on a 9-game winning streak and Chris Paul has been playing like a “point god” alongside James Harden ever since CP3 returned to action after sitting out tons of games due to injury. James Harden has become the league’s leading scorer as he is averaging 32 points per game. The Beard is also averaging 9 assists per game- the second best in the NBA next to Russell Westbrook. As a team, the Rockets are the second-best scoring team, averaging 114 points per game. So, you could just imagine how powerful the Rockets would become if  LeBron James goes to Texas next season.
LeBron James is having another MVP-worthy season, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers in 4 of the 5 departments. However, despite their recently ended 13-game winning streak, the Cavs are still in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with a 19-8 record. And, injuries are piling up anew, forcing LeBron James to play extended minutes. If the Cavs struggle anew this season like they did during the season’s early weeks, then it will only cement LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland, again.

Conclusion

Realistically, the Rockets are the best team to land LeBron James next season assuming that LeBron leaves the East. Why? Chris Paul is one of the King’s friends and the King has always said that he wanted to play alongside CP3. And talent-wise the Rockets are definitely the team LeBron should consider to play for especially if he wanted to improve his 3-5 Finals record. After all, if this move happens, the Rockets will have one of the best super teams that have been assembled in recent memory, right? 

Derrick Rose Trade Rumors, Reason for Coming Back and Message to Teammates

Derrick Rose does not care about money, Adidas wasn’t the reason why he returned!

At 29 years old, Derrick Rose should still have been at the prime of his basketball career but unfortunately, it looks like his body is ready for retirement after yet again suffering another injury that may either need a surgery or another therapy.
Yes, Derrick Rose is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being absent for a while to figure out things and his future. Now that he is back, it does not mean that he is ready to play, in fact, it may be another week or longer before we can see the former MVP inside the court again.

But, why did he come back?

Why not? The fact is, Rose is still young and if he can find a way to not get injured he could probably still see three basketball years in his life. Derrick Rose played a total of 7 games with the Cavs averaging 14 points per game which is not at all bad. Rose’ return to the Cavs does not make a lot of difference with the team but certainly, it is a welcome bonus especially with the Cavs who has a lot of veteran players who are prone to being injured.
During an interview, Rose stated the reason why he returned and debunked rumors that it was mainly because of an 80 million dollar contract with Adidas which will be put into waste if he decides to walk away from the game.
In the interview Derrick Rose said.


“Man, I don’t care about — not to be rude — I don’t care about no f—ing money,” Rose said. “It’s not about that. I’ve saved up enough money. It’s not about that. If I wanted to leave, I would have left. Like I said, coming back here, starting with rehab that’s my first step. Keeping it simple and just giving my team support and then I’ll see what I see off the court.”

If it’s not about the money then it’s probably about winning the championship. Rose has a great opportunity to win the elusive title with LeBron James and the Cavs and was very thankful for the opportunity to play with them. He also answered questions about asking for a trade and quickly said that there is no truth to it and he will never ask for a trade.
During his return, he also personally apologized to his team for being away and explained to them the reason why he needs to be away for the moment.
While there are reasons to be happy on Derrick Rose’s return, there are a few things that will still be worrisome for the Cavs such as when he can actually play again.
Check out Tracy McGrady’s comment about Derrick Rose.

Wade’s Coming off the Bench Producing Good Results for the Cavs

Dwyane Wade only started 3 games this season. And he doesn’t mind at all

Despite being 35 years old, Dwyane Wade will always be one of the greatest shooting guards we have in this league right now. He has won 3 championships with LeBron James during their playing years with the Miami Heat. He took his talents to the Chicago Bulls that didn’t even produce a playoff appearance for the Bulls. 
Now that he’s back alongside his pal, the King, the Cleveland Cavaliers now have one of the most exciting dynamic duos we have seen these past few years. And by the way, after their early struggles to start off this season, the Cavs are now on a 12-game winning streak after beating the Chicago Bulls, 113-91. This current streak of the Cavs has enabled them to slowly catch up with the East-leading Boston Celtics as the Cavs now hold a 17-7 record which puts them in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.
Now, what worked well for the Cavs this season so far? Aside from LeBron James’ unquestionable brilliance and dominance this season, the mere fact that Dwyane Wade is coming off the bench to provide the leadership when LeBron is resting has done wonders for the Cavs. With Derrick Rose still preparing for his return to the line-up and, Isaiah Thomas still recovering from his injury, that left Tyronn Lue without a choice but to start JR Smith alongside Jose Calderon in some games.
Dwyane Wade’s coming off the bench, as mentioned, has produced positive results for Cleveland and that was evident when Wade scored 24 points against Chicago- shooting 69% from the field while grabbing 6 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Wade has averaged 11 points per game this season- one of the lowest in his 14-year career but we all know that Wade can still explode for 30+ points anytime.

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While we don’t know how long Dwyane Wade will be coming off the bench this season for the Cavs but if we look at this scenario: LeBron James and Kevin Love providing the spark early on while Wade providing the additional reinforcement off the bench, then there’s no way the Cavs cannot catch-up and overtake the Celtics in the standings.

Conclusion

If anything, we have to commend Dwyane Wade’s attitude towards coming off the bench because even though he’s a legitimate superstar, he embraces his new role for the Cavs with open arms. He can produce 30 points or more in a snap regardless if he’s a starter or not. One way or another, Wade’s contributions to the Cavs are big and that’s why they are winning at the moment.