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.


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. 

By the Numbers: Cavs Rout Pistons, Claim 5th Straight Win

That is despite a low-scoring game from LeBron James

LeBron James was one of the 6 Cavs who scored in double figures. 
After faltering, fading and suffering embarrassing losses during the early stages of the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the defending Eastern Conference Champions, are finally catching up and finally, gaining grounds as they are finally becoming the team that the rest of the East used to fear during the past 3 seasons: a legitimate super team.
The Cavs exploded for 36 points in the first quarter, scored 37 in the second quarter and never looked back as they beat the Detroit Pistons, 116-88 to extend their winning streak to 5 games.
So what worked well for the Cavs? Let’s check the numbers below:

The Cavs’ Impressive Start

As they say in basketball, when you start the game great, the greater chance you will win the game. And that was one of the things that enabled Cleveland to nab their 5th consecutive win. In fact, 16 of the 36 points that the Cavs scored in the first quarter against the Pistons came from none other than LeBron James. And Tyronn Lue’s boys didn’t stop there as they scored 37 points in the next quarter. Impressive, isn’t it?

Balanced Scoring: 6 Cavs in Double Figures

  • Kevin Love: 19 points
  • Jae Crowder: 18 points
  • LeBron James: 18 points
  • Jose Calderon: 14 points
  • Channing Frye: 11 points
  • Jeff Green: 10 points

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In a game where no one from either squad scored above 20 points, balanced scoring proved to be the difference as LeBron James, after scoring 16 in the first quarter alone, ended the night by scoring 2 points the rest of the game, finishing with 18 points. But he didn’t have to carry the load alone, Kevin Love and Jae Crowder chipped in with 19 and 18 respectively but what proved to be another difference in the game was the fact that Tyronn Lue started Jose Calderon who scored 14 points in just 24 minutes of action.  


If anything, this is exactly the Cleveland Cavaliers that we’ve been searching for. Mind you, folks. Iman Shumpert is out. So is Derrick Rose. And don’t forget about Isaiah Thomas. If the Cavs can win without the guys that are mentioned, guys who are shooters and one former league MVP, then the Cavs are actually undermanned, to begin with. And they are fine with it. So far. 

By the Numbers: Cavs Snap 4-Game Slide with 57 Points from LeBron

LeBron scores 57 while playing the entire second half 

Lebron James 57 Points
LeBron James had another MVP-like performance in a win to snap Cleveland’s recent slide.
If anything, LeBron James isn’t used to losing. Not just during the playoffs. Not just in the Finals where he is 3-5. 
LeBron James hates losing in the regular season. And yet, he just lost 4 straight. 
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost three games against relatively mediocre teams coming into their match-up against the Washington Wizards. 
And Tyronn Lue knew one thing: he won’t be coaching for long should the Cavs’ misery doesn’t end soon. Fortunately, the Cavs finally broke out of their slump. Thanks to a dominating performance by… 
You guessed it, folks. LeBron James.
The King scored 57 points, tying Kyrie Irving’s record for most points scored in a game. He also became the 7th player to reach 29,000 career points as he led the Cavs to a 130-122 win against the Washington Wizards despite Bradley Beal’s 36 points. 
So how did the Cavs come out victorious on this one?  
Below are the numbers:

John Wall hit the Wall

For a player like John Wall who has been averaging 21 points per game this season, his 13-point output against the defending Eastern Conference champions was far from what fans expected of him. 
Sure, his backcourt partner, Bradley Beal exploded for 36 points and if it wasn’t for Beal, the Cavs would have blown the Wizards away. John Wall had to bleed for all of his points as he only made 4 of his 13 attempts, missed all 3 shots from the 3-point line, and missed 7 free throws. Given how close the final score was, it would have been different had Wall made more from the free throw line. What a waste, indeed.

42 Points in the First Quarter

As they say, begin the game on a good shape. chances are, you will win it all. Both the Wizards and the Cavs started the game scoring from all angles as the Cavs ran away for 42 points during the first 12 minutes of play. 

57 Points. Plus More

As mentioned above, LeBron’s 57 points against Washington tied Kyrie Irving’s franchise record. Although he didn’t have to because he had tons of help from various players including Derrick Rose who had 20 points, Jae Crowder with 17 and Kevin Love with 11, the King was clearly unstoppable regardless of who Scott Brooks put on against LeBron. #23 made 23 of 34 shot attempts and went perfectly in 9 tries from the free throw line. Aside from that, he had 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. And yes, he did all of that for 43 MINUTES.

Free Throws are Precious

  • Washington: 21 of 31
  • Cleveland: 26 of 28
If you look at the disparity in the free throw numbers, both attempted and made, you’d probably say, “Damn it, Washington!” The Cavs won by 8 points and the Wizards missed 10 free throws. On the other hand, Cleveland did a great job in taking advantage of their opportunities from the line and the numbers don’t lie either:
  • LeBron James: 9 of 9
  • Jae Crowder: 8 of 8
  • Kevin Love: 5 of 5


Despite their recent losing streak, make no mistake about it, folks. The Cavs are still the best team in the East, at least on paper. While uncertainty looms around Washington owing to the injury of John Wall, we can’t just count them out of the picture. Just yet. Despite the loss, the Wizards are also one of the teams in the East that can challenge the supremacy of the King and his Cavaliers. 

By the Numbers: 3 Things that Failed the Cavs Against Indiana

And because of these things, the Cavs endured their 4th consecutive loss

The Pacers outscored the Cavs, 32-22 in the 4th quarter to come out with the win.

The defending Eastern Conference champions reloaded themselves during the busy off-season, bringing in Dwayne Wade back alongside LeBron and getting Isaiah Thomas and a bunch of role players from Boston in a deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. 
While those deals made the Cleveland Cavaliers, a much-stronger-on-paper “super team” which, according to their fans, can finally match-up well against the Golden State Warriors- should both teams meet again in the NBA Finals.
Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and stay in the course of the regular season, for now. 
8 games into the new season, the Cavaliers are now 3-5, the same record that LeBron James has in his 8 trips to the Finals. 
After starting the season with a win over the Celtics which was followed by another victory against the Bucks, the Cavs went 1-5 since then, including 4 straight losses, the last one from the hands of the Indiana Pacers who are by the way, playing well despite being without a consistent center or a superstar after trading away long-time star player, Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the early months of the 2018-2018 off-season.
So what happened to the Cavs against the Pacers? Below are the numbers:

22% Shooting from Deep

Let’s start with the worst one. To begin with, the Cavs are shooting 34% from long distance during the course of those 8 games- placing them tied for the 19th spot in that category. Against the Pacers however, LeBron James and company only made 7 OUT OF 31 ATTEMPTS from the 3-point line- that’s 22% 3-point field goal shooting, folks. And yet they allowed Indiana to hit 16 of their 26 attempts from that area. You see the difference? It was a huge difference. 
Need any more? Here are the players who miserably struggled from outside:
  • Kevin Love: 2 of 6
  • LeBron James: 1 of 5
  • JR Smith: 2 of 6
  • Jae Crowder: 0 of 5
  • Kyle Korver: 1 of 5

8 Turnovers for The King

While there’s no doubt in everyone’s mind, or at the very least, in the minds of his fans, that LeBron James is on a course to win another MVP this season. But, how can you even win a basketball game if you are careless with the ball? Despite his 33 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists against the Pacers, one of the many things that haunted LeBron and eventually the Cavs, was his 8 turnovers- that’s half of the turnovers Cavs had during the entire game. 

Lack of Intensity from the Starters

If your starters are struggling, then pray that your bench steps up. In this case, the bench of Tyronn Lue outscored the bench players of Indiana, 34-18. The problem was: the Cavs’ starters failed to match the intensity and consistency of the Pacers’ first five as the latter outscored the former, 106-73. Indiana could have beaten the Cavs by relying on their starters alone but fortunately, they had little help from off the bench. 


Maybe the Cavs are dealing with many things nowadays, LeBron’s impending departure, Derrick Rose’s injury, Dwayne Wade coming off the bench, possible chemistry issue. You name it. Maybe having too many superstars have finally caught on the Cavs. Maybe it’s affecting their chemistry to begin with. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. If they don’t sort things out by themselves, then they won’t be making it back to the Finals this season. Just maybe. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Everybody Saw the Ugly Hayward Incident but Nobody Saw that he Was Fouled?

The videos stated: A foul should have been called

Gordon Hayward injured
While it was surely unintentional, LeBron James clearly made contact with Gordon Hayward. 
Two games into the season. Two lost games for the Boston Celtics. 80 more to go. And they will have to play the rest of the 2017-2018 NBA season without one of their newest acquisitions over the very busy off-season: Gordon Hayward. 
Hayward sustained a gruesome leg injury 5 minutes into the Boston’s season opener against the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hayward was then carefully put on a stretcher and was taken out of the court while players from both sides were clearly shocked by the horrific scene- seeing how cruel life can be for basketball players, for all athletes for that matter. 
While the Celtics managed to challenge the Cavs until the final buzzer, it was LeBron James’ MVP-like performance, which included 29 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists, that propelled the Cavs to open their season with a victory. Mind you, folks. LeBron himself missed a big chunk of the preseason due to an injury but whatever that injury, it didn’t appear to be slowing down the King, at least in the opener.
Now, let’s focus our attention on that specific play where Gordon Hayward got himself terribly injured. Hayward, who only scored 2 points before the incident, was attempting to complete an alley-oop play off a lob from Kyrie Irving. Here’s what happened next: LeBron James rose up to challenge the already on-air Hayward. Bam! The two players collided in mid-air. James was able to land on his feet but things went differently for Hayward, and for the rest of the Celtics. Hayward was headed for a bad fall after that unfortunate collision and made him land awkwardly. 
The rest was all gruesomeness as Hayward was screaming in pain. That was something any basketball player couldn’t bear to watch. Remember Paul George’s injury a few years ago? Well, that was more gruesome than this one but still, a gruesome one.
Right after the game where the Cavs managed to win on a 102-99 decision, this basketball pundit on wheels had a chat with one of his colleagues over Facebook messenger.  This pundit was asked by his colleague to check the replay of that play on YouTube. This colleague asked: “Wasn’t there supposed to be a foul, to say the least?” That question made this pundit on wheels go over YouTube and have a second look at that play.

There should have been a foul

From the personal perspective of this basketball pundit, a foul should have been called against LeBron James or, against Jae Crowder because he was the one guarding Hayward during that time and LeBron just came over as a help defender. LeBron managed to block Hayward’s attempt but it came at a cost. 
Now, LeBron James isn’t someone who will intentionally hurt his opponents as his gestures afterward proved- showing support to the injured guy by making sure he was getting enough medical attention while inside the locker room. And even this pundit doesn’t think it was LeBron’s nor Crowder’s intention to take Hayward out of the game. 
However, regardless if it was intentional or not, the question still remains: why didn’t the referees blow their whistles? Not that a foul could have avoided the injury but the fact still remains: Hayward clearly made contact with either LeBron, Crowder or even both of them and Hayward fell. Badly. Maybe the referees saw differently from their perspective. Maybe the referees missed something. Maybe. Maybe. Lots of maybes. Really. 


Press releases from the Celtics and Hayward’s representatives stated that Hayward’s surgery was successful. He even managed to address the Boston fans right before the Celtics’ defeat from the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, their second straight to open the regular season. With Hayward possibly missing the entire season, the Celtics may have to rely on Kyrie Irving. Alone. Again.
As for the NBA, they should really review that play. Nobody wanted that to happen and Gordon Hayward knew the risks of that play but that doesn’t change the fact that somebody got hurt and nobody was penalized for it. Nobody.  Hayward was fouled. A foul should have been called. And the referees didn’t call it. That was their call. And we can only respect their call because they were the ones on the court and not us, right? 

Who Won on the Celtics-Cavs Trade?

Does the Boston Celtics make the right move in trading Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving?
The Celtics got a 25-year-old four-time All-Star with an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal on Irving. A player who demanded to be removed from the shadow of the best player in the league, so he can show that he is ready to be the face of another franchise.
The Cavaliers on the other hand, got a two-time All-Star who led the Eastern Conference in scoring and finished in the top five of the MVP voting in Thomas.
A big factor on the trade was the inclusion of Boston’s 2018 first round pick from Brooklyn.
Celtics will start the season with their own Big 3 in Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Then Cavaliers will test their new backcourt with the addition of Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose to team-up with Lebron James and Kevin Love.