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Cavs Fall Short in Lackluster Game 3

It is Friday afternoon and I am just now providing the recap for Thursday night’s game three with the Chicago Bulls.  And it’s not because I haven’t had the time or because I just didn’t feel like writing up a piece about playoff loss number one this season.  If I would’ve written this up immediately following the game, it would sound completely different than the way it’s going to work right now.  And let me tell you why:

The Cavaliers played poorly.  There’s just no two ways about it.  They played awful defense and, for the first three quarter, played poorly on the offensive end as well.  Everyone in Wine & Gold, including King James, was burned seemingly every time down the floor by Derrick Rose (31 points, 7 assists), Kirk Hinrich (27 points) or Luol Deng (20 points).  It was a miserable performance all around and, quite frankly, was one of those games that just makes you sick to watch.

But this is where I shift directions and take it in a different way than I would have last night.  And I do so because I got a chance to listen to LeBron James speak at his press conference and this is how he opened up: “I am not concerned.”  Plain and simple.  “I am not concerned.”  So that got me thinking, If LeBron isn’t concerned, why am I?  And after watching the Lakers get beat by Oklahoma City in the second half of Thursday night’s double header, I’m even less concerned than I was after the press conference.

Cleveland shot under 44% from the field but, as we feared during the regular season, it was poor free throw shooting that did them in.  LeBron was just 7-of-13 as the Cavaliers, as a team, were a combined 20-of-31 from the charity stripe.  As well, they recorded 13 turnovers in comparison to Chicago’s eight.

More impressively, the Cavs clawed back from a 19 point deficit behind 39 points from the King.  James added 10 rebounds and eight assists to a near triple-double performance – which is incredibly scary because he played poorly and still nearly pulled off a triple-double.  Antawn Jamison was very solid as he tossed in 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds.  And Mo Williams had a decent performance, getting better as the game progressed, and finished the evening with 21 points.

Anderson Varejao and Delonte West led an uncharacteristically weak charge from the Cleveland bench as the two combined for just 10 points and eight rebounds.  And game two’s hero, Jamario Moon, sank back under the radar as he was just 1-for-2 with three points.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of game three was Shaquille O’Neal’s (I am strategically not calling him by any cool nicknames because, quite frankly, he doesn’t deserve it today) lackluster effort.  O’Neal didn’t attempt a shot outside of about three feet from the basket but still only managed a 2-for-8 shooting performance in almost 20 minutes of work.  LeBron called him out after the game saying, “We need him to pick up his play and he knows that.”  O’Neal refused to speak with the media but I, for one, can feel a huge game coming from the Big Fella in game four on Sunday afternoon.

And as a side note, Joakim Noah said last night, “I don’t want people to think I’m just a circus freak.”  I think I speak for most Clevelanders when I say Too late, sir.

Topics: Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Cavaliers, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Delonte West, Game 3, KJG, Lebron James, LeBron James, Mo Williams, NBA, Playoffs, Shaq, Shaquille O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas

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  • jhay

    cavs will still win this series but I have to credit the bulls defense and they played really good that makes the cavs look bad. Cavs has to respect this bulls team to defeat them. They were on the eight seed only beacause of injuries and now they are all playing.The cavs has to realized that no matter how good they are they were outplayed.

  • coach g

    True to form, Mike Brown has hung an important loss on the Cavs in the playoffs with his afflicted thinking that you only play 7 players in the playoffs plus one matchup guy.

    Was there a Cavs fan watching Browns loss to the Bulls who couldn’t see the glaring difference in quickness on the floor especially on defense?

    Brown needed to put the fastest lineup out there, not the Orlando matchup linup out there. A big part of the problem was Brown hasn’t put Varejao and Hickson on the floor together very much all year because of his “preference to bring Anderson off the bench”.

    Another thing is sit Williams and Parker if they aren’t going to hustle to stay attached to Rose and especially Hinrich. Boobie Gibson would put out effort and on offense, he passes instead of trying to show off his dribbling like Mo and D-West. Chicago excelled at staying in front of anyone who dribbled so HELLO, passing and moving without the ball would be the keys to not getting down by 22.

    So fast guys who can help get the Bulls down for the summer are Hickson, Moon, Gibson, Varejao, James, D-West, and Mo if he will hustle on D and pass.

    If this was against Orlando Shaq, Z, Jamison, Parker, and Jawad would be matchup players v Howard, and, Lewis, and Pietrus.

    If Coach Brown doesn’t understand he has 13 starters and should use the ones that match up against playoff opponents, pull his ticket and let LeBron call the lineups.

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    I’m not sure we can credit Coach Brown with that loss. The Cavs played a very poor game on both sides of the ball and gave very minimal effort for three full quarters. We can’t tribute that to a coaching mistake.

    Brown is riding the lineup that he is going to need throughout the playoffs. He can’t sit guys like Shaq and Jamison for large parts of this series and then expect them to come out and produce in the next series and each series after that.

    I’m not quite sure where all the anti-Mike Brown comes from because he has done an incredible job with this team over the last few years. A loss by that margin can only be tributed to a lackluster effort on the part of the players…not the coaching staff.

    We’ll see what the Cavs are made of on Sunday afternoon. Keep the faith, Coach G! GO CAVS!