The Cavaliers Have a Major Issue: Western Conference Powers


The Cleveland Cavaliers have failed to get over the hump against Western Conference powers so far this season.

If you still believe the Cleveland Cavaliers can compete for a NBA Championship this season, you need to sit down and watch their match ups with their likely opponents come June.

0-3 is their current record against the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, and none of these losses were respectable defeats. It’s safe to say that the Cavs need a lot of work before the playoffs if they want any chance at bringing a Finals Trophy home to Cleveland.

For one, the Cavaliers cannot let games get away from them that they should be winning. At first, it was safe to assume that due to injuries the Cavaliers weren’t able to pull out a win over a red-hot Golden State Warriors team. Although the whole team was present during the 89-83 loss on Christmas Day, stars like Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert were just returning from significant injuries. It was obvious that the Cavs looked like a new team with the returns of these big name guys, but still a little uncertain on how exactly they needed to work together.

Moving on, the Cavs seemed like they were on the verge of rebounding from their Christmas Day loss to the Western Conference counterparts with their strong start in their match verses the San Antonio Spurs. But once again, the Cavaliers proved that keeping up with the top-two teams in the NBA is a struggle, dropping a 50-44 halftime lead and losing 99-95.

It’s apparent that the Cavaliers have a serious issue. Since their close loss on Christmas Day, they haven’t been able to play well against neither the Warriors or the Spurs. Their latest loss to the Warriors came as a devastating blow to both their pride and their confidence. The 132-98 loss proved to be their worst this season.

There’s a major concern surrounding this Cavaliers team now. Besides the obvious concern that they are 0-3 versus their expected opponents in the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers overall team production is a significant problem for the team.

The Cavaliers have turned the ball over 43 times in the three match-ups with the Spurs and Warriors. Against teams who thrive off of given opportunities, the Cavaliers haven’t been able to keep control of the game in their own hands. It could be the fact that they don’t have a true point guard to control the floor, but they do have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving who are two of the most efficient offensive players in the NBA.

The Cavs haven’t been able to shoot either. The team is yet to surpass the 50% shooting mark against either of these teams. Although their shooting percentages aren’t terribly inefficient, they have yet to shoot better than their opposing team in all three match-ups. With this shooting comes the poor productivity from key players. In the first meetings against the Warriors and Spurs, the Cavaliers had at least two players play above ten minutes and not score. These players aren’t come off the bench for breathers players either. Timofey Mozgov and Iman Shumpert were both held scoreless in the first meetings. Then, in the second meeting against the Warriors, LeBron James and J.R. Smith were the only players to surpass ten points.

This inefficient shooting is a serious problem for a team who will most likely play high scoring teams. Keeping up is a majority of the battle when playing the Warriors and Spurs, and the way the Cavs have played in these early meetings with them, they can’t seem to play well enough to stay competitive. Everyone thought that the Cavaliers had all the weapons to compete and eventually win the 2016 NBA Finals, but that isn’t the case thus far.

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On the defensive end, the Cavaliers don’t look like a team that has the defensive presence to hold these powerful teams to scores low enough to win. Players like Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov are playing much lower than they have in the past defensively. It may not be that their numbers are down, but watching them, you see that they look lost on the defensive end. Neither player seems to know how to control the post like they have in the past.

With three of the four meetings between the Cavaliers and the Western Conference top two teams in the books, it isn’t a secret that the Cavaliers have looked dull. With one match-up left between the Cavalier and the Spurs, Cleveland has one chance to redeem themselves before possibly playing either team in the NBA Finals.