Indianapolis -- Mike Brown and I have a fundamental difference in the way we view basketball. Mike always, and I mean always, focuses on defensive reasons why the Cavs win and don't win. He was hired as the head coach for this philosophy. I, on the other hand, usually focus on offensive reasons when analyzing the Cavs. Hey, Mike knows more than me and he's the guy getting $2 million to coach so I'm not going to second guess him most of the time.
However, the reason the Cavs are struggling right now has everything to do with offense in my humble opinion. Offense was the reason the Cavs lost to the Pistons last season just as offense was the reason the Pistons lost three straight to the Cavs at one point in that series.
The other night in Toronto the Cavs scored 87 points against a team that was giving up an average of 106 per game this season. Last night here in Indy they made a grand total of seven baskets in the second half.
Even though it may have seemed boring to many of you, I wrote a lot about the new offense during the preseason. I really liked the back-door cutting and more plays going to the post. Well all that stuff has dried up. Much of that was inserted to take advantage of Larry Hughes' talents, the Cavs were quite interested in getting more out of their $70 million investment you see, and without those talents it isn't working too well. They have turned back into a one-dimensional offense with all the stock going into LeBron, who is now being regularly triple-teamed when he shows any aggression in going to the basket.
Perhaps I'm a stuffy fool, but I still believe it is a heck of an advantage to have a 7-foot-3 center who has some pretty good offensive skills. Last night, Zydrunas Ilgauskas got two shots. Two. I know it is a changing NBA and all these teams are making the Cavs play small ball. But last night the Cavs badly needed offense and their efforts to get some were lame. After the Pacers made some changes to stop the middle pick-and-rolls James and Andy Varejao were running the offense basically raised the white flag.
If you look at the Cavs defensive rankings you can see they are near the top of the league. And they're doing it without anyone who can realistically defend quick guards, which is more remarkable. On that end they are playing close to an elite level. But on offense right now they are below average and that must change if they want to be anything more than a .500 team at this point.
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