Seattle -- Just wanted to pop in before I leave KeyArena for a little snap judgment on tonight's game, which the Cavs lost 101-96. This is still the difference between a team like the Cavs and a team like, say, the Spurs or Mavericks or whomever up there. None of those teams loses a game like tonight. In my opinion the Cavs have been turning a corner over the last month because they've been dedicating themselves to defense, which I wrote a little about today. If they stay on this path, and I'm making no predictions, they will win a bunch of games the rest of the season. They are really getting it, I can see it and I can feel it in the locker room. They say the right things and doing the right things defensively.
But while they continue to make strides there, I still believe they will occasionally be these setbacks due to focus and offense. Nine of the Cavs last 10 shots were long jumpers. Which is why they lost. After handling the Sonics zone all night with drives and excellent passing, they just bombed away. This is partly due to focus and partly due to not having a more sound offensive attack in crunch time, which can be blamed on the sideline and the guys on the floor.
Here's what I mean. After the game, LeBron James said:
"When you shoot 18 percent from the 3-point line it is going to be tough, we had some great looks we usually knock down."
I see 3-of-18 on 3-pointers and don't wonder about the "3," but the "18," especially when I see 41 percent shooting overall. The Sonics writers here are all impressed with their team because LeBron was held to just a few points in the fourth, I was more interested in that Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn't score more in the fourth against the zone he was eating up all night. LeBron wished more 3s would've fallen, I think they should never have been taken.
Until those lessons become more honed and more toward second nature -- like the defense is showing some signs of -- this team is still very much of a work in progress. A good team, yes, but not a complete one.