The Cleveland Cavaliers took on the vaunted Miami Heat last night without their best player, Kyrie Irving, and their second or third best player, Luol Deng. The Heat were without Dwayne Wade but have played without him for much of this year. For the Cavs this was the first without Irving and not having the tough defender in Deng to guard LeBron James makes it that much tougher. Cavs’ faithful were expecting a world of hurt and instead received a surprise: A competitive game.
The Cavs withstood a huge first quarter from James, who scored 25 and seemed like he couldn’t miss, and were standing toe to toe with the defending champs into the final quarter and final minutes of the game. A few misses here and there, along with a few makes by the Heat, and the game was over. Besides the competitive game the biggest storyline from last night was the non-call on a Dion Waiters drive to hole near the end of the game. James and Udonis Haslem converged on Waiters and blocked his shot up top all while hitting and pushing him down low. Waiters landed hard on his hip, the Cavs had to foul and the game was over. Waiters stayed down for a few minutes writhing in pain.
Yet no foul was called!
For the Cavs the question is whether or not Close is Good Enough or is this another case of close but no cigar? The Cavs were undermanned, out gunned and playing a great team. Hopefully the Cavs team sees this as a reality that the team is able to be competitive. The team now sits 6 games out of the 8th playoff seed and needs a huge push over the next few weeks before a easy April schedule.
Some have speculated that James could see signs of a competitive team in this game and could lead him to want to return. His covered mouth conversation with Alonzo Gee has been speculated as a conversation about a possible return. Whether the Cavs make the playoffs or not may be secondary. If the team could get James to return the team could be competitive, any team with James would be. Adding James to a healthy Irving, the young core and a lottery pick in a deep deep draft could make a dynamic long term team. Even without James that team could be a competitive team.
Was last night a good sign or just another close but no cigar kind of game for the Cavs? Does it give you hope?
Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers