Standing United Smothers the Fire
If Hollywood stars know one thing, it’s that hard to stop the media. They are constantly stalked, photographed at the wrong times, and put into awkward situations with twisted words. It’s part of the life of a “star.” It’s not any different in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers built their own worst enemy.
When James decided to return to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, the hype around the Cavaliers went from a team rebuilding to a team picked to win the title. With that came an influx of media attention. From the rumors of the Andrew Wiggins for Love trade, to the stories of this season, the Cavaliers have had ESPN and the national media spotlight breathing down their neck.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are praised by the media each time they succeed and for every failure they rip them apart. With their 42-17 record, it is a testament to the players and Lue for keeping the ship afloat. Through Blatt’s firing, to the Love trade rumors, and the reports of discontent in the locker room, the Cavaliers are record-wise a better team this season than last season.
Cleveland is on pace to win around 60 games. While it is a far cry from the potential record-breaking efforts of the Warriors, the Cavaliers are actually having a good season overall. That said, it’s time for the team to begin to stand more united. Whether it’s in post game interviews, or in heat of the moment on the court, the players need to start rallying around each other.
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One of the best things the Cleveland Cavaliers have going is the multitude of handshakes between the players after wins, after great plays, and in post-game interviews. That needs to be infectious onto the court. Too many times the camera catches LeBron screaming at Mozgov, Irving, or any other players for a bad play.
What the camera needs to see instead are the leaders of this team taking each other under their wings and giving positive reinforcement. If there’s one thing that the Warriors and other teams seem to have over the Cavaliers it’s a sense of camaraderie. They seem to enjoy playing with each other. It’s time the Cavaliers begin to show that as well.
The Cavaliers feel the pressure to win a title. The $200 million dollar payroll, and David Griffin’s moves in trades and signings built that pressure. LeBron’s return also added to the pressure. That much is known and the players know it.
However, one thing that they need to do is to loosen up. Instead of ripping each other for poor play, they need to be seen picking each other up. When the games get tight, stop complaining to the referees and looking for a bailout, but rather look to your teammates. Challenge each other to come back on the other end, get a stop, and get another look on the offensive side of the ball.
The games are more enjoyable when the players are dancing after big three’s, celebrating on the bench, and giving each other celebratory high fives. When the players are fighting among themselves on the court, it adds fuel to the media’s fire, and they start digging for stories. It’s time to stop that. It’s time to rise above it all.
Next: Through the Fire And Flames