As challenging a year as it’s been for the Cavaliers, they looked like they had everything under control as recently as six days ago when they went into Boston and smashed the Celtics. They sent a message; we’re still the defending the champs. The East still runs through us. And we’re still the team to beat. We know what time it is. And where the freaking the switch is. We don’t have to deal with any of you. You deal with us.
At least that’s how it looked until. And then they choked away a 26 point fourth quarter lead against the Hawks, with the top seed in the East hanging in the balance. And then they blew another double digit fourth quarter lead last night, losing to Miami, enabling Boston to jump over them in the East.
Now it’s the Celtics who control their own destiny, not the Cavs. Of course, now, the Cavs will tell the top seed doesn’t matter to them. That they’ve been a two seed five times with LeBron and made it to the Finals all five times. Great. Except, the top seed did matter as recently as a week ago, when coach Ty Lue said he would play LeBron and Kyrie until they locked up the top spot. So of course it matters to them. Just as it does everyone else.
67 percent of the number one’s over the past 30 plus years have gone on to win the title. So the only people who say it doesn’t matter are the ones who don’t have it.
Again, I’m not saying the Cavs won’t make it out of the East. But I don’t base that on the Cavs being the defending champs and playing great, I base it on the fact that I really can’t make a compelling argument for anyone else.
But the Cavs should be concerned. They’re 5-5 in their last ten, they’ve played average basketball for months now, they don’t defend, they suddenly can’t finish, they’re banged up, they can’t trust their bench, and they’re about to lose the top seed and the home court to the conference finals that comes with it.
This is trending badly, and it’s not just a bad game or a bad week, this is who they’ve been since the first of the year. No way they beat the Warriors playing like this, and that’s if, if they even get out of the east, and that’s suddenly no lock either. But if they do, the Warriors will be right there waiting to rip back what was rightfully theirs, because they are playing their best ball when it matters most and they’re only to get better as Kevin Durant re-acclimates to them and to it.