After Game 1 loss, are Cavs done? We debate, and history says . . .
Are the Cleveland Cavaliers in serious trouble after Monday night’s 99-92 Game 1 loss to the Chicago Bulls?
The question certainly sounds ridiculous enough, what with the series only one game old and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving still on the Cavs’ active roster. But it’s a question that FOX Sports Live’s panel discusses in the video above, and there is more than one reason why the question might not be as ridiculous as it initially sounds.
How deep is your Love? . . . and the rest of your bench?
Clearly, the biggest problem for the Cavs is the sudden lack of depth. If Cleveland wants to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole . . . and then head to Chicago to try to get the games back . . . it will have to do so without the Cavs' Nos. 3 and 4 scorers from the regular season and postseason.
With forward Kevin Love out for the playoffs following shoulder surgery, and guard J.R. Smith suspended the first two games of this series after hitting the Celtics’ Jae Crowder in the face in the Cavs’ series-clinching Game 4 win over Boston, LeBron & Co. are relying on the likes of Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and Mike Miller for more offense.
In Game 1 against the Bulls:
● Shumpert: 8-17 FGs, 22 points, minus-9 rating in 41 minutes
● Thompson: 1-2 FGs, 4 points, plus-4 rating in 37 minutes off the bench
● Miller: 1-2 FGs, 3 points, game-worst minus-20 rating in 16 minutes
As Jim Jackson states in the video above: “This is (not like) saying ‘they lost and Chris Bosh didn’t play.’ And then he came back. . . . In Game 2, now with Mike Miller, is he going to start the next game? . . . These are the things you have to look at.”
Chicago’s big man didn’t score, either
The Bulls got the same amount of points from one of their star big men as the Cavs got from Love. The problem there is Joakim Noah grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots to spearhead a defensive effort that held Cleveland to 42 percent shooting.
Plus, Pau Gasol gives the Bulls their points in the paint (21 points, 10 rebounds, 10-of-16 shooting in Game 1). Cleveland center Timofey Mozgov took only eight shots and scored just nine points, and backup big men Kendrick Perkins and Brendan Haywood didn’t even play.
Only 16 teams have come back from down 2-0 to win a playoff series. Ever. And if the Cavs fall down 2-0, they will have to win at least twice in Chicago to advance.
Not all coaches are first class
The Cavaliers sport a rookie head coach in David Blatt who has been second-guessed and discarded more than any other coach this season, being accused of taking a back seat to James when his star player wants to override the coach’s play calls.
The Bulls are led by Tom Thibodeau, an NBA Coach of the Year Award winner who won an NBA title as an assistant in Boston and is a current assistant on Team USA.
Reasons for hope?
There are a few nuggets that do stand out in favor of the Cavs, and they can actually be found when digging deeper into the previous two items.
● Thibodeau’s Bulls teams have won Game 1 in a playoff series five other times before this series. Their record in those series is 2-3 -- and two of those losses came to teams on which James played.
● One of those 16 teams to come back from the 2-0 hole? James’ 2007 Cavaliers.