Cavs look to move faster, without rushing
CLEVELAND -- When the Cavaliers finally get this up-tempo stuff down pat, they think they'll be even better than before.
"We need to move faster without committing turnovers," said new coach Tyronn Lue.
It's been a whirlwind of a January for the Cavs.
They went 5-1 on a tough six-game road trip. They returned home, only to lose to the defending champion Warriors by 34.
They fired coach David Blatt. They put Lue in charge. They talked about the need to work on their conditioning, to get in better shape for the playoffs.
And their new team-wide motto has become to "play with pace."
The Cavs had already played 44 games through Wednesday -- but it's almost like they're starting over again.
"There's a lot going on," admitted point guard Kyrie Irving. "My mind is going a thousand mph."
Irving's mind isn't the only thing racing in these parts. If Lue has his way, the entire roster will be learning to move a lot faster, all while playing smarter.
But while the entire basketball-loving planet seems to be focused on the Cavs' speed, Lue merely wants them to pick it up a little, share the ball, keep moving, and try not to settle.
In other words, the Cavs aren't looking to break any scoring records here. They just want to keep opposing defenses busy. You do that by looking for the open man, finding him, and giving him the ball.
You also do it by not standing in one spot and dribbling. Lue's philosophy is one of constant motion -- but not hurried shots.
There's a big difference, and something the Cavs hope to figure out between now, and the start of the playoffs in April.
In the world of the NBA, that's gobs of time.
And in the world of the NBA, this is the type of system the players love.
You could see that in a 115-93 win over the Suns -- just Lue's third game as coach. The Cavs moved the ball, ran the breaks and threw down a few high-flying dunks. They passed, they cut, they scored with the greatest of ease.
On one sequence, J.R. Smith dribbled down the floor after a steal, then bounced the ball off the backboard to a trailing James, who caught it and flushed it home.
The Cavs won't always look like the Harlem Globetrotters -- but by golly, if things go well, the opportunity may occasionally present itself.
"Guys (are) getting a chance to get out and run, getting layups," Lue said after the thrashing of the Suns. "J.R. Smith got a couple layups, dunks. LeBron got a couple dunks. I think the way we want to play is fun. Everybody gets involved."
Lue has also made it his mission to get Kevin Love more involved. In that Suns win, Love went for 22 points and 11 rebounds in a mere 27 minutes. Again, that was Lue's third game.
Or how about James. He also went for 21 points, but attempted just eight shots. He made seven. Oh, and he wasn't even needed in the fourth quarter.
That, of course, was just a taste of what the Cavs hope to become.
Eventually, they want their best moments under Lue to become the norm. But they know it's not something that will take place in the blink of an eye.
They want to push the pace, but not rush, and while they want to hurry, they're in no hurry to perfect Lue's new system.
Sound complicated? It's OK. Even Kyrie Irving's mind is going a thousand mph. Soon, though, the Cavs expect their offense to catch up.