LeBron, Cavs can't turn corner, but it's likely coming

BY foxsports • November 19, 2014

Random dribbles from the Cavaliers' 92-90 toughie of a home loss to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday:

1. Cavs fans are probably tired of hearing about the need for patience, and it's hard to blame them. But what choice do you have? It's either be patient, be worried, or be miserable. Take your pick. I'm not a fan, but I know which one sounds best to me.

2. Actually, I take that back. In many ways, I'm still a fan -- even though I receive a full-time salary to be "impartial." But while I cover the entire NBA, my emphasis is on the Cavs, and I always like to see them do well. Plus, I grew up here.

3. Now that we've covered the History of Amico, let's get back to the game, and more importantly, the bigger picture. Yes, LeBron James struggled to the tune of 6-of-17 shooting and just 15 points. There was also the matter of getting the ball stolen by Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili or whoever at the end. Personally, I think LeBron just dribbled it off his shoe. But my vision was blocked and I haven't watched a replay, and probably won't. It doesn't matter.

4. I do like how James turned toward his teammates after the game, tapped his chest and said "my bad." Everyone messes up, even the greats. But that's hardly why the Cavs lost. They lost because the Spurs are just better.

5. This game, this portion of the season isn't a huge reason for concern -- or anything close. November has always just felt like an extension of the preseason anyway. It's not until Christmas Day that the NBA season feels like it's started. Even the Spurs are just 7-4. Hardly a riveting beginning for a team expected to make another run at a title.

6. OK, back to James. I'm tired of the criticism: He's not as explosive. He's not handling the ball well. He's not sprinkling magic fairy dust on his teammates and his team isn't 10-0. Seriously. The guy is coming off a week in which he averaged 37 points and the Cavs went 3-0. This week, they're 0-2 with a bad loss to the Denver Nuggets. I get that. But is James to blame? C'mon.

7. I said it in my weekly chat and I'll say it again: You don't tank for three years, decide you want to win -- and then suddenly win. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and others have been a part of a program that was fine with losing. A lot of fans were fine with it, too. And now those same fans are wondering why the Cavs aren't running off 10 straight victories to start the season.

8. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said it best when he talked about the types of evils newer teams such as the Cavs must experience. "You can't skip steps," he said. "You have to go through them as a team."

9. As an aside, I could watch the Spurs play every day. They are just everything that is right with the game. Tim Duncan (19 points, 10 rebounds) is simply ageless. And along with Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (and now Kawhi Leonard), they always seem to get huge contributions from so-called role players. On Wednesday, Boris Diaw (19 points) and Cory Joseph (10 important ones) also came through.

10. Cavs coach David Blatt on the loss: "I don't think one game gives you a true measuring of anything at this stage. You're playing one of the top teams in the last decade."

11. LeBron added: "I'm never happy with a loss. I hate to lose, but I'm happy about the progress we made tonight."

12. Anderson Varejao needs to have more games like this. He scored 23 points on 11-of-16 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Those are numbers normally reserved for Kevin Love (10 points, 11 boards). But the Spurs were all over Love, who went just 4-of-12 from the field.

13. Obviously, Varejao shouldn't be taking more shots than Love and about as many as LeBron. But you get the idea. Varejao needs to be a threat offensively.

14. Kyrie Irving went for 20 points after scoring zero in the first quarter. He passed for just two assists. Not all of that is on Irving. Guys missed shots. But he can still do a better job of looking to pass first.

15. I still really like what I'm seeing from rookie Joe Harris. He can shoot, he's athletic and he's determined on defense. I don't think the kid's a starter -- yet. But if he keeps this up, you never know.

16. LeBron on the final disappointing play: "Maybe I was thinking too much because I left the ball behind me." That he did. And guess what? The Cavs (5-5) can just learn from it and move on. Plenty of season remains.

Follow on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO


share