Cavs v. Hawks observations
The Cavs fell in disappointing fashion Friday night to the Hawks, effectively ending their season. Below are some observations from the game.
- This was a massive disappointment for this squad. Forget injuries and other issues, this team was sitting in the 6/7 spot for majority of the last two months and they completely fell apart. For how youthful this team is, this is on the coaches. Failing to prep this team for the postseason, it felt as if the coaching staff thought the ‘play in’ was NOT the playoffs until it was too late. It felt like as long as the other team didn’t make TOO MANY adjustments, the Cavs would be okay. A lot went wrong the last week of the season and these last two games, and this one in particular basically covered everything.
- Darius Garland is going to be a great player, but he played sloppy, didn’t hit shots consistently (was 9–27) and when the Cavs really needed a big time game, he didn’t have it. Yes first time for everything, but this guy wanted to win and be the leader, well here ya go kid! Lesson learned.
- The vets and newer guys on this squad (Love, Rondo, Markk, Levert) just weren’t good enough. Needed all four to be on and we were lucky if half were on in one game. Levert gets a bit of slack since he’s barely played with this team, but the other three. Love showed up last game then apparently was not playable this game. Markk disappeared in Nets game but played well here. Rondo was garbage both games.
- It was nice to see Jarrett Allen in here. He was definitely worried about getting hurt and was probably 75% at times. But he gave the Cavs enough, but no one else stepped up.
- None of this really matters unless you look at the coaching staff and head coach in particular. We can applaud the big jump in wins, but as I have written before, the team quit 2 months into the season (due to injuries) last season after being mad the season before they weren’t invited to the Covid bubble tournament. Then they upgraded several positions, got guys to care (Love) and lucked out on the best player in the draft. Yes there was going to be improvement. I predicted two seasons ago (with a different squad) they had potential of 33–35 wins. This past season I predicted they would make the playoffs and win 42 games, mainly on potential. A good coach would have gotten this team into the playoffs and not collapsed. This team was still in full playoff contention despite the rash of injuries. JB Bickerstaff is just not the right coach for this team. Watching other teams its apparent they have answers on how to run offense/defense regardless of personnel. JB and co. have no idea. It was REALLY apparent the last two games but a common theme throughout the year. I read the Cavs had the most blown leads in the league. That’s on coaching, and some player execution, but with a young squad, that’s coaching.
- Lets look at this Hawks game from a coaching standpoint. Why did JB in a ‘must win’ game not play all his guys and run fresh legs all game, especially with the hot start the team had? Why after Capela, the Hawks best defender, got hurt, did the Cavs not drive to the basket at will and dare the officials to call fouls? Why did the offense completely shut down in the 3rd quarter? Why does this coach have no idea how to adjust? Why does he continually yell at the refs and not coach his team? JB is the equivalent to Dwayne Casey with the Raptors and Mark Jackson with the Warriors. Good but not good enough or even great. This is a strong core that should be able to play for awhile. The Cavs can’t waste time sticking with a guy (who by the way they stupidly extended 4 years) who is the culprit of their problems. The Cavs collapsed losing 9 of 12 because of coaching. They started the first ever ‘play in’ game for this franchise since Lebron, going down 20 in the opening quarter on the road. They blew multiple double digit leads at home in ANOTHER ‘must win’ game by refusing to adjust their game or even utilize any and all personnel. Coaching malpractice 101.
- Now this team will go into the lottery AGAIN, a place EVERYONE in the organization vowed would NEVER happen again. Well its now 4 years in a row since Lebron left and this team is still picking from the lottery. Yes this team has a lot of upside, but I’m worried about the coach and his staff. What happens if injuries pile up again? What happens if Garland is out for awhile? Or Mobely? Or any other player in the rotation? There are a lot of lessons learned for this team going into the off season. Since this game and watching some opening 1st round games, the Cavs are farther apart then people want to admit. Some of it is personnel, but just the coaching in general is better on these playoff teams. It’s why those teams are playing and the Cavs are at home, waiting for the lucky lottery ball. Sigh. GO CAVS!