At the NBA trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers cleaned house. Almost everyone was traded (with the exception of LeBron James and Kevin Love) and it was basically a completely new team for the stretch run to the playoffs. Those first couple games were exciting (wins over the Celtics and the Thunder), but losses to the Wizards and the Spurs (still without Kawhi Leonard) have followed, and the novelty appears to be wearing off quickly.
On Sunday, the Cavs fell apart in the second half against San Antonio, eventually losing 110-94. LeBron James did what LeBron James normally does, and put up 33 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists, but it wasn’t enough. Strangely, he only made four trips to the free throw line. The entire Cavaliers team only went to the line 14 times. When you compare it to the 32 attempts that the Spurs received… well, LeBron wasn’t happy about the disparity.
Here’s the transcript of his post-game comments:
“We’re at the point now where we protect the shooter more than the driver. There’s no reason I should be going to the line four times a game when I drive a hundred times to the paint, and I’m getting hit and slapped and grabbed and whatever.”
“But we protect the shooter. That’s what it’s turned into. Chicks dig the long ball and that’s what it’s about.”
LeBron will probably see his wallet lightened ever so slightly in response to these comments, since the NBA can’t possibly tolerate players criticizing the officials. He probably has a point though, since James is one of the most physically dominant athletes in the entire NBA and gets to the bucket with relative ease most of the time. He’s definitely drawing a ton of contact, so why aren’t referees calling it by the book?
The mysterious and wacky 2017-18 Cavaliers season rolls on…