Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Saturday, April 04, 2009

It isn't that bad

In a way it is funny. The Cavs already have 61 wins and the best record in basketball. Yet last night in the bar, you would think the sky was falling. Joe Average was cursing those high-paid bums.

Yes the Cavs were embarrassed last night and yes the two losses put the Lakers back in the race for homecourt advantage.

But in the grand scheme, it doesn't mean much. And if the Cavs had to lose, I think what happened ultimately will help more than hurt.

After 16-1 March where the team honestly didn't play its best ball, the team was due to be humbled. Against the Wizards they used a script that seemed to work over and over. They fell behind early and they tried to show up at the end. The worst team in the Eastern Conference however came to play that night and held the Cavs off. (It is more of a statement on the character of the Wizards -- how can a team with that much talent have that bad of a record-- they play hard when they feel like it rather than all the time) Last night the back to back caught up to them. While Cavs have played well in that situation all season, Orlando had a point to prove and they did just that.

But a seven game series is something else. What works in game one and game two won't keep working all series. When the Cavs lose normally it is because either and usually both Mo Williams and Delonte West aren't shooting well. Sometimes they turn it on late in a game to make a run but if they aren't hitting shots the Cavs are in trouble. And while that happened last night, I don't see it happening over and over in a seven game series.

The inside defense is a concern as has the overall defense the last two nights. But come playoff time, I can't imagine Coach Brown or LeBron allowing it to continue. The Cavs are built to be a defensive team and that will come through in the playoffs.

Losing is never fun. But you have to believe the Cavs will respond positively from being whupped. Winning can breed complacency. Hopefully being embarrassed will bring focus.