Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Cavaliers lose game one, win game two, and lose game three against the Bulls in round two of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Game four is May 10 at 3:30 pm....By Cleveland Urban News.Com Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough

By Karl Kimbrough, Cleveland Urban News.Com sportswriter ( Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Leaders In Black Digital News . Tel: 216-659-0473. Email: 
Cleveland Urban News.Com
Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough

CLEVELAND, Ohio-The Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves with one win and two losses in their Eastern Conference semi finals series against the Chicago Bulls after a solid 106 to 91 victory in game two, and a three point loss in game three. 

Game four, of the potential seven games for the best of seven, is Sunday, May 10 at 3:30 pm ET at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  It is a must win for the Cavs, if they want to truly stay in this tournament for an ultimate chance down the road for an NBA championship title. And Cleveland, a majority Black major American city, needs another NBA championship title, the one and only title of which was won in 1976.

It is almost erie how similar each team took the measure of the other by dominating the first quarters of each game. In game one it was Chicago jumping on a lethargic Cavalier team in the opening quarter. They would end that first quarter with a 27 to 15 lead over Cleveland. In game two it was the Cavaliers turn to turn up the intensity from the opening tip to dominate the first quarter 38 to 20. In game two the Cavs held a 13 to 2 lead at the 7:26 mark of the first quarter. In game one it was the Bulls who held a 13 to 2 early on and then expanded it to 18 to 5 before Cleveland could get out of their starting blocks. Cavalier leading scorer, Lebron James only took two shots in the first quarter of game one.

In game two it was Lebron's opposing superstar and former MVP Derrick Rose who only scored two points in the first quarter. He finished the first quarter making one out of five shots. At one point in the first quarter of the game two the Chicago team missed 12 straight shots, even after corralling several offensive rebounds the Cavalier defense continued to deny the Bulls to see their shots go through the basket. In game one Lebron's fellow star Kyrie Irving missed six of his first seven shots before getting his rhythm in the second quarter to spur a Cavs comeback attempt.

Similarly, all-star center Pau Gasal, who imposed his will on the Cavaliers in game one, went zero for four in the opening quarter of game two. Rose's back court mate and the Bulls leading scorer at 20 points per game, Jimmy Butler could contribute only three points in the first quarter of game two. 

Game two was Lebron's game to show the basketball world that he can still impose his will on any team, including the defensive minded Bulls. James was involved in Cleveland's first three scoring possessions. He either scored himself or passed to teammate Iman Shumpert for a three pointer. So like many playoff series, what we have witnessed in game one and two reveals how very good teams follow their leader, good or bad.

In game one the Bulls followed the aggressiveness of their star, Rose who lead them in scoring with 25 points. In game two the Cavaliers followed the intensity on defense and offense of Lebron who was almost perfect in his decision making and shot taking. He was five for seven in shooting, scoring 14 points with three assist in the first quarter. Also in game two, as a team the Cavs shot 13 for 20 for 65 percent and were five of six from the three point arc for 83.3 percent in the first quarter. What a contrast from game one when Cleveland made only 5 of 20 shots in the first quarter.

So why was there such a difference by the Cavs in game one, which they lost, and game two, which they one? Some may point to game one being the first game the Cavaliers were playing without Kevin Love and JR Smith. They say that they needed time to adjust. Others say the lineup change in game two with Tristan Thompson replacing Mike Miller gave the Cavs more size and made them longer in the paint and around the basket. Could Lebron going back to his headband, which he has called his cape, for the first time since March 7 bring a different intensity and attitude to he and his teammates? It is hard to believe that a headband has that kind of power. But if the headband is what gave LeBron and the Cavs the attitude change and aggressiveness defensively that made Chicago uncomfortable on offensive, then James should never take it off because that more than anything else was the key factor form game one to game two for Cleveland.

In game three, the Cavaliers simply did not bring the effort and intensity needed to seriously challenge the Bulls. That effort and and intensity starts with James, who needs to score about 30 points a game now that Love is out for the playoffs. He must also bring his all around game defensively and offensively to give Cleveland a chance to win the series. 

Other key players like Iman Shumpert, James, Jones, Kendrick Perkins and JR Smith will need to play tough defense, and shooters need to make outside shots to make James and Irving more effective after they get stops on defense. James has played more minutes by far than any other NBA player in the last five years, and it is showing because his energy level is not what it's been in past Playoffs, this is why his teammates need to be reliable. So the Cavaliers truly need to be “all in” to win this series against the Bulls. ( / (