The regular season is down to less than two weeks. That means LeBron James, Mike Miller, and veteran company have just five games remaining to hone their skills for the final time before the real season begins.
James, who walked off the floor Sunday night looking not so happy despite the victory, was indeed in a foul mood. His Cavaliers, who at one point held a 13 point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, defeated the Bulls by just five points 99-94.
“I think we turned the ball over and we got out of attack mode,” James said. “I think we settled for a lot of jumpers in the fourth quarter. And those are things that we, as a young team, will have to just learn from and get better with it the next time. So, we controlled the game, but we allowed them to get back in the game because of what we did offensively and that’s a very good team. You know a Thibs [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] team is never going to give up and we have to understand every single possession means everything and we can’t take one off.”
‘Settled’ is probably the correct word in this situation, as Cleveland attempted 12 of their 15 fourth quarter shots from outside the painted area. To make matters worse, they also had five turnovers in the fourth after turning it over five times…in the previous three quarters combined.
The Cavs have been rolling, winning 31 of their last 38 games since January 15, a distant past when they were just 19-20. Winning has come often for the Cavs in recent weeks, especially at home, where they’ve won 18 straight and have made the Q their own ‘Fortress of Solitude.’
“There’s great shots and then there’s good shots, and for a team like us that can move the ball and have so many options, we have to understand, let’s try to get great shots,” James said.
An example of that James’ ability to get great shots was his drive-and-kick to Kevin Love in the corner for the dagger three-pointer. After the game, Cavs head coach David Blatt chimed in on the victory:
“I thought for good parts of the game we played very, very well. I thought and I believe that our fourth-quarter decision making, execution could have been better,” Blatt said. “Much better. And that’s on me. That’s on me. And we got to improve that. Again, that’s my responsibility
“We’re definitely happy, but not content or complacent with where we are,” Irving said. “Obviously we want to continue to have consistency going into the playoffs and finish these games off the right way and take every game as serious as we can. We’re still playing for something in this locker room and that’s to continue to click.”