Is it time for Cleveland and LeBron James to panic? We keep saying King James and the Cavs will be alright come playoff time, regardless of how they are performing or the lack of focus that they are showing.
Since the All-star break, Cleveland has been a roller coaster group. The chemistry is just not there right now. According to most NBA prognosticators, Cleveland will flip a magic switch and run through the East.
Problem is, somebody forgot to tell Atlanta, who defeated Cleveland for the second straight time on Sunday. In fact, head coach Mike Budenholzer has Atlanta rolling. When it comes to impact, ATL has actually bumped Boston and Cleveland (twice) in a span of just four days.
To make matters worse, in a game where King James played 45 minutes, Cleveland blew a 26-point fourth quarter lead to lose 126-125 in overtime.
It’s the Cavs' second straight loss to Atlanta, who is in fifth-place in the Eastern Conference standings as the playoff loom. On April 7, the Hawks whipped on the Cavs, 114-110. The Hawks are looking like a squad the Cavs don’t want to face in the playoffs.
ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith agree that King James, who played poorly in the fourth quarter, has to take the blame for that fumble.
Said Smith: “LeBron James consistently calls himself the leader of the franchise and the way they look right now in terms of defense, focus and distractions...he’s going to harbor the bulk of the responsibility. Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavs will be OK...I'm not worried about that...but the here and now is that Cleveland looks like a shell of themselves on the defensive side of the ball...Tyronn Lue was hired because he is a defensive specialist...he has to get that together, but it comes down to LeBron James because he never hesitates to talk about how this is HIS team”
It was one of the worse losses of the year for Cleveland and another sign that something is not clicking with the Cavs. Only time will tell if these last few months of soap opera living, rumors of complacency and bad losses will have no effect on the World Champions once the money games begin.