The Cavaliers were overwhelming favorites to defeat the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals before the series began.
After an expected Game 1 victory, Cleveland fell in what was not a close game in Cleveland on Monday night. Now, everyone is pointing out problems with the Cavs and all of a sudden doubting their talent.
But is the criticism warranted?
Sure, they lost the home-court advantage in an embarrassing game. But just because the Celtics play a great contest with unexpected bench production from Rasheed Wallace doesn’t mean they are prepared to knock Cleveland out of the playoffs.
In Game 2, the Cavaliers shot only 40 percent from the field. They shot a horrid 19 percent from long range. Cleveland was second in the league in three-point shooting during the regular season, shooting over 38 percent from beyond the arc. So the shooting will almost assuredly rebound for the remainder of the series.
Moreover, the Celtics’ shooting percentages were exceptionally high: they connected on 51 percent of their field goals and 49 percent of their long balls. Cleveland tied for third in the league at just above 44 percent shooting allowed, so it was an anomaly on the defensive end, as well.
Lastly, the doubters underestimate the impact LeBron will have on the remaining games this round. In Game 2, he was all over the box score with 24 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, and two blocks, but those numbers aren’t even that incredible by LeBron’s standards.
If he sees his team is struggling, he’s going to give his best effort to propel his team to a win. So far in Game 1, James already has 16points with over two minutes of the first quarter remaining.
Boston’s win in Game 2 was certainly an impressive feat, but it really shouldn’t be much cause for concern for Cavaliers fans. Given the oddity of the statistics for both teams in that game, it is almost definitely an isolated incident.