LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost in blowout fashion to the Miami Heat Saturday night, 122-101, marking the 11th straight loss by the Cavs to the Heat in Miami.
After the game, James made it clear he recognizes the problem this portends for the postseason, should the two clubs meet again in the playoffs, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN. However, he isn’t quite ready to press the panic button:
“The way they’ve beat us here is a little concerning if we face them [in the playoffs]. I think we’ll be ready for it more. We didn’t play with [our] potential. We didn’t play our game. We let them play their game, and they took it to us.”
This is your classic case of denial.
The truth of the matter is that, far too often, the Cavs don’t play their game.
In fact, oftentimes it feels like this team is still trying to figure out what that really means. Dating back to last year, this is a franchise that has been lacking cohesion and that has been marred by rumor after rumor of infighting between James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
While this is an overarching problem that seems to still be lingering, it also highlights the fact that James is missing what he had in Miami with his current squad in Cleveland. There isn’t that same sense of togetherness that helped Miami win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, which surely cannot be lost on James.
The past four visits to Miami have resulted in double-digit losses for the Cavs.
Cleveland is currently the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a tenuous one-and-a-half game lead over the Toronto Raptors. The Heat are sitting at No. 4, nine games behind their rival. Should the two clubs remain where they currently stand, then they could face one another in the second-round of the NBA Playoffs.
Obviously, Cleveland would have home-court advantage. However, given the familiarity between the two clubs, and given the Cavaliers’ struggles in Miami, this would be a matchup in which the underdog might have more than a fighting chance.