The Cleveland Cavaliers got something out of the way: A win with new head coach Tyronn Lue. LeBron James and the rest mostly seemed more comfortable in the attempt to play at a quicker pace, which they hope will make them eventually capable of beating a certain team they have no clue how to beat.
So, did we see something different from the Cavaliers? Tyronn Lue has talked about playing faster basketball. LeBron James spoke about getting in shape in a week or less for the new style. The game with the Timberwolves, another slow team (bottom 10 of the NBA in terms of pace), was a 96.2 pace, which allowed the Cavaliers to score 118.6 points per 100 possessions. This is a lot more like the new head coach would like to see, but this also needs to happen against teams that find it easier to enforce their will on teams.
The player who seemed to be most enjoying the quicker pace was Matthew Dellavedova, scoring 18 points and added 7 assists while hitting four 3-pointers. It’s interesting to see if the change in coaches will also make for a different rotation and minute splits within the team. Right now, Mo Williams almost seems to be forgotten on the bench. Dellavedova has no problem playing 25 minutes a night or more, and at the moment, a lot of the time seems more effective and in sync with the rest of the team than Kyrie Irving.
James finished with 25 points on 11-of-15 from the field, getting a lot of easy shots, also adding 9 assists. It’s hard to say more eyes are on him than before, as James is still the biggest name in the NBA and one of the biggest in the world regardless of the sport. However, the belief that he had a hand in the firing of David Blatt puts another angle, and not a very flattering one on James. While proving everything there is to prove during his NBA career, it does seem like he has another hurdle to jump over, showing that he’s above all the gossipy chatter.
No matter how well the Cavaliers do until the end of the season, the blow they received from the Golden State Warriors and the whole Blatt firing ordeal will stick with them until the playoffs begin. This is still a team with one goal in mind: A championship. Only the outside expectations have been reduced; win the East, and then hope not to get embarrassed by the Warriors in the Finals.