LeBron James said the Cavs are ‘uptight,’ even if they don’t show it – cleveland.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Of course you’ve seen the Cavaliers clowning around at the Indians’ playoff games.
The hugs, the dancing, the Tribe-jersey wearing LeBron James, Kevin Love, and J.R. Smith with the rest of the team, up in the suite at Progressive Field with cups in their hands, or down on the infield addressing screaming Cleveland fans before an Indians playoff game.
Those scenes have been splattered all over TVs across America for the past couple weeks, shared more times than you can count on YouTube and social media.
Everywhere they go, it’s something with this team.
In Columbus Monday and Tuesday to finish the preseason with a game at Ohio State against the Wizards, James had most of the Cavs join him at Blaze Pizza on High Street — a fast-food-style pizza chain he co-owns. Naturally, dozens of college kids crammed into the restaurant to get cell pics of the hijinx.
On the other side of town, Frye and Richard Jefferson took an Uber to Thurman’s Cafe, a famous burger bar that serves ’em the size of your head. Jefferson captured the whole thing on Snapchat, including him and Frye replaying the “Thong Song” about 15 times in a row on the juke box.
If you know the “Thong Song,” you know this is hilarious. If not, Google it.
The Cavs are basking in their championship glow perhaps like no Cleveland team before it, in part because, well, no team had won one in the previous 52 years. They seem to genuinely like each other, something that could not have been said for most of the past two seasons, really until they were elbow deep in the playoffs last year.
They’re comfortable. But now that the preseason is over, and the next game counts, the Cavs are going to have to navigate between that comfort and complacency — a nemesis perhaps trumped only by injury in terms of a threat to what most people expect will be a third consecutive trip to the Finals.
“We’re still pretty much uptight,” James said Tuesday. “We’re not satisfied with what we did. We know the accomplishment that we had, and we know that it was a huge feat, not only for our organization but for the whole city of Cleveland and northeast Ohio, so. But as far as relaxed, I just think guys are comfortable in their roles.”
The preseason concluded with a 96-91 loss to the Wizards at Value City Arena. In the second quarter, Kyrie Irving left the game with tightness in his left calf, but the Cavs are saying his absence the rest of the night was purely precautionary.
Coach Tyronn Lue considers the preseason a success, because no one is hurt (shows how seriously they think Irving’s calf is injured).
“As long as we’re healthy, I don’t care,” Lue said. “Just give me health over everything else.”
For the third year since this core group of James, Irving, Love, Smith, and Thompson came together, their are huge expectations on this team.
For the first time, though, the group enters a season collectively as champions.
Also a first — there is no lingering controversy, no beneath-the-surface tension simmering because players don’t respect a coach David Blatt, or because Love is struggling to fit in, or because James’ back hurts, or whatever else.
“We are a ways ahead of where we were the first two years,” Love said.
The Cavs actually lost their last four preseason games. Their starters played together for oh, about 10 minutes this preseason, thanks to Smith’s contract dispute and Thompson’s stiff left foot and finally Irving’s calf.
But this is also the NBA’s most veteran team, with an average age per play of about 30. It’s the team that came from 3-1 in the Finals to beat the Warriors — no team had ever recovered from such a deficit to win the Finals. Lue became just the third coach in NBA history to win a championship after taking over midseason.
James and Irving were one of the most prolific duos in playoff history last season, becoming the fifth tandem to average at least 25 points per player during the playoffs and the second to score at least 27 apiece per game in the Finals.
Nevermind that James’ teams — in both Cleveland and Miami — have now gone to six consecutive Finals.
Twenty-nine of the NBA’s 30 general managers picked the Cavs to return to the Finals again.
That’s the kind of complacency against which the Cavs must guard. They are so deep, so talented, so confident, and so accomplished. A six-month NBA regular-season slog can get boring.
But in that same survey of GMs, a majority picked the Warriors to beat the Cavs in the Finals this time.
“Thank you,” Lue said. “I love it.”
The Cavs knew the complaceny questions were coming the moment they arrive to training camp. Of course they were — they come at the start of every training camp for every defending champ.
Complacency was an issue for Cleveland during the regular season last year, coming off a Finals in which the Cavs lost to the Warriors.
But now that camp is over, and practices will soon start for the Oct. 25 season opener, and, well, the players are constantly out in public, enjoying each other’s company like they do, getting too comfortable has come into focus.
It was James who brought it up on Tuesday.
“We’re just a close group, that’s all,” James said. “For us, we do a lot of things off the court, but we also know where our main goal is, and what the main thing is, and our main thing is this court. We don’t never let anything else get in the way of that.
“We are a close group — we laugh and joke a lot, but when we step on this court it’s all business.”
Source: Google Sports