Photo: Jeffrey Phelps/AP
Coach Mike Brown made the decision earlier today to sit LeBron James out of tonight's contest with the Milwaukee Bucks. In doing so, he left his team without an identity that it struggled to find throughout the game. Compounded by the fact that Mo Williams had one of his worst shooting nights of the season, the inspired offensive showcases of Antawn Jamison and Delonte West were not enough as the Cavaliers got next-to-nothing from everybody else. The Bucks used their always solid defense under Scott Skiles, coupled with timely three-point shooting to beat the wine and gold, ending the Cavs' six game win streak and the Cavs six straight wins against Milwaukee.
The King sits on the throne: After LeBron tweaked his right ankle twice in last night's game against Detroit, coupled with the heavy minutes LeBron has been playing, it was too much for Mike Brown to resist. MB held LeBron out of the lineup for the first time this season, and he gave the starting nod to Jawad Williams. Brown said that he also may hold LBJ out of the team's next game Monday night versus San Antonio as well, because the Cavaliers don't play again after that until Friday, which would give LeBron a full week off. I'm okay with this decision since the Cavaliers most definitely have to think long term, but with the team already missing Shaq, Z, and Boobie, they can't be giving too many games away with the Lakers right on their heels for the best record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
Predictable start: With little preparation and even less experience playing without LeBron for an entire game, the Cavaliers were bound to struggle out of the gate. They did just that, falling behind 8-2 as the wine and gold missed their first 5 shots and were only 1-of-8 at the point where they trailed by six. The Cavalier frontcourt struggled to stay in front of the Buck bigs, and the team looked incredibly timid. It took a long while for anybody to step up and take action, because LeBron throughout all the injuries, trades, and absences has been the glue that has held this thing together. Without him, there was a significant disconnect in several ports of the Cavalier network.