NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Cleveland hit Boston with the Lebron James 21 point first quarter haymaker but somehow lost by double digits. The Celtics took the first quarter hit in stride and out scored Cleveland 71 to 47 points from basically the second half on. While there is no doubting the greatness of Lebron, he can only take this team so far and the rest of the rosters inability to produce falls on head coach Ty Lue's shoulders.
Last night Hill and Smith contributed 3 points on 1 for 11 shooting. JR Smith was a brick layer last night as he himself went 0-7 in his 27 minutes of action; Hill was 1-4 in his 33 minutes. So far this series, the pair have received 117 minutes and produced a grand total of 12 points. The reliance on the two who are clearly not pulling their weight is mind boggling. While there aren't the most attractive options on the bench, Lue has to at least try to spark a fire by inserting someone else.
Jordan Clarkson - DNP
Larry Nance Jr - 11 minutes
Rodney Hood - 11 minutes
Cedi Osman - 1 minute
I get it that none of those names are the most attractive, but when your starters are literally laying bricks, you have to turn to your bench. Cleveland needed scoring last night in the face of no one not named Lebron James or Kevin Love scoring and guys like Hood or Clarkson could've been that spark. Certainly neither could be worse than what JR and Hill have been so far. When used properly Nance could be the rim runner that Tristan Thompson isn't and Cedi Osman can be the Marcus Smart that Cleveland needs. Ty Lue needs to not only trust his bench more, he needs to at least give them a chance.
Take my above two posts and combine them into this paragraph. Cleveland's offense last night was the Lebron James - Kevin Love show. The duo combined for 64 of the 94 points with Kyle Korver putting up 11 of the remaining 30. The fourth quarter melt down produced 17 points for Cleveland, 12 of which came from James or Love. Boston locked down Kyle Korver in the second half and that effectively limited Cleveland's offense to Love and Lebron. There is also no play maker outside of James as Hill is an empty uniform and Jose Calderdon is warming the bench.
It's been horrible all year long and it's not even worth me repeating.
Brad Stevens belongs in the argument for the current crop of NBA top coaches. I'll go as far as to say he was robbed of this years Coach of the Year. Stevens has his Celtics team running like a fine oiled and perfectly timed machine. Offensively they're getting great ball movement and passing up good shots for great ones. On the defensive end of the court, Stevens has gotten his team to switch on every pick and no have to worry about a defensive lapse. When, not “if”, Boston beats Cleveland this round and advances to the Finals, Brad Stevens should be handed the keys to the entire city for what he's done this year. Look out NBA, there's a new coach who will have soon dethroned The King.