Hobbled Cavs Fight But Fall Short, Have Questions To Answer Heading Into Offseason

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Same story, different game

The Cavs; even more injured in Game Five than in Game Four, surprisingly kept up with Celtics shooting in the first half and portions of the second. Cleveland entered the second half only down six, despite missing big-time scorers and typical floor minutes with Allen, Mitchell, and newly injured Caris LeVert all hurt and not playing. This meant applying more pressure on Mobley, Garland and the bench players to provide a heroic effort against the NBA’s top regular-season team. To top it off, they were in a closeout playoff game on the road which is a tall task for any veteran team much less an incredibly young and inexperienced team. Mobley and Veteran Marcus Morris Sr. provided the scoring tonight, scoring 33 and 25 points respectively. Mobley shot over 50% from the field and accumulated seven boards, four assists and two blocks. Morris Sr. shot 77% on 13 shots, five of six were from behind the arc.

Unfortunately, once again Garland barely made a dent in the scoring effort with only 11 points but was able to dish out nine assists. To get past this enormous task, Cleveland needed Garland to show up like he did in Game Four and be as effective in facilitating the offense. The Celtics and company were eventually too much for this injured Cavs team, pulling away with the lead about halfway through the fourth quarter. It was only a five-point lead for the Celtics around the 8:45 mark, but subsequent threes in back-to-back possessions began the separation and eventual win for Boston.

A few things to look at heading into the offseason.

Donovan Mitchell has been rumored by various independent outlets recently that he could be on the move due to him entering his final year of his contract with the Cavs. Mitchell has proven he can deliver in the playoffs averaging close to 30.0 ppg in the postseason and can be a clear number one for this team. Questions to be answered. Will Mitchell want to sign an extension with Cleveland? If he doesn’t, does the front office roll the dice and play out next season without the possibility of any compensation, in hopes of winning it all? If he does get traded, are you supplying yourself with draft picks or go after a similar scorer? If the latter, who of his capabilities would be considered on the market? Regardless of which way it goes, it will be interesting to see what transpires.

Will the Cavs retain head coach JB Bickerstaff? Since being officially hired on February 19th, 2020, he has posted a 51% winning percentage and going to the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Last year was a first-round exit and this year ended in the conference semi-finals. We can see improvements in terms of playoff advancement, but is that enough? Are we seeing the progress much slower than anticipated? He definitely has an argument for one more season, as he entered this last series injured and left it even more so. If ownership believes it’s time, who do we target? Former Duke star and current ESPN Analyst JJ Redick has been a name circling the NBA recently but has no head coaching experience. Do we prefer someone who has experience or someone who is working their way up? Big questions to be answered soon.

The biggest curiosity entering the offseason (and potentially the most exciting), is the eventual landing destination of Bronny and LeBron James. It has been said that LeBron will follow his son to any team that drafts him, who has recently declared for the NBA Draft. Bronny is not projected to go early in the draft giving Cleveland the opportunity to draft him and providing all the ammo needed for LBJ to make his return. LeBron was shown courtside of the Game Four Conference Semi-Finals in Cleveland, sparking speculation of his intentions and arousing the idea that LeBron could make his third appearance on the team that drafted him back in 2003. LeBron was introduced on the jumbotrons, the crowd went wild and instantly highlighted that fans would welcome his arrival. After all, he was one the one that brought Cleveland its first NBA Title.

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