Wednesday night’s game ended in a close 91-89 victory for the Cavs over the Miami Heat. While the Cavs get back into the win column, the question most fans would ask is, “How did Isaiah Thomas do?” and those very fans would be disheartened to see an underwhelming stat line against a team he and his teammates should easily defeat.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) February 1, 2018
Thomas registered 13 points on 2-15 shooting, including 0-6 from the perimeter, in 30 minutes of action. Not the kind of production the team is hoping for to get them back to the NBA Finals a season after losing Kyrie Irving in a trade that landed Thomas and others in Cleveland.
In typical Cavs’ fashion, the team built up a sizable lead over its opponent in the first half, a 14-point lead to be exact, only to see it squandered by halftime as the Heat stormed back to take a 50-48 lead.
While most fans will panic at the lack of production from Thomas when he is on the floor, I think it is fair to lessen the pressure on him given that the number of games he has played equates to a regular preseason schedule and Wednesday’s game was the first time this season that Thomas has played in both scheduled back to back games. Not to mention, he has barely played a month with a new team that has several new faces on the roster.
Comparing Thomas to Irving is also unfair to Thomas since Irving has long been the more consistent player and is not coming off a major hip injury.
Many thought the injury Thomas sustained could have been career-ending and while Thomas has fully recovered, the effects of the long layoff have made itself apparent when IT is on the floor.
Thomas is still working himself back into game shape and getting adjusted to speed and pace of an NBA game. Simply put, he is still trying to get his NBA legs back. Without being used to playing 30 minutes a night, his legs get tired faster. No legs mean no lift in his jump shots and that will lead to sub-par performances.
Fans will always let their voices be heard no matter what and while their gripe with IT’s performances are warranted, I simply believe that calls for Thomas to be traded or that the entire Isaiah Thomas experiment has failed are a little premature. The team as a whole has struggled since its Christmas Day loss to the Warriors and now have to live in the aftermath of Kevin Love’s broken hand.
Continue to allow Thomas to get his feet back under him and continue to get used to a cast of new teammates. Don’t be surprised if Thomas comes into his own and becomes the new co-star Cleveland expected the team to have by the time the team will really need it.
Maybe not to the tune of 30 points per game as we saw last season, but we all know that distinction usually belongs to The King.