Sunday was a wake up call. Even though starting point guard Kyrie Irving sat out, Sunday was a wakeup call. Even though LeBron James scored 37 points, you guessed it, Sunday was a wake up call.

It’s nothing serious. No panic buttons should be hit, and no one needs to freak out. The Cavaliers should just understand that they aren’t going to waltz their way to an NBA title. That there are other capable teams standing in the way, making the path to greatness difficult.

Obviously, with Irving at the one we are a better team. But even so, we’re solid without him. And Sunday afternoon, we were simply outmuscled by just a tiny bit. Come June, that can be the difference between winning a title or going home a disappointed second place

Since a January 14th win in Los Angeles against the Lakers, the Cavs have been playing excellent basketball. They’ve taken care of the bad teams, and they even won against the good teams in the Clippers, Bulls, Thunder, Trail Blaziers and Warriors. To date, their record since then is 18-4.

Even so, those games were wins, not wars.

Today was a battle, and the Cavaliers came up short. The playoffs will be much like Sunday’s game, and not quite like all of the aforementioned wins.

That’s the wake up call.

To win in the playoffs, especially on the road, a team must play a certain brand of tough, physical, and mean basketball. The Cavs got a taste of that Sunday, and the outcome wasn’t sweet.

Moving forward, the Cavs must learn to battle. Hopefully before the end of this season we’ll see a few more grind-it-out affairs. Until then, the team must execute and continue to win like they’ve been doing

Come playoff time, it’s all about the grit and the grind. The Wine & Gold must be ready.

-Zach Shafron

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