Despite surrendering 25 first-quarter points to LeBron James, the Cavaliers surprisingly stayed competitive with the Heat in 100-96 loss last night.
But there are apparently no moral victories in Cleveland. (At least publicly. With Kyrie Irving injured and playoff hopes slipping away, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cavaliers embrace tanking).
At the end of the game, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert expressed his dissatisfaction with… something.
Gilbert not finishing what he started? Consider me shocked.
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
Oh, where was I?
Right, last night’s game. If it’s unclear what Gilbert meant, his next tweet provides a strong clue.
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First of all, I’m never a fan of simply citing free-throw and foul stats without context – as if those should be equal. Some teams deserve more calls than others.
To start, because the Cavaliers trailed late, they thrice fouled the Heat. Remove those, and the disparities – 6-3 on free throws, 6-2 on fouls – no longer seem so egregious.
But that’s still not enough context. The Heat are more talented and more athletic than the Cavaliers, a combination that typically does and should lead to drawing more fouls.
In addition to a correctly called Tyler Zeller moving screen, here are the circumstances that led to Cleveland’s five other fouls:
- Chris Bosh caught a pass wide open in the mid-range and got a full head of steam heading toward the basket
- Norris Cole was on the verge of breaking ahead in the open court
- Chris Andersen caught a pass right at the rim
- LeBron caught a pass through traffic while cutting full speed toward the basket
- LeBron drove by Alonzo Gee, who was caught flat-footed
Want to avoid getting called for so many fouls? Defend better. The Cavaliers were whistled so often because they put themselves in poor position to defend without fouling.
Of course, it’s not just the called fouls that swing games. It’s the uncalled fouls, too. In that regard, Gilbert has at least one legitimate gripe:
Gilbert being right, though, won’t prevent the league office from looking into these complaints. Maybe Gilbert can claim the first tweet referenced something else and the second tweet just stated facts, but it’s going to be an uphill battle to avoid a fine from Adam Silver.