The Cavs are one of six remaining undefeated teams in the NBA but have a challenge coming to town this Tuesday.
James Harden and the Rockets meet up with the Cavs on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Harden is embracing a new role under new head coach Mike D’Antoni. The career 2-guard is playing a hybrid role built around his ability to facilitate the offense more closely tied to the point guard position.
The move is paying early dividends for the Rockets who have jumped out to a 2-1 record while Harden is averaging a career high 10.7 assists per game.
With the Rockets focus on pushing the pace offensively, Cavs superstar LeBron James knows its Harden his team must pay attention to. “(Harden) is such a great playmaker, he’s gonna push the tempo when he’s got the ball in his hand.”
The issue with defending the Rockets this year is Harden ability to hurt a defense inside or out. While the Rockets do not have a second superstar of Harden’s ilk, they have plenty of role players around him that benefit from this new drive & kick wrinkle to Houston’s offense.
While fans always focus on dream one-on-one matchups, LeBron says guarding Harden takes a village, “Everyone has to be in tune, you can’t guard Harden with one guy.”
With game 6 of the World Series going on Tuesday night, the Cavs have successfully petitioned the NBA to move up tip off one hour earlier to 6 pm.
This should allow Cleveland fans to bear witness to both games & fully enjoy the festivities should the Indians close out the second title in Cleveland in 5 months.
LeBron James, Still Pretty Damn Good- For the 54th time in his career, LeBron James was named the Eastern Conference Player of The Week on Monday. James is averaging 21 points-a-game and 10 assists per game in 3 games.
With the opening night triple double (19 pts, 11 rebounds & 14 assists,) LeBron moved into a sixth-place tie for career triple-doubles with the unforgettable Fats Lever.
Most impressive outside of stats, is LeBron’s early explosiveness this season. During last year’s regular season, LeBron looked slowed by a back injury that never seemed to fully go away. Please consult the video evidence for further proof of LeBron’s early dominance.
Back Up Point Guard Spot Still A Work In Progress- With Matthew Dellavedova off to greener pastures in Milwaukee & the retirement of Mo Williams, the Cavs have their work cut out to find a suitable backup for Kyrie Irving.
Career 2-guard Iman Shumpert has gotten the first chance to backup KI with mixed results.
Shumpert can guard pretty much any wing player in the league but his offense is the greatest concern.
“Just learning that position is going to be tough,” says Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue at practice on Monday, “You can’t just throw somebody in the point guard position, it takes time to learn and get everybody in the right spots, call the right sets.”
With that learning curve ahead, Lue professed contentment with the early stages of Shump at point, “As of right now, he’s been doing a good job and we just got to continue to slowly bring him along.”
One factor that might press the Cavs hand at backup? The health of Kyrie Irving. The former number one overall pick has missed 10 or more games in 4 of his 5 NBA seasons. He’s also coming off an extended playoff run with the Cavs successful trip to the Finals and spending the summer playing international basketball.