CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Sometimes less is more.
That was the feeling inside the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room on Thursday night after a 108-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. With extra practice time during a five-game home stand, the team with four new rotation pieces has taken the time to implement more offensive sets.
After practice on Monday, following a Sunday loss to the San Antonio Spurs, head coach Tyronn Lue said his team had become ‘predictable’ on offense because of their lack of sets.
After their latest loss, Lue indicated the predictability may be better than what they have now, apparent confusion while trying to digest too much.
“I think (if) you go back to our Boston and OKC game, they didn’t know any plays, they played better,” Lue said. “Just playing free without being in thought. It’s a fine balance, because you’ve got to get better, get ready for the playoffs, but I think right now just it just ain’t fair. They’re not playing with speed, they’re not playing with pace, they’re in thought too much. That makes it tough on the new guys to kind of play.”
New addition Larry Nance Jr. looked particularly confused at the end of the third quarter, when he was meant to set a double-screen with Jeff Green to free up Jordan Clarkson near the buzzer. A moment of confusion allowed the Sixers defense to pounce, forcing Clarkson into a 27-foot heave that was no good.
Similar moments in the half court caused the Cavs to be stagnant on offense at times, in a similar vein to when the Spurs knew what was coming on Sunday.
“We’ve got to figure it out,” Lue said. “I’m not quite sure, but we’ve got to continue to keep working through it. We’ve got to keep adding, but adding slowly, but make sure those guys are comfortable where they can just play free, not thinking about what spot they’re in, where they’re going and what they’re supposed to be doing. We’ll get better at that.”
Nance agreed, citing the fastbreak offense that became more of an emphasis when adding the youthful foursome of players at the trade deadline.
LeBron James said he felt the game was well-defended, and that the team is suffering from heavy legs following five straight days of either practice or a game. Nance even played the final 16 minutes of action.
The team is currently planning to practice again Friday before a game Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. For now, it seems the emphasis will be on reinforcing what works, as opposed to recently implemented plans.
“It’s seven games and we’re trying to put a lot in and get a lot in for these guys, but we’ll scale it a little bit back and see if us just trying to play a little bit faster and play a little bit open is the better thing for our team until we can more pinpoint our offensive sets when we get more practice, which is not much,” James said.