The only thing lonelier than going to a Cleveland Cavaliers game is a single girl on Valentine’s Day. You might think it was all about losing LeBron James, but this season has turned into just another Cleveland "wait until next year" campaign.
One year removed from being the NBA’s regular season champions, the Cavaliers have lost their king and have been dethroned. The Cavaliers sit in last place in the NBA at 8-45. The Cavs enter their final 29 games riding a 26-game losing streak.
The season began optimistic without James after an opening night win against Eastern Conference powerhouse Boston. A three-game skid would follow, but the Cavs weren’t lifeless yet and responded with a three-game winning streak. On Dec. 18, the Cavs beat the surging Knicks in overtime. It would be the last time the Cavs tasted victory.
The Cavs don’t just lose, they get pummeled. In their 45 losses, the Cavs have lost by double digits 28 times. Incredibly, the Cavs have lost 10 games by 20 or more points including a 112-57 massacre against the Lakers in L.A. The problem is more than just James’s absence though. No one has stepped up to fill any void that James left. The key void is leadership and the Cavs lost not only a leader, but a dominant one at that. They find themselves 27th in scoring, 27th in rebounding and 30th in hustle and heart.
Maybe if the Cavs could take just one game from LeBron and the Heat it wouldn’t matter what their record tallied come season’s end. With one opportunity left in Cleveland on March 29, the Cavs will need to figure out how to stop their once-upon-a-time hero. In three games against his former team, James is 3-0. He is averaging nearly 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game. If James leaving wasn’t enough to drive Cavs fans insane, his dominance against them certainly is.
The loss of James has been more costly than anyone could have ever imagined. Sure, people expected a drop off in wins, but inside the weak Eastern Conference it only takes 36 to make the postseason. The Cavs will be lucky to strike 14 at the pace they are on. But, hey, Cleveland fans, baseball season is around the corner. Actually, you better hope football season comes fast.