Ups and Downs: Week One of the Cavaliers Season

The Cavs won two of their first three games, but they didn't resemble the team that won the East Conference last year. Are we seeing a new look or are we still figuring things out?

If the Cleveland Cavaliers win two games and then lose the third one all year long, they'll be pretty darn good. However, if they struggle to put away a team after their (arguably) best player goes down with a gruesome injury and then get shellacked by a bad team, it'll be a long season. What's been going on with the Cavs in these first few games?

There have been some good things, but boy has there been some bad things. We'll start with the good.

What's gone right?

The Cavs are scoring in the paint

For obvious reasons, the past few years of Cavaliers teams were not as active in the paint as they were from deep. This year has seen that swing around with Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade's lack of shooting prowess. Through three games, the Cavs are scoring 49% of their points near the basket, which is 6th most in the NBA. Last year that number was 36% - second lowest in the NBA. This is good because paint points are efficient points: The shortest shots are the easiest shots. It also helps that LeBron James takes a lot of those shots and, well, he's a monster.

LeBron James still plays for the Cavs

Who knows what he'll do next summer, but for now, just watch this guy and enjoy it. According to the eye test, James struggled in the blowout loss to Orlando Saturday. He had 22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 1 turnover. He was 8-15 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line. That's his off-night. If you averaged that line for 12 seasons, you would be in the top 40 in scoring in NBA history, and six games into the 13th season you'd pass Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list.

Anyway, it has felt to me like LeBron hasn't been jumping as high or running as fast as we've seen in years past, but he's nursing a sore ankle. Must be rough when this is all you can muster.