Brian Geltzeiler doesn’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers will get swept in the NBA Finals, but he does think the series is over.
“They shoot it very well at home, and I do think they’ll probably get a game in their own building,” the hoopscritic.com and Sirius XM NBA radio host said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But they cannot win at ORACLE. They can’t. Whatever it is, it’s the place, it’s the road – this is a team that really could be so much better. They’ve reduced themselves to the net result of what they can do from the three-point line, all because they’re very confused on the speed that they should play.”
The Cavs shot 7-of-21 from three in Game 1 and 5-of-23 from three in Game 2. That’s a combined 12-of-44 (27.3 percent).
“This is a little bit of a rudder-less ship,” Geltzeiler said. “Let me ask you this: What happened to Tyronn Lue holding LeBron accountable? We’re not hearing those stories anymore after games. How about a happy locker room because David Blatt’s not around? Some of the stuff they floated out there was such nonsense during the season, and in a lot of ways what they’re going through, what they’re experiencing, getting their pumpkins punched – it’s karma, my man.”
James, who last year became the first player to lead his team in scoring, rebounding and assists in an NBA Finals, has only played so-so by his standards against Golden State this time around. He’s averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and one block per game.
Unfortunately for him, the Cavs have been held under 100 points in nine of their last 10 games against Golden State, and James is in serious jeopardy of falling to 2-5 all-time in the NBA Finals.
Jerry West defended James this week, saying he has carried plenty of teams deep into the postseason and that it’s silly to criticize a player who has played six straight NBA Finals.
Is that fair? Well, yes and no.
“Listen, I don’t really agree with it,” Geltzeiler said. “Jerry West is 1-8 in Finals and has a reputation of being Mr. Clutch. Here’s the thing abut LeBron James: It’s no crime to be a top-15 all-time player. It’s no crime to be at the back end of the second five in the top 10, which is where he may end up with two titles and all these Finals appearances. Is it an insult to not be considered a top-five player ever, to not be Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Wilt, Magic, Bird? Is that an insult? I don’t think that’s an insult. I think that’s part of (why) people want to criticize (LeBron). It’s in the spectrum of he’s not an all-time great. Is it a terrible thing for LeBron James in terms of his legacy to be in the debate with Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant? I feel like that’s a pretty darn good place to be.
“I think sometimes people want to put LeBron up to a plane that he just hasn’t earned,” Geltzeiler continued. “He’s not good enough to be there. He’s a great player. This is the LeBron James era of NBA basketball. With that said, there’s guys that have achieved more and that are better. He’s in a different debate than the top of the best-ever debate. And that’s okay. So I think when Jerry West talks about that stuff, I think what he’s saying is you don’t put this guy towards 50, yet he’s a top-15 all-time player. The fact that he’s not higher, he hasn’t earned his way higher. So I get where West is coming from, but at 1-8, you’ve got to consider the source.”