The Cavs lost again Wednesday night, their third straight defeat. They’ve lost six of eight, and they only lead the Raptors by three games in the weak Eastern Conference.
The UCLA Bruins, who started at 13-0, have lost two straight – vs Arizona Saturday and at USC Wednesday night.
Each of the mini-slumps will spur the predictable, “What’s WRONG WITH THEM?” headlines, and generate panic from Akron to Westwood.
I’m hear to tell you that you need not worry about either team – barring injury, Cleveland will be in the NBA Finals, and UCLA has a very good chance of getting to the Final 4.
Cavs fans shouldn’t worry about a damn thing. LeBron’s got to keep his troops (and the front office) on their toes. Better to suffer meaningless losses now than in the playoffs.
Remember two years ago, in LeBron’s first year back in Cleveland? The Hawks won the Eastern Conference. Had homecourt advantage. And the Cavs swept ’em in the ECF. It’s an 82-game marathon, not a sprint. Easy to lose focus for a week or two or three in the cold of January.
UCLA fans are crestfallen that the Pac-12 title may not happen after the back-to-back losses. So what? Stop melting down over the lack of defense – it’s never been there all season! The Bruins started 13-0 and gave up 87 to Cal State Northridge, 77 to Long Beach State, 92 in a win at Kentucky, 84 in a win over Michigan, and 89 in a win at Colorado.
They haven’t played defense all year! UCLA’s three losses, easily summed up: Buzzer beater in Oregon, ran into a hot and finally healthy Arizona, and lost to their rivals, who made 14 three-pointers.
Anyone crossing UCLA off their Final 4 list because of a January loss or two is crazy. Look across the NBA and college basketball and you can see how the January doldrums happen – Warriors lose in South Beach; Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky all lost on the same night. It’s a long season. Upsets happen on the road.
I’ll be shocked if the NBA Finals aren’t Cleveland vs Golden State, and at least two of UCLA, Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky don’t get to the Final 4.