Submitted by Wayne Root on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM
The Cleveland Cavaliers may be going through a bit of a meltdown here on the eve of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. There are still 10 games left for them in the regular season heading into Saturday night’s matchup with the New York Knicks. And, they will still be heavy favorites to win the East even if they have a disastrous close to the campaign and fall to the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. But, these facts are undeniable…
*The team’s top players aren’t getting along very well
*The team was split by the decision to fire head coach David Blatt
*LeBron James “unfollowed” the team on twitter!
*The team is playing horribly on night two’s of back-to-back’s
You can’t miss the body language. You can’t miss the slump against the spread (1-6 ATS the last 7). You can’t miss those three recent horrible results on back-to-back’s. If you were only paying attention to the NCAA Tournament recently, you may not have noticed these…
March 14: Cleveland (-6) lost at Utah 94-85 (missed by 15 points)
March 19: Cleveland (-4) lost at Miami 122-101 (missed by 25 points)
March 24: Cleveland (-9.5) lost at Brooklyn 104-95 (missed by 18.5 points)
Hey…a lot of good teams blow off back-to-backers. San Antonio taught the league that it could be a very smart strategy over the long haul. But…losing by 9 points to BROOKLYN?! The Cavs let that one in the fourth quarter then just fell apart. LeBron was glaring at his teammates. Nobody cared. That’s three “gut check” spots where Cleveland missed the spread by almost SIXTY points!
The big question now is…has LeBron already mentally “packed it in” as he prepares to leave in the offseason to play elsewhere with NBA stars he respects more than the defensively challenged Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Sure, unfollowing the team’s twitter account may just be a quick temper tantrum. But, he had to know it would send a message. When that message is coming in the middle of a pointspread slump…handicappers must pay attention.
I will be looking for signs of demise very closely in these final days of the regular season. Here’s what’s ahead after Saturday’s game with the Knicks.
Tuesday: vs. Houston (a playoff contender in the West)
Thursday: vs. Brooklyn (oddly, a REVENGE game vs. a bad team!)
Friday: at Atlanta (potential playoff opponent down the road, in a back-to-back)
Sunday: vs. Charlotte (another potential playoff opponent)
Tuesday April 5: at Milwaukee
Wednesday April 6: at Indiana (a potential playoff opponent, in a back-to-back)
Saturday April 9: at Chicago (a playoff contender in the East)
Monday April 11: vs. Atlanta (second game coming up vs. Hawks)
Wednesday April 13: vs. Detroit (a playoff contender in the East)
That’s not an easy path because there are so many teams who would like to take out the Cavs right now…and the Cavs may not have the focus or mood to send any messages back. To me, the most important games will be those back-to-back spots in Atlanta and in Indiana. If Cleveland plays WELL in those, then you can assume they’re going to be focused for the playoffs even if the stars don’t like each other. If those games are two more blowouts…fans can keep worrying. If there are other poor results when the team is rested, then the door is REALLY open for a potential Cinderella team representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals (before LeBron relocates in the offseason!).
Toronto wants to be there
Atlanta wants to make up for last year’s playoff fizzle
Boston is an up-and-comer with a great young coach
Miami would love to embarrass LeBron after he left the franchise
Charlotte is a sleeper that has a chance to go deep too
You longtime readers know that WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is THE KING OF UPSETS. That can mean series upsets in the NBA Playoffs too. Or, it could mean opposing underdogs getting through the Eastern brackets even if Cleveland keeps advancing. What I learn over the next couple of weeks could produce more than a half-dozen well timed major releases through the playoffs!
Between now and then…let’s keep trying to earn those trips to the pay window. You can purchase my top daily releases right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to check on combination packages that take you through the rest of the college tournaments and the NBA Playoffs.
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