Oh, boy. What we've got here is a Shaquille O'Neal sized problem.
The Cavaliers just lost game five against Boston--their second loss at home in three games. They've looked lethargic, unfocused and complacent. For all but game three, LeBron James has looked human--far from the gigantic expectations we have for him. The rest of the team has hardly bothered to show up at all.
Mike Brown has a team that unquestionably goes 12 deep, but cannot seem to find five players capable of stopping Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, while making consistent baskets at the other end of the floor.
Where has Mo Williams gone? Never the best clutch performer, but Mo is "getting lit up like a Christmas tree," according to John Hollinger of ESPN. Frankly, that might be an understatement. Mo hasn't even bothered to slow Rondo or Allen (whomever he is guarding at the moment) down, and the result is a thrashing.
O'Neal and Antwan Jamison are leaving huge holes inside, so once Rondo breaks that first layer, he's home free. There is nothing stopping him.
And then there's LeBron. What is the matter with him? He has only really played like himself in 2 games (1, sort of, and 3). In the other three, he's looked like an average NBA player, with limited effectiveness. He won't drive, won't pull up and did a terrible job distributing to teammates. If I didn't know better, I would speculate that he just didn't want to win...which obviously doesn't bode well for the Cavs.
I do, however, know better...and in this case, I am inclined to believe LeBron's elbow injury is far worse than anyone is letting on. Maybe the problem is whether LeBron is letting on--I wonder if the coaches, trainers and other players are even aware of a larger problem. The fact is, James has played better with 2 or more days rest than he has with 1, leading me to believe his elbow is seriously hurt.
One more note...if the Cavaliers lose to Boston, Mike Brown has to be done in Cleveland. I've never thought of him as the greatest coach. He isn't terrible, but he isn't exactly a difference maker, especially in the playoffs. Ultimately, that might be what the Cavs lack down the stretch. His substitutions have been terribly unsuccessful.