Cavaliers have lost playoff edge: Windhorst Beat Blog

CHICAGO — Thoughts following the Cavs’ 108-106 Game 3 loss to the
Chicago Bulls:

• The Cavs’ treated Game 3 like it was a regular season game. The Bulls
treated it like a playoff game. Stripping away all the details and the
coaching decisions and the calls, that was the reason why the Cavs lost.

Instead of realizing that this was the Bulls’ last shot to make this a series and that they’d come out fighting for their season with the injection of energy playing at home, the Cavs eased into Game 3 like it was a game in February. They played at something less than full speed for three quarters and hoped it worked and then turn it up in the fourth quarter. Questionable as it is, it works in the regular season but it is a bad habit. Seeing the way the Bulls’ attacked and the Cavs literally fell over themselves — Anthony Parker back pedaled once and actually went to the deck playing passive defense on Derrick Rose — highlighted this perfectly.

Perhaps this will serve as one of those "wake up" games that higher seeds sometimes need in the playoffs. It didn’t help that the Cavs played this same way in Game 2 and got away with playing a great quarter to win. That doesn’t work on the road, even against .500 teams. It must be assumed that Bulls’ non-stars will step up and have better games, that is what happens at home. Just look at what Jamario Moon did in Game 2.

As the Cavs break down film and go over lineup situations and fine-tune the game plan, attitude is going to be just as important. They will have to arrive Sunday ready to play a playoff game. They did that in Game 1 and then talked about how their focus was sharpened and how Shaquille O’Neal was leading by example. All of us in the media lapped it up and it was easy because you could see that the Cavs had that edge. It was vanishing in Game 2 and it was gone in Game 3.

• Now, about the officials. The charging foul that LeBron was called for with a minute to go was poor. Downright incorrect based on my opinion. Having said that, there was a previous block/charge situation in the fourth quarter with Deng and the Cavs got the call. You know that the call was poor because the two officials called different things. Also, there was Joakim Noah clearing LeBron going for a rebound in the last 10 seconds. That happens, officials will let things go on missed free throws.

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