For the seventh time in eight contests, the Cavaliers allowed their opponents to eclipse the 100-point mark. For the first time all season, the Cavaliers combated such with less than 80 points, scoring a season-low in their 106-77 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
There was 48 minutes of basketball, but no 10-second stretch epitomized the game more than what took place at the end of the first quarter, resulting in the image to the right. Six-foot-five-inch James Harden and six-foot-nine-inch JJ Hickson went up, but only one player came down with a smile on his face. The other? Well, not so much.
The second unit will receive plenty of criticism in this one as the Cavaliers starter managed to cut the lead to 10 points before the Thunder would go on a 19-1 run at the end of the third quarter – at the expense of the bench – that would ultimately prove to be insurmountable. The recently altered starting lineup has apparently drained the (relatively thin) well of would-be talent that comes off of the Cavaliers bench. Now being led by the inconsistent JJ Hickson and Jawad Williams, this is something that Scott realizes his team has to fix if they are going to play competitive basketball for an entire 48 minutes.
Anthony Parker had a strong bounce-back game, shooting 4-of-8 from the floor for a team-high 12 points. Anderson Varejao added seven points and 16 rebounds (nine offensive) to go with a block and a steal. On the flips side, we have Hickson who managed to tally nine points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of play, but was a team-worst -30 in terms of plus-minus figures. Oh, and since the image above hardly does it any justice…
Coast. To. Coast.
Also a bit of an issue, starting point guard Mo Williams went 3-for-9 on the night, hitting exactly two more shots that the Oklahoma City Thunder fan who drained a half-court heave between the first and second quarters to win $20,000. He’s shooting 35.8 percent for the month of December, 21.7 percent from three-point range. Conversely, over the past fkve games, the opposing starting point guard has averaged 18 points (shooting just under 50 percent from the floor) and nine assists.
Sadly, those asking if this is yet rock bottom, we may have to answer with a resounding “no.” With Miami, Indiana, New York, Utah and Atlanta being the next five opponents, the Cavaliers are staring at an upcoming slate that has gone a combined 38-12 (.760) over their last ten respective games. For the masochists, stripping out the Pacers ups that winning percentage to 82.5; not exactly the best way to head into Christmas Day.
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)