Following an emotional blowout to the Miami Heat two nights ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers responded with one of the worst performances in recent franchise history. Allowing a record-breaking night to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cavs fell 129-95 to prompt questions or whether they are currently the worst team in the NBA.
Anytime a team allows 37 points in the first quarter and then 36 in the second, you know that it is going to be a long night throughout. That’s exactly what happened to Cleveland Saturday night as young forward Kevin Love provided 28 points and 19 rebounds to pace the Wolves. The defense was awful, the rebounding was awful, the offense was fairly abysmal, and it left head coach Byron Scott scrambling for words after the game.
Not too many people with the guts to break down the narrative of last night’s blowout, so let’s just handle a few statistical disclaimers to show the epic nature of this loss:
– The Cavaliers have now lost their past three games to the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves by an average score of 90.7 to 117.7.
– Because of this stretch, Cleveland is now last in the NBA with a -8.1 average scoring differential. Scoring differential has been proven to have a stronger correlation to future success than win-loss numbers.
– Doing a little math, through the first 16 games of the season the Cavs had lost games by an average of just 95.1 to 99.6, an average scoring differential of -4.5.
– Minnesota set a franchise record with 18 three pointers on the night despite Michael Beasley (21.6 ppg) missing the game with an ankle injury.
– The Wolves have only had three games with more than 129 points over the course of their 22-year franchise history. Their 70.4 efficiency field goal percentage was 6.6 points higher than any performance over the past two and a half seasons.
– Minnesota shot 59.3 percent from the field (69.2 from threes) as opposed to Cleveland’s 38.6 percent mark and 23.8 percent efficiency from downtown. In fact, the host team actually was 25-for-35 (71.4 percent) from all shot attempts of at least 17 feet.
– And for two final stats, the Cavs were out-rebounded 46 to 29, and starting center Darko Milicic posted a +41 in just 26 minutes of play.
It all becomes a matter of semantics from there, but it definitely seems that the Cavs have to be in at least the consideration for worst team in the NBA at the moment. The loss was awful and the stats are just unbelievable at times, and fans have to keep in mind that it occurred against a team that was 4-15 and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004.
As if Dan Gilbert wasn’t already considering blowing up the entire roster beforehand, it’s tough to not give think about it at all after that performance. Scott is left in an awkward position as well, continuing to expect at least some remnant of improved play amidst a franchise that is falling to new and more destructive lows than ever.
Next game for Cleveland is tonight at 6 p.m. at Detroit. We thought it couldn’t get much worse after the Miami game, so here’s hoping the team at least just stays competitive.
Photo above via AP Photo/Paul Battaglia