The short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers, missing five players to the injured list at the start of a five-game West Coast road trip, fell again to the Golden State Warriors 116-98 Friday night. A brief third quarter run was the extent of the optimism from the young players under head coach Byron Scott, as the defensive woes continued for the current worst team in the NBA.
After starting the year 7-9, the Cavs are now on a second losing streak of at least nine games and hold a 1-19 since November 30th. The fast-paced Warriors took full advantage of the team that is allowing 106.5 points per game over this stretch, scoring at will and extending its lead to 16 points by halftime. From there, it was yet another brutal loss for Cleveland fans and click below the jump for more analysis of the game.
– Christian Eyenga had a pair of blocks in a five minute stretch at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter. You can see his athleticism oozing out on both the offensive and defensive side, but there’s no question that his basketball awareness is quite low right now. He wasn’t as active offensively against Golden State as he was when he scored 16 against the Toronto Raptors earlier in the week, but he’s at least fun pretty exciting to watch at times.
– Meanwhile, the real star of the night for the Cavs was rookie guard Manny Harris. The University of Michigan product had his third career start and finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. He was efficient and minimized his mistakes on offense while his intimidating length was a perfect match for the speed and quickness of the Warriors’ offense. He seemed quite humble in his post-game comments, but you have to imagine that he is actually playing better basketball than Anthony Parker, and there might not be much reason behind limiting his minutes for the rest of the season.
– Speaking of Harris, two things pop out to mind about that Cleveland backcourt right now. First of all, Alonzo Gee and him make a physical duo, and it’s no surprise that each collected three steals to pace the way for a season-high 15 by the team last night. On the other hand, Gee went scoreless in his 25 minutes (while playing awful team defense) and point guard Mo Williams struggled to get his offense going after a solid first quarter in finishing with a game-low -25 in 30 minutes. Without Daniel Gibson and all the others, scoring is the one thing that this team desperately needs from its guards, and that just wasn’t on display at all on Friday.
– A miniature bounce back game from J.J. Hickson against the Warriors. While you have to take his 17-point, 9-rebound performance with a grain of salt because it was against one of the least physical front lines in the NBA, it was good to see that he is no longer in Scott’s doghouse after his one-game punishment for missing a mandatory practice. It was a typical performance in going 5-for-13 from the field with four turnovers, four fouls and plenty of bonehead defensive moves, but it’s better than nothing right now at least.
– Opponents are shooting 44.3% from three-point range against the Cavs during this awful 1-19 stretch, and that was on full display against Golden State. The team found many holes in the Cleveland defense en route to a 14-28 shooting effort from downtown, making them in every single clutch spot of the contest. Against a team as offensively talented as this one with Monta Ellis (32 points), David Lee (22 points), Dorrell Wright (20 points), Stephen Curry (15 points) and more, these defensive lapses were bound to show up in full force yet again.
(Photo above via AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)