Following the Cavaliers 117-112 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Byron Scott chose to sum the game up with two words: offensive rebounding.
While the Cavaliers allowed the Pacers to pull down more offensive rebounds (16) than most teams would prefer, the decision to point the finger at this facet of the game is odd for a couple of reasons.
First, Scott was not nearly as adamant about the offensive glass in the recent loss to Orlando wherein the Magic had an offensive rebound rate near 50 percent and dominated the Cavaliers on the boards for a full 48 minutes. Secondly, the crunch time execution on both ends of the floor were abysmal at best. Christian Eyenga hit a tough, long two-pointer from the wing and Ramon Sessions hoisted (and hit) a jumper from just beyond the free throw line – both shots were converted, but both were very low-percentage and were not created as much as they were last-ditch efforts to get a shot off prior to the shot clock expiring.
Nearly every fourth quarter “stop” on defense was merely a result of an Indiana Pacers player missing a shot. Rarely were jump shots contested on pick-and-pops, while Danny Granger (23 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Darren Collison (22 points, nine assists) seemingly had every shot they wanted.
Sure, the 12 extra field goal attempts that the Pacers had on the Cavs ultimately sealed the fate of the Wine and Gold. But this game was more than winnable if there was actual execution during integral parts of the game.
Some positives to take away:
– Ramon Sessions tallied a season-high 25 points (on 10 shots) to go with nine assists. Say what you want about his defense, but he is the only member of the Cavs who attacks the basket on a regular basis. Over his last four games, he has had 34 assists and just seven turnovers – huge for a young team – and in his last 18 games, Sessions is averaging 14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists.
– Manny Harris just may have a future with this team. If he can add some weight in the offseason, I can see the rookie being a key reserve for Byron Scott going forward. The kid had another strong outing with 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Over his last three outings, Harris is averaging 19.7 points (on .486 shooting) and 6.3 rebounds, while getting to the free throw line 20 times. That last point may seem trivial, but the aggression is a big step for the first-year player.
– Another player who could use some added weight is Christian Eyenga who continues to play well, all things considered. Eyenga had 12 points, four rebounds, a career-high five assists, two steals and two blocks in this one.
– And the vets, Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker, combined for 38 points including six three-pointers. Unfortunately, it was Parker’s missed lay-up in transition with 18 seconds left and a one-point deficit that forced the downward spiral of bizarre plays on both ends.
– Team heads to Memphis Friday and then back to Cleveland to host the banged-up (but still good) Blazers on Saturday. Are you in the Tribe?