After Cavalier fans celebrated Friday night’s win as if it were a Game 7 of a playoff series, the winless-on-the-road Washingon Wizards promptly came into town and pulled the celebration rug out from underneath the Cavs’ collective feet.
Fortunately, Cleveland can only sit here and ponder the potential for the consecutive loss streak continuing on through this day as it took an overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers (another woeful road team who just so happened to be in the middle of a 10-game trip). But following Sunday night’s 115-100 loss to the Wizards, it’s fairly evident that this team has inner battles with entitlement that could be deeply rooted to some point in the last seven years.
Unfortunately, this current Cavaliers team cannot afford to merely go through the motions for periods of time. Case in point, Sunday night’s opening tip that would ultimately find the Cavaliers down 12 after the first quarter, 22 going into halftime. Lackluster defense in pick-and-roll situations (surprise!), refusal to get back in transition (26 fast break points for Washington) and sloppy, careless ball-handling on offense (17 turnovers leading to 25 points) were three ingredients in Sunday’s Soup du Jour, giving the Wizards their first road win of the season, and the Cavaliers a potential start to another losing streak given upcoming games against the Lakers, Rockets and Knicks.
The Wizards were paced by their backcourt of John Wall (19 points, 14 assists) and Nick Young (31 points, four rebounds). This comes as little surprise given that the 2010-11 Cavaliers are allowing opposing PERs of 19.5 and 19.0 for point guards and shooting guards, respectively. Knowing that there was some feasting to be had, Kirk Hinrich (career 41 percent shooter) came in off of the bench to drop eight of his 13 shots (61.5 percent) for 17 points.
The Cavaliers will tell you that Antawn Jamison and JJ Hickson had solid games due to the final box score, but the fact is that this team allowed 115 points on 96 possessions. Hickson may have notched his 13th double-double of the season, but he had the second-highest usage rate on the team (Mo Williams) and coupled that with a true shooting mark of 38 percent. The Cavs had a fairly efficient offensive game by their standards, but there remains to be two sides of the basketball floor. And as Krolik may have put best, put these two on the defensive end and Jamison and Hickson make Andray Blatche and Javale McGee look like Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
For the team, they offered no excuses during postgame discussions. Byron Scott said that they played like “you know what,” and no one in the locker room disagreed. Now, if they can just figure this whole “effort” thing out before games instead of after, it’d be a start.
The Cavs will have the day off on Monday and will hit the practice courts on Tuesday in anticipation of Kobe Bryant’s arrival to The Q. Given those PER numbers I mentioned above – and the infamous 55-point game just one month ago – Scott and the Cavaliers may have their work cut out for them if they want to get back on the winning side of the coin.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)