The Cavaliers, once again, were within reaching distance of taking the lead within regulation playing time in a professional basketball game. Cutting the Miami Heat lead to three points midway through the second half, the Wine and Gold gave fans – and potentially even themselves – a bit of hope.
And then Miami started trying again, stretched the lead to 20 and never looked back, winning 117-90.
Second verse, same as the first. Cavaliers start out slow (which is looking more and more like their opponents merely give some form of effort), leading to a point-differential that is essentially insurmountable. Cavaliers finally start to execute on each end of the floor (which is is looking more and more like their opponents let up on the accelerator just a bit), and begin to close the gap. There comes a point in the third or fourth quarter where the lead is one or two baskets away and then whomever the opponent is flips the hyperspeed switch and goes to plaid – blowing by anyone and anything in their path, including the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs could’ve played with six players for most of the night and it may not have made much of a difference. Dwyane Wade (34 points, seven rebounds, five assists in 33 minutes) did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. LeBron James (24 points and eight assists) opted for calculated play, doing most of his damage from the free throw line. And since no one Cavalier could defend either Wade or James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was frequently left alone under the hoop where he would tally 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Ramon Sessions was essentially awful from the field (3-of-10) but managed to finish with 11 points and seven assists. Antawn Jamison bounced back from a deplorable night in Orlando to record his requisite January line of 21 points on 20 shots with 10 rebounds. But the night was rookie guard Manny Harris’ – getting some extra burn with Daniel Gibson’s quadriceps injury – as he finished with a team-high 20 points, five rebounds and a flawless 7-of-7 from the line. Harris also had a transition dunk with LeBron James following for the block attempt, but it was hardly the Griffin-Mozgov that Fred and AC wanted us to believe.
The record-seaking losing streak continues with nary a victory in the month of January. A legitimate chance at snapping this baby comes on Wednesday when the Cavs play host to the Indiana Pacers and their interim head coach following the firing of Jim O’Brien. They will be underdogs, I’m sure, but there could be 20,ooo-plus that can hopefully will them to a win.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)