You didn’t expect them to win. Coming off the most emotional victory of the season, nobody gave the Cavaliers much of a chance against a hungry Charlotte team fighting for a playoff spot.
The Cavaliers have been terrible in these situations all season long. Aside from the early season three game winning streak, (wow does that seem like an eternity ago) the Cavaliers seem to follow victories with subpar efforts and big losses. Six point win against Detroit? Followed up by a sixteen point loss against the Hawks. Beat the Kings by four on the road? Get pummeled 111-70 against Portland.
Since the Cavs beat Memphis, way back at the end of November, they are now 0-10 in games following a win. In those games before last night, they lost by an average of 14.1 points, and that includes close games against the Wizards (which was a stinkfest by both teams) and on the other side of the all-star break against the Rockets.
All of this to say I believe Cleveland was ready to give them a pass heading into the game against the Bobcats a night after sending James, Wade and Bosh away like trick-or-treaters who missed out on the candy.
But the team did not take the night off. Despite early foul trouble by Hickson and Hollins, the team rebounded and nearly pulled one out against the Bobcats. They had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win on the road, and you really can’t ask much more from any team, particularly coming on the second night of back-to-back games.
So what do fans expect from this team from now until the end of the season? Here’s 3 things I think all Cavaliers’ fans can get behind-
1. Energy and effort.
You get paid to play a game. Nobody that works hard at their job will ever sit back and say you don’t have to try. No way. Whoever Coach Scott puts in the game needs to give everything they have, as if these last nine games were just as important as the first nine, in which the team went 4-5.
2. Don’t be stupid with injuries.
Baron Davis is obviously hurting. His back and knee are legit issues right now. I’m not sure what there really is to gain by having him play through the rest of the season. Unless it’s to prove everyone wrong.
When Davis was traded there were plenty that thought he might never wear a Cleveland uniform this season. I had my doubts just by listening to the comments coming from the national media. It seems like Baron has really taken this to heart since the trade. He was eager to come here and prove that he could be a team player, and he most certainly has been that and more.
Byron Scott has been conservative with Davis’ minutes, even in a hotly contested game against the Heat. Cavs fans all over twitter were really getting on coach Scott for not injecting Davis into the game sooner, but he stuck to his game plan with Baron’s minutes and the team responded. Nobody would blame Davis for sitting out some of these upcoming games.
Another guy that has been hobbled all season is Ramon Sessions. I doubt Sessions gets to sit much, but if he does he has earned it.
3. Share the love.
This offense is so predicated on good ball movement and decisions. The Cavaliers were one of the top teams in the league early on in assists. They have dropped to number seventeen. Games like last night demonstrate why. The Bobcats made 42 field goals, and had 33 assists. The Cavs meanwhile had 36 field goals and only 17 assists.
No matter what the team does with the remaining 9 games, the page was turned against the Heat. Cleveland is ready to see what the future holds.