Through the month of February, the Cleveland Cavaliers were ranked third in all of the NBA in assists with 24.4 dimes per game. A product of ball-movement and execution, the Wine and Gold are frequently reminded pregame to play selfless basketball. After all, the Princeton offense is predicated upon such an ideal.
But in Sunday night’s 96-81 loss to Byron Scott’s former team, Scott felt that his team played one of their worst offensive games of the season.
“For the first time in a while and I told this to the guys the exact same way, I thought we played selfish basketball,” Scott said following the loss. “Offensively, I did not think we shared the ball like we shared it in New York and against a good defensive basketball team, you have to do the extra little things, make the extra passes and things like that, and I do not think we did that tonight. I thought we just played selfish ball and lost the game.”
Scott’s impulsive words were not far off. The Cavs, in 90 possessions, had one of their worst offensive nights in a very long time, recording an efficiency total of 90 – good enough for their fourth-worst effort of the entire season. Scott’s squad had not had an offensive efficiency total under 95 since their January 31st loss to the Miami Heat.
Interestingly enough, the Cavaliers converted on only 12 of their 41 shots inside of 15 feet (29.2 percent). Chief among the ineffective was JJ Hickson, who shot 3-of-13 within said range. In fact, of all Cavaliers, only Baron Davis had an efficient evening, providing 17 points (74.3 TS%) and six assists in 28 minutes of play.
Whatever the reason may be, the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers do not adapt well to games which start before the typical 7pm slot.
The second-half slate of Sundays which aim to replace the recently concluded NFL schedule provide fans with start times anywhere between 1p and 6:30p EST. Last Sunday, the Cavaliers managed to shoot a mere 41.8 percent from the floor in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. This Sunday, the Cavs took another step back by shooting a woeful 36.8 percent from the floor.
The starting backcourt of Ramon Sessions and Anthony Parker managed to combine for 6-of-20 shooting; Parker had a game-low point differential of -21. While All-Star point guard Chris Paul can provide enough of a challenge for any opponent, he was forced to leave the game midway through the third quarter after sustaining a concussion – Paul’s head blindly collided with the shoulder of Ramon Sessions, forcing the team to take him off of the floor on a stretcher for precautionary reasons.
“I think once he got hurt we seemed to take a big ol exhale like ‘now the game is going to be easy’ and they just got more determined and took it from there,” said Scott. “They have a lot of veterans so we should have known that they were not going to all of a sudden lay down. I thought they just got much more aggressive. Offensively, they did a real good job of executing their plays and we could not stop them, and then on [our] offensive end, we just did not share the ball like we normally do.”
The Cavaliers will practice on Monday in preparation for the back-to-back games of Golden State and (at) Milwaukee. The team anticipates Daniel Gibson will be ready to play at some point this week.