Kill me now. Really, back-to-back losses to New Jersey and Philadelphia? This is how I spend my Friday night? Watching this? Great. The defense was non-existent, the offense was terrible (someone tell Damon Jones that the lob isn't there) and the coaching boggled the mind (so Shannon Brown played 2 minutes on Friday but played crunch time on Saturday?). All in all, this game was pretty crappy.
On the plus side, Andre Miller looks pretty good (especially for 35 years old- according to Austin Carr). Of course, anyone can look good when the defense lets you go exactly where you want. Miller finished with 20 points on 7-14 shooting. I hope Danny Ferry saw what we all did.
Rebounding was pretty awful. The Cavs got outrebounded 45-39 and gave up 14 offensive boards. The Cavs starting frontcourt combined for 25 boards... Samuel Dalembert had 19. Reggie Evans had 14. Well done. The Cavs would go for the ball without boxing out their man; it was pretty frustrating to watch.
The starting frontcourt were the only guys who showed up for the wine & gold. LeBron shot 10-18 for 21 points, Gooden was 8-11 for 21 and Z was 5-11 for 12. No one else was worth a damn. The rest of the team combined to shoot 9-35 (roughly 26%). The worst offenders were Larry Hughes (1-9), Sasha Pavlovic (2-9) and Shannon Brown (3-10). One could say that the shooting guard play left much to be desired (one could also say that they sucked ass).
Fox Sports Net said the Cavs played poor transition defense, I say they played awful offense. Yes, the Cavs played poor transition defense, I'll give you that. But 35 points... that's a lot of transition opportunities. Giving up 35 transition points isn't just a defensive problem, it's an offensive problem too.
I don't want to say put this loss on LeBron but... His numbers aren't exactly bad (21, 6 and 6) but he didn't seem interested. LBJ scored just 3 points in the fourth quarter and he stopped attacking the rim roughly around the end of the first period (where he had a ton of dunks and transition points). James was content to let other Cavaliers shoot the ball in the fourth period and ended up watching the terrible offense with the rest of us. Maybe it's the injury, maybe it's the fact that we're in the middle of December, but James hasn't looked to enthused the last two games.
The fourth quarter was freaking brutal. With eight minutes to go, Damon Jones hit a 3 to give the Cavs a 75-74 lead. The next time the Cavs made a basket was at the two minute mark when Z swished a jumper to cut the lead to 86-84. Six minutes without a field goal. Half of the fourth quarter without a field goal (and narry a Snow jumper in sight). This game wasn't lost at the defensive end; the Sixers shot just 38% and were held to 92 point. The offensive execution simply wasn't there. There was no post play for LeBron. There was no drive and kick. They reverted to last season.
This was supposed to be the start of a winning streak. New Jersey and Philly back-to-back, Hughes returning, Varejao returning, LeBron James returning, things were looking up... but no. They haven't come close to matching the energy they displayed against the Pacers. One would think that with four of the next five on the road (against the Knicks), the Cavs would be in a good position to turn things around. And they are (they have the Bucks, Lakers, Warriors and Heat at home- all very winnable games). But they won't beat many teams playing like they did on Saturday.