The Cleveland Cavaliers looked like they might be breaking out of their funk after an impressive road victory on Friday night over Eastern Conference rival Washington. Unfortunately what transpired on Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena quickly dispelled that belief. Atlanta came into the Q riding an eight game losing streak with the leagues worst record at 1-8 and walked out of the Q with a 116-114 victory over the reeling Cavaliers. The Cavs now have six losses…four coming against teams who missed the postseason last year…one to an Indiana team who traded their star player Paul George…and tonight to a rebuilding Hawks squad. The common theme’s in the losses have been lack of defense and effort. Once again the Cavs waited until the fourth quarter to play hard and try to overcome a big deficit. Channing Frye touched on the Cavs effort or lack there of.
“To be honest, we’ve got to play harder. I think we have to be more attentive to details and have a better sense of urgency” Frye stated.
Dwyane Wade had a nice game leading the second unit as he finished with 25 points. It was another game where the second unit outplayed and outscored the starters. The bench outscored the starters 64-51. Wade was none too happy about this after the game.
“We got to start off better. I want one time for the first unit to get on the second unit because we blew a lead.”
The Cavs shot only 28% (10-36) from three point range. The biggest miss came from Channing Frye with 7 seconds remaining that would have given the Cavs a one point lead. It bounced off the side of the rim and Wade’s put back attempt was off the mark. Frye realizes the importance of hitting those big shots.
“I should have made it. You get the opportunity to go out there, you better make that shot”
Once again J.R. Smith was ineffective as he has been all season only scoring six points in 34 minutes. He has also struggled on the defensive end especially against the weaker and less talented teams. It might be time for coach Tyronn Lue to give rookie Cedi Osman a look. Osman is known for being a decent defender and has improved his outside shot.
The lack of effort and energy is certainly puzzling. The team looks disinterested when playing against the lesser teams. Their opponents do not fear them and are giving a max effort to embarass the Cavaliers. This is the price you pay when you are viewed as the team to beat in the East. The Cavaliers must match that effort from start to finish instead of waiting until the fourth quarter. Coach Lue addressed this very issue after the game.
Kevin Love left the game with an illness after playing only 18 minutes. He was treated at the Cleveland Clinic and is currently at home recovering. His status will be updated on Monday.
The Cavaliers next game is Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena vs the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks will be looking to avenge a home loss to the Cavaliers earlier this season.