Lacking enthusiasm, each Cleveland loss pushing Scott closer toward exit.
By SAM AMICO FS Ohio
CLEVELAND — For the
Cavaliers, it’s all about the offseason.
Right now, they’re just sort of milling around, firing up shots and not really playing defense.
New York, on the other hand, is “gearing up” for the playoffs, according to Cavs coach Byron Scott.
So think about those things, and it’s easy to understand the Knicks’ 101-91 snoozer of a victory Friday in front of a near-sellout crowd at The Q.
With three games left, the Cavs (24-55) have nothing left for which to play. You could say pride, but they don’t really seem overly interested in that. Not all the Cavs appear indifferent, mind you. But too many.
And aside from
Tristan Thompson (15 points, 11 rebounds, 6-for-7 shooting) and maybe
Kyrie Irving (31 points, six assists) it’s hard to point at anyone and say, “He really wants to win tonight.”
The good news is, there are only three games left — at Philadelphia, Miami at home, and at Charlotte (which will likely resemble some sort of rec-league scrimmage).
The better news is, Irving and Thompson are the two biggest pieces of the future.
As for the present, all the talk is about Scott, and whether or not he’ll continue to be the man in charge. Like it or not, that arrangement seems very iffy, and it has since the Cavs squandered a 27-point lead in a loss vs. the Heat last month.
They’ve blown a couple of biggies since then, and more than anything, have just played with little enthusiasm. Instead, they look like a bunch of high school kids who decided to skip out on exams in the final week before summer.
That’s mostly on the players. The coach almost always takes the blame, anyway.
Perhaps more telling for Scott is the fact this is the NBA, and rarely does a coach miss the playoffs for three straight seasons and survive to see a fourth.
Injuries, youth and newer veterans rarely figure into the equation.
Management often puts more weight into how hard the team plays when all is lost. All has been lost for the Cavs for a while now. They haven’t consistently played hard, or at least as hard as Scott would like, for several weeks, perhaps longer.
It makes you wonder if he’s lost the team.
Maybe he hasn’t, and maybe all the Cavs need is some time apart. But with six or seven or more coaches about to lose their jobs and become obtainable, Scott’s status is downright shaky.
Whether that’s via any fault of his own, again, doesn’t really matter. This is, again, the NBA.
So here the Cavs and their fans sit, left to wonder what the summer might bring.
Will big man Marreese Speights pick up the option on his contract, or try his luck at free agency? Will Wayne Ellington, Shaun Livingston and C.J. Miles return? Will the Cavs use their four draft picks (two first-rounders), or try to package them for some immediate help?
Mostly, will Scott be the man that leads this team into the next phase?
All are questions that will soon be answered, and judging by the players, the Cavs really won’t care about much else until they are.