Cavs must not wait another minute. Change is needed now
Loss to Lakers just another embarrassment in season filled with them.
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving sits on the bench in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Quicken Loans Arena.
David Richard / USA TODAY Sports
By Sam Amico
CLEVELAND -- There's nothing left to be said about the Cavaliers. It's time for action.
The Cavs' 119-108 loss to the visiting Lakers on Wednesday may have been the most embarrassing defeat in franchise history. And remember, we're talking about a team that once lost to the Lakers by 55.
We're talking about a team that lost to Sacramento by 44 earlier this season, a team that made a mockery of the pro game on national TV just last week in New York.
And a team that has one victory in the previous nine games, a victory that just happened to come over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks don't mind losing, and anymore, neither do the Cavs.
How else do you explain what's happening here? No team with heart allows things to play out like they did in front of about 9,000 people at The Q on Wednesday.
Consider the Lakers' situation entering the night.
They were riding a seven-game losing streak. They played the previous night at Minnesota, and because of the weather, didn't get to Cleveland until after 3 in the morning. Their heads hit the pillows about two hours later.
The Lakers could've trotted out a healthy Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, and you still would've expected them to lose.
But none of those veteran leaders were in uniform. Neither was Jodie Meeks. Nor Jordan Hill. Jordan Farmar left in the second half. Nick Young got hurt in the first. Robert Sacre fouled out.
The Lakers were begging the Cavs to win. BEGGING them.
The Cavs (16-33) said thanks, but we're good. And by good, they meant content to be bad. That's how you get torched by unheralded rookie Ryan Kelly for 26 points on your own home floor.
When Sacre fouled out with less than 4:00 to go, the Lakers were down to four guys. So Sacre stayed in the game, per league rules. Nash ran to the dressing room and changed into his uniform with about 2:00 to go, just in case.
This game was weird. The Cavs' season is weird. They need to figure out a way to return to at least normal, because the fans are beyond wit's end and have every right to be.
This is a public relations disaster, a nightmare that makes the pathetic local NFL team look like it's been sent from heaven to bless the city.
The Cavs, meanwhile, are straight from Mars.
Nothing comes close to making sense.
Kyrie Irving has scored 0 points in a game this season and didn't get off the bench in the fourth quarter against one of the league's worst teams Wednesday. How do these things keep happening? Truth is, they should never happen, and they certainly shouldn't just be accepted as part of some strange "adjustment" period.
The Cavs needed a leader. They traded for Luol Deng and thought they got one. But Deng started off hot, and has become almost completely ineffective.
Why is he worse now than when he got here? Why has no one shown consistent improvement from last season? Why have most guys seemingly become disinterested? Why aren't the Cavs listening to coach Mike Brown? Mostly, who's the leader here?
You can say all you want that Brown hasn't lost the team, and based on the extra effort of guys like Anderson Varejao, C.J. Miles and Matthew Dellavedova, it's clear that Brown hasn't lost all of them. But if he hasn't lost most of them, they must have suddenly developed a hearing problem. They've become deaf to the tone of Brown's voice.
The Cavs have to stop waiting for the media to ask the tough questions. They have to ask those questions themselves. They have to accept the fact that the solutions are going to be very difficult.
But there's nothing easy about professional sports. Easy doesn't factor into times like these.
You know that old line about drastic measures? The Cavs are there. Do something. Now.