Loss to Hawks latest example something's gotta give for Cavs
DEC 26, 2013 11:57p ET
CLEVELAND -- In a season expected to consist of more success and lots of pride, the Cavaliers are having a heck of time getting going.
Every time it seems like cool things might be on the way, the Cavs start a bit of a fade. Or perhaps too big of a fade.
Take Thursday's game at The Q. On a couple of occasions, it seemed like the Cavs had it won. They played smart, they defended very well for stretches, and Kyrie Irving caught fire.
Then, everything just sort of stopped.
It could've been a fantastic game. Instead, it became a fantastic game that doesn't feel so good.
Final score: Hawks 127, Cavs 125 in double overtime.
"We had some good moments; it's disappointing," said Cavs coach Mike Brown. "We had plenty of opportunities to close the game at the end of regulation, at end of the first overtime and even at the end of the second overtime."
Nothing was settled until a step-back jumper by Hawks point guard Jeff Teague bounced around the rim and somehow dropped through as time expired. The shot seemed to take an entire overtime all by itself.
Adding to the Cavs' frustration was the fact they actually led by five points with 2:50 to go in the second OT.
Then, again, everything just sort of stopped. The ball movement, the good decisions, the defensive stands. Those things ended and so did the Cavs' evening.
* Irving scored 40 points and passed for nine assists.
* Dion Waiters returned from a three-game absence, coming off the bench with his bandaged sore wrist to tally 20.
* And Tristan Thompson gave an underrated all-around performance with 22 points and loads of hustle. Also, Anderson Varejao collected a game-high 17 rebounds.
* Irving took 33 shots. Obviously, he needs to shoot. But probably not that much. Last thing this team needs is a bunch of guys standing around and watching when it matters most.
* The Cavs committed a whopping 24 turnovers (six by Irving), resulting in 22 Hawks points. That's too many, too.
* Andrew Bynum took three shots. That's not nearly enough. He's either not very good right now or the Cavs still can't figure out how to get him the ball. It's probably a little of both.
* The loss overshadowed some clutch free-throw shooting from undrafted rookie Matthew Dellavedova. He went 4-of-4 from the line in the final 11.7 seconds of the first OT. The kid truly has been something else.
* Earl Clark replaced Alonzo Gee in the starting lineup. Clark scored two points and was generally just sort of there. Gee didn't get in the game. And remember, this went to double overtime. Translation: Holy moly, the small forward spot is hurting.
There's probably more good, and certainly more bad. But more concerning than this game is the big picture.
The Cavs are 10-18. They can't win on the road (2-12). They've lost two straight at home and three in a row overall.
There was a time, and not long ago, that they seemed to be making some real headway in the stress-free Eastern Conference. Now, the only thing keeping them out of last place in the Central Division is the sad-sack Milwaukee Bucks.
And beating out the rebuilding Bucks ain't exactly reason for a pep rally and bonfire.
Something has to change here, kids. Brown says he'll keep searching. That's all he can do. General manager Chris Grant will likely keep searching for some sort of trade. That's all he can do, too.
Until their leaders find some answers, the players will have to do their part. They did more of their part Thursday, and in a game that got the entire basketball world buzzing.
But eventually, the Cavs need to win some of these. It's too early to say the season is slipping away -- but not too early to envision it doing exactly that in the near future.