Season progressing, but Cavaliers' effort on road is not
NOV 13, 2013 9:50p ET
That may be a process, but it sure ain't progress.
Final score Wednesday: Timberwolves 124, visiting Cavs 95.
So make it 0-6 away from home for the Cavs, as the Timberwolves basically turned this one into 48 minutes of garbage time.
It's worse than the Cavs just lacking energy. Saying that would be too generous. It was more like just not showing up, and hoping the Timberwolves didn't, either.
Then, when the Cavs saw the Wolves were gonna play hard, it's almost as if they shrugged and said, "Oh, well. Maybe next time."
That probably wasn't what actually happened. But it sure did look that way.
The Cavs (3-6) entered the night knowing the Timberwolves were a team that's been ultra-successful in transition this early season, entering the night second in the league in fast-break points.
Yet the Cavs did nothing to counter that.
They put no pressure on the guy passing the ball. They got beat time and time again underneath. They never really stopped anyone on the other team for an entire game. Sometimes the Timberwolves just missed a shot. The Cavs had nothing to do with it.
As for positives … well, there weren't any. For the Cavs, everyone who stepped on the floor looked bad. It was a total team effort in falling apart from the opening tip.
Kyrie Irving scored 20 points -- but passed for just two assists and committed three turnovers.
Anderson Varejao added 13 points and his usual dose of hustle -- but hustle only goes so far when you look otherwise lost defensively.
Then there's the small forward position, from which the Cavs have received a whole lot of nothing. Unless you count C.J. Miles, who actually is more of a shooting guard.
And yes, the issues on offense were quite evident. Namely, it seemed the Cavs had to work extremely hard to get a decent look at the basket. By the time a shot came, everyone was out of position.
That type of laboring doesn't bode well for road games, or for professional basketball played anywhere.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves (6-3) look like a playoff team that really knows what it's doing. Not to mention a team that has plenty of talent.
Power forward Kevin Love (33 points, 10-of-16 shooting) is clearly one of the top five players in the game and a legitimate MVP candidate. And Ricky Rubio (16 points, a whopping 16 assists) is obviously taking huge steps toward becoming an elite point guard.
There's no denying any of that. But that doesn't mean the Cavs have to roll over and play dead, because here's a newsflash: You're gonna face opposing greatness every night in this league.
Now, this isn't intended to bury the Cavs. There's no need to light holy candles and lift our arms to the heavens. As bad as things can get on the road, they still haven't lost at home -- with a very winnable bounce-back game against Charlotte on Friday at The Q.
As Cavs coach Mike Brown said afterward, the Cavs have played just nine of 82 games. Sometimes, you take a few steps forward, and sometimes you get knocked on your behind.
The key is to not stay down for long.
But if the Cavs have any fight, any character, now would be a good time to start proving it to themselves. This has to be more than a process. It's about time for some progress, too.