Same old story for Cavaliers

Golden State Warriors small forward Draymond Green (23) dunks beside Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (3) and power forward Tristan Thompson (13) in overtime at Quicken Loans Arena.

David Richard/David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND — This is getting depressing.

The Cavaliers should be further along than this. At least, that’s what people who follow the team were hoping, and likely expecting.

Instead, make it Golden State 108, Cavs 104 in another overtime game, another close loss, another disappointment for fans Sunday at The Q.

It’s getting old, isn’t it?

The Cavs lost by three points at Boston on Saturday. They lost in double OT to Atlanta last week at home. They lost, then lost again and again and again.

Overall, it’s five losses in a row. Overall, it’s seven of eight. Overall, it’s 10 victories in their first 30 games. Thirty games. Ten wins. And Andrew Bynum is a goner.

Is this what you were expecting from the Cavs this season?

OK, now for the ray of light. It does exist. You may have to squint to see it … but it’s there.

The Cavs have been in so many of these games. Of course, they blew a 17-point deficit to put themselves in it on Sunday. Still, Kyrie Irving said it best afterward: The Cavs just need to "close out games better."

You’d think they would know that by know, but admitting your problem is the first step. The next is actually going out and doing it.

And it’s not as if the Cavs are short on guys who really do want to win.

Irving (27 points, nine assists) and Tristan Thompson (17 points, 12 rebounds) played their guts out, with each making the type of winning plays that can make you believe. The same goes, not surprisingly, for Anderson Varejao (12 boards). Even C.J. Miles got in on it, shooting 3-of-6 in the first half, then again in the second, for 17 points.

Yes, Dion Waiters (3-of-15 shooting) was mostly miserable. But he plays with an edge the Cavs desperately need. He just couldn’t make a shot.

And, hey, we may have witnessed another (brief) Anthony Bennett sighting.

None of this is to excuse anything or to try to paint a pretty picture. Guts ain’t enough. You have to play smart. You have to give maximum effort and hustle on the majority of possessions — and most definitely at crunch time.

The majority of this group and its key members are now in their second straight season of not doing it nearly enough. That’s troubling.


Mike Brown is in his first season coaching this group, and he’s not ready to panic. In fact, more than anything, he is exuding confidence.

Maybe that can make you feel better. The man in charge isn’t hanging his head, or complaining, or really acting even overly concerned.

"We feel like we’re right there," Brown said.

It’s hard to argue with that. The Cavs have lost their past three games by a total of nine points (or an average of three a game).

Win all three and … well, let’s stick with reality.

The Cavs are giving pretty good effort. They are, at times, doing a better job of moving the ball. They’ve moved on from Bynum, if the previous two games are an indication, without a hitch.

If nothing else, they don’t look any worse without the 7-footer than they did with him. If nothing else, the offense looks a little smoother, a little more unified.

The Cavs had to learn to play with Bynum. Now they have to learn to play without him all over again.

Most of all, they have to learn how to just win, baby.

Until it happens, this isn’t going to be fun or forgivable for anybody.