Some quick and random dribbles on the Cavaliers’ 102-100 heartbreaker of a loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday:
1. Well, that just stinks. The Cavs are clearly a better team than the young Jazz. But it was the Jazz who ended up dominating most of the night — then winning on Gordon Hayward’s dagger of a jumper at the buzzer.
2. The Cavs of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are 1-3. It’s hard to believe. Especially when you think about how the losses have come. But I’m here to tell you it’s gonna be OK, Cavs fans. This team will contend at the end.
3. One of the reasons I say that is because the Cavs have zero chemistry right now. They are still learning to play off LeBron. And LeBron is still learning to play off them. As hard as James is trying to get others involved, the Cavs still don’t really have a chance unless he takes over.
4. We saw that Wednesday, when James scored six points in the final minute. One came off an unlikely and well-defended 3-pointer from the corner. Another came when he drew a foul while shooting another three. James canned all three of the resulting free throws. So he made the plays at winning time.
5. James is keeping a calm demeanor through all this, and it truly shows his professionalism and the fact he’s been through these situations. None of this is new to him. As James himself has said, when it comes to the NBA, "there ain’t nothing I haven’t seen."
6. After this particular loss, James stayed even-keel. "I don’t really get involved in expectations. … Rome wasn’t built in a day. We understand that."
7. He later added: "Tomorrow’s a new day, another chance to make a new newspaper clipping."
8. For most of the night, the Cavs played half-speed, then got beat to loose balls when it mattered most. Their interior defense was generally atrocious.
9. Coach David Blatt started Shawn Marion in place of Dion Waiters for defensive purposes. Blatt admitted "it did not work," as Utah scored 59 points in the first half and shot 51 percent for the game.
10. I don’t like the idea of bringing Waiters off the bench. Why? Was it some sort of punishment? The Cavs had played three games. Give the starting lineup a chance. This is a long, long season.
11. As you likely know, Irving scored 34 points but finished with ZERO assists. As a point guard, that’s hard to do — especially when LeBron is an option at the end of your passes. The Cavs finished with just six assists as a team. That’s not all on Kyrie. Some of it is, but not all of it. Again, no reason to panic. Concern? Maybe. But I’d rather focus on Irving’s 34 points if I’m a fan. Some of his baskets were truly remarkable.
12. Afterward, Kyrie told FOX Sports Ohio: "It’s a growing process we have to go through. It sucks right now. But it’s gonna take time."
13. In a separate interview with FOX Sports Ohio, Marion also used the word "sucks" to describe the state of things. And like Irving and James, Marion talked about a lack of chemistry, and how it doesn’t change overnight.
14. A lot of folks around the NBA figured LeBron would show up with some magic fairy dust and the Cavs would finish 82-0 and sprint their way to a title. But LeBron wrote in his Sports Illustrated letter that his patience would likely be tested. Clearly, he knew what he was talking about.
15. James finished with 31 points and went 12-of-12 from the line. He passed for four of the Cavs’ six assists. (It still feels weird to type that.) Love played perhaps his worst game as a Cavalier with 14 points and eight rebounds. He shot just 2-of-10 from the floor.
16. Irving played all but three minutes. James played all but six. The Cavs used just eight guys, with Waiters receiving a mere 13 minutes. I don’t like to judge a new coach this early, and fans can still have faith in Blatt. But man, he’s gotta get this rotation thing down soon.
17. I’m impressed with new Jazz coach Quin Snyder and how his young team moved the ball. Snyder is a bright guy with extensive experience as an NBA assistant. He was an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks last season, when the Hawks finished second in the league in assists. The Jazz already pass and cut in similar fashion.