Lack of important stuff dooms Cavs

March 2, 2012

CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving or not, too often the
Cavaliers look like a team that’s playing a game merely because it’s on the

Actually, it’s probably only happened five or six times, but even that is too
much in a season like this.

It definitely happened in both home losses to the Chicago Bulls, the latest a
112-91 hammer job Friday at The Q.

Granted, rookie point guard and leading scorer Irving missed the game with an
illness, plus, starting center Anderson Varejao is still out with a fractured

But the Cavs, who once had dreams of the playoffs, have lost four in a row —
including three consecutive at home. They’re not defending like they’re
capable, they’re not shooting particularly well and they aren’t as aggressive
as they need to be against the league’s top teams.

Again, Irving or not, those things need to change.

“When you play against a team as good as (the Bulls) are — and they are
definitely one of the best teams in the league, you can't have the unforced
turnovers that we had,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “You can't make the
defensive mistakes that we made. Some of the lapses that we had defensively
killed us. You have to play, I wouldn't say perfect basketball against them,
but pretty close.”

Scott said he’s concerned enough about the recent skid to make some changes, to
the starting lineup and the rotation. Sometimes, changes can do the trick. But
it’s highly unlikely the Cavs can turn things around based on that alone.

At this point, there are no clear-cut solutions. Other than to maybe start
moving the ball a little better and playing with some real focus.

The Cavs (13-21) now head to Washington for a game Saturday with the season at
somewhat of a crossroads.

Do the Cavs try to trade Ramon Sessions, who has been just short of magnificent
in backing up Irving?

What do they do with Antawn Jamison, the veteran forward who is second on the
team in scoring (17.3 points a game) and tallied 22 points Friday?

And how much longer do they wait for small forward Omri Casspi to get it

These questions and more need answered, if not by the March 15 trading
deadline, then certainly by this summer’s draft. Cavs general manager Chris
Grant and his staff know that, and are hard at work trying to figure out what
is next.

For the Cavs, it’s looking like another trip to the draft lottery, and that’s
not so bad.  But they sure don’t want to
make a habit of it, either.

In the meantime, what’s important is younger players such as Irving, Tristan
Thompson and Alonzo Gee continue to develop, and the idea of always playing
hard and smart becomes firmly established in everyone’s mind.

The Cavs are good on the first point, but not so much on the second. At least,
not on a consistent enough basis. As Scott mentioned above, mental lapses can
really kill you.

Or as Jamison said, “We’ve got to come to the realization that we can’t let
teams outwork us.”

That about covers it. Now the Cavs need to go out and do something about it.

Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO