No easy way to spin Cavs' sorrows
CLEVELAND -- When you lose this much, there are no great stories to share. Everything pretty much stinks. Everything stops making sense. Everything you thought of yourself as a basketball player … well, it’s easy to start questioning it.
That’s where the Cavaliers may be at this point. Maybe not, but there’s certainly a chance. That’s just the way it goes in sports.
You can talk all you want about it being a process, about building the right way, about being a young team with a swell upside.
When it comes to the Cavs, all of those things still seem true.
But when you lose, fans begin to rumble. They begin to doubt everything. They begin to wonder where, exactly, is the bottom -- and if there’s any way out once you get there.
Fair or not, that’s just the way it is.
You lose. Life stinks. Period.
Right now, that’s the Cavs after the 99-89 beating Indiana administered Friday at The Q.
Right now, no one is talking about progress. Right now, all anyone seems to rattle off are the ugliest of numbers.
The Cavs have lost six straight.
They’ve lost three straight by 10 points or more.
They’re lost 17 in a row against Central Division opponents. And you can make the case the Central is the worst division in basketball.
Man, there’s no good way to spin that. Youth and upside, be darned. The fans want … well, something more than what they’re getting. That much is clear.
Maybe victories aren’t realistic. Most people seem to get that. But these types of losses aren’t so easy to stomach.
The Cavs (5-23) have looked lethargic. They’ve looked a little confused. They’ve looked like they are a long way from understanding how to win at this level.
Even coach Byron Scott, a major player (and supporter) in the Cavs’ strategy of gradual improvement, is wearing a look of concern. And with good reason.
“I’m not running out of ideas yet -- but I’m getting close,” Scott said. “As patient as I am, the one thing I am getting more than ever is frustrated.”
Scott is frustrated that the Cavs never really seem to pick up the intensity during games any more. They just kind of stay the same while their opponents get better.
He’s also frustrated that the Cavs have been playing to the level of their competition. Opponents from New York and L.A. tend to bring out the best in them. Opponents from boring Midwestern towns tend to bring out the worst.
Well, guess what?
The NBA is made up primarily of run-of-the-mill teams from uninteresting cities. Like, all but four or five.
“I know we’re doing all the right things,” Scott said. "It’s just a matter of our guys … they got to bring it every single night. Simple as that.”
Scott has been over this before. Yet the Cavs continue to play uninspired basketball. Not for entire games, mind you, but for much too long each night.
You can’t blame just one player, either. As Scott indicated, every last guy must play with more of a sense of urgency.
Some guys are. Tristan Thompson, who often takes the majority of heat from fans, sure did against the Pacers -- compiling 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Tyler Zeller (12 points, seven boards) helped, but we’re talking about a rookie here. Read: He’s prone to rookie mistakes.
Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving finished with a team-high 17 points, and to be fair, the reigning Rookie of the Year is so good that everything he does seems so doggone effortless. But not even he could deny he was out of sorts on this night.
That needs to end. Not just from Irving, but from everyone. Eventually, it might.
If it doesn’t, then only one thing will result. And it ain’t gonna be much fun, just like it’s not right now.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO