Overview: The Bobcats handed the Cavaliers their second loss in a row on Friday night. They played stifling defense throughout, holding the Cavs to 39% shooting on the way to a 110-93 victory. It was also one of the worst defensive performances of the year for the Cavaliers, with the Bobcats shooting 55% from the floor. Antawn Jamison went 0-12 from the floor in his debut with the Cavaliers.
-I actually kind of like losses like this. What did the Cavs need to do better to win this game? Everything. They lost in every area. This was not a winnable game. Better to pack all the failure you can into one loss than to spread it out and lose multiple winnable games.
-The good news: this is exactly the kind of game Antawn Jamison was brought in to avoid. The Cavs got stagnant offensively, and they got frustrated. This is exactly where they want Jamison to spread the floor and create some offense of his own.
The bad news: Jamison was a smoldering pile of fail on Friday night. He almost literally could not have been worse. How bad was he? Historically bad.
Basketball-reference’s database for individual games goes back to the 1986-87 NBA season.
Since 86-87, 14 players have shot the ball 12 or more times without making a field goal. The last time it happened was in December 2008, when Vince Carter went 0-13 against the Raptors. It has happened five times since LeBron came into the league.
Jamison also only had two free throws, and they came in garbage time. A player going 0-12 or worse from the field and making two or less free throws has only happened seven other times since 86-87. Zach Randolph is the only one to accomplish the feat since LeBron entered the league.
Jamison also only had one assist. When you add that to the previous criteria, only four games qualify. The only players to go 0-12 or worse, make two free throws or less, and record zero assists in a game are Zach Randolph and Dino Radja. And Jamison’s assist set JJ Hickson up with a mid-range jumper.
So I’d say that Jamison had a bit of an off night.
Jamison started out the game aggressively going to the rim, but missed a three and had his shot blocked by Theo Ratliff. After that, Antawn had a nasty case of the yips. He forced drives, and got blocked five times. His shot was way, way off, and he had some ugly air-balls. The only shots I didn’t like from Jamison were those pick-and-pop jumpers from mid-range, which I think he’s a bit trigger-happy with.
Jamison had the howling fantods tonight. He will get better. Hopefully, much better. Not much else to say.
-Jamison’s defense was also bad. In his defense, everyone’s defense was bad. The Bobcats outscored the Cavs 48-24 in the paint, which is a huge problem. Raymond Felton absolutely loves playing against Shaq. Against most guards, the smart play is to sag back and concede that 15-20 foot jumper, but Felton loves to operate from that area.
-AP had no answer for Jackson. He made his bad shots and his good ones, and finished with 29 points on 17 shots. Wallace and Diaw were slashing into the paint at will. Only Tyrus Thomas had a poor shooting night for the Bobcats, but he contributed 12 boards and 6 blocks. One of the worst outings for the Cavs on both ends of the court on Friday.
-The Bobcats like to pack the lane on defense. In the first quarter, the Cavs countered that by pushing the ball and shooting threes. They hit six threes in the first quarter, and Lebron set five of them up. As the game went on, they got away from that. LeBron finished with 9 assists, and the Cavs made six more threes over the next three quarters. Since the Cavs were 20-53 inside the arc, getting away from the threes hurt.
Shaq and Varejao both looked out of sorts. They combined to go 6-18 from the floor, and had four of their shots blocked. This Bobcat frontline can play some defense. Adjusting to Antawn probably didn’t help them either.
-I put this on NBC earlier, but now I’ll put it here. Regardless of what happened at the deadline, the Cavs were going to play worse after the All-Star break. 10 of the 13 games during the streak were at home, the Cavs had no back-to-backs, played a bunch of teams who were on back-to-backs, and won three very losable games. So be careful with causation/correlation after the Cavs lose a road back-to-back game against a tough team. The Cavs had to be patient with Shaq. Now it’s time to be patient with ‘Tawn.
-None of that means I’m not scared of the Curse of Z, which may have killed all the Cavs’ Sundiata karma. I don’t believe in that stuff. I don’t think I do.
-Alright, time to turn the page on this one. I’m a worrier, so I’ll lose sleep on this one. But everything will more than likely turn out just fine. It was a dream month. Now it’s time to wake up.