Recap: Pistons 103, Cavs 94 (Or, thank you for coming to Cleveland. Have a win.)

February 9th, 2011 by John Krolik

Overview: The Detroit Pistons manhandled a disinterested Cavalier team, extending their losing streak to a league-record 26 games.

Well, this is what happens when a terrible team doesn’t try bullets:

Yeesh. Where should I start? The offense came out flat. The defense had some breakdowns, and 91 of the Pistons’ 103 points came from the paint, the free-throw line, or beyond the arc.

The worst part, though, were the unforced errors. Guys running into each other on fast breaks. Ridiculous three-second violations. An inbounds pass got stolen at one point. This team is trying to snap the longest losing streak of all time, and they played like they had the league’s best record locked up. Every time the Cavs got close, they forced shots and gave the Pistons easy looks.

There aren’t words for that kind of a performance. This team deserves nobody’s pity. LeBron James didn’t prevent Antawn Jamison from boxing out or showing on a pick-and-roll. Anderson Varejao being injured doesn’t mean that Ryan Hollins has to stand in the paint for three seconds for no particular reason. Because of what happened in the off-season, this team was going to be bad. Very bad. That’s expected, and the injuries didn’t help.

But this? No wins in 26 games, one win since November? 0 wins by double-digits? A team that only occasionally plays hard enough to keep itself in the game, and doesn’t have the discipline to capitalize when they actually have a chance to win? That can’t be blamed on three role players who left. That can’t be blamed on injuries to a very good defensive player and a shoot-first point guard who doesn’t make many shots is hurt. And that certainly can’t be blamed on a television show.

This is on the people playing for this team, and the coaching staff. There are excuses for not being able to win against the best teams in the league on a given night. There are reasons why this team should be one of the worst teams in the league. There’s no excuse for playing like the worst team of all time.

No team in the history of the NBA has ever lost this many games in a row. Not one team. In the history of the NBA. There’s no excuse for being that bad. Someone on this team or this coaching staff has to take some responsibility, and the fans have to start holding some people who are actually losing these games accountable. Because LeBron James isn’t walking through that door, folks. And there’s nothing noble about the way this team accepts its fate or blunders its way into defeat game after game after game after game. It’s not martyrdom. It’s just terrible basketball.

If Byron Scott isn’t doing a terrible job of coaching this team, than what would a terrible job look like? Are we supposed to be celebrating the fact that no Cavalier has bitten an opponent yet? That the Cavaliers run offensive sets and all five of their players stay inbounds? That Antawn Jamison is technically on the floor when the other team has the ball, and not giving quotes about how he’s enduring this latest hardship inflicted upon him with good humor, eating popcorn, and talking to his agent about a potential trade?

The guy’s shown he can coach a Finals team, and we all know how much better Doc Rivers looked as a coach when he got some elite players. But I do not understand why he’s getting a free pass this year. Would people really rather believe this is the worst collection of players ever assembled than admit that these Cavaliers aren’t scrappy champions of truth, justice, and the American way who just happen to be incapable of actually winning a game?

Rant over. Individual notes:

Sessions continues to really impress. When he’s pushing the ball or driving, things are working. Hickson, too — he’s looked really active. Both had some bad moments on defense, but they’re the light at the end of the tunnel right now.

I’ll give Jamison some credit — after a signature Jamison pick-and-roll breakdown that led to an open three and Charlie V tip dunk that happened because Jamison had no interest in boxing him out, he didn’t cause that many¬†catastrophic¬†defensive breakdowns in the second half. Also, I noticed that Jamison actually showed properly on a pick-and-roll in the third quarter — after he’d made some jumpers to put the Cavs back in the game. So maybe the problem really is that he just doesn’t care about defense at all! WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!

That’s all I have for tonight. This team is taking years off my life.

Pass it around: