The Cavs won another close game, outscoring the Pistons 35-23 in the fourth quarter.
–I would say that I’m conflicted about the Cavaliers winning so many close games, but that would be inaccurate. As much as losing is a drag, I stand firm on the fact that I think this team needs to secure one of the worst records in the league in order to complete this rebuild through the upcoming draft. To use an analogy, I think building a title contender from scratch is a bit like planning a shuttle launch. You need to have all your components and personel in place before firing up the thrusters, and even then the ship might explode on the platform. The Cavs have reached the point of their season where it’s time to power down.
–How do the Cavaliers power down, exactly? I don’t know. The fact is the Cavs have one of the best young point guards in the league and a gaggle of role players who range from competent to awful. Maybe that’s good enough for the 9 or 10 spot in the East during this strange season… which is exactly where the Cavs don’t want to be because, again: they’re a team with one of the best young point guards in the league and a gaggle of role players. And it’s not like Byron Scott can bench Kyrie Irving in an effort to tank. I’m starting to sweat, and it’s leaking through the pits of my favorite shirt. I think I’ll address this issue in a longer article sometime in the next week.
–In the meantime, let’s talk about this game. It was a lot of fun! (For about six minutes.) The Cavs looked flat for much of the contest, with the exception of Antawn Jamison who deserves a lot of credit for the victory. He carried the Cavaliers’ offense for much of the game. His 29 points through three quarters were the only reason the Pistons weren’t up by 22 heading into the final period.
–In crunch time, Irving, who had a pretty dreadful game (6 TOs, lots of short-armed jumpers), was ebullient. He put up 17 points in the final quarter, including a triumvirate of threes and some clutch free throws to put the Cavs up 4 with 11 seconds left. I hesitate to call a player with half a shortened season under his belt “clutch,” but all signs are positive that Irving will make a living taking over games in the fourth quarter. He demanded the ball, and made something good happen nearly every time he touched it. He picked his team and himself up when it mattered. It was special.
–Lots of mistakes tonight. The Cavs turned the ball over 17 times to the Pistons’ 11, and the offense was slow getting into its sets. It was a strange night for the team offensively. It seemed like the only players racking up shots were Irving, Jamison, and Gee; Jamison was the only one converting on a consistent basis.
–There’s not a lot else to say. This was essentially a routine loss with the exception of the final quarter. The Pistons outplayed the Cavs and deserved to win, but they went into autopilot just as the Cavaliers were heating up. Oh, and Ryan Hollins is still awful at basketball.
The Cavs are at home against the Hornets tomorrow night. Given how lethargic their performance was tonight, I wonder if they’ll have anything left for New Orleans, who would be the worst team in the league if the Bobcats didn’t exist. Until tomorrow, friends.