Cavs' youth gets served
NOV 02, 2012 11:22p ET
OK, that’s an excuse.
But what else are you supposed to say after the Cavs dropped a 115-86 decision to Chicago Friday at The Q?
That the season is over after two games? That the expected appearance in the Finals may suddenly be on hold? That GM Chris Grant should trade the entire team for the cast of The Hangover Part II?
A hangover is likely what it’ll feel like for the Cavs on Saturday morning, as they took one on the chin, and probably on the top and sides of the noggin, too.
“That’s what you call a good old-fashioned butt-whoopin',” said Cavs coach Byron Scott, and man, was it ever.
The Bulls shot 64 percent from the floor. They finished with a 41-33 rebounding advantage. They humiliated the Cavs in front of the home fans … again.
Seriously. Anyone remember when these two teams met last year in Cleveland? The Bulls won by 32. They didn’t have former NBA MVP Derrick Rose in that one, either.
Actually, when you think about it, the Bulls' dominance of the Cavs dates back to the days of Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Mark Price. If you want a more recent example, think back to LeBron James’ final season in Cleveland -- when the Cavs lost to the Bulls at home, then had to scrape past them in the first round of the playoffs.
Well, many of the same performers returned for the Bulls, including old hatefuls Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. As an aside, Cavs fans have also always loathed Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton, but he played for Detroit back then.
Anyway, we’re getting slightly off track here. The point is, the Cavs just don’t match up with this franchise. Never have, and certainly don’t today.
Even without Rose, the Bulls are a veteran, determined club. Even with Anderson Varejao (who’s 30), the Cavs’ starting lineup is 23.7 years old.
So perhaps we can let this one slide? Maybe just a little? No?
“Hopefully for the guys in our locker room, it’s a good wake-up call,” Scott said. “You can’t just walk on the floor and think, ‘Hey, we won our first game, we’re at home.’ (But) it doesn’t work that way. It’s gotta be big-time against some teams and it wasn’t a big-time effort from us.”
Scott knows what he’s saying, because it’s hard to find a bright spot here.
Kyrie Irving scored 15 points and passed for four assists, but looking at the box score, it’s hard to believe he played 30 minutes. Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich is one of the league’s most accomplished backcourt pests, and he again made Irving work extra hard for every dribble, pass and basket.
Since the offense starts out top … with the Cavs’ best player … it was pretty much lights out from the very beginning. The Bulls led 32-16 at the end of the first quarter and 60-35 at half.
Other halfway decent performances were delivered by Varejao (12 points, five rebounds) and Alonzo Gee (12 points, 2-for-3 on three-pointers).
On the other hand, rookie guard Dion Waiters finished with just seven points a few nights after tallying 17 in his NBA commencement.
“We can’t come out against a team like that and miss shots or break down on defense,” Waiters said. “You’ve got to play hard and get on them early.”
Basically, you can’t really pin this on any one guy. But you sure can pin it on all of them.
At least the Cavs won’t have to show their faces around these parts for a while. They now get a chance to right things in opposing arenas for six of the next 11 days -- starting Saturday at Milwaukee.
That may sound like a joke, but it’s just the opposite. Sometimes, young teams pull together when they’re away from the madness that is home life, home crowds, home-cooked meals and home expectations.
They've got nothing to lose, they figure, and they’re too ripe to know any better.
Yeah, that’s another spin, another attempt to look at the bright side.
But there are going to be nights like these, folks. The Cavs know that, the opponents know that, and now, so does everyone else.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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