For Cavs, urgency now urgent following ugly home loss
NOV 15, 2013 10:00p ET
There’s really no other way to spin it after Friday’s 86-80 loss to visiting Charlotte.
The Cavs (3-7) can’t win on the road and now they can’t win at home. That’s a problem, kids.
Almost everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong or how to fix things. But after a loss like the one Friday, we can all agree this just isn't good.
Kyrie Irving (18 points but 5-of-16 from the field) may be dominating the ball too much. He passed for 10 assists, but also committed a whopping six turnovers.
Jarrett Jack (11 points) seems to be way out of rhythm for too many long stretches.
Anderson Varejao (13 rebounds but just four points) too often just disappears.
Tristan Thompson (15 points, 10 rebounds) has been mostly terrific, but can’t seem to get a decent shot when it means the most.
And that’s just the offense.
Defensively, the Cavs play well for large stretches, but fail to get stops when the other team turns it up a notch or two.
Urgency has been an issue in this early season -- and that’s bad news, because 10 games in, some urgency is really needed.
“We just allowed them to dunk the ball, shoot open shots, get layups,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said, rattling off the top three ways in which you don’t want your defense to behave.
But back to the offense, and it’s most important piece.
For whatever reason, Irving has been way off. Sometimes, guys just go through slumps, and that’s likely all this is.
His shooting struggles, however, are not of greatest concern. His failure to find (or avoid) open teammates is, on the other hand, a little troubling.
Now, that’s not to trash Irving, because if he makes the shots, then it’s a different ball game. Suddenly, he becomes Mr. Fourth Quarter again.
But when he can’t get one to go (or at least enough to go), it’s time to consider other options. That's not exclusive to Irving, of course.
“I need to see more ball movement from him,” Brown said. “And from everybody.”
An aside to all this is what's going on with Cavs shooting guard Dion Waiters.
He was listed as questionable (and ultimately sat out) with what’s being called an illness. But word is it goes deeper than that -- and sources said even if Waiters had been healthy and played, he has lost his starting spot to C.J. Miles.
Either way, considering Waiters played just 14 minutes in the first game against the Bobcats (also a loss), his absence can’t exactly be considered a big X factor.
Nor can the absence of Bobcats center Al Jefferson. Just like the first meeting in Charlotte, Jefferson sat out with a foot issue.
Still, even without him, the Bobcats (5-4) are a fascinating story in the early season, a young scrappy team that plays with guts and confidence under new coach Steve Clifford.
With youngsters such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (16 points, eight rebounds), Kemba Walker (12 points, seven assists) and Josh McRoberts (13 points, including a big 3-pointer near the end), the Bobcats are the type of overachieving playoff contender the Cavs hope to become.
Right now, that feels like a pipe dream for the guys in Cleveland. And no one, at the moment, is quite sure how to make it closer to a reality.
“I don’t know,” Thompson said. “Maybe we just have to dig in deep. When it gets tough, you can’t take steps back. When they’re throwing punches at you, you have to punch back.”
Sounds like a good idea, and one the Cavs urgently need to put into action.
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