Irritating losses norm for progressing Cavs
NOV 24, 2012 11:06p ET
OK, let’s not kid ourselves. The Cavs’ 110-108 collapse at Miami on Saturday was indeed maddening. So was their four-point loss at Orlando the previous night.
That’s two games in Florida, two losses, and by total of six points.
And while we’re on the topic of numbers … don’t even get me started on free throws. I’d rather not even think about it.
But when I see Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with 18 seconds left to give the Heat the lead (and the win), the first thought that comes to mind isn’t who failed to close out on Allen. It’s more like, “Gosh, I wish the Cavs didn’t miss those free throws earlier.”
For the night, the Cavs went 24-for-33 from the line. Make three more and … wait, didn’t I promise not to talk about this?
Let’s consider it forgotten, at least for the time being. The bottom line is the Cavs can’t be excused in this area. Everyone can forgive them for losing two games without Kyrie Irving, for taking a few bad shots, for missing the occasional defensive assignment.
But free shots? Straight on, from 15 feet away? With no defense?
Perhaps coach Byron Scott will want to implement a solution he used in the preseason when the Cavs were getting killed on the boards: For every offensive rebound the Cavs surrendered, they ran a sprint in practice.
How about running a sprint for every foul shot missed?
OK, I promise. I’ll shut up about the free throws now. Honest.
Now, for the good news, and despite the Cavs’ 3-10 record, there actually is some. Mostly, the Cavs are what many hoped they would be this season — they’re competitive.
That’s saying something, even as much as the inability to finish games hurts. But when you remember that they’ve played just four home games, that all but four opponents made the playoffs last year, and that they’ve played both NBA finalists on the road, well, maybe this won’t hurt so doggone much.
Actually, it shouldn’t hurt at all. Not yet. It’s much too soon for that.
After all, if the Cavs were 10-3 right now, would you believe it’s real? Of course you wouldn’t. Not unless you wanted to be committed to a basketball psychiatric ward.
And, hey, how about the bench?
It was a downright embarrassment in the first four, five, maybe six games. Downright. Embarrassment.
But look at Omri Casspi, C.J. Miles and the rest now. Daniel Gibson and rookie Tyler Zeller have been pretty good, or at least steady, all year. So we’ll leave them out of this discussion.
Casspi and Miles, however, looked like two guys auditioning for the pro league in Liberia early in the season. They weren’t just failing to contribute — they were actually really hurting the Cavs. I mean, Casspi and Miles were just killing ’em, man.
Things have been different lately, with both of those guys suddenly doing what they were brought here to do. They were supposed to be scoring threats off the bench, guys who provided some intangibles, guys who supplied some energy and confidence.
Casspi and Miles aren’t completely there yet — but they’ve been a lot closer during the past week.
Or how about Jeremy Pargo? Nobody saw this coming, particularly Yours Truly. If you remember, I predicted in October that Pargo would be the Cavs’ final cut before the regular season. So much for that grand proclamation, as the Cavs may have found their long-term solution at backup point guard.
Finally, how can you not love rookie Dion Waiters (16 points) and veteran Anderson Varejao (15 rebounds)?
Waiters played 75 minutes during the Florida trip, and committed a total of one turnover. He also averaged 20.5 points. Meanwhile, Varejao has compiled a double-double in four straight games and eight in 13 games.
I know, I’m rambling here without making much of a point.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is the Cavs keep losing, but they keep improving, and as long as that happens, I’ll keep watching … and waiting.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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