The Cleveland Cavaliers tied their season-low in points on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons in an 87-75 at Quicken Loans Arena.
The lowly Pistons (18-32) were the first team this season to join the Eastern Conference leader Chicago Bulls in holding the Cavaliers (17-31) to just 75 points. That’s pretty pathetic, especially against at team like the Pistons at home.
Problems emerged early with the Cavaliers defense as Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, who has always had success against the Cavs in the past, was red-hot coming out of the tunnel. He hit seven of his first nine shot attempts and finished 11-21 from the field, including a perfect 4-4 for three. Prince’s performance alone out-performed the Cavs bench, who scored a combined 19 points. Losing Daniel Gibson to injury and Ramon Sessions in a trade has really shown the Cavs bench true colors.
The Cavaliers have now shot 40 percent or less from the field four games in a row, all of those games resulting in losses. Last night’s loss was also their fifth straight, making it Cleveland’s second losing streak of five or more on the season. Both of those streaks have come after the All-Star break. Coincidence, I think not.
That’s just it. The Cavaliers are a different team now then they were the first 30 games or so. Anderson Varejao played for most of those 30 games, Sessions as big off the bench with 10 point-five assist games consistently and Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson have become everyday fixtures in the starting lineup. It’s understood on why the Cavs have been struggling as of late. It’s just something that fans are going to have to put up with for the last 18 games.
Hopefully Cleveland will start playing more competitive basketball once Varejao comes back from his wrist injury. The team took a huge blow after losing Varejao, as they were in the midst of playoff talk with the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks. Now the team has switched mentalities completely. From possibly fighting it out in the Eastern Conference for the final playoff spot to just adding another ping pong ball to the hopper, missing pieces are abundant for this young Cavs team.
Even Kyrie Irving, whose 20-point games used to be a regular statistic, has seen his production go down. The hole’s aren’t opening up as easily as they did when he was blowing by defenses early in the season. Irving realizes this though, and is starting to shoot the ball outside the paint more and more each day. He’s also looking to pass the ball first, but his stats don’t show this. Irving has shown improvements in finding open players and setting them up to score, but it doesn’t help when most of the team doesn’t know how to finish. Irving could be dishing out 10 assists per game, but his teammates are limiting him.
Regardless, the Cavaliers will suit up for their Friday night matchup at 7:30 against the Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena. A shortened season has plagued the Cavaliers this week with a four-game slate in five days, which started yesterday against Detroit.
Was Wednesday night’s game a good indication of what kind of team the Cleveland Cavaliers really are?