The Cleveland Cavaliers wrapped up their 42nd season (a 66-game shortened season) at the United Center on Thursday night with a 107-75 loss to the Chicago Bulls. That means that Chicago swept the Cavaliers in their three-game series while having a point differential of +92. Yikes.
With another season in the books and another possibility of a high draft pick for the Cavaliers to look forward to, Thursday’s loss also marked the last time that some Cleveland players would suit up in the Wine and Gold. Those players include Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Alonzo Gee, Semih Erden, Luke Harangody, Manny Harris, Donald Sloan and D.J. Kennedy.
We’ve been talking about this for awhile on Right Down Euclid, but it’s only right to give another final farewell to veterans Jamison and Parker. Jamison was limited to 28 minutes, most likely due to an ankle injury that kept him on the sideline Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. He did, however, manage to register 12 points and seven rebounds, bringing his season averages to 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. Statistically Jamison had a pretty average season, starting and playing in 64 of 66 games this season.
Parker, who had a lot rougher season than Jamison, ended his three-year tenure with the Cavaliers with four points, three rebounds and one steal. Parker, an eight-year veteran, averaged just 25.2 minutes on the court this season. He hasn’t averaged anything lower than 28 minutes since the 1999-2000 NBA season. Parker was also on the bench for most of the season, missing 16 games due to injury. The bulk of those games came during an 11-game stretch in January.
As for the rest of group, most of them will be seeing time with the Cavaliers next season. Whether they’re called up from the Canton Charge (i.e. Luke Harangody and Manny Harris) or fighting hard for their position on the bench (i.e. Alonzo Gee and Donald Sloan), an injury-ridden season provided many aspiring stars with the chance to make a statement next season.
Being it the last game of the season, and the last chance for the Cavs to solidify their place in the NBA lottery odds, Kyrie Irving (illness), Omri Casspi (right knee), Anderson Varejao (right wrist) and Daniel Gibson (left foot) all sat out for Cleveland while Bulls who did not suit up included Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver. It was Rose’s 27th game missed this season.
None of them were needed to put down the Cavs. Center Joakim Noah, point guard John Lucas and forward Taj Gibson did enough damage to the Cavaliers defense as they lead the way for the first-place Bulls. Noah and Gibson both recorded double-doubles with 13 and 10 points respectively and 12 rebounds each. Lucas, who is averaging a career-best 7.2 points off the bench in 48 games played this season. Lucas matched his season-high mark of 25 points while also dishing out four assists.
Plain and simple, the Bulls just couldn’t be stopped on offense. Shooting 52.9 percent from the field (compared to the Cavs dismal 32.2 percent mark), the Bulls were shooting the ball very well all night long. Dominance in the paint was just another aspect of the Bulls game to be added to the long list of reasons on why the Cavaliers were so heavily outnumbered Thursday night.
Chicago out rebounded the Cavaliers 60-38 and outscored them 52-28 in the paint, handling the height-disadvantaged Cavs every time they charged in down low.
It was a quick and exhausting NBA season for everybody, even for us journalists. Three games in three nights, traveling over night right after a game and juggling different teammates were just some of the problems Cleveland endured during a strange and shortened season. Cleveland ended their season with a 21-45 record (11-22 home, 10-23 away), winning two more games than they did last year in a regular 82-game format.
The season continues for sixteen more teams, leaving much more basketball to come. The same goes for Right Down Euclid. It was a pleasure watching and covering the Cavaliers all season, but still expect the content to keep flowing on here. A writer’s season never stops!