At this point, what is there to say about this game? The Cavaliers were up against a 76ers team tonight that had nothing to play for. They were at home. They were deflated, having lost six straight, but so was Philadelphia. Still, after a decent first half, the Cavs played dismally throughout the second half en route to a 97-87 loss. Offensively, they were a mess. Defensively, they were lost. It was a typical performance for the Cavs during this losing streak.
The first half of this game showed some promise that the Cavs could potentially have a chance to end the losing streak. The Cavs had some bright offensive runs, but couldn’t stay consistent. Luckily, though, neither could the 76ers. The teams alternated runs throughout the first half, with C.J. Miles leading the charge off the bench for the Cavs. He hit 4-of-6 and finished the half with nine points, while Shaun Livingston was playing well, holding Jrue Holiday to 2-of-7 from the field for four points, while Livingston himself had eight. Thaddeus Young was about the only consistent threat the 76ers mustered, as he had 11 points, and the teams went into halftime tied at 45.
However, that was the end of competitive play in this game for the Cavs. In the second half, the Cavaliers fell apart defensively, allowing the 76ers to completely take over the game. Jrue Holiday rebounded from his poor first half to finish 9-20 for 20 points, 5 boards, and 6 assists, while Evan Turner had 23 points and 13 rebounds, most of which came in the second half. Spencer Hawes also finished with 16 points, 11 boards, and 5 assists, as the Cavs allowed the Sixers to finish shooting 49% from the field and only forced 9 Sixer turnovers. It was a complete defensive breakdown for Cleveland, who couldn’t stop Turner or Young in particular. The Cavs had no one that could handle Young’s unique athletic abilities defensively, and Turner continually hit big shots from mid-range, to coach Doug Collins’ delight.
Offensively, the Cavs had no real presence to combat the Sixer rush. Tyler Zeller finished with 14 on 7-10 shooting, getting some good shots close to the basket. However, Wayne Ellington and Shaun Livingston couldn’t get anything going in the second half, as Livingston in particular only put up two points in the second half, and both players finished with 10 points. The Cavs just seemed very passive offensively in the second half after an early 76ers run. The game got out of hand quickly, and they had no interest in trying to come back.
Overall, it’s hard to formulate a reaction to this game. On one hand, you hate to see the Cavaliers just look completely lackadaisical on both ends of the floor, and Cleveland didn’t appear to have much interest in winning this game, which while acceptable for a team that’s tanking and has its top three players out with injury, you’d like to see the team put out a little effort than this to stop what is now a seven-game losing streak. However, for a tanking effort, the Cavs are certainly looking better than their tanking counterparts, like Charlotte or Detroit, have looked recently, so it could be worse. However, with a tanking team, as a fan, you don’t want to see your team lose every game. Just most of them. A win here and there is nice to see. That hasn’t happened lately for the Cavaliers. Oh well, hopefully Sunday, when the Cavs take on a Hornets team in New Orleans that is missing Greivis Vasquez and lost by 19 to the Heat last night, the Cavs will be able to remain competitive, and snap this losing streak.