Every Sunday, Right Down Euclid will be taking a look back at the week that was for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers Week in Review will focus on breaking down the past week’s games, looking at the starting lineup(s) by the numbers, finding the biggest takeaway from how the team played, analyzing Coach Mike Brown’s decisions and peeping the coming week’s opponents. Each review will come with an overall rating (out of 10.0) for the Cavaliers that week.
Oh boy. If you thought last week was a poor showing, than this time around was a real disaster, train wreck, tsunami, white-flag affair, whatever you want to call it that featured the Cavaliers averaging 95.7 points, while giving up 109.3 points per game. The almost minus 14-point average differential that the Wine & Gold posted in week 4 made the Cavs uncompetitive at a lot of points during games against the Wizards, Pelicans and Spurs. But they lost in almost every heartbreaking way possible: They were blown out in the first three quarters against the Wiz and then came up short with a comeback in the fourth, led the Pelicans most of the way until the final 12 minutes and were obliterated by the Spurs. Let’s take a look at the week we hope to never remember in 2013-14 Cavaliers basketball.
Week 4 Games in Review:
Washington Wizards 98, Cleveland Cavaliers 91 – Wed., Nov. 20 at Quicken Loans Arena
- Record: 4-8, 3-2 home – After seemingly gaining some sort of traction against the Wizards the following Saturday night in Washington, the Cavaliers left the perimeter open for the taking on defense, as the Wiz steamrolled the Cavs in the first three quarters. But, Cleveland had some fight in them in the fourth quarter when Matthew Dellavedova and Kyrie Irving starting to work their magic in the backcourt. Delly was dishing to Kyrie, and Irving tallied 13 straight points for the Cavaliers, bringing them from down 13 to within four. Valiant comeback, but ludicrous effort on defense in the first 36 minutes made the clock their enemy. Pretty much set the Cavs up for a crummy week.
New Orleans Pelicans 104, Cleveland Cavaliers 100 – Fri., Nov. 22 at New Orleans Arena
- Record: 4-9, 1-7 away — The Cavaliers played good basketball for about ¾ of the game, but sacrificed a late lead against a good budding Pelicans team. Although the bench came out strong at points on offense, they faltered on the defensive end. But Cleveland’s lack of aggression on the boards, especially on the offensive end where Anthony Davis grabbed nine rebounds, yet again doomed them in a loss. An area that Cleveland was supposed to be strong in because of Tristan Thompson’s offseason work, Anderson Varejao’s health and Andrew Bynum’s early appearances is now one of many weak spots on this squad. They rank 22nd overall in this category in the League. But now for the hat trick…
San Antonio Spurs 126, Cleveland Cavaliers 96 – Sat., Nov. 23 at AT&T Center
- Record: 4-10, 1-8 away – There’s not much to say about the Cavs in this contest other than the fact that Andrew Bynum played 21 minutes, scored 16 points and collected six boards. San Antonio shot lights out against a nonexistent Cleveland D and alienated an offense that continues to struggle because there are no starters who want to step up on this team. Frustrating.
Starters by the Numbers:
Kyrie Irving – three games: 47.2 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 78.6 FT%, 21.7 PPG, 4.0 APG, 1.7 RPG, 1.7 SPG
C.J. Miles – one game: three minutes
Matthew Dellavedova – two games: 66.7 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 7.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG
Earl Clark – one game: 16.7 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 3.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.0 APG
Alonzo Gee – two games: 40.0 FG%, 2.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG
Tristan Thompson – three games: 30.4 FG%, 6.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG
Andrew Bynum – three games: 52.2 FG%, 8.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 17.3 MPG
Biggest Takeaway – Did David Blaine Make the Cavaliers Defense Disappear?:
So this also happened last week on ABC. And maybe he had something to do with the Cavaliers refusing to guard potent three-point threats and physical down-low post men. It was especially frustrating watching what the Washington Wizards, who happen to rank 23rd in the NBA averaging 37.5 points per game in the paint, did down low. They pummeled the Cavaliers frontcourt for 44 points. The Pelicans, who average the ninth-highest points per game in the paint at 43.3, came back on Friday night and beat the Cavs down for 50 points in the post. And to top it all off, the Spurs shot 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from three the following night, which accounted for 38.1 percent of their scoring. It was raining green for Cleveland opponents all last week.
Coach Brown’s RDE Press Conference:
In this section, RDE will be picking out the flaws in Mike Brown’s decisions over the past week and predicting what the Cavaliers’ head coach will key in on during practice and games in order to fix Cleveland’s current woes. This will be done in a four-quarter format.
First Quarter – Let’s start with actually putting a feasible starting lineup on the court. I love that Kyrie and Bynum saw three games of quality starting time this past week, and I hope this trend continues. Because at this point, if Bynum can start, let’s see if we can make him blossom. I also hope that Dion Waiters being on the bench is a work ethic problem, because as good as a hustle player Dellavedova is, he’s nowhere near starting quality on offense. This team isn’t going to start winning games with guys like Delly in the starting lineup, which is why I think the defensive play of Waiters has kept him out since returning from the injury. I don’t think a player like him should be sitting in a time of crisis, especially when the options at the two are sparse.
Second Quarter – The only other players that I saw hustle from on the court this week on a consistent basis besides Dellavedova were Sergey Karasev and Bynum. Karasev logged 34 minutes this past week, while Bynum started in all three games but was limited to under 17.3 minutes per game. Bynum is still dealing with adjustment issues from the injury, but there are so many players on this roster right now that just aren’t doing squat with their playing time, and it’s downright infuriating. The offense isn’t running through anything, with no lineups allowing spacing on the court. Brown needs to start thinking about the wellbeing of the offense as well in his attempt to build a defense-oriented bunch.
Third Quarter – In the third quarter, Cleveland posts an average margin of minus 3.1, which is good for 27th in the NBA. Brown’s team allows just north of 26 points per game on defense in this quarter, meaning that his Cavs aren’t coming out of the locker room motivated. This is a glaring problem, especially because the Cavaliers are coming out of the gates cold. Yes, there are problems in every single quarter in every single phase of the game, especially over these past two weeks, but this third quarter is proving that there is no fight in this team. Leads aren’t becoming smaller as the game progresses. Double-digit first quarter leads stay that way until halftime, then build up to 20 in the third. They’re unwatchable when they put on this display.
Fourth Quarter – This team looks like it’s about to tailwind into something really bad, and quick. What we find out now is whether or not Brown has what it takes to coach a team from the bottom up instead of taking charge of established powers in his head coaching career. So far, he’s proven that he’s not up for the task of taking on a rebuilding squad.
Look Ahead to Week 4:
–Wed., Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. – Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat, Quicken Loans Arena on ESPN (Oh boy)
–Fri., Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. – Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics, TD Garden
–Sat., Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. – Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls, Quicken Loans Arena
Week 3 Rating:
0.5/10.0 – What more can I say? It was THAT ugly, especially Sunday’s “climax.”