I’ll keep this recap quick, much like the Cavaliers effort. The Cavaliers were blown out in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics and were never able to come recover. To make matter worse, the Celtics clicked on all cylinders. Jared Sullinger was draining three-pointers with ease. Jordan Crawford finished the game with a triple-double. Jeff Green ate everyone alive and finished with a game high 31 points, as he abused every Cavaliers defender who drew assignment defending him on the wing. Every Celtics starter finished in double figures.
From the Cavaliers perspective, Kyrie Irving was the only starter to finish in double figures. Combined, Tristan Thompson, Andrew Bynum, Sergey Karasev and Alonzo Gee combined for less points (13) than Irving’s 17. Off the bench, Anderson Varejao and Dion Waiters showed signs of life, but Anthony Bennett played horrible in extended minutes at small forward, committing three turnovers (two of which were unforced) and committing four personal fouls. And still, the rookie had the Cavaliers highest +/- at +10.
I thought that the Cavaliers couldn’t get any lower than they did against the San Antonio Spurs this past week. But at least the Spurs are good team capable of winning the NBA title. The Celtics, unless Rajon Rondo’s return makes them way better than anyone thought, the Celtics are an bad basketball team – plain and simple. And the Cavaliers list to them by almost twenty points in a sloppy game.
This is embarrassing and unacceptable for a team that expected to at least be in the mix for a solid playoff seed. This year was supposed to be about winning – plain and simple. But instead it’s been about mediocrity. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
PG Kyrie Irving – 36 minutes, 7-16 shooting, 0-4 from three, 3-6 from the line, 17 points, -24 +/-
Irving, while aggressive at times, still didn’t play up to his level of talent. He wasn’t squaring up for shots, wasn’t making his free throws and overall wasn’t himself – again.
SG Sergey Karasev – 15 minutes, 0-1 from the field
Karasev was awful in his first NBA start. Simply awful. Nothing more to it then that.
SF Alonzo Gee – 12 minutes, 3-5 shooting, six points, two points
Gee helped the game speed up when the Cavaliers made their runs, but overall, he was a liability. Green lit him up every time they were matched up and, without Gee playing good defense, he isn’t much help.
PF Tristan Thompson – 25 minutes, two(!!) points. 7 rebounds, 1-6 from the floor, =?- of -21
Thompson had possibly the worst performance of his career (or at least the season) tonight. He couldn’t stop Green, didn’t score and looked lost on defense. Is it possible that he has regressed since his strong start to the season?
C Andrew Bynum – 15 minutes, 2-7 shooting, four points, two rebounds
Bynum was ineffective every minute he was on the floor, as he wasn’t able to finish over the much small Sullinger. And when the Cavaliers needed to increase the tempo to play catch up, he inexplicably remained in the game. At this point, he really is only useful in slower, closer and non-horrendous games.
BENCH STAR: Dion Waiters - 35 minutes, 7-18 shooting, 1-5 from three, 21 points, six turnovers
Waiters wasn’t all good tonight (he still J.R. Smithed his fair share of three-pointers) but he was good when he attacked the rim and also looked good in setting up other teammates in the flow of the game (including Irving). It wasn’t pretty, but Waiters was a bright spot tonight. He played hard, stayed aggressive and showed he won’t quit. That gets a thumbs up in my book.
And on a completely unrelated note: When will C.J. Miles be back?
It’s not a good time to be Mike Brown. The Cavaliers coach is already drawing a lot of scorn for his lineup decisions, his offensive coaching more. As I detailed in tonight’s instant reaction, Brown didn’t (and hasn’t) done much right. I liked how he went to his younger players when the game was out of reach, but overall, his strategy was poor. There’s no way he gets fired quickly again, but Brown definitely needs to improve as a coach. And start winning as fast as possible.