The Cavs await a 2-8 Philly team's trip to the Q on Tuesday in need of a home win in the worst kinda way you could need a home win.
After falling to Indiana on Saturday 99-85 due the inability to remotely cover Pacers Forward Danny Granger (34-2-2), coupled with Cleveland's worst second half effort of the season by far collectively, the Cavs are now 1-4 at home (4-5 overall).
If this trend of home woes continue, there's a whole lot of people in this town that are going to lose interest in this organization rather quickly...whether they paid for season tickets already last season or not. Especially with the Browns meanwhile, stringing Sunday afternoon efforts together in the fashion they have over the last few weeks.
After the Indiana game, that lack of competitiveness and effort in the second half inspired Coach Byron Scott to say the following:
"I don't think we ran out of gas," he said. "I think we stopped playing."
They did stop playing. It's unfortunate too, however this is an easily correctable issue.
Play hard for four quarters on Tuesday, and then continue that effort every night. Simple enough, but the players have to want to do that. And they need to want to do that now, because despite the fact that the Cavs are 4-5, and have dropped five winnable games actually winning the only game on paper that they should have had no chance to win thus far (Boston), the Cavs are only 1.5 games back in the Central Division.
After the 76ers on Tuesday though, the Cavs do hit the road for a three game stretch that opens with two formidable opponents: New Orleans (8-0 as of Sunday) and San Antonio (7-1 as of Sunday) before they finish up that stretch with Indiana again on the 23rd before coming back home to play MIL (a game I will be attending) on that Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Meaning, if second half performances like we saw on Satuday become the trend, the Cavs could find themselves in a hole they will have trouble digging out of before they know what hit them.
On Cavs 99-85 loss to Indiana from Saturday Night:
Now the Cavs will never win with second half efforts like they had on Saturday. By no means am I inferring that Mo Williams or Anderson Varejao would have had much of any effect on slowing Danny Granger Saturday night either. However I am saying the Cavaliers are not built to sustain the loss of any two players from the Mo/Andy/Jamison/Hickson combination on any given night.
They most likely would need all four healthy for a chance to win, and in the very least three of the four. But missing two of those guys - like they were with both Mo and Andy down on Saturday - is just about impossible for them to overcome.
When healthy the Cavaliers have a starting unit that is serviceable. Not great, but they could keep them in most games early I'd say. I think the idea then is for Byron Scott to bring in two of his most serviceable starter type players - Antawn Jamison and Daniel Gibson - in with the second unit specifically to capitalize on match-ups with the opposing team's reserves. The Cavs can create an advantage that way where there wouldn't be one in Cleveland's favor with the starting groups - no matter who Ahmad announced as starting for your Cleveland Cavaliers.
If that is indeed the plan, Antawn Jamison (19 points / 9 reb) and Daniel Gibson (15 points / 4 rebounds) held up to their end of the bargain on Saturday combining for 34 points. Only problem was they outscored every starter not named Ramon Sessions (17 points) by eleven.
As compared to Tawn and Booby's 34, JJ Hickson (12), Jamario Moon (4), Ryan Hollins (4), Anthony Parker (3) combined to score 23. Not good enough, starters.
Everybody needs to play better. Jamario Moon has to make an impact sometime. Ryan Hollins has to learn what Byron Scott wants him to do on defense so he can make the impact on offense he seems capable of. Mo and Andy need to get healthy, and the Cavs have to remember that their identity HAS TO BE MAX-EFFORT, every night.
Let's get it Tuesday, new day.