The Cavaliers looked awful last night at home against San Antonio. They allowed twelve Spurs players to score in the game, a guy they cut for Manny Harris went for a game-high 19, and the Cavaliers leading scorer (Antawn Jamison, 15 points) also posted a team worst +/- of (-26). They lost the game by 35 points (125-90), and in the end it wasn't even actually that close really. They completely embarrassed themselves, showed no effort, and looked like a team the Charlotte Bobcats might actually be able to beat when they come back to town next Tuesday.
But absolutely none of that matters to me at this point, and it really shouldn't matter to you either.
This Cavs season, for me, ended when Ramon Sessions was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was over then. I've already begun the process of reflecting back upon the good times we had this year too. Those game winning shots by Kyrie Irving were fun. The times Tristan Thompson went for double/doubles were encouraging. The improved play of Alonzo Gee was cool too. The fact that I know Anthony Parker's career in Cleveland is coming to a close is a relief, and the shared understanding that Ryan Hollins now plays for Boston is also. I'm satisfied with the progress made in year one of the Kyrie Irving Era, and I am not going to spend any time complaining about the avalanche of losses that will continue to mount as this season dwindles to its ultimate close.
The Cavaliers have lost their last 8 games in a row, and they could lose their next 15 too starting tonight in Milwaukee. That really could happen, I'm not suggesting they end the season on a 23-game losing streak for effect. Even if they did though, by the time Draft night comes around, I'll have completely forgotten about all that. If we have anything here in Cleveland as sports fans, it is plenty of chances to moan and complain about losing. Now is not one of those times. The Cavaliers have won this season, and now they are tanking in a way so perfect it may live to redefine the art of NBA tanking itself. They are alone with the fourth worst record in the NBA right now, and putting Nick Gilbert in a better position with every passing game to do what Nick Gilbert does.
The Cavaliers head now to Milwaukee tonight to play a Bucks team that I think will eventually catch the Knicks for the 8th spot in the Playoffs. I wrote an article for SLAM Online this morning about the newly formed Bucks backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings too, and I found it interesting to discover that Milwaukee is leading the League in Assists as a team since the addition of Monta.
Below is an excerpt of my latest at SLAM, and I'll leave you with that on this fine Wednesday in Cleveland:
While most people wondered whether there’d be enough shots available to make the pairing of Jennings and Ellis in the same backcourt successful, it’s working out just fine so far.
“Playing alongside Monta has been working because he’s a willing passer, and I am also,” Jennings told SLAMonline. “So we’re just going to keep working together. It’s only been a few games, but it can only get better once we really get going.
“He gives us another scorer, a guy who can go out there and get points for us, and it takes a lot of pressure of myself”, Jennings noted. “But Monta’s also a distributor too, a guy who can score and pass, so he’s a guy defenses really have to focus on also.”
It is that ability to do both, according to Coach Scott Skiles, that has made his new backcourt a difficult one for teams to match-up with on a nightly basis right now.
“Monta plays, even though he’s scored the ball so well in his career, he plays somewhat like a point guard,” Skiles said. “When you put him in pick and rolls he’s going to make good decisions. He’ll come off the screener, move the ball to the other side of the floor, and he’s played a very unselfish game for us. Both guys have good quickness, both guys can score the ball, and both guys will give it up too.”
SLAM / Full Article: Plenty of Shots to Go Around in Milwaukee