Another Cavs' loss, the reality they face and the lottery

The Cavaliers have lost nine-straight games

James Rapien
January 05, 2019 - 11:38 pm
Jan 5, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (in orange) sits on the bench late in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers 133-98 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cavaliers fell to 8-32 on the season after losing to the New Orleans Pelicans 133-98 on Saturday night. It’s their ninth loss in a row.

They opened the game strong and made six three pointers in the first quarter. New Orleans went on a run in the second quarter, but the Cavs answered and went into halftime down 61-52.

It was all downhill from there, which is something head coach Larry Drew and the team discussed after last night’s loss to Utah. The Cavaliers have been terrible in the second half, especially during their losing streak. The meeting was supposed to change things. Instead, it magnified them. The Cavs were outscored by 26 in the second half. New Orleans went on a 15-0 run to start the third quarter and outscored the Cavaliers 37-20. The Pelicans’ lead grew to 30 at one point in the quarter and took a 98-72 lead into the fourth.

“We were just flat,” Drew said. “No energy – we looked slow, we just didn’t come out with a sense of urgency. We missed some shots early, but our movement was not very good. Why that is – I don’t know, after we’ve talked about it. I just think moving forward I’m going to probably have to do something different with my lineup. That lineup is just not a very energized lineup right now.”

Changing the lineup may help temporarily, but Drew is stuck with an impossible task. This team has too many issues, including injuries and youth, that will keep them from competing every night.

The Cavaliers’ defense is usually the first issue mentioned. Ironically, it’s impossible to defend their poor defense. It’s awful, but it isn't the main reason for the struggles in the second half. Heck, it's not the main reason they're 8-32 this season. Defense is a team issue, but the biggest problem with this squad scoring. This team doesn’t have one player who can score consistently. Sure, Jordan Clarkson will get hot off the bench and Collin Sexton will have good shooting nights. Yes, Larry Nance Jr. will flirt with a triple-double and Rodney Hood can score 20+ on any given night. Tristan Thompson can post a double-double at a moments notice, but none of those things happen consistently. No one on this roster is good enough to score when the team desperately needs a bucket. This team is young. They don't have a go-to guy and I’m not sure that will change when Kevin Love comes back. Good NBA teams have stars that can get a bucket when their team needs it most. Who do you trust to do that on this Cavs’ team?

I jokingly posted about Zion Williamson during the meltdown in the third quarter, but it’s true. The Cavaliers need to get lucky one more time. They need to win the draft lottery.

That is their hope. Love coming back will help, but who knows how much he has left? He’s dealt with multiple injuries over the past three years, is on the wrong side of 30 and has never been the best player on a winning team.

Drew can hold meetings, the team can get mad, fans can check out or make fun of them, but it’s not their fault. The 2018-2019 Cavaliers aren’t built to win. A team meeting wasn’t going to change that and we saw the proof Saturday night.

The Cavs may get back to their winning ways in the near future, but it’s going to take luck and a Ping-Pong ball to bounce their way.