Cavs hold team meeting following 117-91 loss to Jazz

The Cavaliers have lost eight-straight games

James Rapien
January 04, 2019 - 11:36 pm
Jan 4, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder (99) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew didn’t walk into the press conference at his normal time following Friday night’s 117-91 loss to the Utah Jazz. Instead, Drew had an extended meeting with his team. Not only had they lost their eighth-straight game, but they were outscored 69-42 in the second half.

“I’ve got to get my finger on it,” Drew said about the Cavs’ second half struggles. “Right now I don’t know why we’re like that. When you look back at a few of our games, certainly it’s such a disparity as far as the energy at the start of a game and at the start of the third quarter and it’s glaring.”

The Cavaliers have been outscored by double-digits in the second half of three out of their last four games. This team has dealt with injuries, but this losing streak appears to be weighing on them. The game felt like it was over when the Jazz made a run in the third quarter. The fight that was there in early December doesn’t appear to be there now. The Cavs took a 49-48 lead into halftime, only to trail 81-71 going into the fourth.

“I think it’s a defensive thing that’s leading to offense,” Larry Nance Jr. said. “When they’re scoring, scoring, scoring – I don’t know how many times they scored in a row tonight, but it was a lot – that’s got to hurt, and right now were at a point where it’s not hurting us enough to make a change.”

The Cavaliers looked motivated to start the game. They held Utah to 23 first quarter points and only trailed by three, despite shooting 35 percent from the field. Rodney Hood got off to a great start against his former team, scoring 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting in the first half. Hood didn’t score a point in the second half and the NBA’s worst defense showed up. The Jazz led by as many as 34 points and scored on six-straight possessions in the second half. Are the Cavs’ struggles correctable?

“Extremely,” Nance said. “I think number one is effort. Our first half is great, it’s been great – we’ve been hanging in with a lot of really good teams. The second half we come out and lay an egg and it’s a lack of execution and heart.”

The Cavs’ struggles on the defensive end are no secret. They’re the NBA’s worst defense. The Cavaliers are 8-31 on the season and have allowed their opponents to reach 100 points in all but six of those games.

“I think defensively, we’ve got to fly around,” Tristan Thompson said. “At the end of the day, we don’t have the biggest guards, we don’t have the biggest bigs, so in order for us to take a stand defensively, we’ve got to be grimy. We’ve got to be grimy, we’ve got to be nasty, we’ve got to fly around like a chicken with its’ head cut off and we didn’t do that in the second half.”

The Cavaliers won’t have long to let Friday’s meeting sink in. They host the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow night at The Q.

 “All you can hope is that guys listen,” Nance said. “We talked about a whole lot. “The main thing being accountability – holding each other, holding yourself accountable for both ends of the floor and doing your job.”