Well, this was predictable. As I said in my last blog that no one read, the Cavaliers would be blown out by 20 plus if they played as poorly as they did against the Bulls. I would like nothing better than write feel good blogs about how much I love the Cavs game. I do love the Cavs but do not love the Cavs game. Their offense is stagnant and void of flow and principles. Whenever they did anything right (such as the rare back door cuts), it worked. But those things are just too rare. They don’t play offense fast and move half speed but then make hurried ill advised passes to overplayed teammates. I don’t agree with Austin Carr at all that this is simply getting used to a system. This is an inability to play in a system. I only say that because the team looked exactly the same under Byron Scott as they do under Mike Brown. I want them to prove me wrong but I see no signs of it yet.
When we let up well over 100 points by the end of the third quarter, you might wonder why I have been complaining about the offense. I fully admit that the most important thing for the Cavs is to play solid defense. The Cavs score enough points to win most nights. The problem is that the poor offensive flow, resulting in terrible shots or awful passes, leads to run outs and easy fast break points. This results in a very high opponent shooting percentage and many more easy baskets. This creates more total offensive chances for the opponent that inevitably ends up in far too many points allowed. If every team laid back and allowed us to “run” an offense in slow motion and then didn’t run, the Cavs defense would match up much better in any game. Our half court defense is not as terrible as the overall defensive numbers suggest IMO. It certainly isn’t very good yet but that is a place I am confident will come around with Mike Brown’s system over time. As long as Kyrie gives maximum effort as I have said, I think our defense will be acceptable.
The other key factor is a lack of focus and effort when things are not going well. That also creates the possibility of terrible blowouts like tonight. In this game, once their offense was stagnant and lacked flow and Minnesota had fast break point after fast break point, they had no fight left. This allowed the porous half court defense to reveal itself. Kyrie actually tried to pick up the effort on both ends of the court but it was not enough to overcome this onslaught.
I saw little to like in this game and, except for a look at Karasev, not much worth watching. It was an embarrassment for sure and a terrible example of basketball. I wish I could be more optimistic and I am sure I will be later in the year. But for now, Cavs are on a rocket path back to the lottery and that is not what I expected or wanted.