Saturday night the Cleveland Cavaliers traveled to Miami to take on the Miami Heat at The American Airlines Arena. Missing two of their big three (Kyrie Irving and LeBron James), the Cavaliers looked sluggish and simply overmatched all night long, as they lost to the Heat 99-84. LeBron was a last-minute scratch, as coach David Blatt chose to sit The King to “rest” him after a grueling overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans the night before. LeBron wanted to go, but was sore and feeling the effects from the night before so Blatt decided to sit him.
Sitting LeBron immediately made the Cavs underdogs coming into the game, but nobody expected the game to be as lopsided as it was. The Cavaliers were led by veteran backup Richard Jefferson who stepped into the starting lineup for LeBron. Jefferson had 16 points on 6-18 shooting from the field. JR Smith added 12 points on 4-12 shooting and Matthew Dellavedova had 11 points and 5 assists on 4-11 shooting from the field. Miami was led by balanced scoring all across the board. Dwyane Wade scored 19 and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Goran Dragic contributed with 17 points and 8 assists.
With LeBron being out, Kevin Love was expected to step up and take over against Miami, but nothing of the such occurred, as Love had another bad night, scoring only 5 points on 2-11 FG, and adding 8 rebounds.
Love has had a rough few games and nobody really knows why, or what’s going on with him, but for the Cavs sake, it better change soon. Love is averaging only 9.3 ppg over the last three games, compared to his season average of 18.9 ppg.
After their OT loss to the Pelicans, David Blatt said what was clear in everyone’s minds. LeBron James needs help, and he clearly hasn’t been getting any, as the Cavs have now lost 3 in a row. Although the Cavaliers starting back court still hasn’t played a game yet this season, LeBron has made it clear that excuses are unacceptable and that they cannot simply expect everything to be okay once Kyrie Irving comes back.
“There’s only one guy ever in the world that everything will be all right when he comes back and that’s Jesus Christ. Other than that, you can’t bank on nobody being OK.”
It’s clear that this team is struggling and may be banking on Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert coming back a little too much. Of course things should get better, and the team should play better once those two come back, but the Cavs can’t rely too heavily on it.
This loss against the Heat makes it clear that Blatt’s comments from the night before were spot on. Nobody stepped up and took the reigns of the team against Miami and it showed in an embarrassing loss. Kevin Love is nowhere to be found, Mo Williams has been demoted to the second team, and JR Smith continues to cause make more questionable fouls on the court than he does jump shots.
We’re only 20 games into the season, and this is a bit overdramatic so early in the season, but the Cavs need to somehow figure this out and start playing better basketball. Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert have both been cleared to practice and should make their season debut’s soon, so maybe that will spark a fire for the Cavs, but until then, something is going to have to change with this team.
The Cavs will look to end their losing streak when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Tuesday night.
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