To be frank, the Cleveland Cavaliers are not a good basketball team in any way, shape or form at the current moment. Having lost two in a row to the Portland Trailblazers and Detroit Pistons, the Cavaliers took their home floor against their division rival, the Chicago Bulls. The Cavs, as usual, were up and down in their performance. After putting up a fight late, the Cavaliers fell to Chicago by a score of 95-85. Donald Sloan lead the Cavaliers with 14 points off the bench, while Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson co-lead the starters with 11 points each. Marco Belinelli led the Bulls with 23 points.
On a positive note, Varejao continues to be fantastic. Varejao’s stat line against the Bulls looked like this: 11 points, 15 rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes of action. His shooting percentage from the field, however, was atrocious (4 of 16 from the field, good for 25 percent shooting). Varejao’s double-double was his 10th straight, pulling him within two of the team record set by Elmore Smith. With Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters out with injuries, Varejao is by far the best player on the court for Cleveland. At times, he has kept Cleveland competitive when they had no business staying in games.
To sum it up, this was a game that Cleveland was out of from the start. They were not making shots, were outhustled by Chicago and only had 23 points with 4:24 left in the second quarter. They had their runs where the Bulls lead was cut down to single digits, but then the lead go right back up to 15 points in a blink of an eye. It was a frustrating performance as a whole, and considering this was the second time Cleveland was dominated by Chicago this season, this has to be a frustrating loss for coach Byron Scott’s squad.
Here are five key observations from tonight’s to Chicago.
- It blows my mind that Sloan led the Cavaliers in scoring tonight. I am not high on him as a player at all, and I felt he was only playing as a necessity right now with Irving still out with injury. Moving forward, the battle for minutes between Sloan and Pargo has gotten a lot more interesting.
- Imagine this team without Varejao. If he is not on the roster, the Cavaliers are probably a worse team than the Charlotte Bobcats on paper. Without Waiters and Irving, it is all on Varejao to carry this team on both ends of the floor. At this point, trading him would be an awful move.
- The Cavaliers were outrebounded tonight by eight rebounds on the defensive end of the floor. Against a team like Chicago, the Cavaliers will need to win the rebounding battle in order to win the game. It’s too bad the Cavaliers don’t have four Varejaos to help with that.
- Thompson is becoming increasingly frustrating to me. He makes bonehead plays on offense, and if not for his rebounding, it would be hard to justify his starting role. Out of anyone on the roster, I’m hoping we see dramatic improvements in Thompson’s play moving forward.
- Irving makes this team much better that they actually are. The sooner they get him back, the sooner we will begin to see quality basketball on the shores of Lake Erie again. He’s expected back within 10 days, and I’m sure coach Scott cannot wait for that day to come.
The Cavaliers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves next on Friday in Minnesota. Tipoff is at 8 p.m., and the game will air live on Fox Sports Time Ohio in the Cleveland and surrounding areas.