It had to come to an end eventually.
In one night the Cleveland Cavaliers two-game winning streak came to and end, as did Dion Waiters’ three-game 20-point streak. And to make matters worse, this was the third straight game without injured star Kyrie Irving.
Tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers was tough to handle. Pulling within two at one point in the third quarter, Cleveland fell apart late. After playing competitive basketball for the large portion of three quarters, the Cavs fell apart in the final frame, falling to the Clippers by a score of 105-89. Waiters led Cleveland with 17 points, while Jamal Crawford with 24 off the bench.
The win was the Clippers’ first win in Cleveland since 2002.
What was concerning about this game was that the Cavaliers fell apart after playing pretty solid basketball for the majority of the game. Sure, at times their fast break defense was porous, but remember, they were playing the team known as “Lob City.” This game was all about Cleveland not taking full advantage of their opportunities. Even at the end of the game, in complete garbage time, Cleveland committed turnovers. For example, Wayne Ellington passed the ball late in the game and it was stolen by Eric Bledsoe and put in for two easy points.
Those were the kind of plays that cost Cleveland the game tonight. The Clippers are definitely a better team than Cleveland, but even without Irving, Cleveland was competitive. If could they have simply avoided some mistakes, this was a game they could have pulled out.
To break this down a little more, let’s take a look at the some key stats from the game:
- The Clippers shot 51.8 percent from the field, while Cleveland shot 44.8 percent.
- Los Angeles scored 50 points in the paint, while Cleveland scored 28.
- Waiters, C.J. Miles and Marresse Speights were the only Cavaliers to shoot above 50 percent. Six Clippers shot above the 50-percent mark.
- At the center position, DeAndre Jordan shot 5-for-6. The Cavaliers Tyler Zeller shot 4-for-10.
- The Clippers committed 16 turnovers, while the Cavaliers committed 10.
As the season progresses, this is yet another growth game. For all but the fourth quarter, the Cavs played close. But that quarter alone, although they were only outscored by seven points, really ended any chances of a comeback.
These are the kind of games that the Cavaliers will need to win. These are the games that truly great teams will win. A good team will truly capitalize on their mistakes and avoid making stupid turnovers. They will keep their composure, dig in and make shots – even when their star player is unavailable.
The Cavaliers will next play host to the New York Knicks on Monday as part of their four-game home stand. Expect Irving to be back and enjoy playing on his bobble head night. Tip-off is at 7 PM