More Do, Less DOH!

Chad W. Lutz
31-9: not bad for a team everyone wrote off after a 21-45 record last season. Oh, wait. Damnit. I was looking at that backwards; 9-31. Well, this certainly is a different story, Cav's fans, a much different story, indeed.

Oh, how I would love to tell you the Cavaliers are leading the league in assists per game, turnover ratios, points against, and every other defensive category. I'd love to spin yarn about 18-game win streaks and MVP candidates wearing Wine and Gold. It would be amazing to sit here and have the anointed pleasure of writing about the playoff picture and possible first round matchups. This would be an ideal world. But, alas, the Cavaliers aren't 31-9; they're 9-31 heading into tonight's game against Portland. And, at the official halfway point in the season, it appears that we'll be looking to the lottery to solve our problems on the hardwood.
Pick us a winner little guy! (
On January 10, the Cavaliers organization received probably the worst news possible (okay maybe Top 5 in terms of negative notary). The Cleveland Clinic and Cavalier's organization announced star-center Anderson Varejao, the league's leading rebounder, needed surgery to repair a herniating knee and resulting split muscle. The injury, originally a mild contusion suffered against the Toronto Raptors on December 18, apparently only worsened as the 6'11" 260lbs. Brazilian completed his rehab. The prognosis for the future includes 6 to 8 weeks out, but many speculate the Cavs may just shut the big man down and try again for next season.

Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, in Cavs Land…

After winning back-to-back games against Milwaukee and Washington the Cavaliers lost 3 straight to Atlanta, Brooklyn and Sacramento by a combined average of 4 points. The losses to the Nets and Kings represented the 6th and 7th games in which the Cavaliers lost by 3 points or less. The Cavaliers lead the NBA in this statistical category.

Through Monday's game against Sacramento, which resulted in a 124-118 loss on the road despite a 17 and 15 performance from Tristan Thompson, 17 points from C.J. Miles, 33 points from Dion Waiters and 10 points from The Mistake by the Lake himself, Omri Casspi, the Wine and Gold sit 4th in the NBA in point differential per game (-5.70) and continue to scrape bottom in assist differential with -3.80. Injuries continue to plague the Cavaliers, as well. Daniel Gibson has been out battling a concussion over a majority of the last ten games, C.J. Miles sat with back spasms through a couple of contests, and we all know how Andy is doing.
At least your hair still looks good… (
Even through all of this adversity, the offense seems to be coming around. During the first 30 contests of the season, the Cavaliers only put together 10 games scoring 100 points or more, and only 3 of those games included the Good Guys coming out on top. Over the last 10, Cleveland has posted 4 games of 100 points or more and averaged 99.1ppg, well above their regular season average of 95.0ppg. The once sleepy C.J. Miles came alive during the last 20 games and has improved upon his original 10-game field goal percentage of 27% now shooting a tick under 40%. Dion Waiters, although I feel goes far too unsung more often than not, continues to pour in impressive performances night after night and averages nearly 15ppg.

Where the Cavaliers desperately need improvement is handling the ball. Kyrie Irving not only sits 6th in the NBA in scoring but also holds one of the highest turnovers-per-game ratio (3.72 per contest) in a second-place tie with James Harden of Houston. While the Cavs only sit 11th in the NBA as a team in terms of turnovers per game, most Cavaliers turnovers seem to occur in tight situations at the end of close games. December 29th against Brooklyn comes to mind… and Wednesday, January 2 against Sacramento… and Saturday, January 5 against Houston… Friday, January 11 in Denver…


Over the next week, Cleveland closes out a 5-game, West Coast road trip with contests against Portland tonight and Utah on Saturday. The Wine and Gold then brings it home for a Tuesday night game against the streaking Boston Celtics, and then Central Division foe Milwaukee Bucks 3 nights later. The Cavs go back on the road against Toronto on Saturday the 26th and then face Golden State at the Q the following Tuesday.

It's amazing to think with the league's leading rebounder and one of the NBA's top scorers the Cavaliers have failed to notch even 10 victories on the season and stand poised, if they mirror their first half effort in the second half of the season, to only win 18 games, which, I suppose, is still 3 wins better the club record for least wins in an 82-game schedule. We would, however, have to suffer through another 31 (possibly 32) losses.

Are you ready?