Well, not a whole lot went right tonight, as the Cavaliers drop their second straight game, this time at home to the Los Angeles Clippers. The good news here is that the loss comes against a team that looks like a legitimate title contender, and the calendar just hit December. Here are some takeaways from tonight’s game.
- Turnovers are an enormous problem. Valuing possession is a must for any team that wants to win. 18 turnovers simply will not get it done. The worst part is that a flurry of turnovers at the start of the third quarter seemed to bury them. Halftime should be where a great team regroups, recenters, and gets things under control. Tonight, Lue’s squad did the opposite.
- The Cavs started hot, taking advantage of open looks as a result of traps on pick and rolls by the Clipper defense. Love knocked down a few mid-range shots early, and things seemed like they were off to a good start. Guys looked active and engaged. And then…
- The second unit. It is a significant problem, and one that I’ve alluded to in the past. Going into the fourth, the Cavaliers had mustered up just two bench points. Simply, Iman Shumpert has been awful, and must find a way to focus, and participate in a meaningful way. Not having a point guard on the second unit to be an extension of Lue, as well as the first unit, is starting to be a major issue. Expect GM David Griffin to do something meaningful about it soon. Brandon Knight, anyone?
- Between the end of the second, and first portion of the third, LA went on a 26-12 run. This came after the Cavs were up 37-36 with six minutes left in the second. I’ve talked about it before, but Cleveland can simply not afford to allow teams to make enormous runs like that. They aren’t deep enough, and their depth isn’t consistent enough to absorb and punch back if teams go on long and sustained runs like that.
- The situation with LeBron and Alan Anderson was preposterous. There isn’t any gym in the world in which LeBron should have been whistled for the T, especially considering he was the one that was fouled, and given the way that Anderson got up. He made it an issue when it should not have been, and the officials botched it. Granted, it was not impactful in the final outcome, but still ridiculous.
- Kyrie once again led the scoring charge with 28 on 8/19 from the field, but never looked comfortable. He was bothered by the constant switching, which presented him with large, and effective defenders each time he came off of a screen.
Again, this is December. There is plenty of time to solve all of these issues. Having them present themselves in grand fashion in back to back games is a bit concerning, but not an obstacle that cannot be overcome. Kyrie, LeBron, Love, and crew will try again tomorrow against Chicago.