Reporting Daryl Ruiter
INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – Don’t look now, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to get it together.
The Cavaliers’ 122-95 thumping of the woebegone Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Coming off Saturday night’s impressive 115-110 victory over the defending Western Conference champion Thunder, coach Byron Scott expected to run the worst team in the league out of the gym.
“I made it quite clear yesterday in shootaround that I felt we should beat them handily,” Scott said. “I wanted us to come out with that attitude and with that aggressiveness and that focus. But also with that confidence. I felt real confident that if we came out and did the things we were capable of, we would run away with the game.”
That’s exactly what they did.
The 2 victories followed a closed door meeting with Scott and his players Friday night in Detroit, a game that they admitted that they mailed in.
“That woke us up,” rookie guard Dion Waiters said. “We didn’t have the right mindset. Everyone was doing his own thing.”
They are refocused and it has shown on the floor the last 2 times out. But the turnaround actually began well before Scott closed the locker room door at the Palace.
“I think [in] 2013 we have shown big-time signs of coming to life and playing the way I think we’re capable of playing,” Scott said. “And we’ve still got a lot of room to grow, there’s no doubt about that. But we feel right now we’re headed down the right path, and we’re going to continue to keep working every to get better.”
The wine and gold are 10-11 since Dec. 22 and have won 6 of their last 9.
“We’re sharing the ball,” Waiters said. “We’re vibing out there. We have each others’ backs out there.
“It’s a great atmosphere right now.”
They are 5-2 since Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby were acquired from Memphis – 4-2 with the trio actually available.
Waiters describes the turnaround as vibing. Scott calls it trust.
Either way, it’s tough to vibe or have trust with a young team right out of the gate and it showed in Nov. and Dec.
“It’s easier said than done,” Waiters said. “You can easily say, ‘I trust him and I have his back.’ We’re seeing it. When we mess up on the defensive end, another guy has my back.
“It’s a great feeling.”
The shorthanded Orlando Magic come to town Friday night for the front end of a back to back that also includes the Denver Nuggets.
Scott doesn’t want his young club to overlook the Magic or start to think about the All Star break. Not with 4 games yet to play. Scott has a number of wins pinpointed for the Cavaliers to go into it with and he has been reminding his team daily of it.
“I wasn’t content with 13 wins or 12 wins at that particular point,” Scott said. “I’m still not content. We’ve played some pretty good basketball the last couple games. But I’m nowhere near content and I hope they feel the same way.”
As a result of the recent trend in the positive direction, that light at the end of the tunnel, which 2 months ago seemed to be light years away, might just be getting a little brighter
“It’s way down there, but it’s getting a little closer,” Scott said. “I can see it without squinting…Going through the stretch we went through early in the season has really helped us as a basketball team because we had some tough losses, we played some good basketball teams, we were on the road a ton, and now we’re back in an environment where we’re very comfortable and our guys are starting to show that.”