Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Energy and effort are the 2 basic principles of sports – at all levels.
Wednesday night the Cleveland Cavaliers brought neither to the floor as the Brooklyn Nets cruised to an easy 113-95 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
It wasn’t the first time this season that Byron Scott’s team, which has now lost 10 straight, didn’t show up and with 8 games left to play this season – it probably won’t be the last.
“I’m disappointed,” Scott said. “I really am. After the effort we had in Atlanta (a 102-94 loss), to come back and play this way, I’m very disappointed. We just didn’t show any life. The energy, the effort wasn’t there — for whatever reason.”
The 10 straight losses are the second longest losing streak for the Cavaliers since they dropped a professional sports record-tying 26 in a row during the 2010-11 season.
Despite a regular lack of effort, defensive breakdowns and blowing late leads of 14, 22, 26 and 27 points, Scott, who had the $4.5 million option on his contract picked up for 2013-14 picked up before the season began, isn’t worried about his job security.
“Not really,” Scott said. “I’ve always had the attitude, ‘Whatever happens, happens.’”
Brooklyn, who is trying to lock down the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, ran the Cavaliers out of the gym despite being down 2 starters. Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks filled in for Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace who were out due to injury.
Brooks hit his first 9 shots en route to a 27 point night to lead Brooklyn to a franchise record 21st road win of the season.
Deron Williams added 24 points, Brook Lopez scored 14 more and Reggie Evans pulled down 18 rebounds in the win for the Nets, who improve to 43-31 and led by as many as 34 points in the second half.
The Nets led 28-20 after 1 before blowing the game wide open in the second quarter outscoring the Cavaliers 38-16 – including 28-8 over the final 7:17 – and hitting 15 of 18 shots in the quarter. They shot a scorching 73 percent from the floor in the first half.
“That was one of the worst halves we’ve had from an energy and effort standpoint,” Scott said.
Kyrie Irving struggled and shot 5-of-16 from the floor and scored 16 points while Tyler Zeller added 14 in the latest defeat.
“Things went from bad to worse and once we got down we just stopped doing our whole game plan,” Irving said. “It just went down the drain.”
The season has been circling the drain for weeks. Irving was asked if players have already packed it in.
“I think you should ask them,” Irving said. “I’m not going to be the one to answer that.”
Irving insists though that he hasn’t.
“Have I checked out? No,” he said. “I’m out here playing with basically still a sprained AC joint and with not a care in the world because I just want to play. I haven’t checked out. That thought has never crossed my mind.”
He should look around because it’s clear that it’s crossed a few other minds within the locker room.