The Cavs laid down like dogs last night. It wasn’t the first time. I’m willing to bet it won’t be the last.
At one point, while getting blown out by 20+, Chris Kaman took a rest across the bench, and Lakers players snickered while Steve Nash revealed he had his jersey on, just in case the team needed them.
This isn’t the Lakers we remember. This was a team that had seven healthy players to begin the game, and had lost 19 of their last 22 coming to Cleveland.
Robert Sacre fouled out, but had to keep playing because of the NBA mandate that teams have to have five on the floor, and the Lakers because of it, were giving technical fouls for every regular foul for the final three minutes.
The Cavs still lost by 11. The Lakers kept on laughing.
I wrote all that down, because it bares being remembered as possibly the rock bottom of a franchise that has seen a 44 point blowout in Sacramento just a month ago, and over the last three years, injuries, “growing pains”, two head coaches (one being a former head coach) and a 26 game losing streak.
None of those compare to last night. Even the NBA rule book was on the Cavs side. All they had to do was take a little pride in themselves. They couldn’t even do that.
At 16-33 in a horrible Eastern Conference, Dan Gilbert did…what Dan may do best. He got really mad. And he fired Chris Grant over it.
This isn’t a note to defend Grant. He’s an NBA GM. He fired Byron Scott, and got Mike Brown hired back. Bennett wasn’t a part of a “winning” rotation this season, and this year’s draft was one of the bleakest in NBA history. Still his decision brought him here.
Grant is the hipster of the NBA, while pundits praised other players in the drafts of the last two years. Grant spent the last two years drafting players who we could talk ourselves into having upside, but ultimately have been waiting for the fall of (Bennett, sooner than later).
Liken Grant to the skinny jeans wearing, Fixie-riding hipster passing you in Tremont. “You like that band (draft pick), this indie group has waaaaayyyy more soul (kid from UNLV that we could barely see games of).”
Only problem was, that in those drafts, there wasn’t that much sure-fire talent if any. So Grant was reduced to trying to trade into being competitive. Which is nearly impossible in the NBA.
The major five cities can swing it: Boston, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago.
Everyone else, you have to do it with talent evaluation, timing of when the team was bad compared to the draft and the talent you’re evaluating, and a little bit of luck. Grant didn’t have much of any of that, but this is the NBA. Gilbert is using Grant as a scapegoat, like Grant used Byron Scott as a scapegoat last year. And just like the NBA, the players use them all as scapegoats.
NBA franchises and fans are a slave to players. There isn’t a ton of talent to go around, so when the going gets tough, we line up to make excuses for the players, and fire coaches and GM’s to try to appease those players.
The biggest problem in Cleveland though is that when those players don’t seem to care, there’s really no reason to appease them.
The Cavaliers as a whole, which INCLUDES Kyrie Irving, are a team in name only: No heart. No drive. No determination. Only ego and selfishness.
The theme of the Cavs this season has stayed consistently bad the entire season: Kyrie is a Point Guard but is a Ball Hog. Dion Waiters can’t get the ball in his hands enough to take the 30 shots he’s needed to get 16 points. Anderson Varejao is becoming the NBA’s great Greek Tragedy. Tristan Thompson can get double-doubles but is soft. Tyler Zeller looks like he’s going to get lost at any moment and just keep running into the men’s room. Earl Clark hasn’t been worth berating in month, or ever in a Cavs uniform. Anthony Bennett looks like a cross between a scolded puppy and a sad, only child watching his parents fight while he sits on the bench. Dellavedova tries hard. Jarrett Jack doesn’t, and everyone else isn’t worth mentioning.
And NOBODY…NOBODY…is interested in playing defense.
I get that players hate playing for Mike Brown. We’ve been told that. Defense though ultimately comes down to hustle. The Cavs gave up 70 points in the first half last night. If they hate Mike Brown, they should know they’re embarrassing themselves trying to get him fired.
We were loaded with comments throughout the night from fans saying “they’re embarrassed to be Cavs fans.” Cavs fans have nothing to be embarrassed about. They haven’t gone out rolled over all season. The players have.
Fans are allowed to become apathetic towards a pro team during a season. It’s part of that “business” that players and organizations love to jam down fans throats to try to sound like the sport they play is somehow more important than what it is. When players become apathetic though, it’s disgusting, and it’s not something easily fixed.
There is no one without blame. Grant is fired. Mike Brown will probably go soon as well. If they players can’t even make a case for themselves, how are fans supposed to make a case for them?
One thing is certain, the pouting they’ve done through the season isn’t getting job done.
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