The NBA is a long season - filled with ups and downs. It's hard for a team to bring the same level of energy and effort every night for 82 games. For the Cavaliers that has been a struggle all season - at home and on the road - consistent effort. It happened again as the Wine and Gold, seemingly in a game-long fog, fell to the Dallas Mavericks 102-95. Perhaps even more perplexing was the Cavaliers inability to take advantage of a Dallas team missing their best player - Dirk Nowitzki - who missed the game with a gash on his elbow.
For the Cavs, it was a bit of the same. In ending their 5-game losing streak, the Cavaliers were out-shot 48%-46%. The Cavaliers did take 6 more free throws(26-20), but shot 77% while the Mavericks shot 95%. Lastly, the Cavaliers wasted a great effort by their bench. Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas combined to score 41 points, a good night for the Cavaliers most nights, only to see the Mavericks bench score 45 points.
Most disappointing was the complete lack of production from Shaquille O'Neal. In over 17 minutes, O'Neal scored 5 points on 1-7 shooting. LeBron James had an off-night shooting the ball, scoring 25 points on just 9-23. He was held without a rebound in the 1st half and totaled just 3 rebounds in the game.
No time to worry about it, as the Cavs get right back on the court tomorrow night in Phoenix. With a Christmas trip to see Kobe and the Lakers on the horizon, the Wine and Gold needs to get its head right, and fast!