The Cleveland Cavaliers are still looking for their first road win. It seemed like they would have a good chance to get it on Wednesday night against a Milwaukee Bucks team that would be missing its two best players in Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova. Unfortunately, a poor defensive effort and some hot shooting from OJ Mayo and Gary Neal meant the Cavs eventually fell 109-104.
Here's what the coaches and players had to say after the game.
Mike Brown is obviously a defense-first coach. The first four games of the season saw some pretty good defensive effort from the Cavaliers. Last night, not so much. Brown was expectedly unpleased.
"O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal are combined 10- for- 12 from the 3-point line and we keep telling our guys to get up in them. Make them drive, make them drive. No air space, no air space. Make them drive, make them drive. But we continue to close short and allow them to shoot threes. It is unacceptable."
He had some pretty harsh words for the entire team. Actually, it was kind of cool to see a coach so fired up.
"Mentally, I don't know where we were mentally. Physically, I don't know where we were physically. If we need to get in front of a home crowd just to play with a sense of urgency we are going to be in trouble. Teams are too good in this business. We have to figure out what it takes to win on the road and right now as a group we don't know how to do that. That is disappointing."
He even spoke about the specific strategy that he had in mind to defend Mayo and Neal.
Make them drive, make them drive. No air space, no air space. Make them drive, make them drive. But we continue to close short and allow them to shoot threes. It is unacceptable."
Irving had a really nice game with some good numbers, but he made some crucial mistakes down the stretch. He dribbled the ball off his foot and then took a contested three with a chance to tie the game.
"Crucial turnover by me at the end and it kind of stopped that. A missed shot by me as well. It starts on the defensive end early in the game. We just got to get stops early so we're not in that predicament going into the fourth quarter."
Kyrie also talked about how the last shot that he took wasn't a particularly good one. I'd have to agree.
"Score the ball. It is as simple as that. Ice the game especially with 13 seconds left. As a point guard and as a playmaker, I got to bring it to the middle of the floor. O.J. Mayo crowded me into a tough shot in the corner. On to the next one, the next game. Got to learn from this one."
It's nice to know that he's self aware enough to realize that he's made a mistake and needs to change it next time.
On the plus side, the head coach of the Bucks called a very good team. So there's that.
"We've had to overcome a lot of adversity since the beginning of training camp, dealing with injuries and guys being out. We beat a very good basketball team tonight in Cleveland."