The Cleveland Cavaliers got off to a terrible start against the Los Angeles Lakers. In the end, they lost 119-108, but the game was basically over after the first quarter. There was no defensive effort, poor offensive movement, and a more general terribleness all around. But other than that, it was good. Here's what some of the people had to say after Wednesday night's game.
As expected, Brown immediately pointed out the poor start. It was obvious from the very beginning of the game that the Cavs just weren't competing. The Lakers got wide open shots and the Cavs had some truly awful offensive possessions. It got better in the fourth quarter, but it was way too late by then.
"I thought the game got away from us in the first quarter. We came out and couldn't make a shot nor could we get a stop. To be outscored 36-17 to put us in a hole made it a tough uphill climb the rest of the game. I thought our last group that was out on the floor, those guys strung together some stops. They strung together some offense in terms of moving the ball, spacing the floor and attacking the rim the right way to get us back in the game. They gave us a chance to win going down the stretch and brought it to a two-possession game so I applaud the last group of guys that were out there in Delly (Matthew Dellavedova), C.J. (Miles), Dion (Waiters), AB (Anthony Bennett) and Anderson (Varejao). Maybe we can learn something from what that group did out on the floor. That group played hard. They played the right way. We didn't change anything, any coverages, and they gave us a chance."
That last part is particularly damning of the first group. It's not like he made coaching adjustments...he just put in guys that wanted to play hard.
As usual, Coach Brown also praised Matthew Dellavedova's energy and credited him for giving the team a much-needed spark.
"Delly played well. He played tough. He was a presence on both ends of the floor. Give him credit. He tried to run the team, tried to get guys in spots and pushed the ball. He stepped up and took the right shots. He was a big part of us having a chance to get back into the game."
Although the Cavs lost, Anthony Bennett had a decent game. He scored in double figures once again and is starting to look more and more like the exciting prospect that we saw at UNLV. Here's what Brown said about Bennett after the Cavs' loss:
"I just like his assertiveness. The one thing that he's not doing anymore is getting down on himself. He used to get down on himself very easily. I like that he's not doing that. He's just playing the game. When he just plays the game, he can do a lot of things. He's still just barely scratching the surface of what he's going to be capable of doing in this league. Once he gets used to the speed of the game and the rest of the opposing players, and gets a little bit more comfortable offensively, he'll be able to do some things out there that will wow people."
Kyrie barely played in the second half and Mike Brown never put him back in the game once it got close. Instead, Brown chose to stick with the second unit that actually mounted some sort of a comeback. I wrote in the recap that I didn't think this was a bad decision by Brown. It sends a message to the team that the guys who put forth effort and play the right way will be rewarded with playing time.
But you know who else agreed with me? Kyrie Irving.
"They definitely deserved to be on the floor. They did a heck of a job fighting until the end. We took the starters out, put the second group in and they did a heck of a job getting stops and passed the ball well and trusted one another. They did the little things to get us back into the game."
I'm counting this as a sign of some maturity from Kyrie. He recognizes that if he wants to play over guys like Matthew Dellavedova, he's going to have to play hard.
"If I were the coach as well, I would've played that second group. They deserved to be in and fought until the end. They deserved to be in the game at that particular moment in the game."
The Cavs brought Jarrett Jack in to be a leader in the locker room. I've heard great things about his leadership ability, but we clearly haven't seen it's effects yet. He continues to say all of the right things, however. Jack again spoke about effort and how the first half was unacceptable. My question is this: when are we going to actually see the effort? Kyrie and Jack can talk about bad effort all they want, but why not do something about it?
Jarrett jack echoed what Mike Brown said about the bench unit in the 2nd half. They didn't change anything, they didn't mix it up. They just played hard.
"They were just playing hard; nothing tricky, no crazy recipes that we haven't heard of before. They were just going out there and playing hard, no matter if that possession went their way or not. They went out there and played hard and it led to positive things for us."
Chris Kaman has been around for a while. He's never seen anything like the end of this game. Apparently some other really old guys haven't seen it before either.
"I've never seen anything like that. I asked (Kurt Rambis) and (Gary Vitti), they've been around 30 years and neither one of them have seen anything like that. It was interesting. I don't think you'll ever see anything like that again."
- SOURCES: Nick Gilbert privately tells high school friends he wants out of Cavaliers' fandom
- Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Final Score: Cavs lose completely ridiculous game, 119-108
- Kyrie Irving talks about struggles, voices support for Mike Brown in interview with TNT's Craig Sager
- NBA preview: Cleveland Cavaliers host struggling Los Angeles Lakers
- Kyrie Irving struggles to break out in third NBA season: what criticism is fair?