Sloppy. In a word that is how the Cavaliers played tonight, from the beginning until the end - losing to the Charlotte Bobcats for the 2nd time this season, 91-88. The loss ends the Cavaliers winning streak at 7 games, and proved that even the most intelligent team in basketball can lose it's head every now and then.
Cleveland seemed to be running uphill all-night, never really out of the game bu never really in control of it either. Credit to the Bobcats, who hit big-shot after big-shot and came up with every hustle play - something the Cavaliers usually pride themselves on.
Even Anderson Varejao wasn't his usually self, going 1-8 from the field, grabbing just 4 rebounds. Varejao, who took the lead in the NBA's Plus-Minus category after yesterday's game in New Jersey, was a Minus-8 tonight.
LeBron James scored 29 points but got to the free throw line just 2 times as the team settled for perimeter jumpers instead of attacking the basket. Mo Williams was big as well, scoring 27 points. Most nights, it is an automatic W when Williams and James combine for 56 points - not tonight and the Cavaliers bench provided just 12 points overall.
Perhaps the best example to use when talking about this game is this - down a point with 9.5 seconds to go, the Bobcats inbounded the ball to Flip Murray. Murray is a 63% free throw shooter. For some reason, the Cavaliers allowed Murray to get rid of the ball before finally fouling Stephen Jackson - a 79% shooter. Jackson, of course, calmly hit both free throws.
A Lebron James 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed and the Bobcats won the game. The game left a bitter taste in my mouth and Larry Brown's squad has now outplayed the Cavaliers in Charlotte and now Cleveland - in games where it appeared Brown outcoached Mike Brown.
A couple days off for the Cavaliers before welcoming Washington to the Q on Wednesday Night.