The Cleveland Cavaliers did that thing again. That thing where they come out slow and wait until later in the game to come alive. That thing where they where they coast through the first 35-plus minutes and then decide to turn it to the max, eventually coming out after 48 minutes as the victors.
That all happened again tonight, except -- plot twist -- this time they weren't able to come come back, losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 108-105 in double overtime, ending their eight-game wining streak.
The formula remained the same again tonight. The Cavs trailed for most of the game, and through most of the game we waited for them to turn on the switch that they so casually have been able to do over the last couple of games.
There was a glimpse of "hey what a minute we're definitely going to win this game" early in the fourth quarter, when Richard Jefferson, who finished with 14 points, hit three straight jumpers, including two three-pointers, to quickly cut the deficit nine to two with 10:07 left in the game. All of that happened without LeBron James and Kevin Love, so it felt like this was definitely the point where the Cavs decide to show up and take the game serious.
It happened again late in the fourth quarter, when LeBron James, who scored a season-high 37 points, scored 11 of the Cavs' final 15 points, including a monster two-handed dunk to tie the game and would send the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, it was James again who came up huge in crunch time, blocking a potential game-winning layup, giving the Cavs a chance to win the game with one shot. It seemed like this was the moment we had all been waiting all game for. But, James, who had played brilliantly in the fourth quarter and overtime, missed a fallaway 18-footer at the buzzer, sending the game to a second overtime.
Playing in the second game of a back-to-back was prevalent in the second overtime, struggling to find any sort of offense. Part of that was tired legs, part of that was the Bucks length that had hounded the Cavs all game. The Bucks forced 21 turnovers for the game, and were able to turn those empty Cavs' possessions into points on the other end.
For as much as the Cavs struggled in the second overtime, they somehow STILL were in the game with 28 seconds left in the game after J.R. Smith hit a three to put the score at 108-105. All the Cavs needed was one stop, and it was a stop they would not get.
There are plenty of words that can be said about the Cavs this game, but for it being the 10th game of an 82-game schedule, some of that won't matter. Here's what does matter: Love is finding a rhythm after a few rough games and finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, and LeBron appears not ready to hand over the title of "best player in the NBA" quite yet.
Other than that, there's 72 games left and plenty more wins ahead.