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Final Score Cavaliers spoil Tyronn Lue's debut, fall to the Chicago Bulls 96-83

You win some, you Lue some

Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers were colder than a polar bear's toenails Saturday night. They struggled both from the field and from the free throw line causing them to fall 96-83 to the Chicago Bulls.

Get used to this every time the Cavs lose from now on:

Typically teams come out with increased energy after firing a head coach. While it didn't result in a win, the Cavs did seem to compete well throughout the game, they just couldn't get their shots to go down. I thought the ball movement was similar to the games against the Nets and Clippers, which is to say, better than it was earlier in the season. There were glimpses of the changes Lue alluded to earlier in the day, with Kevin Love getting a few touches in the high post and Mo Williams getting some early minutes. But those three minutes for Williams were his only on the night and as the game progressed the team regressed into some of their old tendencies.

It's hard to expect anything other than that, given that this team hasn't had practices in the 24 hours between Blatt's firing and this game. They haven't had a chance to implement any new sets or plays. That being said, there's less than half a season left and expectations are sky high. The team is going to need to learn quickly and commit to whatever changes they plan on making. They can't afford too many hiccups or to be still trying to get in a groove by the time the playoffs roll around.

Thoughts from the game:

  • The free throws... I don't think I've seen good free throw shooters struggle from the line the way the Cavs struggled tonight. It was an incredibly odd anomaly and as the misses piled up it seemed like it just kept getting more ingrained into the back of the mind for every player.
  • I know there's going to be a feeling out process for Tyronn Lue and hiccups are to be expected. But given the circumstances, he's going to need to learn quickly. I was not thrilled with the rotations. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love did not get a ton of minutes only received about 15 minutes in the first half, this despite the fact that Love was performing really well early on. James Jones was the first player off the bench for reasons I can't really comprehend and there still were too many minutes without one of the big three on the court.
  • Tristan Thompson really had a rough game. He racked up a few early fouls, couldn't get his shots to get down and didn't have his usual impact on the boards. He's been fairly consistent this season, so on a night where the team wasn't hitting any shots he picked a poor time to have an off night and not collect offensive boards.
  • The Cavs had a 17-4 assist to turnover ratio on the night. Not all was bad!
Now about this coaching change. Obviously there has been a lot written about the move and there is going to be a lot more written in the coming days. I'm in favor of the move, if what we've heard is true. Obviously nothing is black or white and the truth is somewhere in the middle. But if the team wasn't behind Blatt and feel that Lue will have a better relationship with them and has earned their respect, then I can't see this move not having some sort of positive impact on the team. How large that impact will be is still to be determined.

The rotations weren't great under Blatt, and tonight was more of the same. They still need to answer a lot of questions that aren't all on the man holding the clipboard. Time will tell how significant this move was, but even if Lue isn't as good of a coach as Blatt, it still is likely better for the team if he's someone they respect and will follow as a leader.