Editor’s note: In the Two For One, Fear the Sword’s staff will spotlight three takeaways from their last game featuring two positives and one negative from the action, or vice versa.
The Cavs got wrecked against the Rockets in a game that was never close.
NEGATIVE: What are we doing, here?
A loss like this inspires the question above. Tanking is ugly, and rebuilds aren’t supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows. But ideally a common thread of development and growth makes the losing easier to stomach. The tough thing about a wire-to-wire beating like the one the Cavaliers took against the Rockets isn’t just that it’s tough to watch — it destroys any chance of forward momentum.
Garbage time is antithetical to development as players begin to go through the paces. The second half was a pale imitation of NBA basketball as both teams sort of loafed through possessions, waiting for a game that was already over to end.
The Cavaliers have to keep things close for as long as possible, if not just to actually test their skills in an environment that matters.
POSITIVE: It’s Friday, so maybe you had plans to do something else
Maybe you and some work buddies extended a happy hour deep into the night. Maybe you had a date! Perhaps you’ve had your eyes on Bird Box and wondered if it was worth your time. Ultimately, a Friday night beating is probably easier to stomach for a fanbase that’s seen plenty this season, because it stands to reason that most of you didn’t watch.
In all seriousness, it’s no fun to slop through a game like this, and it’s hard to get much out of it. Growth, if it’s happening at all, is hard to find, so count this “positive” mostly as a lesson that it’s not all that serious. It’s just basketball, after all.
NEGATIVE: The worst defense in NBA history is getting worse.
The Cavaliers defense, per Basketball Reference, has been on pace to be the worst in the history of the NBA for months now. But somehow, the Cavaliers are pouring additional gasoline on the fire.
After giving up 77 points in the first half against the Rockets, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor noted that the Cavs had given up a whopping 158 points in their last two halves of regulation basketball after their blowout against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
I know the team is tanking, but I’m not sure how much longer ownership and the front office will accept results this hideous. The Cavaliers defense has been a tire fire no matter what personnel has been on the floor since the hiring of Mike Longabardi to run that end, and it feels like the coaching staff is just playing out the season themselves. This is absolutely unacceptable, given that the only value to be drived from this season is any good fundamentals learned.
That certainly isn’t happening right now. This isn’t the culture the Cavaliers were hoping to set in the post-LeBron era.