There really isn’t any way to sugarcoat the Cavaliers’ season. They are the worst in the NBA in offensive and defensive efficiency, they’ve lost an NBA record 26 games in a row, they’re on pace to fall from the league’s best record two years running to the league’s worst while their hometown savior betrayed them on national television to join the Heat with two other superstars in the sunshine of Miami, while the Cleveland fans are left in a frigid winter. Funny websites and basketball-reference.com dedications exist, but the truth is that they are just terrible. And will be for a while. There isn’t one player on the team that is worth building around.
There are two scenarios that are to be avoided at all costs in the NBA: losing to the Wizards on your home floor, or lose to the Cavs anywhere.
But don’t forget, earlier in the year the Clippers were also threatening some of the same “feats” as the Cavaliers. At the beginning of the season the Clippers had lost 9 in row and while they never pulled it off, they came very close to pulling off the vaunted tandem title of worst in offensive and defensive efficiency. Now the Clippers are threatening teams. The Cavaliers probably won’t be breaking out like the Clippers have, but the point is that the Cavaliers are still in the NBA and have come desperately close to winning. Their last five losses have been by 9, 3, 6, 7 and 5 points. The Clippers need to seize this opportunity to develop winning habits on the road, because they can’t make a habit of losing to bad teams if they are going to get better.
Okay, that’s enough depressing stuff, here’s DeAndre Jordan singing about chicken:
Keys to the Game:
– Don’t get complacent. Yes, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing historically terrible basketball, but the Clippers have no reason to overlook the Cavs considering the Clips road woes.
– Dominate the boards. Without Anderson Varejao, the Cavs don’t have good rebounders. J.J. Hickson and Antawn Jamison lead the team in rebounds with 7.3 and 6.6 rebounds per game a piece, but after that they don’t have one player that grabs more than 3.4 rebounds a game. Clippers are strong in this department, and with the Cavs also having the league low 43 percent shooting percentage, they need to dominate the glass, because there will be ample opportunities.
– Make the extra pass. The Cavaliers give up a league worst 42.9 percent from outside the parabola and it’s due to poor defensive rotations and a lack of players capable of playing defense. There are no Thabo Sefaloshas, no Dwight Howards on this team. So move the rock and take the open shots.
Chris Kaman: left ankle, out
Craig Smith: herniated disc, out
Eric Gordon: wrist/back, out
Mo Williams: hip flexor, out (update, Mo is playing)
Anderson Varejao: left ankle, out
Leon Powe: left knee, out