Monday, March 07, 2005

When the going gets tough

It has been a long week. Since we last spoke, the Cavs' losing streak stretched to six after last night's nightmare against the Heat.

So you're all here to see what I have to say about it. First, read this, to see some number-crunching and analysis of what's been going on. Also, check out some interesting stuff in my Sunday column.

Well, here I go:

On the first possession Sunday night, I saw the ball go inside to Z and four guys stand around the perimeter and watch. Nope! Wrong answer. No one possession makes or breaks a game, but it showed me there isn't much growth going on. And that's the real issue, growth, and the Cavs appear to be regressing.

At the start of the season when the team lost three straight, the last losing streak to speak of, I saw the Cavaliers playing hard and losing. In fact, in most of their losses this season was the case. Even in the hard road losses, ones at Orlando, Lakers, Seattle, New York, etc., there was fight. But good teams don't get blown out like the Cavs have been. Not even blown out, the score doesn't really matter, it was the way it went down. The Cavs were lifeless in losing at Indiana, and at home to Seattle and Miami. Even the close losses in New Jersey and Philly were racked with needless mistakes.

After the game last night, the teeth started coming out. Silas ripped his players, the players ripped themselves, for the first time there was visible anger since the streak began. We'll see if that carries over to tomorrow. I'm not sure anger will work, but it is worth trying, because nothing else is.

Today Jim Paxson made the point that the roster is better than last year when Jeff McInnis' injury triggered an eight-game losing streak. That's true and another way of saying there's no excuse for this. That's also true. So what does that mean, it means the pressure is getting turned up.

I know there are many fans and some in the media that are giving up on this team. I admit that as I look at the last 24 games, I think it will take some pretty good play just to go 12-12 considering the schedule. Yet this is the NBA, and just as things looked good 11 days ago, everything could be different again in two weeks. LeBron James is still good and so is Zydrunas Ilgauskas and when the role players snap out of it, there's still time to right the ship.

Do I truly believe they will? Ask me tomorrow.

For more on this, check out Tom Reed's column.

Take care, e-mail as always at