Dribbles: Time for Cavs to face, correct issues

Publish date:

Random dribbles on the Cavaliers' 105-76 embarrassment of a loss to the host Trail Blazers on Saturday.

1. Won't be going overboard on this one. I mean, what really is there to say? This is a very unofficial opinion, but that was likely the worst loss since LeBron James returned to the team more than a year ago. So no need to keep reliving it.

2. As LeBron said afterward: "Throw it in the trash. There was nothing we did good tonight."

3. And Cavs fans all across the land gave a hearty amen.

4. I tend not to put too much into one game, good or bad. Strange occurrences can happen during the course of an 82-game season. It's good to not get too high or too low until the games really, really mean something. That said, the Cavs have displayed some troubling signs during the past week.

5. For one, they have lost two straight. This one came a night after the 89-83 defeat at the hands of the Warriors -- and the 76- and 83-point outputs are season lows.

6. Read: What on earth is wrong with the offense? With as many weapons as this team has, there is simply no excuse.

7. In the past three games combined (including Wednesday's win over the Knicks), the Cavs are averaging 83 points per game. They are shooting a miserable 36 percent from the floor, and just 26 percent on 3-pointers.

8. Again, no excuse for that. I've been covering this game for a long time -- and I cannot believe an ENTIRE TEAM of professional athletes can go into a shooting slump at the same time. High schoolers? Sure. College players? Absolutely. The pros? Well, it may happen for a game, where not a soul can get a thing to fall. That's what is called a fluke. But when it happens three straight games, well, that's a trend. And it's one the Cavs need to break.

9. When shots don't fall game after game after game, the biggest issue is likely ball movement and player movement. Guys aren't getting the ball in good spots, and part of the reason is because they aren't MOVING to good spots. Another reason is because once they get to those good spots, no one is passing them the ball.

10. Again, to quote LeBron: "Offensively, we are in a funk right now."

11. And Cavs fans all across the land gave a hearty amen.

12. James finished with just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting. But at least he only played 28 minutes. Still, the Blazers outscored the Cavs by 29 points when James was on the floor. That was the worst "plus-minus" rating on the team. I occasionally check Twitter, and LeBron is really hearing it from the fans. He's not entirely to blame, but he hasn't been himself lately.

13. Kevin Love scored 13 to lead the Cavs (19-9). Kyrie Irving took the night off to rest. Many of his teammates weren't far behind. Matthew Dellavedova and Richard Jefferson (10 points apiece) were the only other Cavs to score in double figures.

14. Meanwhile, the Cavs allowed little-known Blazers swingman Allen Crabbe to go nuts to the tune of 26 points. The Blazers shot 41 percent on 3-pointers. Oh, by the way, their best player, point guard Damian Lillard, missed the game with a bum foot. And the hits just keep on coming, don't they?

15. But again, you can't get too worked up over one game in late December. As analyst Austin Carr suggested on the FOX Sports Ohio broadcast, the Cavs need to just forget about it and play like champions in the next one. That takes place Monday in Phoenix.

16. As for Cavs coach David Blatt, well, you can't lose faith in a guy after three bad games. You can, however, wonder if all the healthy bodies are causing some rotations that lack chemistry. Blatt needs to get that figured out here soon. On the bright side, he has plenty of time. Man oh man, there is so much time.

17. Blatt on the loss: "We're not a bad team all of a sudden. … This was a bad night. Plain and simple."

18. I tend to agree with the coach. Let's see how the Cavs respond. As Carr suggested, bounce-back opportunities are often where true title contenders show themselves. So ... Panicked? No. Worried? Maybe, but just a little. Anxious to see how the Cavs get this fixed? Oh, you'd better believe it.