Cavaliers Turn Back the Clock and Not Exactly in a Good Way

Sam Amico

CLEVELAND -- You know things are bad when the best part of the game is halftime.

That's when the Cavaliers celebrated team legends for Wall of Honor day. Other than that, there was nothing honorable about the Cavs' performance in a 114-95 home loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Basically, it was a day of memories, but chalk this up as one the Cavaliers hope to quickly forget.

"We got blown out in our own arena, on a Sunday afternoon in front of a great crowd," Cavs coach John Beilein said, covering all the bases. "It measures you."

Beilein understands this is expected to be a process of development, but what he doesn't want is for the Cavs (4-8) to start going backwards. 

"We have to bounce back and make changes in everything we do -- effort areas, offense, defense, rotations," Beilein said. "These last two games have not gone in the right direction."

This marks their second straight lousy showing at home after a decent three-game road swing.

Well, guess what? The Cavs are embarking on another three-game trip, and against some of the same teams they just faced -- at New York, at Miami and at Dallas. No one is going to be surprised by their hustle anymore.

Still, somehow, someway they are hoping to re-discover the grit and togetherness that made them The Little Team That Could through the first 10 games.

"You're one win away from feeling really good," Beilein said.

As for Sunday's affair, the 76ers (8-5) basically turned it into little more than 48 minutes of garbage time. The Cavs did hold a five-point lead early in the first quarter. But the rest of the afternoon was a major chore in trying to overcome the length and skillset of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Al Horford, to name a few.

Before you knew it, Kevin Love was walking gingerly and the Cavs were down by 31.

"When you're smaller than the other team, you have to be a pain in the neck," Beilein said. "We haven't been that way in the last two games."

Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 17 points and Jordan Clarkson scored 15. But the Cavs had an embarrassing 14 assists as a team -- just one game after Beilein and his staff strongly emphasized the importance of moving the ball.

Along with that, the 76ers were a sizzling 55 percent shooting, including 39 percent on 3-pointers.

So as bad as the offense was, the defense may have been worse.

"We can't let them shoot the way they did," Sexton said. "They had a tremendous game as far as shooting percentages, assists, everything. We've got to make it tough on them. Tonight, we didn't do that."

The Cavs lost to the 76ers in Philadelphia by a point just last week. Sixers forward Tobias Harris had a miserable showing but he sure made up for it this time. Harris scored 27 points and made all but two of his 14 shots.

Embiid and James Ennis added 14 points apiece.

On the other hand, Tristan Thompson (12 points), Love (ditto) and just about everyone else on the Cavs was average at best. In fact, things were so bad that Beilein decided just to rest some of the veterans, including Cedi Osman, for Monday's game against the Knicks.

Love was hobbled after landing awkwardly on his knee and crashing to the floor on his back. He indicated the knee is a little sore, but that everything is generally fine and he expects to remain on the court.

Nor was he too panicked about the state of things. As is the case with most veterans, Love and Thompson rarely get too emotional with wins or losses.

"The beautiful part of the NBA is there's another one tomorrow," Love said. "While we've shown some good things, we're not there yet."

NOTES

Forward Larry Nance Jr. missed his first game of the season with an injured thumb. He is considered day-to-day though it's doubtful he'll play Monday. ... Center Ante Zizic made his season debut with six points in 17 minutes. "He hasn't played in a little bit," Beilein said. "He gets winded pretty easily. He's a little rusty but it's good to have another body out there."

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