Dribbles: Cavaliers Fumble One Away as Only Cavaliers Can

Sam Amico

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers' ridiculous 118-116 road loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

1. Let's start this way -- the Cavs are 12-31 for a reason. It's not by accident. It's practically by design. 

2. Or how about this -- role players generally aren't real consistent on the road. They typically can't be relied on night in and night out. The Cavs are an entire team of role players.

3. That's not an insult. That's just a fact. Some Cavs know their roles better than others. Some are role players on the rise. Some are role players who have disappointed. But they're role players. And when that is the case, losses like this can happen.

4. On the bright side, at least the Cavs didn't blow it in the third quarter again. They actually led by 19 points in the third. They actually led by 15 heading into the fourth. They actually dominated for most of the night.

5. But for the Cavs, this game was about 10 minutes too long.

6. I feel like I've written this story over and over again. You know you've certainly read it. Basically, the Cavs played pretty well. Just not well enough to win. There are lots of things missing here, the most obvious being a guy who can just go out and get them a basket.

7. Remember, these are the Bulls we're talking about. They are undoubtedly better than the Cavs, as the Cavs have no one like Zach LaVine. Still, they're not Michael Jordan's Bulls. They are a below-.500 team that you should be able to put away. These Bulls (16-28) are so-so at best. The Cavs aren't even that.

8 As for this particular night, the Cavs committed 26 turnovers. That's just unacceptable. They threw passes after jumping into the air, frantically searching for a target before they landed. They threw lazy passes into traffic. They threw passes that begged for the Bulls to steal it. The Bulls did. Worse, the Cavs often failed to get back in transition.

9. Ten of the turnovers came in the fourth quarter. They basically gave the ball (and game) away. They were also 4-of-15 shooting in those final 12 minutes. This after looking good and being in total control the entire night. So it’s the kind of loss that really hurts.

10. Despite all this, the Bulls gifted the Cavs with a chance to win it at the end. The Cavs had the ball with 8 seconds left. They trailed by a point. They got the ball to Kevin Love. He drove into the shorter Chandler Hutchison. This is the precise matchup coach John Beilein dreams about -- the game on the line and Love with the ball, time to operate and a role player defending him.

11. But Love's sort-of-hook-shot clanked off the side of the backboard. What could have been a successful six-game road trip ended with four straight defeats.

12. This loss is not on Love, not the fault of any one man. But this is the second time in two nights Love has missed an important shot in the closing seconds. To be fair, he has hit a couple biggies this season. He has probably also missed more.

13. Love finished with 29 points and a team-high six assists. So he was a major reason the Cavs built their big lead. He was also a reason they surrendered it. He started 9-of-11 shooting, then made just one of his final nine attempts.

14. Collin Sexton scored 26 points and even collected seven rebounds ... but committed four turnovers. Darius Garland had 16 points ... but committed a whopping eight turnovers.

15. Basically, the young guards can certainly have their impressive moments, but they still have so very much to learn about winning. The Cavs knew that would be the case. Nonetheless, that doesn't always make it easy to live with.

16. Beilein to reporters: "That one really hits hard. We're really disappointed because we played so well. The 26 turnovers, that still plagues us. We gotta keep working at it and just get our guys better in those areas."

17. Yeah. You can say that again.

18. Cedi Osman had another nice game with 16 points . He went 4-of-5 shooting on 3-pointers. Tristan Thompson scored 14 on 5-of-7 from the floor, and grabbed eight boards. Alfonzo McKinnie and Larry Nance Jr. made countless hustle plays. So much went right ... and the Cavs still lost.

19. LaVine went nuts with 42 points, six rebounds and five steals. He pretty much single-handedly buried the Cavs. Actually, LaVine worked in unison with the Cavs themselves. That is why the Cavs lost -- Lavine, and themselves. And it's not necessarily in that order.

20. So it's on to the next one if you can bear to watch. The Cavs return home and face another team mostly of role players, Monday vs. the New York Knicks. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. in a Martin Luther King Day special.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

A team of role players? I think that's kind of harsh when you're including Sexton and Garland who are both young cornerstones for the team. Do you include Porter, Jr. who was looking like a steal in the draft until he got injured? KLove is a role player? We all knew this season was going to be tough, but we are still way better off than when LeBron first left.