Dribbles: Cavs Have Night to Forget in Sluggish Home Return
CLEVELAND -- Random dribbles from the Cavaliers' 106-86 abysmal showing of a home loss to the lowly New York Knicks on Monday.
1. The only thing the Cavs should take away from this one is Tristan Thompson's 22 rebounds. Other than that, burn the film.
2. This was the Cavs' first game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse after six straight on the road. From the looks of things, they left their talents in Memphis or Chicago.
3. Cavs coach John Beilein had no answers. He did talk about how it's fairly common for NBA teams to return home from a long trip ... then lay an egg. Beilein said he had only heard about it. Now he knows it to be true.
4. Beilein on that very subject: "When we beat Denver at Denver, they were coming off a long road trip and they couldn't make a shot. That's the only explanation I can give you right now. We missed 60 shots."
5. Actually, make it 62, as the Cavs were a miserable 32-of-94 from the field. Collin Sexton went 6-of-20. Darius Garland went 4-of-19. Kevin Love apparently wanted in on that rim-rattling action and went 4-of-14.
6. Basically, when the Cavs released a shot, the basket cringed with fear.
7. More Beilein: "We were a little quick with the trigger sometimes. We didn't make many turnovers (10), but that may have been because we shot it too quick."
8. Still, the missed shots may not have been the Cavs' greatest sin. If you think that was bad, you should have seen their defense in the second half. Then again, you can be forgiven if you missed it. There really wasn't any.
9. Beilein again: "I thought we were really growing through that road trip. Today, we didn't show that."
10. For what it's worth, Sexton finished with a team-high 17 points. Cedi Osman scored 14 -- but had zero rebounds.
11. Thompson scored 13 and was one of two bright spots with the way he attacked the glass. Larry Nance Jr. was the other. He scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and grabbed 10 boards.
12. Other than that, rookie newcomer Matt Mooney made his first shot as a member of the Cavs and compiled a fairly nifty strip/steal on the baseline. You could make the argument that Mooney had a better game in two minutes than a lot of Cavs had in 35.
13. Mostly, this was not a good game for Sexton and Garland. They looked like two different players than who we saw during the six-game swing. Garland had a cold, maybe worse, and both of the young guards were sluggish and very out of sorts.
14. Other than Nance, the bench wasn't much better. Dante Exum will receive more of an opportunity after the Cavs decided not to bring back Alfonzo McKinnie, whose 10-day contract expired. Exum finished with just three points and one assist in 25 minutes.
15. Every time you look at NBA results, it seems as if the Knicks bomb. It felt like they came into this having lost all 43 of their previous games. Truth is, they're 12-32. Now, so are the Cavs.
16. Nance is always good at keeping things in perspective and tried to do so again after this one. "This is an outlier," he said. "I’m not looking at our young talent and saying, 'Man, you guys shouldn’t have let this happen.' This was a team thing and if you live on a game-by-game basis, you’ll drive yourself crazy. So we’re not trippin’ over this game."
17. He added, "Everybody has bad days and today was one of ours. Obviously a loss hurts. Nobody wants to lose. At the same time, it’s not crippling."
18. It is fair to start wondering what the plan is here and how much longer it will be before the Cavs start to show some consistency. It's also fair to save those questions for after the trade deadline. That date is Feb. 6, less than a month away. It will be an important one for Cavs GM Koby Altman.
19. Marcus Morris and Julius Randle each scored 19 to pace the Knicks. Rookie lottery pick R.J. Barrett was out with a sprained ankle. Cavs fans will get another chance to see Barrett when the Knicks return Feb. 3.
20. Cavs backup big men John Henson (back) and Ante Zizic (illness) also missed the game, as did guard Brandon Knight (knee). All three appear to be day-to-day.
21. Next up: The Cavs get another winnable game Thursday at home vs. struggling Washington. But as we've seen with this team, there's a big difference between "winnable" and actually winning.