The Cavs had a pretty good first half. They lead 24-19 after the first quarter and held onto that lead for much of the first half. Tristan Thompson had seven points and Shaun Livingston had eight. But the Cavs failed to score over the final two minutes of the second quarter and Sixers closed the half on a 9-0 run, tying the game heading into halftime.
That run carried right over into the third.
The Sixers opened the second half on a 13-2 run and the Cavs were playing catch-up for the rest of the evening. Playing catch-up is pretty tough when your team is missing its three best players. It’s extremely tough if you don’t guard Evan Turner.
Turner torched the Cavs for thirteen points in the third period from a variety of spots. Gee, Boobie, CJ Miles, it didn’t matter who checked Turner, no Cavalier could slow him down (his mid-range game was on full display). The former Buckeye finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with his 13 boards. The Villain’s strong third had the Sixers up 77-66 heading into the fourth and the Cavs never got within four points.
CJ Miles scored 19 points off the bench to pace the Cavaliers and Tyler Zeller had a solid, if unspectacular, 14 point and ten rebound evening. Four of the five Cleveland starters scored in double figures (Thompson, Livingston and Ellington each notched ten points) and Luke Walton pitched in a six point, seven board, seven assist evening.
All-Star Jrue Holiday finished with 20-6-5 and Spencer Hawes had 16 points, 11 boards and five assists to lead the Sixers, who improved to 29-43. The Cavs lost season high seventh in a row and fell to 22-49.
There’s not a whole lot one can take away from a game like this. I don’t like the fact that they had yet another poor third quarter and I’m certainly sick of them ending quarters in such a poor fashion. But the Cavs were without their two primary ball handlers and scorers (let alone Varejao) and when you play a backcourt of Chris Quinn and Boobie Gibson, you know the season has taken sub-optimal turn. It was nice to see the Cavs keep fighting throughout the fourth. While they never got within a basket, the game never ballooned out of control.
Tristan Thompson: 23 minutes. Boobie Gibson: 24 minutes. Why? While I’m not the biggest Thompson guy, I don’t see the point of playing the former lotto pick under 3o minutes at this stage of the season. Maybe Scott was teaching TT a lesson? Thompson finished the game with zero fouls, so it’s not like he was in foul trouble. And Gibson… man, that’s like eight more minutes of Boobie than I can stand at the moment. Thompson has worked hard this season and he’s developed some moves to fall back on. And while I like his driving hook/jump hook thing, the fact that he’s gone to a face-up push shot worries me. Austin Carr called it “the only shot like that in the NBA”… I don’t really look at that as a good thing.
Marreese Speights: 13 minutes. Byron Scott played his two power forwards a combined 36 minutes (or basically as much as Tyler Zeller). I know Speights is streaky and is inconsistent, but you’d think he’d get more time, especially with the Cavs missing the scoring of both Irving and Waiters. Not that I’m super eager to use a power forward who nails contested 18 footers, but 13 minutes of PT seems a bit low.
I much prefer Shaun Livingston as a backup. I hope the Cavs can resign Livingston to play behind Kyrie and Dion, but I’m not a fan Livingston’s mid-range fade-away jumpers that he falls in love with. Since he’s paired against other, smaller, point guards, Livingston can get that shot whenever he wants. I just would rather him want that shot a bit less often.
The Cavs have eleven games left, can they get five more wins? The Cavs finished last season’s lockout shortened campaign with a 21-45 record, which is a .318 winning percentage. Over an 82 game season, that would translate to a 26-56 record. The Cavs’ record currently stands at 22-49. Before this seven game losing streak, it seemed for sure that the Cavs would top last season. Now, I’m not so sure. The Cavs play the New Orleans Hornets Sunday night at The Q at 6pm.