The Cavaliers lost a close one last night at home against the Pacers, letting a late lead slip as they crashed to a 117-112 defeat, their 22nd in a row now. Despite a fantastic effort from Ramon Sessions, the Cavs just couldn't hold out for the win. This horrible losing streak doesn't look like going away any time soon, and Cleveland are on track now to make NBA history for the most consecutive losses (breaking a record the organisation already owns).
The Cavs started slow, forcing difficult shots and not converting on any of them, letting the Pacers get an early 12-0 lead. It looked like the game was shaping up to be a blowout but this young Cavs side battled back and cut the Pacers' lead down to 5 points at half time. Byron Scott's men continued to work hard and finally managed to level the score in the third quarter, and even took a 3 point lead late in the fourth. But, as we've become accustomed to this season, the Cavs made bad decisions down the stretch (Hickson taking that jumpshot was awful) and Darren Collison's three pointer with just over a minute left turned out to be the dagger. Anthony Parker tried to reply for the Cavs but he rushed a tough shot in the lane (although it did appear Roy Hibbert fouled him with a push) and that was it, game over for the Cavs as Danny Granger went on to hit some free throws and doom the home side to yet another loss. It doesn't get any easier for the Cavs as they travel to Memphis tomorrow and then play Portland at the Q on Saturday. That NBA record of consecutive losses is practically in the bag...
However, I'd like to finish this post with some positives, cos that's the kind of guy I am. Ramon Sessions - 25 points and 9 assists, hitting 13 of 14 from the line - a fantastic game from the dynamic point guard. I have to agree with John Krolik over at Cavs: The Blog, the Indiana defence really did make Sessions look like Tony Parker, but I don't mind when I get to see that kind of performance. Early in the season Sessions was pissing me off with his constant need to attack the basket without a second thought, but it seems like he's beginning to pick his battles a little better now, making clever drives and dishing out a lot more often. Plus, he's about the only Cavalier who is willing to attack the opposition defence with any regularity. So yeah, Sessions had a great night and I'd like to see more performances like that from him in Mo's absence. Anthony Parker should get a round of applause too, as he had a good night also. Parker finished the game with 17 points on 7-11 shooting, including 2 of 3 from behind the arc; not bad for the old veteran with a bad back. The young guys started slowly but Manny Harris and Christian Eyenga came to life in the second half, finishing with 19 and 12 points respectively. They are obviously still very rough around the edges but they have the potential and work ethic to address their flaws and can hopefully become key players in the Cavs lineup in the future. I was particularly impressed with Manny last night, he was at full-tilt all game and I think he could become a very important player for us - the Cavaliers front office got a diamond in the rough there. However, the less said about JJ Hickson's night, the better. He tries hard (most of the time) but he is making some dumb plays out there. I don't want to go into too much detail as I really want Hickson to succeed in Cleveland, but Rich at Cavalier Thoughts has clearly seen enough. Sorry JJ.
The Cavs are going to keep plugging away for the rest of the season but its obvious now that the off-season is going to provide more joy than the next couple of months. I'm strangely looking forward to this year's draft and if I have enough time away from working on my dissertation and other uni work, I'll try and do a player preview or two on potential Cavs draft picks (Jared Sullinger 4TW).
I will leave you now, but not without showing you this effort from Alonzo Gee last night. What.A.Dunk.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading.