Such amazing fail in this game. To say I am disappointed would just be a lie. I expected this. For anyone who got their hopes because of a single win in which the Cavs needed three players to play their best games of the season against a bad team, well I’m sorry. I knew this would happen. They are the worst team in the league for a reason. They are on pace to be the worst 3-point defensive team for a reason. They are really, really bad. You can call this loss unacceptable, but the entire season has been unacceptable. Is this any worse than a 30 point loss at Minnesota. Or another 15 point loss, at home, to Toronto? Or the 50 point loss in L.A.? No. You see, that is the norm with this team. Shameful losses. Friday night was the very rare exception.
I figured this would be a good time to delve into this term “empty stats.” What does it mean? How does one acquire empty stats? I’ve been using the term to describe what I think about some of the recent box scores from Cavaliers, whether it be Hickson or Sessions or Jamison.
No game I can think of will better portray empty stats than this game. Let’s discuss what leads to empty stats, and who on this team filled up their empty stat sheet tonight.
1. Putting up numbers when the game is already over: The easiest situation to identify. When a player starts to score or rebound or whatever after the game is already decided, that’s an empty stat. Jamario Moon is a prime example of this tonight. He went 4-6 from the 3-point line, but 3 of the 4 came in the second half when the Cavs were down by a very large deficit and the game was basically over. His shots had 0 impact on the game whatsoever. That 4-6 from 3 is an empty stat-line.
2.Putting up big, but inefficient numbers because of the style of play: This one is tougher to identify. The box score normally doesn’t delve into advanced statistics, which take into account pace of play. For instance, the Cavaliers as a team grabbed 16 offensive boards to the Wizards 14. Yet, if you watched the game, it seemed like the Wizards were killing the Cavaliers on the offensive glass. They were. What happened here? Well, first of all, this was a fast-paced game which led to extra shots. The more shots teams put up, the more rebounds there will be to grab. Second of all, the Wizards shot 54% from the field to the Cavs 42%. The Cavs simply had more missed shots which equals more opportunities to grab an offensive rebound. Hickson, you’ll note, grabbed 8 offensive boards. Understand, a lot of this simply has to do with the fact that the Cavs took 83 shots, and missed 48 of them. 48 missed shots is a lot of chances to grab some offensive boards.
3. Putting up big numbers (efficient or not) but allowing your opponent to put up even bigger numbers: In other words, defense. When a player goes off for 30 and 10 on 50% shooting, but allows the guy he is guarding to go off for 40 and 20 on 55% shooting, did he really help the team win? Not so much. This applies to all of the players who managed to get in this game tonight. Never have I seen such a putrid display of defense by EVERY SINGLE PLAYER WHO STEPPED FOOT ON THE COURT. That isn’t an overstatement. Not a single player managed to even play passable defense for the Cavaliers. The guards couldn’t stay in front of Wall. They couldn’t contest Young. The bigs never challenged a single shot in the paint, made McGee look like Robert Parish in the first quarter and watched the Wizards out-rebound the Cavs by 7. To say the Cavaliers played bad defense as a team isn’t doing this game justice. Each and every player played bad defense as individuals and contributed to an even worse team defense.
Let’s just go to the shooting numbers for the Wizards, shall we?
- Josh Howard: 6-11
- Andray Blatche: 8-11
- JaVale McGee: 4-6
- Nick Young: 14-21
- John Wall: 8-19 (but 14 assists)
- Kirk Hinrich: 8-13
Just look at that. The majority of these players are notoriously INefficient players. Blatche is a terrible shooter. Nick Young is a volume shooter. Josh Howard has been a corpse for a couple of years. Hinrich hasn’t looked that good since Kansas. Each and every player that played major minutes for the Wizards got whatever they wanted against whichever helpless Cavalier happened to be guarding them. Trust me, people. If there were specific Cavaliers to point out that played extra bad defense, I would. There aren’t. THEY WERE ALL THAT BAD. Just horrible.
It’s performances like that which give me so little hope for the future of this current roster. I continue to see Sessions and Hickson play defense like Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. Understand, unless Lebron James is on this roster, that simply isn’t going to get it done. Either these guys need to make MONSTER strides in their defensive effort, or they will simply be like Mo and Jamison, aka not a part of the future of this team. It’s up to them.