Cleveland Cavaliers: Struggles Continue In Loss To Bucks 113-98
On Wednesday night, the Cavs dropped their fifth straight game to the Milwaukee Bucks 113-98. Once again, the defense struggled mightily, and the offense fell asleep for far too long. The Cavs need to wake up and something needs to change.
Caris LeVert doesn’t work in this starting lineup. He’s been a fine enough starter when the Cavs are missing Darius Garland or Donovan Mitchell, but he just doesn’t fit in with this lineup.
Can JB Bickerstaff Adjust?
Cavs’ head coach JB Bickerstaff has hinted at certain lineup changes, and we all see they are vastly needed. Moving LeVert to the bench makes too much sense.
The heavily injured Bucks outscored Cleveland’s bench 45-20, and there was no real scoring threats for the Cavs.
When the guards aren’t looking to kick it out to Kevin Love, or if Cedi Osman isn’t knocking down shots, the Cavs look completely lifeless with the subs on the floor.
Also, maybe the early winning streak wasn’t great for Cleveland. JB described the team as having a “fat cat mentality”, and it’s shown recently.
Defense Went From Top To Bottom
The Cavs had the number 2 "net" defense in the NBA after their 8-1 start, and since then, they’ve been dead last in the NBA.
They have the athletes to play elite defense, but at some point it comes down to effort. Earlier in the season, when the Cavs had a breakdown on defense, you could see every player on the court doing an exceptional job at finding the open man on offense and making sure the opponent was taking a contested shot.
However, when it comes to last night, if Javon Carter drove to the hoop, the Bucks would have 4 wide open shooters on the perimeter.
Not only that, but Milwaukee punished them for those defensive lapses. Brook Lopez was 7/9 from beyond the arc and Jordan Nwora was 5/9. Most of those shots were hardly contested and that comes down to effort.
The Junkyard dog mentality has quickly faded for the Cavs and something needs to be done about it. Maybe it’s a Jae Crowder trade, or maybe it’s just getting fully healthy. Whatever the case may be, something needs to be done.
I said this earlier in the week; I’m not hitting the panic button quite yet, but the lack of effort on defense is growing more and more concerning.
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