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Posted by Jan - 4 - 2012 0 Comment

Looks like the momentum from Tuesday’s home win against Charlotte was lost in customs as the Cavs looked not-so-sharp and a step slow as they fell 92-77 to Toronto, their second loss to the Raptors this young season. It seemed that all the things the Cavs did right last night against the Bobcats stayed south of the border. The Cavs weren’t strong inside on either end of the floor, and were always a step behind in rotating on perimeter defense allowing the Raptors to shoot 36% from behind the arc. It also didn’t help that the Raptors almost couldn’t miss from 3-pt range, hitting shots from all points of Ontario. (As the Raptors pulled away in the 2nd half, Leandro Barbosa hit a 3 with his heel on the edge of the center court logo. Really?!) Oh, and it helps if as a team you can shoot better than 30%. That stat is not from behind the 3-point line for the Cavs, that’s from the floor, period. Ouch.

Despite the loss, the Cavs are still at .500 and playing inspired basketball over the last week. As coach Byron Scott manages a work-in-progress rotation of 10 guys, it seems that no matter who is on the floor, they are all effort even when not executing to their full potential. Scott is doing his best to balance young, exuberant talent along with a smart veteran presence on the floor while trying to match-up with the opposition. This is a daunting challenge without a doubt, given how inconsistent young talent can be from night to night. Compound that with an odball schedule thanks to the lockout and you have Scott being as much mad scientist as head coach. That is not to speak disparagingly of the like of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Omri Casspi, and Ramon Sessions. They are giving all they have each minute they are on the floor. Some nights they get off, others they get in each other’s way. Still, those moments have been offset by coming-of-age moments where each player has shown glimpses of the potential that gives us hope that the core of a potential perennial playoff team. Whatmore, the veterans on this team have shown well as leaders and have provided the proper example to their younger team mates both on and off the court. Antwan Jamison, Anthony Parker, Anderson Varejao, and Boobie Gibson have all found themselves at one point or another responsible to either reign in loose gameplay, or set the pace for others to follow. To their credit, they have done it right more often than wrong.

The Cavs have six games left before returning home to face Golden State on the 17th, and will touch the west coast in their travels. This will test this team as much as the necessary 3-games-in-3-nights stretch in mid-April. It will also provide an opportunity for this young team that is still somewhat unfamiliar with one another to gel and meld as a unit. I have no doubt that regardless of what record they return from Charlotte with, they will be more of a team in every sense of the word than the one that is flying out of Toronto tonight. A team that is still .500.

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