CLEVELAND: Final thoughts from an ugly loss to a not-so-great team that's absolutely awful at the Q.
* The Bobcats entered tonight 1-14 in Cleveland. The Cavs were 3-0 at home. Naturally, the Bobcats won 86-80.
* Even without looking at the score, the box score or any stat/metric/measurement, this was an ugly game. Bad basketball. The Bobcats turned the ball over 13 times and shot 35 percent in the first half...and only trailed by four at that point. Sure, the Cavs were without Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters (see below). But scoring 80 points at home against a young, growing team is less than ideal.
* Earl Clark certainly (actually) showed up tonight. He had 15 points, 10 in the third quarter, and was 6-of-7 from the field. It's by far his most productive game this season. Once he appeared in the third quarter, he exploded. Though if Earl Clark has to nearly lead the team in scoring that might be an indicator for what's wrong just as much as what's going right.
*But, as head coach Mike Brown pointed out, that scoring barrage came right before about a 10-minute stretch where the Cavs lost intensity and a sense of urgency. What was a 12-point lead to a team that can't win in Cleveland was erased by the early portion of the third quarter. Once the lead was lost, it was lost for good. Charlotte isn't a headlining team, but if the Cavs are flat at home...
* Kyrie Irving had a team-high 18 points and 10 assists but was only 5-of-16 from the field. His shooting woes continue. He said after the game he just needs to keep getting shots up on days off, and that many of his shots tonight were in-and-out. And, as he also pointed out, he's the leader of the team and has to shoot better.
* He played with a clear mask after being diagnosed with a right nasal fracture, resulting from an elbow to the face on Wednesday night. He thinks he'll have to wear the mask for two weeks. Irving said after the game, "The mask is awful." He was still aggressive but did turn the ball over six times. He also spent many trips down the floor adjusting the mask as he went.
* Waiters missed the game with flu-like symptoms. After the game, the Cavs said that he will not travel with the team to Washington. C.J. Miles got the start and ended up with eight points.
* Brown said before the game that Waiters' absence could lead to more minutes for rookie Sergey Karasev. He entered the game, shot 0-for-3 and was taken out after nine minutes after he didn't challenge a layup.
* Bynum also missed the game dealing with a family medical issue. Brown is hopeful that Bynum will return tomorrow night but also said he's not rushing him back.