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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Timberwolves 100, Cavs 92

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 11, 2013
Cavs playing defense
C.J. Miles, right, fouls the Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic as Tristan Thompson watches Monday in Cleveland. The Timberwolves won 100-92. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND: Final thoughts from a dismal night at the Q...

* Byron Scott stopped short of saying it, so I'll say it for him: This is the worst loss of the Cavs' season.

* There was plenty of competition. The biggest collapse in team history at Phoenix for starters, when the Cavs blew a 26-point lead and lost. Any of the three losses to the Detroit Pistons, the home loss to the Sacramento Kings, the loss to the Warriors  ... I could go on.

* But this one is the worst. The Timberwolves were missing six regulars, including two of their top three leading scorers. Kevin Love isn't even with the team. They had lost 15 of their last 17 and eight straight on the road. 

* This is a bad team. But the Cavs' defense can make any NBA team look like a juggernaut.

* Defense in this league begins on the perimeter, and the Cavs' perimeter defense has been atrocious. Guards aren't getting through screens, shooters are left open in corners far too often, they haven't defended the pick-and-roll well most of the season and teams habitually shoot better than 50 percent against them. 

* The Timberwolves began the day shooting 44 percent. They shot 64 percent in the second half and 52 percent for the game. Just another team in a growing list to shoot better than 50 percent against the Cavs. The total is now 20 of 52 opponents to shoot 50 percent or better and the meter is still running.

* Scott referenced missing Anderson Varejao this morning as a big reason for the Cavs' defensive problems, and while that's a valid point, the defense was woeful when he was healthy. And Varejao doesn't defend the perimeter. 

* I'm getting tired of writing it, but the Cavs will never be a viable team in the East until they start to defend at least adequately. And that's won't happen until the perimeter defense tightens up. And that won't happen until the young guards start taking defense seriously.

* When will that happen? I have no idea.

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