It's only three games -- and two of them came against a pair of the league's best in New Orleans and San Antonio -- but the Cavs appear to be a team regressing. They're certainly not a team making progress.
The loss to the Raptors in the second game of the season was bad, but Tuesday's was worse. The Cavs were without a pair of starters (Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao) against the Raptors and J.J. Hickson quickly fell into foul trouble. The Cavs were at full strength and rested on Tuesday, but still managed to begin the game 1 for 9 from the floor, get outscored 17-3 during one stretch in the second quarter, allow an opponent more than 60 points in a half for the second straight game and thoroughly get outplayed at both ends of the floor.
That makes this loss even worse.
Byron Scott keeps repeating himself over and over. The guys have to trust each other defensively, they have to communicate, they have to give a full effort for 48 minutes. These aren't difficult requests being made by an unreasonable head coach. Basically, Scott is asking the players to try hard. And so far, in his eyes, they haven't.
"I would be a little bit more worried if this was March and guys still haven’t gotten it," he said. "We’ve got so many more games left and we have guys in there that are doing a good job. We just have to get everyone on the same page. That’s the bottom line. I’m still very confident we’re going to do that. It’s just a matter of hoping it’s going to happen a little bit sooner than later."
To his credit, J.J. Hickson had 10 rebounds. But he also got beat on a few for not boxing guys out and letting Indiana players crash behind him for easy tip-ins.
Mo Williams had six points and the Cavs' starting shooting guard, Anthony Parker, was held scoreless on an 0 for 5 shooting night. Parker entered with a dreadful plus/minus rating of minus-75, meaning teams have outscored the Cavs by 75 points while he was on the floor. By the end of the night, his number had dropped to minus-98.
Now Parker is hardly alone. The Cavs' four worst in plus/minus entering the night were all starters, and all five had plus/minus ratings of at least minus-21 on Tuesday. But Scott insists this still isn't rock bottom.
Which means hold on tight. It could get worse before it gets better.
Joey Graham 11 points, 4 of 10 shooting
J.J. Hickson nine points, 10 rebounds
Anthony Parker 0 points, 0 for 5 shooting
Daniel Gibson 15 points
Ramon Sessions 15 points, six rebounds, five assists
Danny Granger 24 points, five rebounds
Darren Collison 18 points, seven assists
Brandon Rush 16 points, 7 of 10 shooting
The Pacers enjoyed a 17-3 run midway through the second quarterto take command of the game. A dunk by Sessions brought the Cavs within 24-20 with 10:45 left in the half, but by the time Collison sank a free throw with 6:55 remaining, the Pacers had extended the lead to 40-23. And that was that.
He said it
"We can't let nights like this happen. We definitely have to understand that. We need to use a night like tonight to make sure we never have this feeling again." -- Daniel Gibson
In the first half of the last two games combined, the Cavs have allowed a total of 126 points.
* The Pacers have won consecutive games over the Cavs for the first time since 2005.
* The Cavs' starters were outscored by the Pacers 67-32. The Cavs had just one starter in double figures for the third straight game.
* The Cavs have dropped three straight and five of their last six.