Byron Scott is doing his best to ensure the Cavaliers finish the season strong, but no one seems to be listening.
One game after the Cavs held a team meeting following a 20-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott ripped them again Sunday for showing no heart in a 20-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He keeps asking how much heart his players have, and they keep responding by not showing much. Not good.
The most disturbing part of Sunday's loss was how easily Russell Westbrook got down the middle of the lane and to the basket without any resistance from the Cavs. Anderson Varejao is obviously the team's best rim defender, but he's been gone for quite awhile now. Someone else should've emerged by now as a paint defender, and it simply hasn't happened yet.
Samardo Samuels is undersized, but strong enough to be that guy. J.J. Hickson is athletic and a shot blocker, but he isn't typically a physical, aggressive type of player. Ryan Hollins has shown an ability to get physical, but doesn't do enough right in other areas to warrant staying on the floor.
Scott wants a punishing, physical defense that wears teams down and makes it difficult for opponents to get good looks at the basket. He's been asking for it all season and the Cavs simply haven't provided it. With 17 games left, it's not likely to start now.
Daniel Gibson 13 points
Samardo Samuels 10 points, 10 rebounds
J.J. Hickson 15 rebounds
Ramon Sessions 1-7 shooting, 4 points
Luke Harangody 0-8 shooting, 3 points
Russell Westbrook 20 points, five assists
Kevin Durant 19 points
James Harden 16 points
Russell Westbrook scored 12 straight points in the third quarter and combined with Kevin Durant to score 23 of 25 points in the quarter to take command of the game.
The Cavs are 0-10 this season on Sundays.
They said it
"It gets to a point where you say enough is enough and somebody has to knock him on his ass." -- Byron Scott, on Russell Westbrook's five straight drives to the basket in the third quarter.
The Cavs (12-53) travel to the Sacramento Kings (15-49) at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.