CLEVELAND: Eleven thoughts for 11 points from Delly in a 102-95 loss to the Thunder…
1. That was a great comeback tonight against a superior team. It’s just hard to watch the Cavs chop 19 points off a lead in five minutes and not wonder, “Where has this been all season?”
2. If the undermanned and overwhelmed Cavs fought as hard in November, December and January as they did in the fourth quarter Thursday, this season could have turned out much differently. As it is, this team could have a difficult time getting to 30 wins this season.
3. Tough night for Spencer Hawes, who scored 20 points, but didn’t grab his first rebound until 5:37 remained in the game. The Cavs were destroyed on the glass 53-36. The Thunder grabbed 18 offensive rebounds (but only five in the second half) and Mike Brown was upset that the Thunder made it to seemingly all of the loose balls.
4. Kevin Durant admitted after the game he thought his night was over. The Thunder play again Friday (which is why Russell Westbrook sat vs. the Cavs) and Scott Brooks was trying to give Durant the fourth quarter off. But the Cavs’ ridiculous rally from 24 down to 97-92 forced Durant to return for the final 3:34.
5. “My mind is always on the game, so I didn’t space out,” he said. “Once it’s my time to go into the game, I’m instantly ready.”
6. No problem there. But then this… “After sitting for so long, it’s a little tougher now that I’m 25 and have played so many games,” he said, as if 25 is the new 75. Just wait until he’s 37 and has two kids jumping on his bed before 7 a.m. when he was up after 3 a.m. writing Final Thoughts (some nights I get distracted easily). See how tough it is to get going then.
7. Dion Waiters was waiting for Mike Brown in his office after the coach finished with his postgame press conference Thursday. The two chatted with the door closed for a few minutes. No idea what the meeting was about, but Waiters took responsibility for the Cavs’ inability to rebound affectively. You’d think that would fall on the center who failed to grab a rebound during his first 25 minutes on the floor, but Waiters took the blame after grabbing two in 41 minutes.
8. “I have to get back down there and help the bigs rebound. I can’t always depend on them to get the rebounds. I take blame for that tonight,” he said. “As guards, we have to rebound too and I don’t think my focus was as good as it should’ve been on rebounding.” He can blame himself for rebounding if he’d like, but Waiters was terrific scoring the ball on a night they really needed it. This was his third career 30-point game and second this season. His other one came in that embarrassing loss at Atlanta. In fact, the Cavs have lost in all three games Waiters has scored 30 points or more.
9. Tristan Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds tonight, but he shot 2-for-8 and has really struggled lately. One theory I’ve heard recently is that Thompson has hit the wall. He played all last summer for Team Canada, which practiced quite a bit leading up to the FIBA Americas Tournament. Then he put in extra work trying to change his shooting hands. Thompson is an iron man, playing in all 69 games this season and all 82 last season. He stands for all the right things, he’s a great kid and he puts his heart into everything. But he might be wearing down at the end of a long, trying season. I’m planning on having more on Thompson this weekend.
10. As I wrote earlier today, the Cavs have a decision to make regarding Shane Edwards. His 10-day deal expires on Friday. They’ll either sign him for another 10 days, sign Seth Curry or sign a third mysterious, yet-to-be-identified candidate. Who they choose will be predicated on the injured players. C.J. Miles doesn’t seem to be returning anytime soon and Luol Deng is now starting the same rehab process Miles has endured (although Deng’s sprain isn’t nearly as severe). Given the problems on the wing, I’d suspect Curry is the choice, but that’s simply a guess at this point.
11. The Cavs have now dropped three straight. They’re 6.5 behind the Hawks and a staggering eight games back in the loss column. The Rockets are here Saturday. See you then.