Portland -- I don't have a lot of time, but I felt I needed to express some thoughts following the Cavs fourth straight loss last night.
As I've been saying since the Cavs lost Larry Hughes seven games ago, there are in for a market correction. In other words, without Hughes they were an overvalued team at 20-11. With Drew Gooden now gone for a few games, I'd be a little surprised if he tried to play in Denver on Wednesday, the team is even further devalued. The losses are going to keep coming.
What will mark this Cavs spell is how the roster parts step up. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron James have raised the level of their games since Hughes went down. But with those two around, the Cavs missed the playoffs the last two seasons. They need help, they're begging for it. All teams have injuries, it cannot be an excuse to losing to last-place teams.
Donyell Marshall has been in a form a slump for a month and we've all seen how Damon Jones has been shooting. Those two must contribute more effective immediately if the Cavs are going to have a chance to weather this storm. Also, no matter if it is Luke Jackson or Anderson Varejao or Sasha Pavlovic, someone is going to have to give consistnet minutes off the bench. They're capable, it has been seen in flashes, they've got to do it.
Mike Brown also has to step up. The Cavs defense has been good enough to keep them in these games for the most part. Their offense has been mostly a failure. They forget about Z when they need him most, James too often settles for jumpers, and he's hasn't shown that he can draw up and get his players to execute a play when they really need it.
This is a defining time, even if there are continued losses. The Cavs have to better themselves so when they come through it they are a better team. Right now, it seems it could go either way.
If you get a chance read my Sunday column grading Mike Brown.