PHILADELPHIA: Andrew Bynum smiled and laughed at the boos raining down on him Friday, but there was nothing funny about another dreary Cavs performance against an inferior opponent on the road.
It took exactly six games for Mike Brown to threaten changes to his lineup and/or rotation following a 94-79 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavs were outplayed and outhustled for the second consecutive game, which has sent Brown searching for answers.
“I need some consistency from somebody,” Brown said. “Right now there’s not anybody on our roster who has given us consistent minutes. We’ve had guys look good for two or three minutes here and then they disappear. Then they look good another two or three minutes down the road and then they disappear again. I’m going to start searching for somebody that’s going to be consistent for us because right now we’re not getting it.”
The result is a 2-4 record entering today’s rematch against the Sixers at Quicken Loans Arena, but Brown is less concerned with the record and more concerned with the repeated mistakes he’s still seeing: Guys not stopping the ball in transition, guys unwilling to defend on every possession and a lack of toughness.
The Sixers scored 63 points and shot 58 percent in the second and third quarters combined, turning a 14-point Cavs lead into a 77-61 Sixers lead entering the fourth. The Cavs are now winless in three road games against beatable opponents.
“I’m surprised at what I’ve watched the last two games,” Brown said, referring back to Wednesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Just the little, basic, fundamental stuff that we talk about on a daily basis we’re not doing.
“Nobody has a sense of urgency to do it. That’s what concerns me. We show the guys the clips on how they don’t box out or how they don’t get back in transition and they understand it, they say, ‘My bad’ but then we go out and do it some more. That’s what’s concerning to me.”
Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 15 rebounds, Dion Waiters had 18 points and Kyrie Irving had 10 points and nine assists, but the Cavs shot just 33 percent in Bynum’s first game back at Wells Fargo Center since leaving as a free agent without appearing in a game.
He and even his teammates smiled when the boos began during pregame warm-ups. They continued throughout the night. He finished with four points and five rebounds in 18 minutes, but seemed unfazed by the night.
“I thought it was funny,” Bynum said of his reception. “I thought it was a little weak. I thought it was going to be much worse.”
Rookie Anthony Bennett injured his right shoulder going up for a shot early in the second quarter and did not return. He was diagnosed with a sprain after X-rays were negative.
“I heard a lot of cracking in the shoulder,” said Bennett, who had surgery on his left shoulder in the spring.
“It was nothing like that [left shoulder injury]. The pain was nothing. I should be fine.”
Brown shuffled his lineups more than any other game. Following Bennett’s injury, he played Bynum and Tyler Zeller together.
He started the fourth quarter with Sergey Karasev at shooting guard and he tried the three-guard lineup of Irving, Waiters and Jarrett Jack together for the fourth quarter. None of it seemed to work.
“I’ve got to sit back and watch the tape, and if I’m not getting consistency from certain guys I’ve got to give other guys an opportunity,” Brown said. “To me it’s simple.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.