OKLAHOMA CITY: It has been difficult to assess the first four games of this six-game road trip. Entering Sunday’s game at Oklahoma City, the Cavaliers have been in every game with a chance to win it.
Yet they didn’t play very well at Golden State and they blew a 26-point lead Friday against the Phoenix Suns, begging the question of whether this has been a successful road trip. With one more stop to make Tuesday at Brooklyn, coach Byron Scott had mixed feelings on how the Cavs have played thus far.
“I wouldn’t say I’m extremely happy with the way we’ve played, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We’ve been in every game, we’ve had a chance to win every game on this trip. That to me is a big positive. As a young team like we have, you’re going to have your bumps and bruises along the way and you’re going to lose some games you probably think you should’ve won. But I think it helps you grow up a little bit faster, too.”
The only victory on the trip entering Sunday was at the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavs lost at Milwaukee on a last-second shot when overtime seemed inevitable, they played the Warriors with five of their top seven players either sick or injured (and still rallied to take a brief lead in the second half) and they blew the enormous lead at Phoenix.
“It’s been a good trip so far, regardless of wins and losses,” Kyrie Irving said. “Obviously we’ll make mistakes along the way. I’m glad we’re going through it early in the season and we’re doing it against some of the better teams in the league.”
Comforts of home
This trip is covering more than 6,000 miles and includes a game in every time zone. With the final stop coming Tuesday in Brooklyn, N.Y., the players aren’t yet tired of traveling thanks to their relatively young age and the fact it’s so early in the season. But they still miss home.
“I just miss sleeping in my own bed,” Tristan Thompson said. “It’s true, there’s no place like home.
“But wait until we have that long homestand in February and then ask me, I’ll tell you I can’t wait to get back out on the road.”
The Thunder are still adjusting to playing with Kevin Martin following the stunning preseason trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets, but coach Scott Brooks said Martin’s transition thus far has been smooth thanks to guys like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
“He’s been around the league for a while and he knows how to play, he plays without the ball and he’s not demanding the ball,” Brooks said. “He doesn’t have that type of personality, so he kind of fit in pretty quickly. We have a good group of guys who open things up. It’s not a ‘We’re not going to let you in’ type of club. KD, Russell, our leaders understand that it’s a business and accepted him quickly.”
Brooks had high praise for the Cavs’ young backcourt of Irving and Dion Waiters.
“I wouldn’t even consider him up and coming,” Brooks said of Irving. “I think he has arrived. He’s one of the elite point guards in the league, and their rookie Waiters is shooting the ball as well as anyone in the league from 3-point.”
Waiters began Sunday shooting 53 percent on 3-pointers to rank eighth in the league (minimum 10 attempts).
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.