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Final thoughts: Pistons 117, Cavs 99

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 1, 2013
Tristan goes up vs Pistons
Tristan Thompson goes to the basket against Pistons forward Andre Drummond Friday in Auburn Hills, Mich. Thompson had 19 points and nine rebounds, but the Cavs fell to the Pistons 117-99. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.: Final thoughts from an explosive night at the Palace...

* This might sound hypocritical of me, since I'm the one holding the tape recorder and asking the questions and looking for the catchy responses. But Kyrie Irving can't come out after a game and say he was "disinterested." Not even for a minute. I applad his honesty, but it's going to get him killed publicly.

* For those not on Twitter or who haven't seen it yet, this is what Irving said tonight after the game: "I take full responsibility for my lackluster play and it trickled down to everybody else. It just can’t happen. It’ll never happen again, I guarantee that. My energy wasn’t there. It was there in the first quarter, then the second and third I was disinterested. That just can’t happen.”

* No, it can't. The last time a star Cavs player looked disinterested, the city nearly burned down. Now let's be clear, I am NOT saying Irving is unhappy in Cleveland. I think he's just a 20-year-old kid who is aggravated with all the losing. He had a lousy night and Brandon Knight clearly outplayed him. 

* Irving's final line: 14 points, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 of 10 shooting. Knight's final line: 20 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 turnover, 7 of 14 shooting.

* But there's more.

* "Different plays in the game were mind-boggling for me," he said. "Just specific plays on the defensive and offensive end just kind of pissed me off."

* Irving calls the majority of the plays, therefore I would guess he's not angry with Byron Scott. This is strictly speculative on my part, because Irving wouldn't be more specific, but I'm guessing it was the lack of execution on both ends that had him annoyed.

* Now that he has been named an All-Star in his second season -- with an opportunity to start the game, no less --  every point guard in the NBA will start coming at him. Irving's target has just swelled, both on and off the court. He'll learn from this. But it was still jarring to hear him say he was "disinterested" in the game. 

* Byron Scott took 27 minutes to come out of the locker room tonight for his post-game media session. By league rule, he's supposed to be out within 10 minutes. Now Scott is notoriously late, but this was egregious even by his standards.

* Something has to change. The Cavs are allowing opponents to shoot .473 -- tied for last in the league. Last year opponents shot .467 (27th) and two years ago it was .475 (27th). 

* That is three years of truly horrific defense. They aren't getting any better, and in fact they're regressing from last year. They're now defending as poorly as they were two years ago, when there were barely any legitimate NBA players on the roster.

* The Pistons have some nice post players, but not the type who should destroy the Cavs in the paint. The Pistons outscored them 62-42 in the lane and it could've been worse. The Pistons should've had more than 70 points in the lane, but missed a number of open looks from close range. 

* Borrowing a line from Taylor Swift, the Cavs will never, ever, ever be a good team until they can stop opponents from scoring. What they're doing now simply isn't working. Scott's job is not in trouble, but unless things drastically improve, I'd suspect a change could be made on his coaching staff. 

* The Cavs can't go through a season like this again next season. Something has to change. Youth shouldn't be the only excuse for allowing teams to shoot better than 50 percent seemingly every night. 

* That's the real issue. Irving is mad tonight. He'll be calmer tomorrow. But the Cavs defense will still be horrific. Until that is addressed, nothing else will improve. 


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