CLEVELAND: The losing streak is now the longest of the season. The Cavaliers’ only chance at victory is if six or seven guys play well for an entire game and that hasn’t happened since injuries wrecked the roster.
Right now the Cavs are a team in distress simply trying to hold on for the final 11 games following Friday’s 97-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, their seventh consecutive defeat.
“The first thing we have to do as a team is continue to stick together,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “This is a big-time test because we’re going through some adversity as far as losing and it’s going to test the type of character we have in that locker room. We’ll see if guys go south or north.”
Friday night it was mostly south.
The Cavs were outscored 20-2 during a five-minute stretch that spanned the end of the first half and start of the third quarter.
Injuries have reduced Scott to believing “we need six or seven guys to play really well,” he said, even though that hasn’t happened for a full game since Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters went down with injuries.
He insists this team hasn’t given up, but asked if he can find six or seven players to play well for four quarters, Scott said, “I think so.”
That’s different from knowing so.
“It’s a little different than knowing so,” Scott said. “I’ve seen it in spurts. I know if I can see it for spurts, then there’s a possibility for doing it for 48 minutes.”
The Cavs led 45-36 on a layup by Tristan Thompson with 1:57 left in the half, but that was the end of the fun for the Cavs.
They missed their last six shots of the first half and four of their first five to start the third quarter. Evan Turner’s 3-pointer with 8:47 left in the third extended the Sixers’ lead to 56-47.
The Cavs were within 86-81 on a dunk by Tyler Zeller with 5:57 left, but Turner made a jumper and Jrue Holiday followed a finger roll with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 12. The deficit remained in double figures the rest of the night.
C.J. Miles had 19 points off the bench to lead the Cavs. Zeller had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and five rebounds, although he struggled from the floor and free-throw line for the second consecutive game. Thompson shot 4-of-11 and 2-of-7 from the foul line, making him 5-of-17 from the floor and 2-of-9 from the line in his past two games.
“It’s our seventh loss in a row and we should have won about three of those,” Thompson said. “It’s definitely frustrating, but we have to keep our heads up and stay together.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.