CLEVELAND: About 30 minutes after the Cavaliers suffered one of their worst losses of the season, owner Dan Gilbert emerged from coach Byron Scott’s office. The entire Cavs braintrust was present for Friday’s postgame meeting: General Manager Chris Grant, assistant general managers David Griffin and Michael Blackstone and Scott.
Gilbert’s presence in the locker room following a game is rare, but it’s not often the home team loses by 37 points and the franchise player leaves the arena with a sprained right shoulder. Yet that’s the position the Cavs are in today following a 121-84 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, which was compounded when Kyrie Irving sprained his right shoulder late in the second quarter.
The Cavs have lost six in a row and eight of their past nine, but the bigger issue now is Irving. He was trying to fight through a screen when he ran into Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova and crashed to the floor, injuring the shoulder when he hit the court. It’s the same shoulder he separated in his sophomore year of high school, yet Irving played the entire third quarter despite the fact the game was already out of hand.
“I’m in pain right now, but getting through it,” Irving said.
It’s unclear when Irving mentioned the injury or when he had the shoulder checked, but Scott played all the starters the entire third quarter.
The Bucks led 71-44 at the half and 99-74 entering the fourth quarter. Scott played all five of his starters the entire third quarter hoping to make a dent into the massive deficit. All five starters rested the entire fourth.
“Their job as starters is to get us off to good starts,” Scott said. “In the third quarter, I just figured we’re in this mess together. You guys helped create it, so let’s see if we can get this lead down.”
Irving shot 3-of-7 in the third quarter, but made both of his 3-point attempts. He finished with a game-high 29 points and said he wanted to play in the third quarter because he still had hope the Cavs could erase the 27-point halftime deficit.
“Anything can happen in the NBA,” Irving said. “I still had an optimistic attitude going out from halftime. I just wanted to go out there and give it a run and I did. Just gotta live with that decision.”
The Bucks made eight consecutive 3-pointers in the first half and began the second quarter on a 20-1 run to put the game away quickly. It was the second-worst home loss in franchise history, behind only the 39-point loss to the Chicago Bulls earlier this year.
Gilbert was obviously upset following the loss. Before walking into Scott’s office, he expressed his disappointment through Twitter.
“One of those nights where I can’t find the words to match the emotions [at least non-profane words],” Gilbert wrote. “Cavs fans deserve better. Much better.”
The Cavs are 9-17 at home, matching the Toronto Raptors for the league’s fifth-worst home record. Given that, Scott agreed with Gilbert’s assessment.
“I told our coaches the other day I’m very disappointed in how we’ve played at home,” Scott said. “Our fans do deserve better. We go to other arenas and we see other teams whose records are worse than ours — and some that are better — that have no support compared to what we have here. We should be embarrassed the way we’ve been playing at home. Our fans do deserve better. I agree with him.”
The Bucks played their final game at Quicken Loans Arena this season and won’t be welcomed back anytime soon. Anderson Varejao is still out after fracturing his wrist the last time the Bucks were in Cleveland on Feb. 10. Now it’s Irving who is injured from playing them.
Irving traveled to New York with the team late Friday night in advance of tonight’s game against the New York Knicks. He will be re-evaluated by the Cavs’ medical staff this morning before it is determined how long — if at all — he will be out.
“I don’t know how it can get much worse,” Scott said. “But yeah, if he goes down, obviously that makes it that much worse.”
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.