Dribbles: Cavs Have Night To Forget As Offense Goes Up In Flames vs. Heat

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 121-84 blowout road loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday. …Darius Garland, NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers

1. Pretty sure I just wrote the other day that the Cavs are rarely flat and rarely get blown out. So go ahead. Blame me.

2. Honestly, though, this wasn’t much of an effort from the Cavs. They looked bad on Friday vs. the Timberwolves. They looked a lot worse here.

3. It’s hard to say what’s going on with Darius Garland. Whether he’s still getting it together after missing time with a broken jaw or is out of sorts for another reason … he just doesn’t have it right now. And it’s been that way for several weeks.

4. Without the injured Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs really need Garland to be at his best. And if Garland isn’t at his best, someone will need to be. The Cavs got that from no one on this night.

5. Evan Mobley returned after missing straight games with a sprained ankle and at least he did really show up. Mobley scored a team-high 15 points in just 21 minutes, tying Jarrett Allen with a team-high four rebounds.

6. Yes, 15 points and four rebounds were team-highs. That tells you everything you need to know about this one.

7. I’m sticking by what I’ve said since the Cavs won 17 of 18 in January — this team has been at its best this season when Mitchell is the primary ballhandler. The ball has just moved in those instances.

8. Now, it too often looks as if the Cavs are trying to run through molasses on a cold winter’s day. On Sunday, they looked helpless to score. Almost any basket looked like dumb luck.

9. Yes, the Cavs were without Mitchell and Max Strus, as well as Dean Wade (though Wade barely ever scores). But for those who were healthy, this isn’t Cavs basketball. There are no excuses for not showing up.

10. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff came out and said as much. “It’s on us to figure it out,” he told reporters in Miami. “There’s no excuses. It doesn’t get easier. It was uncharacteristic of this group.” 

11. Bickerstaff was wrong about one thing there. At least, in theory. It should get easier, given that the Cavs play the lowly Hornets twice in the next three days, including Monday at home.

12. They’ll need to take care of business, too. The Cavs (43-28) now lead the New York Knicks by just a half-game for third place in the Eastern Conference.

13. Cleveland has lost three straight and seven of 10. So Bickerstaff is right. The Cavs need to toughen up, figure it out and find some resolve.

14. I’ve been pretty easy on them this season and have tried to offer perspective. For most of the year, they’ve deserved a little grace (because of all the injuries) and given some real reasons to celebrate. But it’s time to pull it together, man.

15. That said, they’ve overcome plenty of ugly situations and a few bad losses. They are there now. I’d be more worried if they lose to Charlotte. They need to avoid letting the wheels come completely off before Mitchell returns.

16. That will mean better play from Garland and better efforts from most of those who played Sunday. This team has taken great pride in its willingness to fight. Where was that Sunday?

17. But the Cavs need more than that now. They need to start winning games again. They’re also only one game ahead of the Orlando Magic for fifth in the East. Fall to fifth and there goes homecourt advantage in the first round.

18. Look, we all know there are key injuries. You don’t lose a player such as Mitchell and cruise. You also can’t just mail it in. The Cavs have 11 regular-season games left. What they do in the postseason (and likely in the offseason) could be determined by what happens next.

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  1. Like I said,,,, “GOING OUT IN THE FIRST ROUND” ! ! !
    I could expound but at this point,,,, why bother, just watch the video…. !
    Garland running things, NOTHING good happenin here!

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