Well, that was unpleasant.
In the wake of the 132-98 beat down that the Warriors handed the Cavaliers on MLK Day, I have a few dreams too for my hometown basketball team. If my dreams can have one tenth of the impact that Dr. King’s did, we might just be ok.
Let me set the stage for last night. I was in my favorite chair, with a full belly, watching the national sports media reporting from all of the places I recognize in my city.
It always feels good when my city is featured on this scale. It is a city that has a less than stellar reputation, however, most visitors that I meet are pleasantly surprised with all that it has to offer.
So there I am in my chair, and I see that Mozgov is starting. This is puzzling to me until I am reminded that he has traditionally guarded Andrew Bogut very well.
I am willing to trust my coach and even though Golden State jumps out to a quick 10-2 lead, I am pleased with Mozgov’s play in the first quarter. He looked like a composed, calculating NBA center.
As we proceed though, the rest of our team looks downright awful. They appear to be woefully unprepared for a challenge of this magnitude.
Our team is unable to get stops on the Warriors, nor score on the offensive end. This causes not only the lead to balloon up but also the Cavalier’s frustration level.
At one point, the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference was losing by 43 points to the best from the West. This leads me to one of my dreams.
I dream of a day when the Eastern Conference is treated as if it is one half of a professional league and not the minor leagues of the Western Conference.
I get the impression that players from the West truly think that East teams are a joke and do not really belong on the same grand stage as they do. Sadly, this narrative is perpetuated by the national sports media also.
We certainly did nothing to dispute that notion last night. It angers me that this memory of the Cavaliers will be the one that sticks in everyone’s mind and not the 5-1 record we amassed over the road trip against top teams from the West.
If the Cavs can ascend the mountain again in the East and make it back to the Finals, that would be our next opportunity to play the Warriors (provided they successfully maneuver the West gauntlet). This terrible performance will be the first example given when comparing the teams.
The Warriors are the reigning NBA champs so they deserve to be the measuring stick for all teams and I would not deny them that. I would, however, deny the idea that the Cavaliers do not possess the talent to achieve my ultimate dream of hoisting that banner into the ceiling of The Q someday.
The Cavaliers themselves were poised in defeat last night. Coach Blatt took responsibility for the loss and Kevin Love said that the changes need to come from the leadership of the team, though it is unclear whether he was referring to James or Blatt.
Kyrie Irving was essentially a no show last night in his performance. He finished with eight points and five rebounds on 3/11 shooting while Love was also quiet with only three points on 1/5 shooting.
With that depressing of a showing, I would hope that Love would take more responsibility rather than point the finger up the bench. Perhaps he feels that he is not being used in the proper capacity.
Love was certainly more effective earlier in the season when he was being fed the ball in the low post more often. Since the return of Irving and Iman Shumpert, I have noticed him spending more time setting picks and staying outside the three point line.
This strategy with Love is what contributed to a 19-20 record about this time last season. It seems that January is a tenuous month for this iteration of the team, though we have had many more successes overall than 2015.
I am supremely dejected after this loss, though I will not be one of those fans that declares that our dreams of a title are vanquished. The feeling of defeat is one that this city is not only very familiar with experiencing but also very adept at overcoming.
As fans, we need to realize that a defeat of this nature can be used to motivate our guys in the future. The sick feeling in our stomachs can be converted into fuel reserves that can be accessed when we need it the most in the playoffs.
That is the most constructive way to process last night’s result. Otherwise, that sick feeling will encompass us and create doubt in our minds.
The Wine and Gold Nation must do their part and not allow this to happen.