The Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA world on fire by acquiring 3-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell in a blockbuster off-season trade. They then sprinted out to an 8-1 start, beating several good teams in the process and sparking championship talk throughout the league. During most of their 8-game win streak, All-Star point guard Darius Garland was on the bench with an eye injury and since his return the Cavs have spiraled into a 4-game losing streak, bringing them back down to reality.
The Cavs have played ok during the losing streak and except for Sunday’s loss to the Timberwolves, they have not been blown out. Against the Clippers they blew a 13pt fourth-quarter lead, which was at 12 with 4:37 left to go. They even had the chance to close out the game in the end, but on 3 straight possessions to end the game Darius Garland made 3 questionable decisions. Mitchell did not touch the ball once on any of those possessions, despite having an excellent game with 30 points. 2 nights later against the Kings, the Cavs fell behind due to an offensive attack that saw them down by 11 at the half but due to timely shots and a poor defensive showing, they could never recover.
Another Come From Ahead Loss
At Golden State, they led the Warriors at the half by 4, and ultimately had the game in control in the 4th, but once again bad decisions and poor defense did them in. Up by 8 with 4:38 remaining, they began to make mistakes, taking bad shots, giving up drives to the rim, and turning the ball over. Steph Curry sealed the comeback in the end, hitting clutch shots to take the lead and complete the comeback.
Ultimately, I believe this will be a valuable learning lesson for this young squad. They will have to learn how to finish games and their young all-star backcourt is still learning how to play together. The 8 game-win streak was not a mirage in the sense that they aren’t that good but it was a view of what they can be. The losing streak is a reality check, it reminds us that there is still a long way to go, and more work has to be done.