There’s been a whole lot of drama around the Cleveland Cavaliers recently, with the team just third in the Eastern Conference with a 30-20 record and three losses by 20 points or more (plus two more by 10 points or more) in their last 10 games heading into Saturday night’s home game against the Houston Rockets. Controversies have included how players are getting along with Kevin Love (before he fractured his hand), how Isaiah Thomas is doing since making his season debut early last month (spoiler: not well), if LeBron James might leave after the year (sure, but probably not for the Warriors), and just who this team might try and trade for (reportedly, almost everyone). But what’s particularly remarkable is not just that the Cavs are losing, but the ways that things are going wrong for them. On Thursday (in a game they actually won), they displayed one of the worst possessions ever, and on Saturday against the Rockets, they put on an entire clinic of how not to play defense:
“They’ll turn it on come the playoffs.” pic.twitter.com/H9GR8qyVWR
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) February 4, 2018
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) February 4, 2018
The lack of effort there is pretty amazing. This was part of a first half that saw Cleveland trail by 26 at the halftime break, and booed off the court by their own fans:
Cavs get booed off their home court after they played like trash in the first half pic.twitter.com/UITpIwvXzT
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) February 4, 2018
In addition to the Cavs being repeatedly dunked on literally, they’ve been dunked on figuratively by much of the basketball internet:
the cavs are like if that thing where when you wanna just get an argument over with so you go "yeah okay" was a basketball team
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) February 4, 2018
Who, exactly, thought a lineup with both IT *and* Rose was going to work/spark the Cavs?
— Chris Herring (@Herring_NBA) February 4, 2018
the Cavs need a roster shakeup in the worst way. this can’t continue. the body language is stunning
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) February 4, 2018
Playing the Cavs looks like it's so fun. You get to try out all the plays that you only do at practice. Saw the Rockets try a half-court alley-oop for Ryan Anderson. Disrespectful.
— Zito (@_Zeets) February 4, 2018
In retrospect, Isaiah Thomas calling out Kevin Love was the NBA version of “he who smelt it dealt it.”
— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) February 4, 2018
Wow Jalen Rose with a (probably accurate) bombshell.. “I see players quitting on Lebron” #Cavs
— Maximiliano Bretos (@mbretosESPN) February 4, 2018
Quite a showing by the #Cavs tonight. A lot of talk by Jalen and Chauncey about the lack of effort, questioning if players have quit on LeBron.
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) February 4, 2018
Way more is wrong with the Cavs than is right. Way more.
— Jay Crawford (@JaycrawfordCLE) February 4, 2018
So, yeah, those aren’t good reviews. And with Houston extending that lead to 31 points partway through the third quarter, it doesn’t seem like things are going to turn around for the Cavs. The Rockets might want to watch out for secret tunnels after the game, but that might also involve more effort than the Cavs demonstrated Saturday.