Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 4/18/12

I’m furious with the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40, 13th in the East). And I hate being mad at the Cavaliers. I love this franchise and I can’t wait for the day when they return to the playoffs and give us fun, rewarding, exciting, meaningful basketball to watch.

What we got last night was the polar opposite of that. The Cavaliers lost by 39 points to a team that was 22-38 going into that game. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Cavaliers were losing 100-50. Thank goodness they weren’t playing at the Q where “The Diff” would have probably fried the whole jumbotron for lack of ability to comprehend a 50 point deficit. Does anyone know if “The Diff” even goes that high (or, rather, that low)?

Look, I don’t care where you fall on the spectrum of this whole tanking issue. Some people like to cheer for lottery position, some people don’t. It doesn’t matter to me. We are all Cavs fans and we all want what’s best for this franchise going forward. We’re on the same team here. But I have to believe that a 39 point loss to Detroit, the Cavaliers’ fourth loss by 35+ points in just 60 games this season, is completely unacceptable for all of us.

I know the excuses. It’s a bunch of D-League players, there’s nothing left to play for, the team just wants better draft picks for next year, etc., etc., etc. Losing is one thing. I can accept losing. Heck, since opening day of this season I’ve been saying over and over again that we shouldn’t worry about wins and losses with this team. For me, this season has been all about development.

So where’s the development? Early in the season, the team showed some signs and made us feel good about the future. But last year, in an 82 game season and a season with the most epic of losing streaks ever, the Cavaliers “only” lost by 35+ points twice. So in 22 fewer games this year they’ve doubled that. And who knows, more could be coming with upcoming games against Philly, New York, San Antonio, Memphis, and Chicago. I have no problem with fans being ok with the Cavaliers moving up in the lottery. But I’m not ok with fans who find a loss like this to be acceptable.

This franchise deserves better than what we got last night. If players want to roll over and die, they can do so for another franchise. We should all wants players on our team who are going to go out, give us their best, and at least show some competitiveness. We should want a coach who can get more out of his players than what we have seen in so many uninspired, pathetic performances this season.

Speaking of coaching, I asked the question on Twitter last night whether any coach has ever lost 4 games by 35+ points in a single season and kept his job. I don’t know the answer, but I seriously doubt Coach Scott is going anywhere. And you know what? For everything he and this franchise has gone through in two years, he deserves a shot to develop Kyrie, Tristan, and whoever we draft this year. But his grace period is over. Enough is enough. I want to see some evidence that he can get through to this team. If this is a time for development, we need to see some signs that the coach is developing the young players on this team.

_____

Ok, enough with my rant about last night’s game. Let’s move on to tonight’s shot at redemption at home against the Philadelphia 76ers (31-30, 8th in the East). At one point earlier in the season, the Sixers looked like a team that could compete with just about anyone in the East. Now, they come into this game on a 3 game losing streak and having lost 7 of their last 9 games. Their record since March 14 is 6-13. Heck, the Cavaliers record in that span is only slightly worse at 4-16.

The Sixers are in a free-fall. They’ve slid all the way down to the 8 seed and are clinging to a playoff spot for dear life with Milwaukee, who are just 1.5 games back. You know Philly is viewing this game as a must win game and one they will bring their best to try to ensure they don’t drop any closer to the Bucks.

For the Cavaliers, there’s some hope Kyrie Irving might be able to return tonight. Boy I hope so. It feels like nothing has really been going right for this team since the All-Star break, and it would be nice to get some good news and a boost to the psyche of the team. As of the time of writing this, though, that answer is left unanswered. Fingers crossed.

If Kyrie plays, I’ll give the Cavaliers a shot in this game. I think Byron Scott is going lay into this team and get them to come out and play harder. Antawn Jamison is the ultimate professional. You think he doesn’t want to come out and make up for his 0-10 shooting last night? I expect the Cavaliers to show up tonight with something to prove. Well, maybe I don’t expect it. But I sure hope it happens.

If Kyrie doesn’t play, it’s going to be a tough game. But again, the expectations here shouldn’t be to win. I would like to see the Cavaliers win, but I don’t think they will and I’m ok if they lose….as long as the effort is there. I just want to see a good basketball game.

_____

Image Source: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

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