Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 3/2/12
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving or not, too often the Cavaliers look like a team thats playing a game merely because its on the schedule. Actually, its probably only happened five or six times, but even that is too much in a season like this. Its definitely happened in both home losses to the Chicago Bulls, the latest a 112-91 hammer job Friday at The Q. Granted, rookie point guard and leading scorer Irving missed the game with an illness. And granted, starting center Anderson Varejao is still out with a fractured wrist. But the Cavs, who once had dreams of the playoffs, have lost four in a row -- including three straight at home. Theyre not defending like theyre capable, theyre not shooting particularly well and they arent as aggressive as they need to be against the leagues top teams. Again, Irving or not, those things need to change. When you play against a team as good as they are -- and they are definitely one of the best teams in the league -- you can't have the unforced turnovers that we had, said Cavs coach Byron Scott. You can't make the defensive mistakes that we made. Some of the lapses that we had defensively killed us. You have to play, I wouldn't say perfect basketball against them, but pretty close. Scott said hes concerned enough about the recent skid to make some changes, both to the starting lineup and the rotation. Sometimes, changes can do the trick. But its highly unlikely the Cavs can turn things around based on that alone. At this point, there are no clear-cut solutions. Other than to maybe start moving the ball a little better and playing with some real focus. The Cavs (13-21) now head to Washington for a game Saturday, and their season is at somewhat of a crossroads. Do they try to trade Ramon Sessions, who has been just short of magnificent in backing up Irving? What do they do with Antawn Jamison, the veteran forward who is second on the team in scoring and tallied 22 points Friday? And how much longer do they wait for small forward Omri Casspi to get it together? These questions and more need answered, if not by the March 15 trading deadline, then certainly by this summers draft. Cavs general manager Chris Grant and his staff know that, and are hard at work trying to figure out what is next. For the Cavs, its looking like another trip to the draft lottery, and thats not so bad. But you sure dont want to make a habit of it, either. In the meantime, whats important is younger players such as Irving, Tristan Thompson and Alonzo Gee continue to develop, and the idea of always playing hard and smart becomes firmly established in everyones mind. The Cavs are good on the first point, but not so much on the second. At least, not on a consistent enough basis. As Scott mentioned above, mental lapses can really kill you. Or as Jamison said, Weve got to come to the realization that we cant let teams outwork us. Yeah, that about covers it. Now the Cavs need to go out and do something about it. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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