Well. It’s a fact of the universe. Everything ends.
The Cavaliers started the season in style, beating the defending Eastern Conference champs and as late as 3 weeks into the season were a “see we’re not THAT bad!” 5-7. Everything ends; from November 27th until tonight’s 126-119 OT outlasting of the suddenly shaky Clippers, the Cavs only had 1 other win in 55 days, slogging through the record setting, soul sucking 26 game losing streak you may have heard about. I can’t say I’m shocked that the Clippers dropped this game; they are a putrid 4-19 on the road, missing their leading scorer Eric Gordon, and the law of averages HAD to kick in sometime. It takes a special kind of bad luck to lose more than 26 straight times, like” punting a black cat into a mirror that’s set up under a ladder” type of luck. If tonight’s game was a movie script, whoever penned the schlock would be laughed off of the MGM Movie lot for trying to sell the cheesy Hollywood cliche’ ending. JJ Hickson (monstrous- 27, 14, and 4 blocks) morphing into ’95 Olajuwon, swooping in for 2 H-U-G-E momentum-shifting blocks, one on a Blake Griffin smash attempt, the other a controversial (ah, who’re we kidding, it was a goaltend) game-extending swat of the previously unstoppable Baron “Ponce De Leon” Davis (26 and 12). The drama- the Clips scoring 12 of 16 points during a kry late stretch to roar back into the game; Eric Bledsoe’s hard-nosed board, leading to 2 cash free throws; Mo Williams return from almost a month out with a hip injury to tally 17 points, 14 dimes, and a sickstep-back J in crunchtime. The refs swallowing the whistle as Hickson just mugged Gomes going after the O board, knocking the ball out on Gomes, leading to Antawn Jamison’s game sealing 3. Following the script, the Clips mounted one last push as the seconds ticked down, but reality set in when Foye’s desperate “trying to jump into you for the foul” 3 went 3/4th of the way down before taking pity on the Cavs and rimming out. Game. Blouses.
Blake Griffin had another ho-hum 32 pt, 16 rebound night, but his 42% from the floor shows how active Hickson’s D was on the wondrous rook. Randy Foye continued to roll, going for 23 points, including a monumental transition 3 that brought the Clips to within 3 late in overtime, but his last 3 was, to put it nicely, a pretty dumb shot. The Clips simply got out-executed and out-passioned in this one. They lost the battle on 2 essential fronts: dimes (20 t0 34) and bench scoring (21 to 42); outside of Bledsoe’s 13 points, the bench did nada. As embarrassing as it is to be That Team that Cleveland broke the streak on, this loss is nothing to lose sleep over. The Clips are having the typical young team growing pains. This stretch of smelliness (they’ve gone 4-7 in their last 10 games) is following a string of Febreze-like performances – they had just wrapped up a 11-4 run which included victories over the Bulls, the Heat, and the Lakers. The talent is there- the Gordon/Griffin dual building blocks are the envy of all franchises not located in Oklahoma City, and Foye’s recent success will only boost his confidence once he returns to his role as a key reserve. The wild swings in consistency can’t last forever- remember, everything ends.
Just HOW bad have the Cavs been? CBSSports.com’s Matt Moore’s slick piece on this CLE win provides some context:
“Now with nine wins on the season, we can end all talk about the Cavs tying the 76ers worst record of all time of 9-73
The Cavs lost by an average of 13.6 points per game during the 26-game streak
The Cavs lost just one game by one point and only five games by six or less.
The Lakers beat the Cavs by 55 points in one game during the streak.
Cleveland was defeated by at least double-digits 14 times.”
Wow. And I did a little digging; the Spurs, The Celts, the Heat, the Mavs, and the Bulls have a combined 13 win streaks of 5 or more games during the same duration. Ah well, the streak had to end some time; just wished the Cavs had waited until the Wizards brought their 0-for-2011-season road record to town on Sunday.