One week ago, the NBA’s most endearing underdogs ran into a 6-8, 260-pound brick wall wearing a headband.
Before last Thursday’s meeting with LeBron James and his Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers were 7-10. Today, the Cavs are 7-15. They haven’t cracked triple-digits on the scoreboard since Nov. 26. They’ve lost six games in a row, and only one of those by a single-digit margin. The Cavs who showed up on national TV last week were a team that didn’t have enough scorers, didn’t have enough shooters, didn’t know how to play defense, and more importantly, didn’t seem to care one way or the other.
So head coach Byron Scott is making changes.
In last night’s loss to the Bulls — the one game recently where Cleveland didn’t get blown out — Scott changed his starting lineup, inserting Antawn Jamison and Daniel Gibson while sending Joey Graham and J.J. Hickson to the bench. The new lineup features Anthony Parker, a natural two-guard, at small forward, and a small backcourt of Gibson and Mo Williams. Hickson, viewed as the team’s best young building block, played less than 10 minutes.
“When you lose some games like we’ve lost, guys start getting down,” Scott told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “And everybody in this league is looking to kick you when you’re down. We have to understand that right now as a team and we have to kind of stick your chest out, hold your head up, say a couple words that I can’t say right now and just go out and compete and battle. If you lose then, you can live with it. But you’ve got to say enough is enough.”
Scott said he’ll give the new starting five about one week to impress him. “And if that’s not working, we’ll change it up again,” he added.
The Cavs play at Houston on Saturday, at Oklahoma City on Sunday, and at Miami where they’ll face LeBron again next Wednesday.
What do you think of Cleveland’s new lineup?