The Cleveland Cavaliers fell to 4-6 on Sunday afternoon with a 115-113 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks, who snapped an eight-game losing streak with the win. It’s as bad a loss as the Cavs have had this season, which is saying something, considering their five other losses have been to the Magic, Nets, Pacers, Knicks, and Pelicans.
The good news is that three of their wins are against teams expected to finish the season near the top of the conference, but the most recent of those required a 57-point game from LeBron James to happen. Of particular concern for Cleveland is the defense, which, after the Hawks game, became the worst in the league officially with a 111.7 defensive rating through 10 games.
Things aren’t going well for Cleveland and it’s hard to sugarcoat it. Yes, it’s early, but we are now 12 percent of the way into the season. Yes, they have LeBron, who is capable of taking over a game single-handedly like he did against Washington, but that seems relatively unsustainable. While many are still preaching patience in Cleveland, veteran Channing Frye, who had a game-winning three bounce off the rim on Sunday, gave a brutally honest assessment of the Cavs after the game.
That’s pretty accurate. They’re the worst defensive team in the league and just made the Hawks, who are now 24th in the league in offensive rating after playing Cleveland, look like the Warriors on that end. Atlanta tried its best to hand the game to Cleveland at the end, with horrid turnovers and missed free throws, but the Cavs insisted on being kind hosts and letting the Hawks win.
Arguably the best news for Cleveland is that the next two games are against quality opponents in the Bucks and Rockets, considering the only time they’ve looked good is when they’re playing other good teams. However, the league’s worst team, the Dallas Mavericks, are lurking after that which, at this rate, looks like a guaranteed loss for the Cavs.