Not so long ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a real shot at the Eastern Conference’s top seed. Fast forward to today, the Cavs are now staring at a possible play-in scenario after going 1-5 over their last 6 games.
One can argue that recent injuries to their guards caused the Cavs to tumble. However, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff sees things differently. In fact, he identifies three keys that have been missing from his squad as of late.
“One the physicality to start with. Two, there’s a lot of discipline mistakes, we’re not in the spots where we should be. And then the third piece of it is we’re not doing the extra that we were doing to this point to put ourselves in that position that made us who we were.”
This isn’t the first time for Cleveland to miss the services of several key players. They went through a stretch marred by health and safety protocols involving Lauri Markkanen, Jarrett Allen, Isaac Okoro, and Kevin Love. Evan Mobley missed games with an elbow sprain. The Cavs did not fold, though.
The wine and gold still managed to eke out wins. While then-Cavs guard Ricky Rubio and Darius Garland were instrumental to the team’s success, their defensive identity was a constant. No matter who’s on the floor, the Cavs did not miss a beat.
Of course, all hope is not lost. Garland, after the team’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, says changes are incoming. More importantly, the Cavs need to rediscover their defensive tenacity and mix it with a share-the-wealth attitude if they hope to regain some lost ground in the East.