The Cleveland Cavaliers are not having a great finish to their 2023-24 NBA regular season. It appears as though the Cavs were going to snap a two-game losing skid on Sunday only for them to suffer another setback — this one arguably the most brutal so far in the campaign.

Despite establishing a 26-point lead in the third quarter, the Cavs still ended up picking a 120-118 road loss at the hand of Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Darius Garland reacts to painful meltdown in Cavs loss to Clippers

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) drives past Los Angeles Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) and guard Terance Mann (14) in the second half at Arena.

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Among the most affected by the loss to the Clippers was Garland, whose 40 minutes of effort was ultimately wasted.

“This one hurt,” Garland following the [painful loss (h/t Evan Dammarell of ClutchPoints and Right Down Euclid).

“We move on to the next one. Three more games left in the season. We have to up our intensity and up our focus so we can win these next three and look forward to the (playoffs).”

Garland finished the game with a team-high 28 points on 10/22 shooting from the field, 4/8 from behind the arc, and 4/5 from the free-throw line, while adding five rebounds, eight assists, and five steals.

Granted that the Cavs missed the services of star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell in the Clippers game because of injury management on his left knee, there was no excuse for why Cleveland squandered such a huge lead in the second half. For one, the Clippers also did not have star forward Kawhi Leonard, who is still sidelined by a knee issue of his own.

The biggest thorn in the side of the Cavs in the loss was no other than Paul George, who scored 23 of his game-high 39 points in the fourth quarter. As a team, the Clippers outscored Cleveland from the halfway mark of the third quarter to the end of regulation, 50-24.

Over that span, the Cavs shot just 24.1 percent from the field and committed seven turnovers, while George and Los Angeles sizzled with a 48.6 field goal percentage and went 7/16 from behind the arc. The Cavs also seemingly were not able to put enough defensive pressure to stop LA’s momentum during that wild stretch in which the Clippers committed just a single turnover.

Cleveland bracing for crucial homestand to end regular season

It is never too late for the Cavs to learn some lessons, and they will just have to hope that the ones they picked up from the debacle in the Clippers game will end up being useful for them in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. The Cavs are now sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 46-33 record. Even though there are only three games remaining on their schedule, the Cavaliers can’t relax.

The door is still slightly open for the Philadelphia 76ers to sneak into the top-six picture, as they’re seventh with a 44-35 record. In between the Cavaliers and the Sixers are the 45-34 Indiana Pacers. Plus, Cleveland wouldn’t want to enter the NBA Playoffs in a terrible form. The Cavs, who are 3-7 in their last 10 games, will finish their regular season with a three-game homestand, beginning this Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies. then they will be in an important showdown versus the Pacers on Friday. Cleveland concludes its regular season with a date with the lowly Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.