Cavaliers continue slide, fall to Heat 100-94
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - It has been a very gloomy season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the team has played itself to the worst record in the NBA. They haven’t had their best player, Kevin Love, for most of the season, while other key players have also missed significant time with injuries. The Cavs even fired their former head coach, Tyronn Lue, after an 0-6 start, and recent reports say that they may already be looking for their next head coach.
According to a report from The Athletic, the Cavs have begun their search for their next full-time head coach with current coach Larry Drew, who replaced Lue, being an unlikely candidate to be the Cavs head coach next season. Prior to the Cavs meeting with the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night, Drew addressed the report.
“Coaching on this level, it is a challenge, as everybody knows,” Drew said. “It’s certainly a challenge throughout the years that I have embraced and I will continue to embrace. I enjoy coaching, I really do.
“In all the years that I have been on this level, certainly I have experienced some challenges throughout my coaching career and moving forward, I’m sure I will continue to experience those challenges. But I want to be perfectly clear, I love coaching. I love what I do. I love coming to work every day. I love the fact that my staff, they come in every single day and they work hard and certainly, our challenge is to continue to try and make our young players better, to continue to make this team a very competitive team, and we certainly understand the challenges that we do have, but we definitely, definitely embrace those challenges.
“I know from all the years that I’ve been on this level, I know each year, it could be a different challenge. And certainly with what I’ve been able to endure in all my years of coaching, I’ve certainly embraced every single one of those. I’m very grateful for the fact that Koby Altman and Dan Gilbert have given me this opportunity and as we move forward, I will definitely continue to try and be the best coach that I possibly can be and my staff as well.
“We make it a point to come to work every single day and try to get these guys better. We try to keep them competitive. We try to make it a very prideful environment, which I think we have. We know all the challenges that we’ve had thus far, and we certainly know that there will possibly be more challenges ahead. But, we will continue to take each challenge and we’ll continue to take each thing we do from a daily basis and try to keep this team very competitive, keep this team playing hard, keep developing our young guys and make sure that every time we step out on the court that we try to represent this organization to the best of our ability.”
On Friday against Miami, in what was likely Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s final game in The Q, the Cavs saw their halftime lead vanish en route to a 100-94 loss at home.
The Cavs produced one of their best first halves of the season against Miami, shooting 51 percent through two quarters and securing a 53-48 lead at the break. It was the first time the Cavs had taken a lead into the third quarter since Jan. 13. Unfortunately for the Cavs, the second half lead what short-lived.
When Heat guard Justise Winslow sank a floater with 6:59 remaining in the third quarter, Miami regained the lead, 66-65. The Cavs trailed 73-70 when forward Cedi Osman drained a three-pointer, but the Heat closed the third quarter with a 7-0 run to take a double-digit lead into the fourth. The Cavs made a run in the final minutes to cut the deficit to single digits, but the effort wasn’t enough to get them over the hump.
Osman led Cleveland with a career-high 29 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Winslow led Miami with 27 points and seven rebounds.
Wade, who played 46 games with the Cavs last season before returning to Miami, received a warm video tribute from the Cavs midway through the first quarter. He totaled 13 points in 28 minutes, including a thunderous reverse dunk in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter that put Miami up 88-72.
“I think he will certainly go down as one of those players (greatest of all time), he’ll be mentioned in that breath,” Drew said.
While this will likely be the last season of Wade’s NBA career, the Cavs are littered with youth. In a season that the team has struggled through, it can be difficult to keep young players motivated. Drew said he has to keep his players engaged despite the losing.
“This is the third team that I’ve gone through this rebuild process with and in each situation, it’s been a little different,” Drew said. “First of all, we’re all professionals and it’s their job to come to work every day. It’s my job to push them every single day.
“It’s my job to challenge them every single day. It’s my job to try to develop them every single day. The one thing that I think is important that from an understanding standpoint, is that you don’t allow slippage to become a part of what you’re doing…We try to make sure that from a competitive standpoint, we make sure that every time these guys step out on the floor that they give their all, and nothing else is acceptable; same thing for me. I want to be held accountable, making sure that these guys are ready every single game we play.”
The Cavs (9-41) will look for their 10th win this season on Sunday in Chicago against the Bulls.
POSTED 01/25/2019 22:14