Cavaliers suffer worse home loss ever with 133-92 drubbing by Clippers
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Hours before the expiration of the NBA trade deadline this past Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers executed a stunning trade. The Cavs sent Brandon Knight and John Henson, two role players who have bounced around the league, to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond. Drummond, who has already expressed excitement to be with his new team via social media, is joined in his sentiments by his new head coach.
“There’s a general excitement in the locker room,” Cavs head coach John Beilein said. “I love our first interactions with Andre. The team is extremely receptive right now to this addition.
“We lost two really good guys in John Henson and Brandon Knight, but that’s the business of the NBA and I think everybody adjusts to it.”
Sunday evening, Drummond’s first game in a Cavs uniform came against a Clippers team that is on the short list of favorites to win the NBA title this season. While Los Angeles was without superstar forward and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and bulldog point guard Patrick Beverley, and the Cavaliers were at home, Cleveland entered Sunday’s contest on an 11-game losing streak at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
And as many expected, the Cavs will have to wait at least one more game to attempt to end their home losing streak, as the Clippers pounded the Cavs en route to a 133-92 victory.
Beilein immediately inserted Drummond into the starting lineup on Sunday, possibly hoping that Drummond’s presence would help defensively. The Cavs entered Sunday allowing the highest field goal percentage to opponents in the league (49.1 percent), but despite Leonard and Beverley not playing, the Clippers blitzed the Cavs from the opening tip.
Cleveland quickly trailed 6-0 before Drummond got the Cavs on the board with a layup. By the time new Clippers addition Marcus Morris sank a 16-foot jump shot with 5:44 remaining in the first quarter, the Cavs trailed 20-8 and the contest only got more out of hand from there. Cleveland trailed 36-21 at the end of the first quarter, and it would have been understandable if a white flag had been waived in the second.
When backup center Montrezl Harrell swished an easy hook shot with 1:09 remaining until halftime, Los Angeles had secured its largest lead of the game to that point, 71-44. Cleveland never led in the game, while the Clippers led 73-50 at the half and never looked back.
“We don’t want to sacrifice what we’ve done,” Beilein said about Drummond’s acquisition. “Our offense right now has been doing a pretty good job, we just haven’t been able to stop people. A lot of that is we just got to have more of a defensive personality individually and we’ll get better at it. He gives us that.”
Drummond led Cleveland with 19 points and 14 rebounds (43rd double-double of the season), even draining a pair of three-pointers in the contest. While he’s an elite rebounder and has consistently averaged double figures in scoring, the league seems to be going away from dominant big men, which is why the Pistons appeared to part with him for such little compensation. Not only did the Pistons trade Drummond in the Eastern Conference, they sent him to a team in the same division.
“He wants to win badly,” Beilein said. “I sense that he really knows what that takes despite his time in Detroit.”
Drummond spent his entire eight-year career with Detroit after being selected ninth-overall by the Pistons in the 2012 NBA Draft. In his time with Detroit, the Pistons reached the playoffs just twice, losing in the first round in both appearances. In only one of those seasons did Drummond’s team finish with a record above .500.
“He’s a different skillset than some of our other bigs, and we’re going to try to slowly change our game to do what fits best for him and the team at the same time,” Beilein said.
The Cavs will play their last game before the All-Star break at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, when they’ll attempt to snap their 12-game home losing streak and get Drummond more integrated into their system.
POSTED 02/09/2020 22:24