Sunday, November 11, 2012

Waiters Watches as the Thunder Rolls

The Cavs hung around for the better part of three quarters in tonight's 106-91 loss to the Thunder.

Kyrie did Kyrie things. Boobie Gibson continued to drain shots from all over the floor en route to finishing with 16 points and once again the starters showed that they can match up somewhat well with any team in the league on a given night.

Unfortunately, as I just touched on last night, when Omri Casspi and Jon Leuer are having a say in the outcome of an NBA game more often than not things are going to end poorly. The only thing that kept the game from getting out of hand early was the aforementioned shooting from Gibson that kept the walls from imploding in the early minutes of the second quarter.

It looked as the game would be tight heading into the fourth quarter until Russell Westbrook banked in a running 3-pointer from just inside half-court on his way to nailing four consecutive long range jumpers.
By the time Kyrie reentered the game with about six minutes remaining the deficit was double figures and the Cavs were unable to ever make a push. Dion Waiters watched the final quarter from the bench and I was hoping for Byron Scott's sake that it had more to do with nursing his thigh injury than trying to prove a point to the rookie.

Scott was apparently angry over something Waiters had done and even Waiters himself was unsure what it was following the game. Being stubborn with young players is something Scott has been known for in the past and a trait I had hoped he left behind in New Orleans.

Despite this being a third straight loss, I'm not as disappointed in the outcome as much as I had been after the previous two. Even without James Harden the Thunder are still one of the top teams in the league and a squad that brings it every night behind the play of Durant and Westbrook.

I've sort of come to terms with how terrible the play of the bench is going to be throughout the season and even though I would love to see playoff basketball back in Cleveland I realize that it make take another year before that happens.

However, if this season is going to be another defined by the growth of our young players, the benching of Waiters should have been handled better. At any point while the Cavs bench was on the court stumbling through the motions Scott or one of his assistants should have been talking to Waiters about any mistake he had made.

"I don't know. I cant explain it," Waiters said of why he watched the fourth quarter from the bench.

For Waiters to have no clue why he was benched for the final quarter is unacceptable. Scott has the comfort of having his extension picked up for next season but shouldn't hinder any on court growth while he tries to show who's running the show.

His inability to relate to the enigmatic J.R. Smith hampered Scott's tenure in the Big Easy, hopefully tonight won't become a similar trend as the Cavs look to build towards the future.

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