The Cleveland Cavaliers are beginning to show fatigue with an extremely thin and porous roster as the injury report is turning into a mass of players. Cleveland cannot catch a break this week on the injury report, and that is leading to a downhill slide for the Cavs. The Wine and Gold lost 109-99 in Brooklyn vs. the Nets Wednesday evening and then dropped a game 104-89 to the Warriors Thursday night. Accounting for all of the Cavaliers’ injuries leading to fatigued players, their gritty performances against two NBA title contenders on back-to-back nights was very encouraging.
Cleveland Fought Despite Having a Thin Roster
Jarrett Allen, the Cavs’ center fresh off a five-year extension, did not quickly recover from the illness that held him out vs. Boston Monday night. Instead, Allen missed both the Nets and Warriors games. Once again, Cleveland was without four of its starters since Lauri Markkanen is still not ready off of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Thursday against Golden State, another Cav was added to the injury report. Cedi Osman—who has been a key bench player—missed the Warriors game with back spasms. All things considered, it was rather impressive the Cavaliers hung with the Nets and Warriors. The Cleveland starting lineup was not ideal whatsoever: Darius Garland, Ricky Rubio, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Ed Davis.
Cleveland managed to come back from 23 points behind against Brooklyn despite a thin roster. The game was competitive until the last handful of minutes in the fourth quarter. Both Garland and Rubio had 20+ scoring nights, carrying the Cavs’ offense. But in the end, the Cavaliers were not going to overcome Kevin Durant and James Harden with a short-handed lineup.
Believe it or not, the night after the Cavs fought hard against vs. the Warriors. The Wine and Gold controlled most of the game going into the fourth quarter. This is when the fatigue really started to show for the Cavaliers. In the entire fourth quarter, Cleveland’s offense was lackadaisical, totaling only eight points in one quarter. Yes, the Cavs scored only eight points in 12 minutes of pro basketball. The fatigue is starting to certainly show.
The Cavs Should Finally Get Several Players Back
Finally, the Cavaliers should have help coming in Monday’s matchup with the Nets. One of, maybe even both, Allen or Markkanen should be back. That gives the Cavs two starters back which will be a huge help. Simply getting two regular players in the rotation back will be huge. Plus, Allen and Markkanen are some of the most vital players to this team’s success. Osman returning off of back spasms could be in the cards as well.
The fact Cleveland even had respectable losses vs. the Nets and Warriors is a testament to what J.B. Bickerstaff has built. The Cavs continue to fight, scratch and claw in every single outing. In the end, that is what makes a winning, competitive team in the NBA. The hope is the Cavaliers can hang around .500 for the next month. Then, when the roster gets near full health and the schedule becomes more favorable, Cleveland can fight to get into the playoff picture. The Cavaliers can now enjoy the three days of rest ahead; that is desperately needed right now with a short-handed, fatigued roster.
Featured image courtesy of Tony Dejak/AP Photo
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