After opening the season with a four-point win where the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 98 points, the Cavs have struggled to register points. They shot 41.7% in the opener, but averaged 36.5% over the weekend, falling on the road to the Charlotte Bobcats 90-84 and the Indiana Pacers 89-74.
No Cavalier has scored more than 21 points in a game and none of the players have been able to put together three consecutive productive outings offensively.
After scoring 18 points against the Brooklyn Nets to the start the season, Tristan Thompson added 21 against the Bobcats, but just two points against a Pacers team with size down low.
C.J. Miles led the way for Cleveland in the loss to Charlotte with an impressive 22 points on 56% shooting, but scored just eight and 10 points in the other two games.
Kyrie Irving is leading the way statistically for the Cavaliers, but it has not been the type of start fans expected. Over his first three games, he is averaging just 15.3 points on 34% shooting, both well below his career averages.
For Irving, there is more to be concerned about, as he injured his elbow against the Bobcats. The x-ray was negative and Irving played the following night, but continued to be ineffective by his standards.
Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao have also both gotten off to slow starts to the season. Waiters showed signs of life in the last game – after averaging just 6.5 over the first two – with 17 points, but took 21 shots to get there. He was aggressive, looking to attack the rim, which is always a good sign.
Varejao is in a similar boat. He has had one good game offensively, 14 points against the Pacers, one so-so game, 11 points against Brooklyn, and an awful game, going 0-for-4 verse the Bobcats.
What might be the biggest disappointment of all for the Cavs fans is how ineffective first-overall pick has been. Anthony Bennett is yet to score a basket in his NBA career, with his only two points coming from free throws in game one. So far this season, he has shot 0-for-5, 0-for-3, and 0-for-4 from the field, while registering no assists.
Though Bennett is coming off the bench, the Cavaliers expected more out of their first-overall pick. There were questions surrounding this pick – especially at the top spot – but there was no sure-fire top pick. No matter where he was taken, Cleveland want more than goose eggs out of a player they evaluated to be the best fit for their team.
It is a small sample size, but a 1-2 start is disappointing. This is a team that expects to make some noise in the Eastern Conference and they are having issues putting the ball in the basket.
The good news is, they are defending better than they did over the last two seasons. It is not an elite defense yet, but it has kept them in games this year.
If they can get the ball into the basket more consistently, things will start to turn this team's way.
They will have the chance tonight as they return home to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are 3-0 on the year and sit at the top of the Western Conference. Cleveland can make a statement with an impressive win tonight.
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