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Cleveland Cavaliers Forget to Play Defense; Fall 124-107 to the Dallas Mavericks

February 4th, 2014 at 5:28 PM
By Pat Murphy

If it's not one thing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's something else. This was the case in 124-107 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Cleveland played well on the offensive side of the court, not only scoring over 100 points for the first time seven games but also moving the ball well and creating good looks for the majority of the night.

It was the defense that did them in once again. The Mavericks did not score less than 27 points in a quarter and scored 30 or more in the final three. With the game still close in the middle of the third quarter, Dallas went on a 28-15 run to end the period, extending a two point lead to 15.

After that, the Cavs never came within single digits in the final quarter.

The Mavericks went to work in the paint, outscoring the Cavaliers 50-38 in the area and outrebounding Cleveland 45-31. This all occurred with the Anderson Varejao back in the lineup.

'Dirk Nowitzki' photo (c) 2009, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Dallas had six players score in double figures and improved their record to 8-1 this season when they accomplish that feat. Dirk Nowitzki led his team with 23 points and eight rebounds and Monta Ellis finished with 22 on 8-12 shooting. Ellis also dished out seven assists and starting point guard Jose Calderon had 10 assists to go along with 11 points for the double double.

Samuel Dalembert was the main source of frustration for the Cavs in the paint. He finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, and two blocked shots, while shooting 7-8 from the field.

Cleveland's seven players in double figures were wasted on a night where no one seemed interested in guarding their opposite number.

Kyrie Irving, who started and played much of the game at the two guard, finished with a game-high 27 points and eight assists and Luol Deng had 18 points and eight rebounds. If this team is going to get better defensively, it is going to start with these two and right now they are not cutting it on that end.

Tristan Thompson worked hard for all of his 17 points. He was busy on the defensive end attempting to figure out how to stop Nowitzki, something no one in this league has successfully done over his 15-year career.

Anthony Bennett had a decent night with a 11 points, though he did finish 3-8 and fouled out but we'll take what we can get. If he had not been taken so early in the draft, this would really seem like progress for a player that has spent much of the year in the developmental league.

The Cavaliers return home on Wednesday, facing off against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers season is going down the tank, but they should have at least one of their point guards back by the time they hit the Quicken Loans Arena floor.

Tags: Anderson Varejao, Anthony Bennett, Basketball, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Calderon, Kyrie Irving, Los Angeles Lakers, Luol Deng, Monta Ellis, NBA, Samuel Dalembert, Tristan Thompson

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