Last night, the Cavs hosted the Memphis Grizzlies, who were sitting their three best players, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Zack Randolph, and two of their best goons, Chris Andersen and Matt Barnes. And they lost!
Even with their best lineup out there, the Grizzlies are something of an Island of Misfit Toys—a motley crew of players with weird skill sets and bad attitudes, the NBA’s version of Suicide Squad. (Lance Stephenson is Jared Leto.) But last night, the Grizzlies threw a bunch of weirdos, like JaMychal Green and Ryan Hollins, out on the court—the Cavs lost because Tony Allen, a shooter so bad that the Golden State Warriors famously refused to guard him in last year’s playoffs, dropped 26 on 11-17 shooting.
Players like Allen have fluke games every now and then, but the Cavaliers, who trailed until the 4th quarter, when they briefly took the lead with a minute remaining, seemed sluggish and unfocused. It may just be the end-of-season doldrums—the same thing that felled the Warriors against the lowly Lakers on Sunday—but there are other reasons for concern. The Cavs (especially LeBron) have been subtweeting each other for a while, and they’ve confused as to who they are since at least the All-Star break. The playoffs—and, potentially finals rematch with the Warriors—are twenty games away and the Cavaliers are well-ahead of where they were last year. But they seem utterly miserable.