Cleveland Cavaliers Need To Figure Out How To Score In The Fourth Quarter

By Nick Claussen
Spruce Derden – US Presswire

If the Cleveland Cavaliers were a like hockey team that plays just three periods, they might be leading the NBA right now.

Unfortunately for the Wine and Gold, though, basketball games have four quarters, and the Cavs look lost in the closing minutes of their games.

The Cavs are just 3 – 11 and the biggest reason why is because they simply can’t finish games. The team is playing well enough to be in the games at the end and they are often leading, but the offense is completely breaking down during the final few minutes.

Against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night for example, the game was tied with just under three minutes to play. The Cavs had a great chance to win, but they fell apart and another victory slipped away from them. Here’s a quick recap of what happened.

After the Grizzlies scored to go up by 2, the Cavs could not get a shot off on the next possession.

The next time down, forward Tristan Thompson committed a charge and was called for the foul. Forward Alonzo Gee dunked the rebound, but it didn’t count because of the charge.

The next time down the court, the Cavs had the ball stolen from them.

The next time down, forward/center Anderson Varejao had to shoot a three that missed, but Gee was there to dunk the rebound.

This put the Cavs down 2 points with just under 44 seconds to play.

The Grizzlies were able to get good shot inside and scored, and when the Cavs tried to answer the ball was stolen from Varejao. After that, the game was pretty much over and the Cavs lost 84 to 78.

So in the last three minutes of the game, the time when the Cavs needed to score the most, they got off one three-point shot from Varejao, who came into the night a career 1 for 29 shooter from the three-point line, and scored on one rebound. They played well enough on defense at the end of the game to win, but right now they simply can’t get a basket when they have to have one.

Now I should point out that star point guard Kyrie Irving is out with an injury, and Irving is great in late game situations. He has the ability to get to the rim and either make a shot or get an assist late in the game, and the Cavs miss him tremendously in the fourth quarter.

Also, the Cavs don’t seem to have a player that they can dump the ball into in the post, knowing that he will probably score or get fouled.

But even with Irving out and with the lack of a post-up game, the Cavs have to do something better than what they are doing now. Head Coach Byron Scott needs to be able to draw up some sort of play or get the Cavs into an offensive set that works. At the very least, he needs to stress that the team needs to attack the basket at the end of the game.

Against the Miami Heat on Saturday night, the Cavs led most of the game and then were up by 7 points with less than two minutes to play. The Cavs fell apart on offense, though, and didn’t get good shots, while Miami was able to get quality shots and stole the win. The Cavs played well enough to win that game, but just couldn’t figure out how to finish it.

The same type of thing has happened in several other games, too. The Cavs are playing well and getting better, but right now they not attacking at the ends of games and are playing like they are afraid of losing.

If the Cavs are going to start winning soon, Scott needs to figure out how to get the team some quality shots at the ends of games, and someone needs to step up and not be afraid to attack the rim in order to make something happen.


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