The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of 2013’s most inconsistent NBA teams. If they are to improve in 2014 they have to learn to do a lot of things, but one thing that should be at the top of their list is learning to close games when they are leading. Time after the time the Cavaliers are leading and in full control, but they find a way to make inexcusable mistakes that lead to another loss.
The Cavaliers appeared to be in control for much of the latter stages of their recent home encounter against the Atlanta Hawks, but they fell 127-125 in double overtime. That might look competitive when looking at the score and it was, but there are more reasons for the Cavaliers to be disheartened from this loss than anything else. The game was theirs to win, but a lack of focus was the difference.
Some teams could wipe the slate clean and forget this game, but with the aspirations the Cavaliers hold they cannot forget this one. They want to get back in to the playoffs, and they believe they can do that in 2014. If they are to succeed and fulfill this ambition then they will have to review games like this and improve their ability to concentrate in crucial moments. Only then will they start to pick up wins that will propel them in to the playoffs.
There were reasons to be happy. For example, Kyrie Irving had a huge game as he finished with 40 points, nine assists and four steals, but it wasn’t enough to hold on to the victory. Ultimately that’s why they’re playing each and every night — to win — and that’s an achievement the Cavaliers have struggled to get on a regular basis.