Lack of Focus in Third Quarter Dooms Cleveland Cavaliers in Loss

By Zach Morrison
Markieff Morris
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers have gotten very good at finding new ways to lose. This time, they were able to blow a 61-42 halftime lead at home to a Phoenix Suns team that was missing one of their dynamic guards, Eric Bledsoe.

Kyrie Irving started the game clearly looking to set up his teammates; he had six first quarter assists. The entire first half was extremely well played by the Cavs — it was possibly the best half of basketball they have played all season. For some reason, they can never seem to play an entire 48 minutes of strong basketball.

The second half got ugly for the Cavaliers very quickly. Somehow, the Suns held the Cavs to just six third quarter points. I don’t even know how an NBA team can manage to score just six points in a quarter. Think about how many empty possessions that is. It’s a 12 minute quarter and 24 second shot clock — that’s so many chances and so many failures.

The Suns got a great game from forward Markieff Morris. He gave the Suns 27 points and 15 rebounds while making half of his 16 field goal attempts and 10 of his 12 attempts at the free throw line. Channing Frye added four three pointers in the second half to help the Suns’ efforts.

The lack of effort from the Cavs has become a problem and it happens more frequently than it should for a professional basketball team. These guys are paid to give a 100 percent effort at all times and they certainly haven’t done that for much of the season. At times, they look like a very good basketball team — the first half of this game, for example — but at other times, they don’t even belong on an NBA court.

Irving, Anderson Varejao and Luol Deng need to be better leaders and get this team playing the way they are capable of. There are too many good players on their roster to be this bad of a team.

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