The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a rocky start to their 2019-20 campaign.
After their poor showing against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, an embarrassing 124-100 loss on the road, Cavs head coach John Beilein admitted that he’s may make some changes to his starting lineup.
“We’re going to talk about that,” Beilein said. “It could happen. Who knows what it will be. If the change will come you will know it. As soon as they announce the starting lineups you will all know it.”
The 4-10 Cavs had a horrendous start against the Heat, allowing their opponent to score 75 points in the first half. When the starters didn’t appear to be clicking, Beilein subbed out Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman in order to try and catch up to the Heat.
The aforementioned Cavs players at that time had only made 1-of-17 field goals and scored a measly seven points with five turnovers.
“It was to try to get back in the game,” Beilein said. “That’s like four straight games. We’re way down — 13 down — at the end of the first quarter. Do the math on that and it’s a 52-point loss. Couldn’t keep going that way. They scored around four points per minute in the second quarter and then maybe two points per minute. And we were better. We were moving the ball better.”
While the Cavs did improve after the lineup change, the Heat simply overpowered them. Miami was led by sophomore forward Duncan Robinson, who nailed nine 3-pointers en route to a 29-point career-high performance.
“We just lost people,” Beilein said. “There’s an effort area there. There’s also a communication area. You can’t have quiet dudes out there playing defense and assuming we all can read each other’s mind. If you’re making a mistake then make a mistake because you are talking about the mistake. Duncan Robinson can really shoot — breaking news. How the heck do you get 12 shots off when that’s the deal? So sit down and watch. He didn’t get shots off again, right? They didn’t run anything different. We didn’t. Just an attention to detail that needed to be done.”
Matthew Dellavedova, Jordan Clarkson and Kevin Porter Jr. joined Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. to start off the second half. Though they still lost by a wide margin, there was a marked improvement in the Cavs’ overall performance.
“Really proud of that group that started the second half,” Beilein said. “We really played with a lot of passion and energy. I thought great results through the whole second half. It wore off on everybody, even when we went back to the bench and put some of the starters in. I thought they played better. Live and learn.”
Whether Beilein continues to trust Garland, Sexton and Osman to start in the coming games or not remains to be seen. If the Cavs continue to lose games by double digits, however, a change may be necessary.