Scoreless start digs early rut
The Cavaliers found themselves in a 12-0 hole within four minutes, 45 seconds of the opening tipoff. James missed two free throws, the starters shot 0-of-10 from the field (0-of-4 from the perimeter) and Los Angeles shot 5-of-9 (2-of-4 from the perimeter), bringing a sold-out crowd to a hush.
“I don’t know if it was the (road) trip or not, but it was just like we were in quick sand,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “We weren’t fast, we weren’t getting to the guys, getting to the ball.”
All facets of the game favored the Clippers, as former NCAA Tournament standout Sindarius Thornwell tallied five points, while DeAndre Jordan outmatched Love for four points and four rebounds in the paint.
“I think it was just getting to our second wind in that first quarter,” said Love. “I think when we started, we missed a dozen shots. It wasn’t pretty. After a long road trip like that, it can be tough.”
“A game like tonight is so tough because DeAndre is so athletic. We know what he does on the offensive and defensive glass.”
Blake Griffin failed to score throughout the one-sided run, but notched five rebounds and dished off a pair of assists, constantly keeping the heads of the home five on a swivel.
“You never want to dig yourself a hole,” Lue said. “We know we have to play better to start the games. The good thing is we continue to keep fighting.”
Whether it was a lackadaisical effort or the nature of facing a team trying to break out of a six-game losing skid, the Cavs appeared to be in a major funk on both sides of the ball in the early stages of the contest.
“I don’t know what it is,” said Love. “The start hasn’t been there for us consistently in games.”