Is this what rock bottom feels like for the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Head coaches always have faith. They may question effort and hand out daily tongue-lashings, but they generally believe in their team.
Mike Brown doesn't.
Afterward, Brown ripped into his troops, showing no signs of mercy or optimism.
"Did we fight or not?" Brown said, per the Akron Beacon Journal's Jason Lloyd. "We didn’t fight. That’s disappointing. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again, but I don’t know. I’m not sure with this team yet."
Harsh words befitting a loss like this, where the Cavs seemingly gave up.
The second half was especially excruciating.
Cleveland was outscored 65-30 and allowed the Kings to drill nearly 60 percent of their three-pointers. Sactown actually hit almost as many treys in the second half (10) as the Cavs did overall shots (11). And it's not like the Kings, which rank 20th in three-point percentage, are known for their long-ball prowess either, hence Brown's postgame rant.
Worse still, Brown cannot promise this won't happen again. That his team won't, by all appearances, quit.
"I never thought it would be like this again," he admitted, via Lloyd. "But knowing my team, it could happen again to us. You hope it doesn’t. You hope tonight is a lesson learned."
Blowouts have become an all too familiar sight for Cavs fans, who have also watched their team lose by 29 and 30 points this season. These types of listless, subservient performances aren't what was expected from a team that figured into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Cavs are all in on this season. If they weren't, Luol Deng wouldn't have been pried from the Chicago Bulls. This squad is desperate for a postseason berth, hoping to finally climb out of the hole LeBron James left them in almost four years ago.
Losses like this aren't going to help. They're going to pillage locker-room morale and incite unnecessary drama. They're going to enrage Brown, who has yet to find an answer for Cleveland's laundry list of issues.
They're going to push the Cavs, who are two games off the East's final playoff spot, further and further away from their ultimate goal.
"Like coach said, we just have to bring it in more and be more together during the hard times," Kyrie Irving said, per The Associated Press (via ESPN). "Especially when I am having a bad shooting night. That's part of the game. We just have to continue to compete, including myself."
Sustaining a competitive edge nearly halfway through the season shouldn't be a problem. Not for these Cavs, who should be hungry and determined but have instead lost the faith of their head coach.
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