Following a 99-90 home loss against the Phoenix Suns—a game the Cleveland Cavaliers led at one point by 20 points—head coach Mike Brown ripped into his team, saying they should be “embarrassed” by their second-half play.
“It was hard to watch,” Brown said, according to Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer. “Very disappointing. Our guys should be embarrassed of the way we played in the second half.”
After a thoroughly dominant first half of play, the Cavs led Phoenix 61-43 heading into halftime. They appeared poised to cruise to a W at Quicken Loans Arena, but scored a pathetic six points in the third quarter and just 29 second-half points overall.
The Suns took advantage of Cleveland’s collapse behind a 27-point, 15-rebound effort off the bench from Markieff Morris.
“We were getting embarrassed,” Morris said, per the Associated Press via ESPN. “Everybody knew it. That’s why we said if we were going to lose, we were going to go down fighting.”
Apparently the Cavaliers thought the Suns were going to roll over and die, because they played as if the Monstars stole their talent in the locker room during halftime.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth and we didn’t fight back,” Kyrie Irving said, per Valade’s article.
“This hurts. This really hurts,” new addition Luol Deng said. “I never want to say sometimes it’s good for you. I don’t want to go there. But at some point, I think, as a team, we’ve got to realize that we can’t allow that to happen.”
Cavs forward Tristan Thompson added his take after the loss, echoing coach Brown’s sentiment that it was an embarrassing effort:
We’ve got to figure this out, and we’ve got to figure it out quick because we can’t have games like that — especially at home. It’s embarrassing to us and to the fans and to our organization to come out like that. We’ve got to take that personal, because if we don’t we’ll have more situations like that.
This isn’t the first time Brown has scolded his team for poor play. Following a 124-80 thrashing at the hands of the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 12, the worst loss of any team this season, Brown had some choice words for his squad.
“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.”
Well, it’s a good thing Brown specified that he wasn’t sure, because that lack of “fight” happened again two weeks later. Their record now sits at 16-28.
After the blowout loss against the Kings, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale had questioned whether the Cavs had hit rock bottom.
Regardless of whether that was indeed "rock bottom" or not, the Cavaliers aren’t doing much to prove they aren't bottom-dwellers in the Eastern Conference.