Yesterday, based on my past research with my buddy Chris, I predicted that the Wizards would take it to the Cavaliers last night. The Wizards were already locked into the 2nd lottery position, while the Cavs could still move up or down. Well, I was right. The Cavs looked good to start the game and then slowly faded away.
Our research shows that teams who haven’t clinched play worse than teams that have. In other words, they tank. However, we haven’t determined how they do it. Are players actually trying to lose, or is it all personnel decisions? Last night’s game gave us some evidence for the latter:
- Of the Cavaliers starters, only Alonzo Gee played >20 minutes.
- Every Wizards starter played at least 23 minutes.
- Kyrie Irving played just 10 minutes for the Cavaliers.
- The Cavs were winning for 27 – 21 at the end of the first, and only down four at halftime. Irving did not play after the first quarter, and the Cavs lost by 11.
Here are some unbelievable quotes from the ESPN recap:
- “Irving missed the Cavs’ morning shootaround with the stomach flu, and the club sent out a release saying the 20-year-old was ‘doubtful’ for the season’s final home game.”
- “But Irving was determined to play as a way of thanking Cleveland’s fans, and after warming up he was cleared by Cleveland’s medical staff. The final decision, though, was left to coach Byron Scott and general manager Chris Grant . . .”
- “Scott said Irving will sit out Thursday’s season finale in Chicago.”
Here’s the translation:
- The Cavs management came up with a BS excuse to keep Irving out of the game in an attempt to lose.
- Irving really wanted to play for the fans sake, since it was the last home game. Management hemmed and hawed but eventually let him play (for 10 minutes).
- Management has ALREADY decided that Irving will sit out tomorrow, since they can still improve their lottery position.
This is worse than I thought. The Cavs could have at least spun a yarn about a nagging ankle sprain or something. The flu? Playing with the flu poses no long term risks. And how do they know he will still have the flu tomorrow? I seriously think things are coming to a head here. In this instance, you have a player who wanted to give his fans one more win at home. Management ended that with a pretty lame excuse. I can’t blame them given the current draft structure. Most Cavs fans are probably happy too. So why is everyone still giving us double talk?