Cavaliers lose by one against the Utah Jazz, More Thoughts on John Lucas’s Claims, Blue Jackets get shut out by Blackhawks

Good Morning Sports Fans!

The Cleveland Cavaliers continued their road trip last night but saw their win streak end with a 97-96 loss to the Utah Jazz. In a game filled with leads being traded back and forth throughout the final quarter of play, the Cavaliers ended up losing when Jazz rookie Sundiata Gaines sank a three pointer at the end of regulation for the win. Gaines was only playing in his fifth NBA game and made an impact with the three pointer.

Despite going on a 22-4 run early on in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers struggled at the free throw line and could not clinch the win. Lebron James scored 20 points in the fourth quarter (he would finish with 36 on the night) but it wasn’t enough as Zydrunas Illgauskus and Anthony Parker could not convert on both free throw attempts later on in the fourth quarter. The miss free throws allowed Utah to stay within arm’s reach of the game and put the Cavaliers on their toes.

The Cavaliers are a team that tends to start games off quickly but end up cooling off as the game goes on. This game was no exception as the Cavaliers finished the first half with a 47-40 lead. The Cavaliers started to see the lead dissipate come the second half and were outscored by the Jazz at this time.

If the Cavaliers want to be a great team in the NBA, they cannot let games like this slip away. Utah is a good team but with a lead at halftime and an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers should have won this ball game. The Cavaliers will be facing tough teams down the stretch as we get close to the end of the regular season and the playoffs and they will need to play more consistently on both sides of the ball.

As stated in an earlier column, reports surfaced on Thursday that former Cavaliers head coach John Lucas made claims that the 2002-2003 Cavaliers tanked the season on purpose as a way to increase their chances of drafting Lebron James. Former Cavaliers majority owner Gordon Gund has denied the team’s intention to purposely end up in last place for that season but we will probably never know the truth.

Even though there are reasons supporting Lucas’s claim, it’s unclear what he is trying to accomplish by accusing the Cavaliers of tanking the 2002-2003 season.  The Cavaliers have long since moved on without Lucas and never considered bringing him back in as head coach. Even when Paul Silas when Dan Gilbert took over as majority owner of the team, Lucas was never considered as a candidate for the vacant position. The front office has changed a bit since the 2002-2003 but even so, the new faces in the Cavaliers upper management have never been interested in bringing Lucas back to lead the Cavaliers and Lebron James.

Lucas claims the Cavaliers made it difficult for him to win by trading away talented players, however, history shows Lucas already had a lack of success as an NBA head coach. As an NBA head coach, Lucas has a 174-258 record and has never coached a team for more than a season and a half. Lucas was let go for a reason and has never been hired as a head coach since being fired by the Cavaliers.

While Lucas might be upset he never had the opportunity to coach Lebron James, there is no telling whether or not he would have been successful with King James on the team. Even with Lebron on the team, the Cavaliers were still ways away from making the playoffs and had lots of rebuilding to do.  The Cavaliers obviously did not feel Lucas was the right person to take the team through that process and there is no telling whether or not he would have won with James on the team. Paul Silas was obviously not the right coach to lead the Cavaliers through that process nor was Brendan Malone when serving as an interim when Silas was fired. Lucas can cry all he wants about not getting to coach Lebron James but with his track record, there is no telling whether or not he could have carried and developed the Cavaliers to where they are now.

Lucas can point fingers at Gordon Gund all he wants but what he will accomplish by doing that is still a mystery.

Moving on to NHL hockey now, the Columbus Blue Jackets divisional woes continued last night as they were shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Last night’s games was the second straight loss the Blue Jackets have had against a divisional foe.

With strong goaltending by Blackhawks goaltender Cristobel Huet, Chicago was able to dominate for the entire length of this game. Huet made 24 saves as the Blue Jackets failed to get any momentum going on offense. The Blue Jackets have struggled on offense this season and last night was no exception.

The Blackhawks took an early lead in this hockey game when Brian Cambell scored with a little over a minute played in the first period.

Chicago would not strike again until the second period when Dustin Byfuglien would put one past Mathieu Garon to take a 2-0 lead.

In the third period, the Blackhawks would seal the deal with a goal by Duncan Keith for the 3-0 victory.

Throughout this season, the Jackets have played poorly on offense and against teams that have great goaltending and strong defense, Columbus has struggled. With the trade deadline approaching, the Blue Jackets will have to consider making some trades to improve the offensive core of this team. The Jackets need to solidify their second and third lines a bit better and add more offensive threats.

That’s it for now. Keep it real.

Jeff

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~ by jeffrsabo on January 15, 2010.

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