The commonly used expression, "it's better to be lucky than good" may not be more true than for the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Unfortunately, most of the first month of the season has seen Cleveland be good at times, but not lucky enough to win game that were there for the taking. While the Cavaliers have had their fair share of bad losses, there have also been plenty of games that could have been won, but slipped away into the loss column, and against some of the NBA's better teams as well.
Early on in the month, Cleveland came back to tie the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, only to see Brandon Jennings beat the buzzer with a three-point shot for the win. A week later, the Cavaliers had a 26-point lead against the Phoenix Suns, yet allowed a large run in the second half, eventually losing by two.
More recently, fans have seen the team play well on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers, limiting them to just 86 points and 42% shooting, but still lost the game 86-79.
Against their last three opponents, the Cavaliers have been leading, and playing well, but have not had luck go their way down the stretch. Last Friday, against the Orlando Magic, Cleveland held the lead for the majority of the game, and even trailed by only one with just over two minutes remaining, but allowed an offensive rebound on a missed three, which led to a successful attempt from long range to pull away for a four-point win.
Again, against the defending champions Miami Heat, the Cavaliers played a competitive game, but could not close it out, despite leading by seven with under two minutes to go. Then last night, against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team with the NBA's best record this season, Cleveland led for the majority of the contest, but could not score down the stretch, allowing 10-2 run and picking up a disappointing 84-78 loss.
It is hard to make an argument that this team is not making progress. They are a young team, competing in the majority of the games they play, and have put in some impressive performances. While there is questions about the bench, in terms of holding a lead while the starters rest, there have been flashes from the second unit.
The problem has been, everything has not fallen into place at the same time, with the win over the Los Angeles Clippers maybe the exception. While the injury to Kyrie Irving (another unfortunate part of this young season) has hurt the Cavaliers, it cannot be put at fault either, as there have been signs the last few games without him. It has really just been unfortunate circumstances, whether a bad bounce, players not being on the same page at the right moment, or the opponent making big shots, that have really sunk Cleveland in these close games.
Many people say that you make your own luck, and tonight the Cavaliers will hope they can start doing just that, as the Suns come to Quicken Loans Arena. After giving up the big lead in the last game, Cleveland will be wary and look to hold any lead they manage. They will also hope that they can start building that "luck", so that some of that "good" fans have seen transfers to wins.
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