1. I was at the game Wendesday. It was the first game I've seen live in the post-LeBron era. And after watching this team in person, I can say for myself that this team loses as much as it does -- now eight in a row -- because they play no defense. They score enough to win, but they give up over 100 points in the vast majority of games.
2. Yes, they donâ€™t have any good individual defenders outside of Anderson Varejao. But I'm talking team defense. Watching the Cavs is like watching the Phoenix Suns be really bad at being the Phoenix Suns. I put the blame on Byron Scott for the crippling lack of defense. You have to hammer it in to your players' skulls. Apparently he can't, or won't, do that.
3. You know things have gotten bad for your team when Andrea Bargnani can serve as master tormentor. The No. 1 overall pick from 2006 was unquestionably the best player on the floor Wednesday, scoring 25, adding 8 boards and burying a trio of three-balls.
4. A seven-point Bargnani spurt helped keep the Cavs from pulling away in the second half, after Cleveland had built a 12-point advantage after one quarter. When Bargnani shot free throws on a subsequent possession, he was booed on a level somewhere between DeShawn Stevenson circa 2008 and LeBron back in December. That's where we are. Andrea Bargnani kicks our butts and draws our ire.
5. Jose Calderon is a pain in the butt, too. He scored 20 and dished out 17 assists.
6. Contending teams, if you're reading: Antawn Jamison really, really, REALLY wants to get out of last place. He is leaving every last drop of sweat on the floor to prove that he still has gas in the tank and can help a contender down the stretch. He wants you to know that it will be worth it to pick up the $15-odd million he's owed next year. That's why he scored a game-high 32 with a quintet of three-pointers. Don't make him beg. Just trade for him.
7. This Eyenga kid might be able to ball a bit. In his second NBA game, Christian Eyenga scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He grabbed a couple of boards, committed a couple of turnovers, was called for goaltending on a blocked shot in which his elbow nearly cleared the level of the rim, and overall had a very active 28 minutes. He'll be a rotation regular for the rest of the season if he keeps this up.
Ow, quit it:
Daniel Gibson left the game in the second half after spraining his ankle. He looked to be in a rather large amount of pain. We'll see where this ends up, but you probably know that Gibson and injuries go back a ways. He was just getting over a leg bruise when he suffered the ankle sprain. Anthony Parker missed the game with a bad back. The paint on the rims thanks him.
According to a report from The Plain Dealer, Joe Tait will have heart surgery in February and hopes to be back behind the microphone after the all-star break. Mike Snyder and Jim Chones have done a great job in relief, but we all really want to see Joe back on his perch for at least a few more months before he calls it a career.
That other Ted Williams:
This one isn't a frozen head in a cryogenics lab. This is the Ted Williams who is homeless, but has a voice made for radio announcing. The Columbus man's off-the-cuff audition for a news reporter's camera impressed the Cavs so much, they offered him a job. In a Columbus TV interview, Williams, who is 71, once went to school to become a radio announcer, but drugs and alcohol got in the way and he was never able to regain his lost career. But the audition went viral on the internet, gained the attention of some influential people, and the job offers started coming. In addition to the Cavs, NFL Films is said to be interested in Williams' talents. The same NFL Films that once employed John "The Voice of God" Facenda. If you haven't looked up Williams' roadside audition online, I suggest you do. His voice is the real deal.
The Cavs begin a five-game western swing Friday against Golden State. Tipoff is 10:30 p.m.