November 27, 2014

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Cavaliers: Focus turns to Coach Byron Scott after another loss

CLEVELAND — Cavaliers coach Byron Scott is no longer simply fielding questions about his team’s latest loss. He’s being asked about his job security.

That topic came up Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs dropped their season-high 10th straight game, a 113-95 debacle against the Brooklyn Nets in which Cleveland trailed by 30 points at halftime.

“Not really,” Scott said when asked if he was worried about his job. “I’ve always had the attitude that whatever happens, happens.”

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What happened against the Nets (43-31), who were minus starters Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, dropped the Cavs to 22-52. Cleveland, which has been playing without starters Anderson Varejao and Dion Waters, has lost 12 of its last 13 and 14 of its last 16.

The Cavs are 62-160 (.279) in almost three full seasons under Scott, who is under contract through the 2013-14 season.

When asked if the players had quit on Scott, 21-year-old point guard Kyrie Irving responded, “I think you should ask them. I’m not going to be the one to answer that.”

After Scott praised his team’s effort in a 102-94 loss in Atlanta on Sunday, the Cavs barely showed up against the Nets. Brooklyn was up 66-36 at intermission, at which time it was shooting .730 from the field (27-for-37) and 7-for-10 on 3-pointers.

The Nets made an incredible 15 of 18 shots (.833) in a 38-point second quarter, which was two more points than Cleveland had in the entire half.

“That was probably one of the worst halves we’ve had in a while,” Scott said. “I mean just from an energy and effort standpoint, period.”

Most of the damage was done by New Jersey’s starting backcourt of MarShon Brooks and Deron Williams, the duo finishing with 51 points on 20-for-30 shooting and 15 assists.

Shooting guard Brooks had a career-high 27 points on 12-for-16 shooting and a career-high seven assists in 37 minutes, while point guard Williams had 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting and eight assists in just 27 minutes.

In the first half, the duo had 37 points — one more than the Cavs — on 15-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-4 from behind the arc. Brooks had 19 of the points and made all nine of his shot attempts.

Williams made a pair of 3-pointers and threw down his first dunk of the season in the second quarter, when Brooklyn’s starting backcourt scored 21 points on 8-for-8 shooting.

Whether they were playing zone or man-to-man — it could be argued they were playing no defense at all — the Cavs basically stood around and watched.

“Nowadays, playing hard seems to be a skill,” Scott said. “To me, playing hard is your job, simple as that.”

Marreese Speights led the Cavs with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes, while Irving had 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting and six assists in 28 minutes. Irving had just five points on 2-for-9 shooting at halftime.

Nets power forward Regie Evans, meanwhile, finished with 18 rebounds in 27 minutes, or three more boards than Cleveland’s starting front line had in 82 minutes.

Despite all that, Scott was adamant he had not lost his players.

“We just didn’t show any life,” he said. “The energy and effort just weren’t there, for whatever reason.”

Next up

  • WHO: Cleveland vs. Boston
  • WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: TD Garden, Boston
  • TV/RADIO: FS Ohio; WMMS 100.7-FM

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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