The Cleveland Cavs (21-45) hit the skids again and they’ve been fade-worthy material in recent weeks with an 0-8 against the spread clip during their losing streak.
Last night, the Cavs were steamrolled by Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, who handed them their eighth-straight loss, in a 36-point blowout. Dame lit up the porous Cavs’ defense for 32 points and six 3-pointers.
The Cavs had a decent start to the season at 9-9, but they’ve gone 12-36 since then, including a 10-game losing streak that sent their season off the rails. Only the Detroit Pistons (19-47) hold a worse record in the Eastern Conference. Only three total NBA teams won fewer games than the Cavs with 21 victories.
With the Cavs focused on finishing off the season and their final six games as quickly as possible, they offer up tremendous value if you like to fade teams in the middle of a losing streak. The Cavs are the second-worst team in the NBA against the spread with a 24-42 ATS record. They’re 1-11 ATS in their last dozen games, including 0-8 ATS during their skid. Fading the Cavs on a nightly basis has been a profitable venture for NBA bettors, especially in the last couple of months.
Where’s the D?
Prior to their losing streak, the Cavs had a mid-tier defense and ranked #15 overall. However, during their eight-game skid, the Cavs played Swiss cheese defense allowing 121.1 ppg.
You can give up a bunch of points if you have a potent offense, but that’s not the Cavs. They’re an offensively-challenged squad and the second-worst offense in the NBA, generating only 104.1 ppg. They went north of 110 points only twice during the streak, including a 134-118 overtime loss against the Phoenix Suns. The short-handed Cavs lost by 16 points in overtime and tallied just two points in the OT frame, which pretty much sums up how bad they’ve played down the stretch.
“We ran out of gas,” said Cleveland head coach JB Bickerstaff. “Our guys gave us what they had. Phoenix made us pay for some mistakes early in OT.”
Kevin Love appeared in 23 games with the Cavs this season, but he’s a shell of his former self. Love averages only 11.6 ppg and 7.0 rebounds per game. He had been averaging 17-plus points per game the last few seasons with Cleveland.
Collin Sexton has been a one-man wrecking crew, averaging 24.3 points and 4.2 assists per game. Darius Garland provides a scoring boost with 17.7 points and 6.2 assists per game. But aside from their guards, no one else has stepped up with steady play.
Rookie Isaac Okoro recently had a breakout game, which gave Cleveland fans a glimmer of hope for the future after a slow start. Okoro dropped a career-high 32 points in the OT-loss against the Suns.
“Okoro is finally finding his way,” said Bickerstaff.
On Deck: Dallas, Indiana, Boston
The Cavs have just six games remaining — all of them against playoff-bound teams, or teams fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament.
The Cavs square off against the Dallas Mavericks (37-28) twice over the weekend in an away/home series. On Friday, the Cavs fly to Dallas to battle Luka Doncic and the Mavs. On Sunday, the Cavs host the Mavs in Cleveland.
Next week, the Cavs host the Indiana Pacers (30-35), who currently sit in the #9 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. They also host the Boston Celtics (35-31) in Cleveland as their final home game of the season.
The Cavs finish the season with a pair of road games next weekend against the surging Washington Wizards (30-36) and the Brooklyn Nets (43-23).