Despite a big night from LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost for the first time after eight consecutive wins, 108-105 to the Milwaukee Bucks in a double overtime performance.
Despite the impressive offensive performance from James and Kevin Love, maybe the thing that resonated the most after the game was the time out call with the game tied at 96-96 in the first overtime that ruined an opportunity for the Cavaliers to win the game. With 7.4 seconds remaining in overtime, Matthew Dellavedova grabbed a rebound and dished the ball to James, who was picking up speed and charging towards the basket. He was stopped by a whistle; timeout being called.
I blew the whistle with 7.4 seconds because I was in my action refereeing the play, and off to the side I heard Cleveland’s bench ask for a timeout. I granted them the timeout, at which I looked at the head coach David Blatt and realized that he hadn’t asked for the timeout.I made an inadvertent whistle, which allowed the offensive team to call a timeout, and, in fact, they wanted a timeout and asked for a timeout.
Turns out the guys calling for a timeout weren’t eligible to call it, but Davis wasn’t looking. He just heard. The players on the court, Blatt, James, Dellavedova; none of them were asking for it. In fact, the plan was to not ask for one, so the Bucks good half court defense couldn’t set itself up for a final play.
Coach said if we get a stop, then go ahead and go, because they might expect us to call a timeout. We got a stop, Delly got the rebound, outletted to me and I had a full steam, and we had an inadvertent whistle, so I’m guessing that they heard someone call timeout. But the rules, I know the rules, and only the head coach can call a timeout, and Coach Blatt didn’t call a timeout, so, you know, it’s over and done with now.
The Cavaliers can’t blame the loss just on the timeout from nowhere called by Chief official Marc Davis. The Cavs fell too far behind in the double overtime game, needing a nice little rally in the fourth quarter to force the extra period, and LeBron James struggled with Jerryd Bayless guarding him in the second overtime, holding him scoreless in the final 3:15 of the game.
James did finish the game with 37 points in 45 minutes, including 12 rebounds and 5 assists, but maybe the need for him to do so much is what had the Cavaliers struggling so much throughout the game against a team that’s been hitting its stride of late, and when in full health, provides a big problem with its length and size, led by Bayless and Michael Carter-Williams, each scoring 17. Five more players finished in double figures, while only three more (including Kevin Love scoring 24 points) had 10 or more for Cleveland.
A loss after eight in a row isn’t a big deal. Combining that with the two point loss to the Bulls on opening night, and the Cavs don’t really have something to think over and say is actually dysfunctioning. They’re not the Golden State Warriors, or at least no capable of reaching that kind of basketball level at the moment, with Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert still out. The timeout called might have ruined a win but in the grand scheme of things, it’s meaningless.