Williams Helps Cavs Fight to Find Urgency Scott Wants

By: T.J. Zuppe

Throughout the early season woes the Cleveland Cavaliers (6-8) have experienced, one common theme that coach Byron Scott has tried to preach to his troops is developing a sense of urgency, both early and late in games.

As Scott’s squad tries to learn and embrace his philosophies, it seems more like an uphill battle. It becomes a war against themselves and coach Scott’s job is not an enviable one.

Cavs Coach Byron Scott

The team has played well in stretches of ballgames, however the Cavs have seemed to struggle internally, as they attempt to put together a full 48-minutes of good play, that is filled with the same level of intensity throughout.

They have also not grasped the importance of the defensive end of the floor, semi-surprising considering the emphasis they had put on defense in the past, under former coach Mike Brown. Scott has tried to teach his guys about how the offense will come, if the effort is put forth defensively.

The Cavs have yet to embrace that.

Even before Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott spoke about two common themes he considered important: Finding that elusive sense of urgency and getting the same effort from the starting-five that they had enjoyed from the bench bunch.

“We are in the early stages of this season,” Scott said. “We still have a long way to go, we’ve made some progress. (It is) about coming out and playing the way we’re capable of playing.”

Although Scott has touched on the amount of patience he possesses and needs to have when taking over a new team, it is not making his job any easier when his unit is not playing with the same level of play during games, that they are during practice. “I know it’s going to take time,” Scott said.

Needing time is one thing. However, the appearance of uninspired sleepwalking is another.

However, time may be growing short for one area of his team. For the Cavs, it has to start with the poor play of the starting-five and finding a way to change that.

“We do have to get more production from our starters and they know that, Scott added. “I’ve made it clear that they need to come out and get us out to a much better start.”

In the 83-81 last-second win over the Bucks, the Cavs starting line-up contributed 53 points, led by guard Mo Williams with 25, delivering the buzzer beating two-pointer, as time expired. It was one of the first times all season that the starters kept the team in the game, without the help of the reserves.

Cavs Guard Mo Williams

“Even as a kid, you count down and shoot it,” Williams said of his game-winner. “It’s a lot of pressure (on you) to take those shots. You have to be willing to take them, to make them… I’m not afraid to miss them”

Williams was able to come alive in the third quarter, scoring 21 points in the second half, en route to a great offensive effort. He also added five assists and single-handedly brought the Cavs back into the ballgame, encompassing the urgency that Scott pleaded for at the outset. His play in the second half brought electricity back to an otherwise dull Quicken Loans Arena, before cashing in on the final shot that sent the Cavs’ faithful home happy.

“We’ll I definitely have to be the guy to make plays but we have other guys that can contribute,” Williams said. “I’ll accept that role. I feel like I have to be that aggressive guy every single night… I got to set the tone.”

Even more importantly, the Cavs used Scott’s defensive philosophy to create easier looks for themselves on offense, in the second half. Williams could not agree more and referenced how important that defensive intensity was.

“Our defense kept it respectable for us to come out and go on a run in the second half, Williams added.

Anthony Parker contributed 14 and Daniel Gibson added 12 off of the bench, in a much better offensive effort.

It is yet to be determined how the team will use the victory, as something to build on or as an anomaly in an otherwise long season. The next step will take place on Friday, when the team travels to Orlando to square off with the Magic.

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe


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