November 20, 2013

We’re talking ‘bout practice …

Remain Calm … After their second straight loss at The Q – dropping a 98-91 decision to the Wizards -- the Cavaliers got back in the gym before heading out for a weekend back-to-back. They take on the Pelicans in New Orleans on Friday night and then play the Western Conference champs in San Antonio.

(It doesn’t get any easier when they return on Wednesday, playing the Eastern Conference and NBA Champion Miami Heat the night before Thanksgiving.)

It hasn’t been pretty at times so far this season, but there’s no need to panic according to the Cavs coach.

“Don’t get me wrong, we want to win games while we’re going through this process; nobody likes to lose,” said Brown. “I don’t know if I’m a guy that’ll panic, anyway. What does panicking do for you? I have a job and my job is to help this team get better, try to win some games. And if I panic, they’re going to panic and it’d just be chaotic, so I don’t care where we are, I’m not going to do that.”

The Cavaliers continue to be a work in progress. They recently named C.J. Miles the starting shooting guard and less than three minutes into Wednesday’s game, he suffered a right calf strain. Miles will not travel with the team Thursday and will remain in Cleveland for treatment at Cleveland Clinic Courts.

(In other injury news, Tyler Zeller, still recovering from a right ankle sprain, will travel with the team and is listed as questionable for Friday’s matchup in the Big Easy.)

The Cavs came into the season with greater expectations than they’ve faced in the previous three seasons. But that’s not something Coach Brown or his longest-tenured player intend to shy away from.

“There should be a lot of expectations,” asserted Mike Brown. “I didn’t take this job to just say, ‘Hey, I’m OK just getting 10th (place) because that’s an improvement over last year. I took this job because I think we can get to the playoffs. Is it going to be a process? Yes. Is it going to happen overnight? No. But I didn’t take the job hoping that there wouldn’t be expectations on us, because that’s what you compete for.”

“It’s still early in the season, but we have to figure it out now,” added Anderson Varejao, who tallied his 74th career double-double on Wednesday night. “We don’t want to keep losing games that we’re supposed to win and then really complicate our situation. I really believe that we can still make the playoffs and surprise a lot of people.”

With Andrew Bynum now officially in the starting lineup, Varejao bolsters an already-efficient Cavaliers second unit – one that’s averaging 33.0 points per contest and has outscored the opponent’s reserves in 10 of Cleveland’s first 12 games.

Mike Brown also indicated that if he gets a thumbs-up from the medical team that Bynum could see action in both games this weekend. Up until this point, Bynum had been sitting out the second game of back-to-back contests.

The Wine and Gold will need everything they can get over the next three games and beyond. The schedule was tough, but it’s about to get a lot tougher. If the Cavs are going to find their rhythm, this would be the time to do it.

Listen as Anderson Varejao and Head Coach Mike Brown discuss Thursday's practice with the media.


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