Cavs’ Osman on loss to Minnesota: ‘We’re upset we lost because we fought really hard’

The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to build off Saturday’s win over the Wizards as they hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night.

Of course, Cleveland was still without Darius Garland(back), Caris LeVert(foot), and Rajon Rondo(toe).

After trailing by 23 points in the third, the Cavs(36-25) tied the score at 122 late in the fourth, but Karl-Anthony Towns hit a three with 12.4 seconds left to give Minnesota(33-29) a 127-122 victory at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the loss, Cleveland’s eight-game home winning streak was snapped. 

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Minnesota.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Kevin Love was 2/15 from the floor, including 1/9 from deep in the last two games. He broke out of his little shooting slump Monday night, and he helped lead the comeback. Love scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including five threes. He also had five rebounds and four assists. 

-Cedi Osman was also big-time off the Cavs’ bench. He scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth and made the game-tying three late in the fourth. Unfortunately, he missed a three with a chance to tie with 04.6 seconds left.

Osman also added five assists and was a huge reason the Cavs had a chance at the end.

-Brandon Goodwin did his job Monday night. He recorded the first double-double of his career with 17 points and a career-high 12 assists. Goodwin also had just one turnover, and he added four rebounds. 

-Jarrett Allen had another efficient night as he had 21 points(9/10 FG) and eight rebounds. 

-Rookie Evan Mobley registered his second straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mobley has three double-doubles in the last four games, and he also had four assists and two blocks Monday night.

First Quarter: Cleveland got off to a great start against the Timberwolves. They shot 52% from the floor and got a big performance from Jarrett Allen, who scored 10 points on 4/5 shooting. In addition, they forced four turnovers, which led to nine points. Ultimately, the Cavs led 37-26 after one quarter.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs cut Minnesota’s 23-point lead to 13 at the end of the third and continued to battle in the fourth. Cleveland went on a 13-4 run to cut the lead to 105-101, and they went on to tie the game at 122 late in the quarter.

In the final quarter, the Cavs shot 50% from the floor and almost pulled off the comeback.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Second Quarter: The Cavs struggled on the defensive end in the second quarter. Cleveland allowed Minnesota to shoot 68% from the field. The Cavs got a little sloppy with the ball as they turned it over seven times in the quarter, which led to 14 points for the Timberwolves. Minnesota would score 38 points in the quarter and take a 64-61 lead at halftime.

Third Quarter:  After getting outscored by 14 points in the second quarter, Cleveland did not do much better in the third quarter. Minnesota went on a 29-9 run to start the third and took their largest lead of 23 points. The Timberwolves shot 60% from the floor, including 58%(7/12) from three-point range. Minnesota would outscore Cleveland 37-27 in the quarter and took a 101-88 lead into the fourth.

-Turnovers: Cleveland had a season-high-tying 22 turnovers Monday night, which led to 35 points for Minnesota. When you’re down two point guards, this is understandable. However, you have to do a better job protecting the ball.

Defense: Cleveland, who allows a league-best 102.7 ppg, allowed 101 points after three quarters. In addition, Cleveland allowed Minnesota to shoot 55% from the floor, including 18 threes. The Timberwolves scored 50 points in the paint. 

Bottom Line:

The Cavs got close, but they just could not get over the hump against Minnesota. We all know how the Cavs must defend to win without Garland and LeVert, and that did not happen Monday night. To their credit, Cleveland never gave up in this one, but hey, no moral victories for this team; they need wins.

Cleveland(fifth-seed) is now 4.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot in the East, but they may have to worry about what’s behind them. The sixth-seeded Celtics(36-27) are one game behind Cleveland, and the Raptors(33-27), who are the seventh seed, are now 2.5 games behind the Cavs, so Cleveland, despite the injuries, has to win.

“We’re upset we lost because we fought really hard,” Osman said. “I apologize for that last shot. I have to be better in those positions.”

What’s Next:

The Cavs conclude their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Hornets.

Best of the Rest:

Minnesota had six players in double figures led by D’Angelo Russell’s 25 points, and Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Jaden McDaniels had 17 points apiece.

Cleveland also had six players in double figures.

Watch below as Love reacts to loss to Minnesota:

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on loss to Pistons: ‘I didn’t think we had enough players who were locked into doing what we needed to do to win’

Fresh off the All-Star break, the Cleveland Cavaliers came into Detroit to battle the Pistons, missing some serious firepower. Darius Garland(back) and Caris LeVert(foot) were out. LeVert is expected to miss 1-2 weeks, and Garland will undergo treatment and rehabilitation over the next couple of days and his return to basketball activities will be updated as appropriate, according to the team.

Without Garland and LeVert, others had to step up, which unfortunately did not happen. After four Cade Cunningham free throws gave the Pistons a 106-103 lead, Cleveland had three chances to tie the game, but Lauri Markkanen, Brandon Goodwin, and Evan Mobley all missed threes on the final possession, and the Pistons would hold on to defeat the Cavs 106-103 at Little Caesars Arena Thursday night.

The Cavs(35-24) have lost three straight, while the Pistons(14-45) have won two in a row.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Pistons.

The Great for the Cavs:

Lauri Markkanen returned after missing 11 games with an ankle injury and was solid. While he did not shoot it well(6-16 FG), he scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth and gave Cleveland the lead late with a free throw. He also had six rebounds.

-Brandon Goodwin gave the Cavs a lift off the bench. He had 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists. In the last five games, Goodwin had a combined 19 points. Without Garland, the Cavs needed Goodwin to shine, and he did just that.

-Fight in the fourth: The Cavs got down by as many as 11 points in the fourth but went on a 17-5 run to take a 103-102 lead. During that run, Markkanen scored eight of the 17 points. 

First Quarter: Cleveland got the start they wanted against the Pistons. The Cavs shot 53% from the floor, including 56% from three-point range. Cedi Osman led the way with nine points in the first, and Cleveland had a 33-27 lead after one. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Free throw line:  The Cavs had issues at the line Thursday night. They missed 11 free throws(23/34), and when you’re down two quality players in Garland and LeVert, you need to make your free throws.

Kevin Love/Cedi Osman: Cleveland needed Love to be what he’s been all season long, and unfortunately, that was not the case Thursday night. Love was 1/5 from the floor and finished with four points and five rebounds off the bench. In addition, Osman was scoreless in the final three quarters after scoring nine points in the first. Combined, Osman and Love were 3/12 from the field.

Fourth Quarter:  The Cavs took an 82-80 lead into the fourth, but Cleveland went cold. They were 7/20(35%) from the floor, including 3/10 from deep. Detroit led by as many as 11 in the quarter, which was their largest lead of the game. Cleveland took a 103-102 lead with just over a minute to go. However, the Pistons closed out the game on a 4-0 run. 

Bottom Line:

Cleveland had struggled before the break, and they struggled Thursday night. The Cavs usually handle their business against bad teams, and coming into this game; they were 19-9 against sub .500 teams. 

However, this is Cleveland’s second straight loss to the Pistons. 

While the loss is understandable, it’s not acceptable, especially with the Cavs in the middle of a tight playoff race.

As for the Eastern Conference standings, the fifth-seeded Cavs are now tied with the fourth-seeded Bucks(35-24). They are one game ahead of the sixth-seeded Celtics(35-26) and two games ahead of the seventh-seed, the Toronto Raptors(32-25).

We all know this team is young, and we know they don’t have their best scorers, but the goals and objectives of this season have now changed, and at this point, every game matters.

We know LeVert could be out 1-2 weeks, but Garland seems as if he will be in and out of the lineup the rest of the way. According to Bickerstaff, the All-Star Game did not impact Garland’s availability, but in hindsight, maybe they could have reduced his minutes. Garland played 24 minutes in that contest. However, he did earn that opportunity, so it’s understandable.

“I didn’t think we had enough players who were locked into doing what we needed to do to win the game,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “What’s disappointing is that I felt like that’s how we went into the break and now how we are coming out of it.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland will return home Saturday night to play the Wizards as they begin a three-game homestand at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

-Detroit had six players in double figures led by Hamidou Diallo 21 points; Cade Cunningham added 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Jerami Grant and Marvin Bagley III chipped in with 16 points apiece.

-Cleveland also had six players in double figures, including all five starters. Evan Mobley and Rajon Rondo had 12 points apiece. Rondo added nine assists and Mobley chipped in with eight rebounds and three blocks. 

Listen below as Markkanen reacts to the loss to the Pistons:

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on Love: ‘There was no doubt in our mind that when he was going to the free-throw line, he was going to make them both’

The Cleveland Cavaliers returned to action Friday night as they traveled to Charlotte to battle the Hornets.

Cleveland, who was coming off a disappointing loss to the Rockets Wednesday night, led by as many as 17 points in the fourth, but Charlotte would storm back and take a 101-98 lead after a Kelly Oubre Jr. three with 46.2 seconds left. However, Jarrett Allen would have a tip-in, and with 01.2 seconds left, Kevin Love would get fouled by Terry Rozier. Ultimately, Love would make two free throws, and the Cavs would defeat the Hornets 102-101 at Spectrum Center.

The Cavs(32-21) are 1.5 games behind the Bulls for the best record in the Eastern Conference, while the Hornets(28-25) have lost three straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Hornets.

The Great for the Cavs:

-After not getting the call for the All-Star Game, Jarrett Allen was a possessed man Friday night. He had a career-high 29 points and grabbed 22 rebounds(career-high 11 offensive rebounds). 

The five-year veteran had a double-double at halftime(15 points and 11 rebounds). This was Allen’s third career 20-20 game. Allen acted as if he had something to prove, and yes, Jarrett Allen, you’re an All-Star. 

-Kevin Love had another strong performance off the bench. After scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the loss to Houston. The five-time All-Star had 25 points, including six threes and nine rebounds Friday night. Also, Love made two clutch free throws with 01.2 seconds left to give the Cavs the win. He’s scored 20-plus points in four out of the last six games.

-Brandon Goodwin started at point guard for the injured Darius Garland(back), and he played well. Goodwin had 12 points, including fours, nine assists, and four steals. He had career-highs in assists, steals, and three-pointers made Friday night.

Second Quarter: Cleveland trailed 31-22 after one quarter. The Hornets pushed their lead to 37-27, and Cleveland went on a 13-3 run to tie things up at 40. The defense stiffened in the second. The Cavs held the Hornets to 4/20(20%) shooting from the field, and they created seven turnovers, leading to 10 points. Cleveland outscored the Hornets 30-15 in the quarter and led 52-46 at halftime.

Third Quarter:  Kevin Love came alive in third. He scored 11 points in the quarter, including four threes. Again, Cleveland held the Hornets below 20 points(19) in a quarter, and Charlotte shot 0/6 from deep. Cleveland took a 17-point lead in the third and led 76-65 at the end of three.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Ed Davis: Well, it’s not his fault, but in the fourth, and the Cavs leading 90-80 with just under five minutes left, things got interesting.

After Dean Wade stepped out of bounds and the whistle was blown, Cleveland’s Ed Davis, who did not enter the game Friday night, touched Terry Rozier who was shooting a three. However, because Davis touched Rozier, he was called for interference, and Charlotte was awarded three points. In addition, Davis was issued a technical. Rozier made the free throw, and the Hornets cut the lead to 90-84.

Following the game, the officials acknowledged that they had made a mistake, and Rozier should not have been awarded the three points.

Bottom Line:

Wow! That was a fantastic game and a frantic finish. However, this was a quality win for the Cavs. Allen was extraordinary, and Love was clutch. The Cavs have been winning ugly without Garland in the lineup, and that’s okay.

Back to Allen, he sent a clear message to the league. More than likely, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant won’t play in the All-Star Game, so commissioner Adam Silver will have to name a replacement. Well, Mr. Silver, if you’re watching, Allen is your guy.

“He’s Kevin Love. There was no doubt in our mind that when he was going to the free-throw line, he was going to make them both,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said about Love’s game-winning free throws.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home Sunday to battle the Pacers.

Best of the Rest:

-Rozier led the Hornets with 24 points; Oubre Jr. had 21 points and nine rebounds, and LaMelo Ball chipped in with 15 points.

-Cleveland is 10-3 in their last 13 games.

Watch below as Love talks win over Hornets:

Cavs sign Goodwin to two-way contract, waive Tacko Fall

The Cleveland Cavaliers converted guard Brandon Goodwin into a two-way contract and waived center Tacko Fall, the team announced Sunday.

Goodwin, 26, was signed to a 10-day contract on December 31 and has appeared in three games for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 7.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 22.7 minutes. Goodwin also appeared in seven games (five starts) this season for the Westchester Knicks, the NBA G-League affiliate of the New York Knicks, averaging 15.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.86 steals in 35.1 minutes.

 Last season with the Hawks, Goodwin appeared in 47 games (five starts) and averaged 4.9 points and 2.0 assists in 13.2 minutes. In three previous NBA seasons (2018-2021), Goodwin spent time in Denver and Atlanta.

The 7-6 Fall appeared in 11 games (one start) for the Cavaliers this season. Fall, 26, signed with the team in September and signed a two-way deal with the Cavs in October.

He has also appeared in five games (five starts) for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs G League affiliate, and averaged 18.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks in 27.3 minutes.