Cavs fall to shorthanded Warriors

The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the shorthanded Golden State Warriors on Friday night. The Warriors, who lost to the Celtics on Thursday night in OT, were without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins due to rest. 

However, none of that mattered.

After trailing by double-digits for most of the second half, the Cavs, who were down by as many as 20 points, cut the Warriors’ lead to four with two minutes left in the fourth, but Ty Jerome hit a three on the next possession, and the Warriors defeated the Cavs 120-114 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland(28-19), who was without Donovan Mitchell(groin) for the second straight game, have lost two straight and three out of their last four.

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

Darius Garland led the way for Cleveland with 31 points, nine assists, and two steals. Eighteen of Garland’s 31 points came in the first half. He didn’t shoot it that great(10/25 FG, 3/11 3-PT FG), but he did his part.

Defense: Cleveland gave up 120 points to Ty Jerome, Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, and others. Golden State lit them up from downtown. The Warriors made 23 threes and shot 54% from deep. Poole(5) and Jerome(3) made a combined eight threes. WOW!!

Rebounding: The Warriors outrebounded the Cavs 45-35. That’s unacceptable. That means you let Golden State outwork you!!

Third Quarter: Golden State shot 58% from the field, including 60% from deep in the third. The Warriors had their largest lead of 20 points in the quarter. Again, they just wanted it more!!

Even without Mitchell, this loss is super unacceptable. The Warriors sat pretty much their whole starting lineup. In many ways, the Warriors were willing to give this game up, but crazy things happen in the NBA.

This was the Cavs’ worst performance of the season! Again, Unacceptable!!

What’s Next:

Cavs host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Poole led the Warriors with a game-high 32 points; Jerome had 22 points, DiVincenzo added 17 points, and Kevon Looney chipped in with four points and 17 rebounds. 

Golden State had six players in double figures.

-For the Cavs, Caris LeVert had 22 points, including five threes. Evan Mobley added 17 points and eight rebounds.

-Ricky Rubio(injury management) did not play Friday night.

Cavs struggle but get the job done against Suns

On Wednesday night, the Cavs(25-14) defeated the Suns(20-19) 90-88 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Cleveland has won three straight, while Phoenix has lost four straight and seven of their last eight.

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

Great:

Caris LeVert got the start for the injured Darius Garland and performed. LeVert scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth, and in the fourth, he was 4/4 from the field, including 3/3 from deep. The Cavs don’t win without the contributions of LeVert.

Donovan Mitchell did not shoot it well(6/20 from the field, including 3/12 from downtown). However, during money time, he was big. Mitchell made a three to put the Cavs up 88-85 with 40 seconds left, and with the game tied at 88, he assisted on an Evan Mobley jumper with four seconds to go! Mitchell didn’t score 71, but he still got the job done.

Raul Neto gave the Cavs a big boost off the bench. Neto scored eight of his season-high 14 points in the third and gave the Cavs life. Cleveland doesn’t win without Neto.

Not So Great:

Shooting: Cleveland could not make shots against the Suns; they finished the game shooting 39% from the field, including 30% from deep, but fortunately, Phoenix wasn’t much better as they shot 40% from the field.

First Half: Cleveland had a bad first half, scoring only 33 points, and they shot 29% from the floor, including 16% from three. Not good, but again, they won.

Bottom Line:

This was a workmanlike performance. Nothing pretty about this game, but the Cavs won. It’s really that simple. These are the wins that a good team gets. Not at your best, but you pass the test, and now the Cavs get some rest until Friday when they head to Denver to face the Nuggets as they start a five-game west coast road trip.

After this trip, we’ll learn a lot about the Cavs, who struggle on the road.

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads to Denver to face the Nuggets on Friday night.

Best of the Rest:

Chris Paul led the Suns with 25 points and eight assists; Deandre Ayton had a double-double with 15 points and 18 rebounds. All five starters for the Suns scored in double figures.

Cedi Osman had 12 points off the Cavs’ bench.

Darius Garland(thumb) missed his second straight game, and Phoenix was without their leading scorer Devin Booker(groin).

Mitchell, Cavs roll through the Jazz

Donovan Mitchell went against his old team, the Utah Jazz(17-16) on Monday night, and fortunately for the Cavs(21-11), he and his team brought it as the Cavs routed the Jazz 122-99 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland led by 19 at halftime and led by as many as 25 points in this one. 

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

Great:

Donovan Mitchell, who spent five seasons with Utah before being traded to the Cavs in the offseason, scored 23 points on 8/12 shooting, including 4/5 from downtown. He had 23 points and only 23 minutes. For now, he got revenge.

Jarrett Allen was a dunking machine on Monday night. Six of his seven field goals were dunks, and he finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks.

Cedi Osman was 8/10 from the field and 5/6 from deep, as he finished with 22 points off the bench.

Shooting: Cleveland shot a sizzling 61% from the field, including 57% from deep. The Cavs finished with 15 threes. It was just one of those nights where everything Cleveland threw up went in the basket. Part of the reason they shot it so well is they had 29 fast break points. 

Not So Great:

Nothing here to see…

Bottom Line:

Cleveland had seven players in double figures and was in control from start to finish. The Cavs have won four straight, and they are taking advantage of this homestand. Again, this is a totally different team at home than on the road, and this is a dominating team when they play in their own building. 

Cleveland is 15-2 at home. Interestingly enough, the 2016 championship team started 15-2 at home.

The next three games will be a test as they finish the homestand against the Bucks, Raptors, and Nets, which should be interesting.

What’s Next:

Cleveland hosts the Bucks on Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

For the Cavs, Darius Garland had 17 points and eight assists; Caris LeVert had 13 points; Evan Mobley and Issac Okoro had 12 points apiece.

Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 24 points, and Jordan Clarkson had 23.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ big win in Boston

What a game!! The Cavs went into Boston and defeated the reigning Eastern Conference champions, the Celtics, 132-123 in OT on Friday night.

This was a back-and-forth affair as the Cavs(4-1) led by as many as 13 in the first quarter, and the Celtics(3-2) led by as many as 15 in the second. Cleveland had their first lead since the second quarter in the third, and the two teams battled from there. 

They would go to OT, and the Cavs outscored the Celtics 18-9 in the quarter to get their fourth straight win.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs big win in Boston.

Great:

The Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert Show: Both LeVert and Mitchell had 41 points. LeVert added four rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and made six threes, while Mitchell added four rebounds, three assists, and five threes. LeVert had 11 points in OT, and Mitchell added five.

According to the team, the last time the Cavs had two 40-point scorers was in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals(LeBron James & Kyrie Irving). In addition, the Cavs starting backcourt combined for 82 points, which is the most scored by a Cavs backcourt in a regular season game in team history.

Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen both had double-doubles: Mobley had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks, while Allen had his third straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

Third Quarter: The Cavs trailed 75-62 at halftime. In the third quarter, they got themselves back into the game. Cleveland outscored the Celtics 33-24 in the quarter. The Cavs shot 64% from the field and took their first lead since the second quarter. However, Boston took a 99-95 lead into the fourth.

OT: Cleveland outscored the Celtics 18-9 in the OT, and they shot 71% from the floor. LeVert and Mitchell had 16 of the team’s 18 points in the quarter.

Three-point shooting: Cleveland shot 16/35(.457) from deep. The two stars of the game, Mitchell and LeVert, made 11 of those 16 threes.

Not So Great:

It’s all great when you defeat the Celtics in Boston.

Bottom Line:

There are no statement wins in November. Again, there are no statement wins in November, but this comes pretty close for the Cavs. Without Darius Garland(eye), who is arguably their best player, Cleveland got big performances from Mitchell and LeVert. These types of games are why you acquired LeVert and Mitchell. LeVert is a walking bucket, and Mitchell is the same. Great win, but the two teams will have the rematch next Wednesday in Cleveland, which should be interesting.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the New York Knicks on Sunday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led Boston with 32 points apiece.

Cavs’ Milestones: Allen surpassed 4,000 career points, and Mitchell made his 3,000th career field goal Friday night.

Junkyard Dog:

LeVert, with his big 41-point performance, got the “Junkyard Dog” award. Ironically, LeVert had his career-high of 51 points against the Celtics while he was with the Nets back in 2020.

Cavs pull it out in OT; here’s the Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of Cavs’ win over Wizards

The Cavaliers returned home for the second half of a back-to-back on Sunday as they battled the Wizards in the home opener at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland(2-1) had a lead late but allowed the Wizards(2-1) to tie the game in regulation and send it to overtime. In OT, the Cavs outscored the Wizards 14-4 to win 117-107.

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

Great:

Donovan Mitchell: The three-time All-Star had another 30-plus point game as he had 37 points(5/12 3pt FG), five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. In OT, with the Cavs down one, Mitchell made a layup plus the foul, and on the next possession, he had a big steal that set up Cedi Osman for a layup plus the foul. According to Elias Sports, Mitchell is just the third player in NBA history to score 30-plus points in each of his first three games with a franchise.

Jarrett Allen: He was tough and gritty on Sunday. He recorded his second double-double in three games with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. Allen punctuated the game with a big dunk over Kristaps Porzingis in OT.

Cedi Osman: The Cavs got off to a slow start in the first quarter, and Osman checked in and immediately sparked the Cavs. He scored 10 of his 16 points in the first quarter. The Cavs bench outscored the starters in the first half, and Osman was a big reason that happened.

Defense: Cleveland forced 20 Wizards turnovers, which led to 28 points. In addition, they had 10 steals and five blocked shots. Washington had no field goals in the final 3:19 of the game.

Not So Great:  

Donovan Mitchell:  With less than a minute left in regulation, and the Cavs up four, Mitchell got a little sloppy with the ball. He was stripped by Bradley Beal, who got fouled and made two free throws. The next possession, he got stripped by Will Barton, which ended in a Barton dunk, and after Mitchell missed a jumper on the final possession, the game went to overtime. Not a great sequence for Mitchell.

Bottom Line:

The energy at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse was terrific, and Mitchell gave them a lot to cheer about. He’s been as advertised and then some. Mitchell can get anywhere he wants on the court and score the ball at a high level. In addition, Cleveland continues to get great play from its bench, especially Osman, who has been outstanding in the first three games. Still early, but the Cavs may have something with this roster.

What’s Next:

Cleveland has a few days off before they battle the Orlando Magic at home on Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

The Cavs had six players in double figures for the second game in a row. Dean Wade had 12 points off the bench; Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert had 10 points apiece.

Beal’s 27 points led Washington; Porzingis had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Rui Hachimura chipped in with 16 points off the bench.

Cavs rout Bulls in Chicago; here’s the Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of Cavs’ win over Bulls

The Cavs(1-1) came into Chicago(1-2) on Saturday night to battle the Bulls for the first of four matchups between the two teams this season.

Cleveland, who was without Darius Garland(eye), fell to the Raptors in Toronto in their season opener, while the Bulls were playing the second half of a back-to-back after losing to the Wizards in D.C. on Friday night.

The Cavs played like the fresher team, and after a slow start in the first quarter, Cleveland dominated the rest of the way. They led by as many as 19 in the first half, and Cleveland had their biggest lead of 32 in the fourth quarter as the Cavs crushed the Bulls 128-96 at United Center.

According to Elias Sports, the Cavs’ 32-point win in Chicago was the team’s largest margin of victory against the Bulls franchise.

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

The Great:

First Half: Cleveland scored 70 points in the first half on 63% shooting, including 71% from deep. They were red-hot in that first half, which carried them to a 70-54 lead at the break.

‘Spyda’: Mitchell, who handled the point guard duties with Garland out, had a game-high 32 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. In addition, according to Elias Sports, Mitchell became the first player in team history to open a season with back-to-back 30-point games. He’s special!

Bench: Cedi Osman and Kevin Love were a big spark off the bench. Osman had 10 points in the first half, and Love scored nine points in the first quarter, including 3-3 from deep. Love finished the night with 15 points and 12 rebounds, including five threes. Osman added 15 points and was a team-best +41. Also, Robin Lopez chipped in with 12 points(6-7 FG). After getting 33 points from its bench against Toronto, the Cavs got 56 points from the bench on Saturday night.

Fourth Quarter: On Thursday night against the Raptors, the Cavs led by eight as they entered the fourth quarter, and Toronto outscored them 32-21 to take control of the game. Saturday night was a different story. Cleveland, who led 93-79 entering the fourth, outscored Chicago 35-17 in the quarter, holding the Bulls to 235% shooting from the field. In addition, the Cavs shot 50% from the floor, including 63% from downtown(5/8). They lost the game in the fourth against Toronto, but against Chicago, they closed this game the right way.

Three-point shooting: Cleveland shot 16/27 from deep(595%). Love led the way with five, and Mitchell connected on four threes. The Cavs finished the game shooting 565% from the field. That’s impressive, that’s big time, and that’s one reason they’re 1-1.

Not So Great

When you win by 32 points, it’s usually all good. However, Cleveland did have 18 turnovers, which is a bit high.

Bottom Line:

This was a nice bounce-back win for the Cavs. The energy was great, and Mitchell was great. Just an overall solid team effort. One thing is clear; this team has depth, athleticism, and talent, which could help them compete night in and night out. It’s 2 of 82, but you have to like what you see so far from the Cavs.

What’s Next:

Cleveland will play the second half of a back-to-back as they host the Wizards(2-0) in their home-opener at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Sunday.

Best of the Rest:

The Cavs had six players in double figures on Saturday night. Evan Mobley had 16 points, and Caris LeVert added 14 points and eight assists.

For the Bulls, Zach LaVine, who made his season debut, led the way with 23 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 16.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ loss to Raptors

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers began the 2022-23 season north of the border in Toronto against the Raptors. The expectations are high with the addition of Donovan Mitchell, and some believe the Cavs can compete for an NBA title.

In the second quarter, Cleveland lost point guard Darius Garland(eye) to injury; in the second quarter, Garland was inadvertently hit in the eye by Gary Trent Jr. He would leave the game and not return.

Without Garland, Cleveland would take an 84-76 lead into the fourth quarter. However, Toronto outscored the Cavs 32-21 in the final quarter to defeat Cleveland 108-105 at Scotiabank Arena.

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

The Great:

Donovan Mitchell was impressive in his Cavs debut. He had 31 points (the most by a Cavs player in their debut)and nine assists. He also added two steals. Without Garland, Mitchell carried the load, but it wasn’t enough. He was a team-best +10.

Cedi Osman: The Cavs trailed the Raptors 28-22 after the first quarter, but Osman came off the bench and sparked Cleveland. He scored 13 of his 17 points in the second quarter, and the Cavs outscored Toronto 35-23 in the quarter to take a 57-51 lead at the break. Osman, who made three threes in the quarter, was a game-best +14 in the second quarter.

Jarrett Allen had his usual double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and added two blocks. Allen did a great job with rim protection, as the Raptors shot only 42% from the field.

Not So Great:

Turnovers: Cleveland had 17 turnovers in this one; Garland was the biggest culprit with five. It’s hard to win any NBA game with that many turnovers, and it becomes even more difficult on the road against a good team like the Raptors.

Fourth Quarter: As previously mentioned, the Cavs took an 84-76 lead into the fourth quarter, but Toronto went on a 14-6 run to start the fourth to tie the game at 90. The Cavs would push their lead to five at 97-92 with just under five minutes to go. However, the Raptors would finish the game on a 16-8 run. Cleveland shot 0/6 from downtown in the fourth and had five turnovers. Conversely, the Raptors were red-hot from deep as they 62% from three-point range.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland lost on the road to a very good team without one of the best players for most of the game. They have nothing to be ashamed of in this one. We were hoping to see more Garland and Mitchell together, but injuries happen. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious. The team was a little sloppy with the ball, but it’s game 1 of 82, so there is plenty of time to clean things up.

What’s Next:

Cleveland will go on the road again as they face the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Best of the Rest:

Cleveland had five players in double figures on Tuesday night. Evan Mobley had 14 points and six rebounds; Caris LeVert had 10 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. 

For the Raptors, who had six players in double figures, including all five starters, Pascal Siakam led the way with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals. Trent Jr. poured in 19 points, including four threes, and O.G. Anunoby chipped in with 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals. 

Cavs’ Mitchell: ‘We can be good for a long time’

In the 2020-21 NBA season, the Utah Jazz had the best record in the league and was poised to make a deep playoff run. That season, Utah had three All-Stars, including star guard Donovan Mitchell. 

However, Utah fell short in the second round of the playoffs as they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in six games. That season may have given Mitchell his best opportunity to win an NBA title until now.

Earlier this month, the three-time All-Star was dealt to the Cavaliers. According to Mitchell, Cleveland, who had two All-Stars in Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland last season, and a player on the rise in Evan Mobley, has the most talent he has ever been around.

“You look at the youth we have, top three team before a lot of injuries,” Mitchell told goforitradio’s Paul Gant at Cavs’ Media Day. “I’m the oldest starter. That’s truly impressive. That’s no sleight to the team we had in Utah. We had a very talented team, but a lot of our guys were older. Mike(Conley) was older, Joe(Ingles) was older, Bojan(Bogdanović), Rudy(Gobert). Those guys were older. Now, you look at the guys here, 21, 22, 20, whatever it is. We have a lot of promise, but ultimately, we have to go out there and put the work in… If we do the right thing, which starts with camp, we can be in good shape.”

As Mitchell mentioned, Cleveland has youth, but more importantly, they have talented youth. Mitchell is only 26; the Cavs have a 22-year-old Garland, a 21-year-old Mobley, and a 24-year-old Allen, so this team can be good for a long time, and Mitchell agrees.

“We have a lot of talent; we can be good for a long time,” Mitchell said. “But, ultimately, we have to do what needs to be done… We have a group that wants to win, that wants to be good, that wants to compete. We have, not just myself, like I said, Ev(Mobley), DG(Garland), JA(Jarrett Allen), Caris LeVert, K-Love(Kevin Love); we just signed Dean Wade to an extension, who is a really big piece of what we do… We have a young, hungry group that wants to compete and wants to win.”

Things could be special in Cleveland for the next few seasons, and Mitchell could be the guy that leads the way. While Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman says it’s not “contention or bust” this season, the expectation is for the Cavs to be one of the top teams in the East and at least win a round in the playoffs.

Regarding this being the most talent Mitchell has been around in his career, those Jazz teams were talented, but if things develop in Cleveland like many think it will, this team has the potential to be more talented.

Listen to interview with Mitchell below:

Cavs’ Altman on team: ‘They captivated the city and put the league on notice’

On Tuesday, Cleveland Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman addressed the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. The Cavs’ season ended at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night as they fell to the Hawks in the Play-In Tournament.

“I’m still a little heartsick, to be honest with you,” Altman said about not making the playoffs. “It’s hard to process the season ending the way it did.”

J.B. Bickerstaff helped Cleveland improve by 22 wins from a year ago and finished the season 44-38, but despite the success, they fell short of the playoffs.

However, according to Atman, the Cavs have caught the attention of teams around the league.

“They captivated the city and put the league on notice, forced the league to put us on a national TV game because they had to, and more of that will come.”

Altman felt this season was a success, but Cleveland does have some questions, and one of the biggest questions is what will happen with Collin Sexton, who missed 71 games with a torn meniscus and can become a restricted free agent at season’s end if the Cavs extend a qualifying offer of $7.2 million.

The 23-year-old Sexton will probably be back in Cleveland next season based on what Altman said today.

“He, in a lot of ways, was the start of not only the rebuild, but the culture that we have in place now,” Altman said. “He’s enormously important to us. He’s been enormously important to us. To lose him, you can see throughout the year why we missed him, how we missed him, so we owe Collin a great deal of gratitude for the work he’s put in and continues to put in, (he) an important part of this team.”

Caris LeVert came over from the Pacers in a trade back in February. Altman believes both LeVert and Sexton, who have a similar skillset and play the same position, can thrive together in Cleveland.

“Yes, there’s a place for that level of talent, especially with the character that they bring and the fact that both really love it here,” Altman said.

It’s one thing to be a surprise team, but it’s another thing to win when the expectations are high, so the challenge for Altman and the players is to be even better next season.

“We’re not going to surprise teams next year,” Altman said. “I think we were two games out of being in sixth place. So like, it’s that close. We don’t want to lose grasp of what got us here, which is the hard work in the summer. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, so how do we keep that hunger, that humbleness, and attack this offseason?”

From top to bottom, the Eastern Conference will be tough next season, and Cleveland could be better next season and still be fighting to make the playoffs. They have a young, talented core.Obviously, they have three guys they can build around in All-Stars, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley.

In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so the future is very bright. However, sometimes that next step is the hardest step, and the Cavs are hoping to take that next step next season.

Cavs’ season was a huge success, but a massive disappointment at the same time

After falling to the Nets Tuesday night in Brooklyn in the Play-In Tournament, the Cavs had one more chance to get into the playoffs when they hosted the Atlanta Hawks Friday night.

It’s win or go home!

The Cavs got All-Star center Jarrett Allen back after he missed 19 games(including Play-In Tournament) with a fractured finger. Cleveland had their largest lead of 14 points in the first half and led by 10 at the half. However, Trae Young happened! The All-Star had 32 of his 38 points in the second half as the Hawks defeated the Cavs 107-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavs season ends, while the Hawks capture the eighth seed and move on to face the Heat in first round of the playoffs, which begins Sunday in Miami. 

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Hawks:

The Great for the Cavs:

-Lauri Markkanen played like he did not want to go home. He had 17 of his team-high 26 points in the first half to along with eight rebounds. Markkanen shot 10/17 from the field, including 6/12 from deep. Unfortunately, he did have a bad pass that was stolen by Kevin Huerter late in the fourth, which sealed the deal for the Hawks, but all and all, Markkanen did his job Friday night.

-Evan Mobley will be a special player, and he played well against the Hawks. The rookie had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Just like Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the moment was not too big for Mobley.

-Darius Garland struggled with his shot(9/27 FG), but he battled through it and finished with 21 points, nine assists, and three steals; however,  he did turn the ball over five times.

First Half:  The Cavs fed off their crowd in the first half. Cleveland shot 52% from the floor in the first quarter, including 67%(6/9) from deep. The Cavs led 36-25 after one. Cleveland made 10 threes in the first half and got great looks. In addition, they held the Hawks to 17%(3/17) from three-point range, and Cleveland led 61-51 at the break. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Third Quarter: Great players do great things, and Young is a great player. Young woke up after being held to six points in the first half. He either scored or assisted on 27 of the Hawks’ 33 points in the quarter. He finished with 16 points in the third. Atlanta shot 61% from the floor(4/8 3-PT FG). The Hawks outscored the Cavs 33-23 in the quarter, took their first lead late in the third, and erased a 10-point halftime deficit. The game was knotted at 84, heading into the fourth.

Second Half Offense: The offense stagnated in the second half, and some credit has to go to Atlanta’s defense, which stiffened. Cleveland did not get the same looks they had in the first half. You often saw some 911 shots with the shot clock running down from the Cavs, and they had two shot-clock violations early in the fourth. After scoring 61 points in the first, Cleveland was held to 40 points in the second half. In the fourth, they shot only 33% from the field, including 1/8 from downtown. After making 10 threes in the first half, the Cavs made only three more the rest of the way.

Bench: The Hawks’ bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 25-9. Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo were not much of a factor in this contest. Maybe Love could have gotten more minutes, but Atlanta was trying to go after him on the defensive end. The Cavs’ starters were a combined +10, while the bench was a combined -40.

Bottom Line:

It’s kind of stunning how the season ended for Cleveland. At one point, especially after the addition of Caris LeVert, many thought this team could make a deep playoff run. Now, just like that, it’s over!

The season was a success. Players like Garland and Jarrett Allen grew and became All-Stars, and Evan Mobley looks like a star. LeVert will have a whole training camp to get acclimated with the team, and maybe they’ll bring back soon-to-be restricted free agent Collin Sexton or move him to get another piece. In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so that’s another opportunity to improve this roster. Youth is on their side as Garland, Allen, Mobley, and Markkanen are all under 25.

Even in saying the season was a success, it feels like a disappointment at the same time. They were in striking distance of the top spot in the East for most of the season, but the day that destroyed the season was March 6. Cleveland defeated Toronto in that game and was 37-27 and was the sixth seed in the East with a three-game lead over the seventh-seeded Raptors. However, Allen fractured his finger and missed the final 18 games of the regular season. During that stretch, the Cavs went 7-11. Also, during that stretch, Mobley went down with an ankle injury and missed five games. They overcame the injuries of Sexton and Ricky Rubio, but they did not overcome Allen’s injury.

Again, a fantastic season for the Cavs, and the future seems bright. However, from top to bottom, the East will be challenging, and here’s also the thing: Cleveland is not sneaking up on anyone, so expectations have changed, which means the pressure is on this young group to get better. We’ll see how they’ll respond next season.

What’s Next:

The offseason! It was a fun season!

Best of the Rest:

-LeVert had 16 points for the Cavs as all five starters scored in double figures. Allen, who was basically playing with one hand, had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a block.

-Bogdan Bogdanovic had 19 points for the Hawks off the bench. 

-During the second quarter, Clint Capela suffered a right knee hyperextension after fouling Mobley. According to the team. he will undergo an MRI in Miami, and his status will be updated as appropriate.

Watch below as Garland and Mobley react to the loss to Atlanta: