Cavs defeat Nuggets! Here is The Great, the Not so Great, and bottom line of Cleveland’s win over Denver

On Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers(2-2) won for the second straight time when they defeated the Denver Nuggets(2-1) on the road 99-87.

Here is the great, the not the so great, and the bottom line of the Cavs’ win over Denver.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Kevin Love has embraced the role of coming off the bench. The 13-year veteran was fantastic for the Cavs on Tuesday night. Love scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed six rebounds in 21 minutes of action. He also passed John “Hot Rod” Williams for sole possession of fifth on the Cavaliers all-time defensive rebounds list. 

-Jarrett Allen was sensational for Cleveland. He was 10/11 from the field and scored 21 points, and collected a team-high 16 rebounds in 37 minutes of action. According to StatMuse, Allen is the first player with a 20/15 game on 90% shooting since Allen did it on February 24 and February 21. 

-Rookie Evan Mobley had 10 points and eight rebounds. Also, Mobley is just the second rookie in NBA history to average 15.0+ PPG, 8.0+ RPG, 3.0+ APG, 2.0+ BPG, and 1.0+ SPG through his first three career games.

-Defense: Cleveland allowed an average of 127.5 points per game in the first two games of the season, which were both losses. In the last two games, the Cavaliers have allowed an average of 87 points per contest. In addition, they forced 22 Nugget turnovers.

-J.B. Bickerstaff: Give him a ton of credit. He has this team playing solid defense, and he’s doing a good job managing this roster. He has this team playing inspired basketball.

-Fourth-quarter: The Cavaliers started the quarter on a 14-3 run. Cleveland was outstanding defensively in the fourth as they held Denver to only 17 points. 

-Lauri Markkanen’s dunk over Jokic in the first quarter was ridiculous.

Take a look:

The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

NOTHING AT THIS TIME. No complaints! They beat an undefeated team on the road.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland beat two teams in the last two games that will probably be contenders in their respective conferences, which is impressive. 

What’s next:

Cleveland continues their west coast trip on Wednesday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Best of the rest:

Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with game-highs of 24 points and 19 rebounds, Aaron Gordon added 12 points and nine rebounds.

Collin Sexton had 14 points for the Cavs, Lauri Markkanen added 12 points and four rebounds. Darius Garland returned and scored nine points and seven assists after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury.  Ricky Rubio had seven points, eight assists, and four rebounds.

He and Facundo Campazzo received double technicals in the third quarter after the two went face-to-face.

After the game, Kevin Love hilariously described what he saw:

The Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ victory over Atlanta

Coming off a tough loss against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to get their first win of the season on Saturday in the second half of a back-to-back against the Atlanta Hawks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Fortunately for Cleveland, they got it done!

The Cavaliers(1-2)defeated the Hawks(1-1) 101-95.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-After saying Friday’s loss was on him due to his six turnovers, Ricky Rubio came back strong against the Hawks. He had a team-high 23 points and eights assists; he also added six rebounds. Rubio is off to a excellent start for Cleveland as he got his second consecutive start for an injured Darius Garland(ankle).

-Evan Mobley continued his solid play on Saturday night. The rookie had his first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a game-high four block shots. The third overall pick anchored the Cavs zone defense. When the Cavs switched to a 3-2 zone, Mobley, according to Cavs head coach J.B Bickerstaff, acted as Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. 

“It’s a Flip Saunders zone that I watched a lot when I was in Minnesota,” Bickerstaff said. “Seeing Evan’s ability to move through that made me think of when K.G. was playing at the top of that zone.”

-Defense: In the first game of the season against the Grizzlies, Cleveland gave up 132 points, and in the next game versus the Hornets, they allowed 123 points. Against the Hawks, the defense was much better. Cleveland held Atlanta below 100 points(95), and the Hawks shot only 38% from the field. Great response by the Cavs on the defensive end, especially in the second half, as they allowed the Hawks to score only 40 points.

-Third-quarter: Cleveland got it done in the third quarter. They outscored the Hawks 31-17. Atlanta shot 6/26(23%) from the field. Mobley had 9 of his 17 points in the third, and Cleveland led by as many as 14 points in the quarter. The Cavs had a 21-0 run from the end of the second quarter into the third.

-Fourth-quarter: Yes, Cleveland was outscored 23-18 in the fourth quarter, but this has been a sore spot for the Cavaliers. In the first two games, they had been outscored by a combined 17 points. However, while they were outscored again in the fourth on Saturday night, they held on and won the game.

-Kevin Love and Isaac Okoro both gave Cleveland solid minutes off the bench. Love had 6 points and a team-high 11 rebounds on Friday night and had another strong performance on Saturday night with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 24 minutes of action. Okoro added nine points, four rebounds, and three assists. In addition, the second-year player helped hold Trae Young to 8/22 shooting from the field. 

-Jarrett Allen had his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Allen had a combined eight rebounds in the first two games.

-Rebounding: Cleveland was outrebounded by both the Grizzlies(53-36) and Hornets(46-36), but Saturday night was a different story. The Cavs did a better job on the glass. Both teams had 54 rebounds. 

The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

N/A!!!

Bottom Line:

Cleveland beat a Hawks team that went to the Eastern Conference last season, and they did it without Garland. The Cavs played with toughness, showed grit and heart—an excellent win for this team. Also, Cleveland needed this game because they have a tough five-game trip coming up.

What’s Next:

The Cavaliers begin their five-game road trip on Monday night in Denver against the Nuggets. After Denver, they have two in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Wednesday and the Lakers on Friday. They travel to Phoenix to play the Suns on Saturday, and they conclude their road trip in Charlotte on Monday(11/1).

Best of the rest:

Hawks’ Trae Young led the way for Atlanta with 24 points and seven assists, Cam Reddish had 19 points off the bench, and Clint Capela added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Cavs’ Collin Sexton had 12 points and five assists, Lauri Markkanen added 12 points(3-15 FG) and eight rebounds.

Watch below as Love, Rubio, and Mobley react to Cleveland’s first win of season:

The Great, The Not so Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ loss to Hornets

The Cleveland Cavaliers(0-2) fell to the Charlotte Hornets(2-0) 123-112 in their home-opener at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday night. 

Charlotte’s Miles Bridges had 30 points, Kelly Oubre scored 25 points off the bench, Gordon Hayward had 18 points and nine assists, and LaMelo Ball added 17 and six assists.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Collin Sexton had a hot shooting night for Cleveland. “Young Bull” had a game-high 33 points on 13/21 shooting from the field. 

-In his second game as a pro, Evan Mobley had another solid performance with 13 points, five rebounds, and two blocks.

-Ricky Rubio had his second straight double-double as he got the start for an injured Darius Garland(ankle). Rubio had 15 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes. 

-Kevin Love had six points and a team-high 11 rebounds off the bench in 24 minutes of action.

-Jarrett Allen’s incredible dunk on Mason Plumlee in the second dunk. That was nasty!

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

-Turnovers: Cleveland has 19 turnovers which led to 34 Hornets’ points. Rubio had six turnovers, including four in the fourth quarter. Rubio took the blame for the loss.

“It was all on me,” he said postgame. “It was bad passes. There’s nothing to blame on them. It was all on me and I take that blame and I take this loss.”

-Fourth-quarter: Cleveland entered the fourth quarter trailing 90-89. However, the Hornets would outscore the Cavaliers 33-23 in the quarter. Charlotte started the fourth on a 19-2 run and pushed the lead to as much as 18 points. In the opener against Memphis, the Grizzlies started the fourth on a 10-0 run, so Cleveland has to fix their fourth-quarter woes

-Rebounding: Cleveland was outrebounded again for the second straight game(46-36). Allen has to do a better job on the glass. Last season, he averaged a double-double for the first time in his career. Against Memphis, he only had four rebounds, and on Friday night, he again, had four rebounds. In addition, Charlotte had 16 second-chance points, while Cleveland only had six.

Rebounding is a part of defense because it ends the possession. Cleveland must improve in that area. 

-Defense: Against Memphis, Cleveland gave up 70 points in the paint and allowed 132 points. On Friday night against the Hornets, they gave up 58 points in the paint and allowed Charlotte to shoot 53% from the field. 

Cleveland has to protect their paint!

Browns DE Myles Garrett was in the building on Friday night, and Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff jokingly said the following about Garrett after the game:

“There were a few moments where I wish he would have protected the paint for us,” Bickerstaff said.

Bottom Line:

It was going to be tough to beat the Hornets without Garland, and hopefully, they can get him back tomorrow against Atlanta. The Cavaliers are a work in progress. Things might get worse before they get better. However, they have to find a way to take care of the basketball and be better on the defensive end.

What’s next:

Cleveland hosts the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. Atlanta routed the Mavericks 113-87 in their season and home opener on Thursday night.

Watch as Sexton and Rubio discuss the loss to the Hornets:

The great, the not so great, & bottomline of Cavs’ loss to Grizzlies

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in their season opener 132-121 at FedExForum. 

Memphis’ Ja Morant led all scorers with 37 points, including six assists and five rebounds.

Here’s the great for Cleveland:

-Darius Garland started slow but picked things up in the second half. Garland had two points in the first half, but the third-year point guard had 11 of his 13 points and eight of his team-high 12 assists in the second half.

-Ricky Rubio is just a professional point guard, and he also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in 25 minutes of action. Rubio is a calming presence for this team.

-Jarrett Allen was perfect from the field(11-11) and had 25 points, four rebounds, and three block shots. He did a great job of scoring around the basket.

-Rookie Evan Mobley was impressive in his debut. He had a great stat line with 17 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in a team-high 38 minutes. He even showed off the range with three in the corner. 

-Cleveland was very unselfish last night. They had 38 assists on 47 field goals. The 38 assists are the most the Cavs have had in a game since 2016.

The Not So Great:

-Cleveland’s defense was not great last night. First, they allowed 132; next, they allowed 70 points in the paint, and finally, they allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 53% from the field, including 14-33 from downtown. 

Lauri Markkanen struggled with his shot last night(4-14 FG, 10 points). This is not a big deal, Markkanen is a solid shooter, and his shots will fall.

Bottom line:

The Cavaliers showed a lot of fight in this game. They battled back and cut the lead to one after falling behind by 14 in the fourth quarter. This was not a bad performance by Cleveland. Going forward, they have to be better on defense, but again, not a bad start for the young Cavaliers.

What’s next:

The Cavs will host the Hornets in their home-opener on Friday night.

Cavaliers will be better this season, but making the playoffs could be a tall task

The Cleveland Cavaliers begin their 52nd season on Wednesday night in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Cleveland is hoping to make the playoffs this season, and the last time that happened without LeBron James was the 1997-98 season. 

Last season, Cleveland won 22 games, and that was in a 72-game season. This season, they will play a full 82-game schedule, so there is a good chance they will win more than 22 games.

The Cavaliers have a very young team. The oldest player in their expectant starting lineup of Darius Garland(21), Collin Sexton(22), Isaac Okoro(20), Evan Mobley(20), and Jarrett Allen(23) is 23. In fact, Okoro and Mobley are not even 21, so there could be some growing pains. The Cavaliers will have to figure out if the undersized backcourt of Garland(6-1) and Sexton(6-1) can work. The two can work on offense. Sexton is a gifted scorer((24.5 PPG last season), Garland is a decent shooter, and he came on strong last season. Garland, who spent time with the U.S. National team this summer, could take that next step after having career-highs in points(17.4) and assists(6.1) per game last season.

However, defensively, Cleveland struggled. They were 17th in points allowed, which is not awful, but they allowed teams to shoot 48% from the field, which was 29th in the NBA. Maybe, things could get better defensively with Allen(1.4 BPG last season) and Mobley(1.6 BPG led all rookies in preseason) in the lineup. 

Regarding Mobley, the number three overall pick, he has shown flashes in the preseason, but Cleveland will need him to be very good if they want to make the playoffs. Allen should be solid after signing a five-year, $100 million deal in the offseason. Allen, who Cleveland acquired from the Nets in January, averaged a double-double last season (12.8 PPG and 10.0 RPG) for the first time in his career. Okoro, the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft, came on strong near the end of last season as he scored in double-digits in 12 of the final 13 games. However, Cleveland has to find a way to integrate him into the offense.

The Cavaliers will have a better bench this season. The addition of Ricky Rubio helps the second unit and the team. Rubio is a professional point guard, and there will be many times where he will close games for Cleveland. In addition, Kevin Love seems to be buying into his role with Cleveland; if Love(played in only 25 games last season due to calf injury) is healthy, which was an issue last season, he can still knock down shots and give this team good minutes. Also, Cleveland acquired Lauri Markkanen in a sign and trade from the Bulls in a three-team deal that sent Larry Nance Jr. to Portland. Markkanen can score the basketball and averaged a career-high 18.7 PPG in his second season in the league. Markkanen was the only 7-footer in the NBA last season to make 100+ three-pointers (118). He should be instant offense off the bench for Cleveland. The Cavs will have a lot of size this season. They can and will feature a lineup, at times, with three 7-footers in Markkanen, Allen, and Mobley, so that should be interesting. 

Getting to the playoffs won’t be easy for Cleveland. The Eastern Conference is expected to be very good this season. The top six teams from last season, the 76ers, Nets, Bucks, Knicks, Hawks, and Heat, could be better or close to what they were last season. In addition, the last four teams to make the playoff, the Celtics, Wizards, Pacers, and Hornets, could be around the same or better as well. Furthermore, the Chicago Bulls, who added Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, could be a high-seed in the East.

For Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to keep his job, Cleveland will have to be better, which they should be. However, better will probably not mean the playoffs. Cleveland does not defend or score well enough for that to happen. But, if Sexton, who the team did not extend before Monday’s deadline, can play with a chip on his shoulder and be better, if Garland takes that next step, if Markkanen shows the league that he can play, if Allen continues to be steady, if Mobley plays like a Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, if Okoro gets better in year two, if Love stays healthy and plays well; maybe Cleveland will get into the play-in tournament.

However, don’t bet on it. Expect this team to win between 25-30 games this season. 

Cavs sign Tacko Fall to two-way contract

The Cleveland Cavaliers have converted the contracts of center Tacko Fall and guard RJ Nembhard into two-way contracts and waived guards Mitch Ballock, Kyle Guy, and Justin James, the team announced on Saturday.

The 7-6 Fall appeared in three preseason games for Cleveland, including last night’s game against the Pacers, where he had eight points and five rebounds.

Fall signed a training camp deal with Cavs in September after playing in 18 games in 2020-21 for the Boston Celtics, averaging 2.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocked shots in 7.6 minutes and has also appeared in two career playoff games with the Celtics.

In 2019-20, Fall appeared in 29 games (11 starts) in the NBA G-League for the Maine Celtics, averaging 12.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks in 23 minutes. He went undrafted in 2019 after playing four seasons at University of Central Florida (2015-2019).

Fall, 25, will spend a lot of time with Cleveland’s G League team, the Canton Charge, where he will most definitely be a fan favorite.

Nembhard, 22, appeared in one preseason game after being signed to the Cavs training camp roster on Sept 27, 2021. Nembhard went undrafted in 2021 after playing four seasons at Texas Christian University, where he averaged 9.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 26 minutes per game.

Cleveland begins the regular season on Wednesday night in Memphis against the Grizzlies.

Watch as Fall, Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens talk team’s win over Pacers on Friday night:

Cavs sign Ed Davis, Justin James

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Ed Davis, the team announced on Wednesday

Davis, 32 appeared in 23 games (seven starts) for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2020-21 season, averaging 2.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 13.0 minutes.

Over 11 NBA seasons with Toronto, Memphis, L.A. Lakers, Portland, Brooklyn, Utah and Minnesota, the 6-9 Davis has played in 691 games (103 starts) and holds career averages of 6.2 points on .566 shooting from the field and 6.6 rebounds in 19.6 minutes.

Additionally, Davis has played in 33 postseason games, averaging 3.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 11.8 minutes. Davis was originally drafted out of North Carolina as the No. 13 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Raptors.

Also, the Cavs signed Justin James to their 2021 training camp roster. The 24-year-old appeared in 36 games during the 2020-21 season for the Sacramento Kings, averaging 3.9 points in 8.6 minutes. The 6-7 guard was drafted No. 40 overall in the 2019 NBA draft by the Kings after spending four years at University of Wyoming.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘Our guys will get better, and we will improve’

The Cleveland Cavaliers had their preseason debut on Tuesday night in Chicago against the Bulls. Fortunately for Cleveland, this game does not count. Chicago led by as many as 48 points and would defeat Cleveland 131-95.

The Cavaliers had 15 turnovers in the first half and 20 in total. The new-look Bulls, who added Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan in the offseason, scored 69 points in the first half and led by 23 points at halftime.

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 25 points. Collin Sexton’s 14 points led Cleveland, and Lauri Markkanen added 13 points off the bench in his return to Chicago.

Bickerstaff attributed a lot of the Cavaliers’ issues to youth. The oldest player in Cleveland’s starting lineup on Tuesday was 23(Jarrett Allen).

“Not making excuses, but we got a lot of young basketball players that are still trying to figure it out,” Bickerstaff said. “Our guys will get better, and we will improve.”

The Cavs struggled in all facets of the game on Tuesday night, but there were some positives. Backup point guard Ricky Rubio, who started the second half, played well and is an upgrade over last season’s backups at the point guard spot. Rubio had 10 points and six assists in 20 minutes of action. Also, rookie Evan Mobley was solid in his debut. He added 10 points and eight rebounds. 

You never like to overreact off of any preseason game, especially the first one, but the Bulls look like they have put together a team that can contend in the East while the Cavs looked like a team that is headed to the lottery again. However, there’s a lot of basketball to be played.

We’ll see how the Cavs bounce back against the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday night.

Watch below as Mobley and Sexton react to Cleveland’s loss to Chicago on Tuesday night:

Cavs’ Kevin Love hopes to be a positive force this season

Kevin Love said all the right things at Cleveland Cavaliers’ Media Day on Monday. 

The 33-year-old, who has two years, $60 million left on his contract, is the elder statesman for these young Cavaliers. The longest tenured Cav will be called on to be a veteran leader for the team this season. 

During the summer, there were rumors that Cleveland and Love were discussing a buyout. However, according to Love, that’s not the case.

“The buyout had never even come up,” Love said. “I think that’s speculation. Sometimes s*** is thrown against the wall, and people are seeing who’s going to read it and who’s going to see it. For me, that’s never been a thing. I’m still sitting here Year 14 as a Cav.

Coming into the season, if the 14-year veteran sticks around, he will probably be coming off the bench, which will be a different role for him. Despite the new role, Love hopes to a be positive force for Cleveland.

“Listen, it’s a young team; this is obviously where this is headed and where this is going,” he said. “But what I’m going to try to be, like I told Koby (Altman) and J.B. (Bickerstaff), is a positive force. Wherever this ends up, I just want to make sure that at least internally in here when we walk into this building, that’s positive.”

Ideally, the Cavs would like to trade Love, who missed most of the 2020-21 NBA season and the Olympics due to a calf injury. However, outside of a buyout, which is probably in the best interest of all parties involved, Cleveland will have to make things work with Love. 

With the additions of Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley, there may not be much playing time for Love. However, a lot can happen between now and the start of the NBA season.

Watch below as Love talks not wanting a buyout, the upcoming 2021-22 season, and more:

 

Cavs officially sign Denzel Valentine

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Denzel Valentine, the team announced on Wednesday.

The deal had been rumored for weeks, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it’s a partially guaranteed two-year deal.

Last season, Valentine averaged 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 62 games (three starts) for the Chicago Bulls. He scored in double figures on 21 occasions, including a career-best seven straight double-digit scoring performances from February 3-15.

Valentine spent the first four seasons of his career with the Bulls. He has played in 232 regular-season games (45 starts) with career averages of 7.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 19.8 minutes. His 342 three-pointers rank 13th all-time in Bulls franchise history. His best season was in 2018, when he averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.

After a four-year career at Michigan State, Chicago originally drafted the 27-year-old guard with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

The 6-5 Valentine could help the Cavs off the bench at the guard and small forward spots.