Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Kings: ‘It’s a win, so we’ll take it, but it wasn’t our best’

The Cavaliers had a terrible taste in their mouth after losing to the Warriors Sunday night, but fortunately for them, they had a chance to change that taste when they played the Kings Monday night as both teams were playing the second half of a back-to-back.

Cleveland got off to a good start and led 62-49 at halftime. However, the Kings would rally in the second half to take a four-point lead in the fourth with over six minutes to go, but the Cavs would eventually build a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and would hold on to defeat the Kings 109-108 at Golden 1 Center.

The Cavs(23-18), who swept the season series from the Kings, are 2-1 on their current six-game road trip, while the Kings(16-27) have lost five straight.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Jarrett Allen is a man of his word. Allen took full responsibility for the Cavs getting outrebounded against Golden State. He knew he had to be better, and against the Kings, he was better. Allen had a double-double with 18 points, 17 rebounds to go along with two blocks. He secured the double-double in the first half with 12 points and 12 rebounds, including a career-high tying nine rebounds in the first quarter.

-Evan Mobley also had a bounce-back game. He had 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Mobley, who scored in double figures for the eighth consecutive game, stuffed the stat sheet as he usually does. 

-Darius Garland had a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. He also added five rebounds. Garland had only three points in the first half but scored nine points in the second half, including seven in the final quarter.

Kevin Love and Cedi Osman gave the Cavs great production off the bench. Love scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, and Osman added 15 points. Since returning from COVID, Osman has been in double figures in two out of the last three games.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers:  Cleveland had 17 turnovers, which led to 20 points for Sacramento. The Cavs have had 36 turnovers in the last two games.

The final 2:34 of the game:  After a Lauri Markkanen(15 points) three, Cleveland led 109-99 with 2:34 left in the game. However, the Kings went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 109-108 with 11.0 seconds to go. Fortunately for Cleveland, De’Aaron Fox missed a jump shot at the buzzer after great defense from Rajon Rondo, and the Cavs would hold on.

Bottom Line:

Excellent bounce-back performance for the Cavs after the way things went against the Warriors. This is the type of effort you like to see from a team following a bad performance, especially Allen, who showed that he’s a team leader and an All-Star.

Cleveland was not at its best Monday night, but a win is a win, and now they have surpassed their win total(22) from last season.

“It’s a win, so we’ll take it, but it wasn’t our best,” Cavs head coach Bickerstaff said. “We talk about playing with purpose and discipline for 48 minutes. We didn’t do that tonight.

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their six-game road trip in Utah against the Jazz Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

The Kings had six players in double figures, led by Tyrese Haliburton’s 21 points. Buddy Hield added 19 points off the bench. 

Cleveland also had six players double figures. In addition, Rondo had five points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals off the bench.

Watch below as Mobley and Allen react to win over Kings:

Cavs’ Garland: ‘The first couple plays were kinda like, `Dang, that’s Rondo on the floor’

The Cavaliers began their six-game road trip Friday in Portland against the Blazers. Fortunately for Cleveland, Portland was without their two leading scorers in Damian Lillard(Abdomen) and C.J. McCollum(Lung), and they were missing Larry Nance Jr.(Knee).

Cleveland led 57-47 at halftime and would take an 82-78 lead into the fourth. After Nassir Little’s three cut the lead to 90-87 with just over eight minutes left, the Cavs went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 10 and would defeat Portland 114-101 at Moda Center.

With the win over the Blazers, the Cavs(22-17) swept the season series and won in Portland for first time since 2013. 

Portland(14-24) has lost two straight and six of their last seven.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Blazers:

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Darius Garland continued his strong play after returning from COVID. He scored eight of his 26 points in the fourth. Garland also added six assists. This was his sixth straight 20-plus point game as he continues to make his case for being an All-Star. 

The third-year guard, who made a game-high tying five threes, had an incredible sequence late in the fourth. With the Cavs leading by eight with just over two minutes to go, he assisted on a dunk from Evan Mobley and made a great hustle play, where he made a steal and got credited with a basket after Jusuf Nurkic was called for a goaltend.

Watch below:

-Evan Mobley had another solid all-around game. He scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds, dished out three assists, added two blocks and a steal. 

-Cedi Osman is back after missing six games due to COVID, and he was huge in the fourth. Osman scored 12 of his 14 points in the final period, including four threes off the Cavs’ bench. After Portland cut the t0 101-96 with just over three minutes to go, Osman would hit a big three to push the lead to eight.

The fifth-year forward continues to give Cleveland great production off the bench this season.

-Rajon Rondo made his Cavs’ debut Friday night and recorded a season-high 11 points off the bench. In addition, the 16-year veteran added five rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes of action.

 Rondo got off to a great start and had three points, three rebounds, and three assists in five minutes of action in the first quarter.

-Jarrett Allen had his third straight double-double following his return from COVID. Allen had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and a team-best +16 rating.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Rebounding: Portland outrebounded the Cavs 51-43 and outscored them 21-10 in second-chance points. Cleveland overcame the glass on this night, but you don’t want this to be an issue going forward.

Bottom Line:

Portland was without their two best players, so this was a game Cleveland should have won.

However, that does not take away from what we saw from Garland, who made big plays in the fourth; Osman, who caught fire in the final quarter; and Rondo, who gave this team a professional point guard off the bench.  

“It was fun; the first couple plays were kinda like, `Dang, that’s Rondo on the floor.'” Garland said.

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their six-game road trip Sunday night against the Warriors, who are expected to have Klay Thompson back, which should make for a fun night in San Francisco.

Best of the Rest:

Portland had five players in double figures led by Norman Powell’s 19 points. Nurkic added 14 points and 12 rebounds. 

-Lauri Markkanen added 15 points and five assists for the Cavaliers.

Watch Below as Rondo talks debut with Cavs:

Cavs’ Garland: ‘It’s next-man-up mentality’

Health and safety protocols have been the talk of the sports world right now, and it has impacted the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Wednesday against the Celtics, Cleveland had seven players out due to health and protocols, including three starters, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Isaac Okoro.

However, just like they always do, the Cavaliers fought, but they were outmanned and outgunned by the Celtics, and they fell 111-101 at TD Garden.

Boston led by five after one and took a 63-48 lead at halftime. The Celtics took their largest lead of 23 points in the third, but Cleveland went on a 14-1 run to cut the lead to 10 in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough.

With the loss, Cleveland’s(19-13) six-game winning streak is over, while Boston(16-16) moved to .500.

Here is the Great, the Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Boston.

The Great for the Cleveland Cavaliers:

-Darius Garland led the Cavaliers with 28 points and six assists. He also had three steals. Coming into this game, Garland led the league in plus/minus, and while this is not a great thing, he was a team-best -6 Wednesday night.

-Kevin Love had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Love has scored in double figures in eight straight games, and he has been in double figures 10 out of the last 11. 

-Tacko Fall, yes, Tacko Fall. He got his first NBA start in the city where it all began for him. Fall was originally signed by the Celtics after going undrafted and spent two seasons in Boston. On Wednesday, Fall had four points, 10 rebounds, and blocked two shots in 19 minutes of action. 

The Not so Great for the Cleveland Cavaliers:

Three-point shooting: Cleveland was 9/38 from downtown. Lauri Markkanen was 0/5, Love was 1/5, and Cedi Osman was 1/5 from deep.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 16 turnovers, which led to 19 Boston points. Turnovers are expected when you are trying to integrate new players. However, this has been an ongoing issue as they are 26th in turnovers per game(14.6).

-Lauri Markkanen struggled with his shot as he was 2/12 from the field, including 0/5 from deep. He finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

-Ricky Rubio, who got the start for Okoro, also was 2/12 from the field and 1/5 from downtown. He had a game-worst -20 rating.  Rubio had eight points, six assists, and three steals.

Bottom Line:

Boston had their two best players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, so they had a clear advantage Wednesday night. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league has no plans to press the pause button on the season, but should they? Around the league, stars are missing games, and we are seeing a lot of G League talent on NBA basketball courts, and while it’s a great thing for those players, it’s probably not good for the product on the court. 

“It’s next-man-up mentality,” Garland said postgame.

What’s Next:

Cleveland will have a few days off as they return to the court Sunday at home against Toronto.

Best of the Rest:

Four out of Boston’s five starters scored in double figures, led by Jaylen Brown’s 34 points and six rebounds. Robert Williams III added 21 points and a team-high 11 rebounds,  a game-high seven assists, and two blocks, and Jayson Tatum chipped in with 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. 

40-year-old Joe Johnson, who signed a 10-day contract with Boston, made his debut late in the fourth and scored two points.

-Osman added 13 points off the bench for Cleveland.

Watch below as Fall and Garland react to the loss to Boston:

Cavs’ Garland: ‘It’s not just hero ball, everybody is contributing’

The Cleveland Cavaliers went into Milwaukee to battle the world champion Bucks. However, what they got wasn’t the team that won a championship a year ago. Due to health and safety protocols, Milwaukee was without many of its key players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, and Dante DiVincenzo. 

Cleveland was impacted by health and safety protocols as they were without Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro.

However, the Cavs had more available talent, and it showed. Cleveland led 62-51 at halftime. The Cavaliers went on a 19-2 run in the third to take their largest lead of 30 and ultimately defeated the Bucks 119-90.

The Cavaliers(19-12) have won six straight and 10 of 12, while the Bucks(19-13) have dropped two straight and three out of their last four. 

With the win, Cleveland is the third seed in the East.

The six-game winning streak for the Cavs is the longest current win streak in the NBA.

Here is the Great, the Not So Great, and the Bottom Line Cavs’ win over Milwaukee.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Darius Garland was en Fuego Saturday night. He scored 12 of his 22 points in the first quarter. The third-year guard started the game 6/6 and finished 10/13 from the floor, including 2/4 from downtown. Garland also added six assists and four rebounds.

Cavs’ Bench: Cedi Osman had a team-high 23 points, including 5/9 from three-point range. Kevin Love had 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and he made a little history as he passed Campy Russell for 10th place on Cleveland’s all-time scoring list; Ricky Rubio had a double-double with 15 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds. This was Rubio’s fourth double-double of the season, and he was a team-best plus-33. In total, the Cavs had 53 points off their bench. 

First and Third Quarter:  Cleveland outscored the Bucks by 27 points in those quarters. Cleveland shot 58% from the floor in the first quarter, including 6/13(46%) from downtown. The Cavaliers led 34-20 after one. In the third, the Cavaliers shot 50% from the field and used a 19-2 run to take complete control of the game. Cleveland outscored Milwaukee 31-18 in the quarter.

Defense: The Cavaliers held Milwaukee to 39% shooting and forced 17 turnovers, which led to 18 Cleveland points. 

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Nothing here to see today…

Bottom Line:

This would have been a bad loss for Cleveland. Milwaukee and the rest of the league are dealing with a severe COVID outbreak, and at this point, it appears the team with the least amount of players in health and protocols is the team that will win the game. Actually, it seems to be that way in all major sports leagues right now. However, give Cleveland credit. They handled their business Saturday night.

 “It’s not just hero ball, everybody is contributing,” Garland said.

What’s Next:

Cleveland was expected to battle the Hawks in Atlanta on Sunday, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the game is expected to be postponed as the Cavs have five players in health and safety protocols.

Best of the Rest:

Jarrett Allen added 14 points and five rebounds as Cleveland had five players in double figures. 

Jordan Nwora led the Bucks with a game-high 28 points. 

 

Most wins by 10 points this season in NBA:

1. Golden State – 17

2. Utah – 15

3. CLEVELAND 14

Watch below as Garland and Osman react to win over Milwaukee:

 

Cavs’ Garland: ‘The sky is the limit because we have so much talent’

For the second straight game and night, the Cleveland Cavaliers led from start to finish, and for the second straight game and night, the Cavaliers had seven players in double figures as they defeated the Sacramento Kings 117-103 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Saturday night.

The Cavaliers routed the Timberwolves 123-106 in Minnesota Friday night.

Cleveland led by as many as 29 points against Sacramento and took a 23-point lead into the fourth. The Kings would cut the lead to seven after a 18-2 run, but they ran out of time.

The Cavs(16-12) have won three straight and are 7-2 in the last nine games; Sacramento(11-16) dropped their second consecutive game.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Kings.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Second Quarter: What a first half for Cleveland! They scored 81 points, which tied a team record for the most points in a first half, but let’s go back to that second quarter. The Cavaliers put up a near-team record of 45 points. They turned a 13-point first-quarter lead to a 29-point halftime bulge(81-52). Cleveland finished the quarter on an 18-4 run and shot 62% from the floor. 

Second Quarter Cedi Osman. He went off in the quarter, scoring 13 points, including 3/3 from downtown. At one point, Osman scored eight straight points for the Cavaliers. Osman, who has been solid off the Cavs’ bench this season, finished the game with 18 points(all in the first half/career-high for a half).

-After recording a season-high 16 points Friday night against Minnesota, Isaac Okoro scored 11 of his season-high 20 points in the first quarter. He scored on drives and was 2/3 from downtown. Okoro finished the game shooting 7/8 from the floor. He also had four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

-Darius Garland had his second consecutive double-double with 15 points and a career-high 13 assists. He also added six rebounds and three steals. This was Garland’s eighth double-double of the season. Over the last nine games, he’s averaging 20.6 points, 9.1 assists on 50.7% shooting, including 47% from downtown. 

-Jarrett Allen did what Jarrett Allen always does, and that’s record a double-double. Allen had his third straight double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He also did it on the defensive end with three blocks and two steals. Allen had his 10th double-double in the last 11 games, and he recorded the 100th double-double of his career.

-Evan Mobley is just so good. He had 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and he became the first rookie for Cleveland to have a 15 and 15 game since Tristian Thompson, who was in the house Saturday as a member of the Kings.

-Ricky Rubio had 15 points, three assists, and three steals. He also had two big threes in the fourth when the Kings were making their run.

Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Fourth Quarter: Look, the Kings cut the lead to seven and outscored Cleveland 25-16 in the final period, and at one point went on a 18-2 run. It appeared Cleveland let it up a little bit, but this could a lesson for them, they have to learn how to close teams out, which will come in time.

Bottom Line:

The Cavaliers should have beaten the Kings, and they did, and they are not just beating teams; they are blowing them out. Cleveland has won the last three games by at least 14 points.

Cleveland scored 81 points in the first half, which is so impressive.

Also, if Okoro keeps playing at a high level on the offensive end, to go along with his stellar defense, the Cavaliers will be tough to beat. 

“The sky is the limit because we have so much talent, and we’re so young, but we also have some veterans to help lead the way,” Garland said.

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their three-game homestand Monday night against the Heat.

Best of the Rest:

-Kevin Love added 11 points, including 3/3 from downtown Saturday night. Love his shooting 50% from three-point range in the last seven games. 

-Buddy Hield led Sacramento with 21 points.

Watch below as Mobley, Garland, and Okoro react to the big win over Sacramento:

Cavs’ Okoro: ‘I feel teams are starting to respect us now’

The Cleveland Cavaliers led the Minnesota Timberwolves from the beginning to the end Friday night. Cleveland jumped out to a 20-4 lead in the first and led by as many as 19 in the opening period. 

Ultimately, Cleveland took a 65-44 lead at halftime. The Cavaliers’ largest lead was 33 points in this one as they routed the Timberwolves 123-106 at Target Center.

Cleveland had seven players in double figures.

After losing two straight, Cleveland(15-12) has now won two in a row and six out of their last eight, while Minnesota lost its fifth consecutive game.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over Minnesota.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Isaac Okoro has been up and down on the offensive end this season, but on Friday night, he got it done. The second-year guard scored 11 of his season-high 16 points(7/10 FG) in the first half. Okoro does a lot on the defensive end. However, it was great to see him break out offensively.

-After 27 games, Jarrett Allen is an All-Star, and he continued to play that way against Minnesota. Allen had his second straight double-double as he had a team-high 21 points(9/11 FG) and grabbed 10 rebounds. According to StatMuse, Allen, who is averaging 17.3 points, 11.2 rebounds per contest on 71% shooting, is on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average 15 points, 10 rebounds on 70% shooting in a season.

-Kevin Love has embraced his new role off the bench, and he returned to Minnesota Friday night, where his NBA career began. The 13-year veteran had a double-double with 18 points, including three threes and a game and season-high 13 rebounds. He’s been in double figures three straight and six out of the last seven games.

-Lauri Markkanen was on fire against the Timberwolves. He scored 19 points(7/8 FG), including 4/5 from downtown. In the last three games, Markkanen is averaging 17.6 points on 65% shooting from the field.

-The man who makes it all work, Darius Garland, had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 assists. He had some nifty passes Friday night, including this one to Evan Mobley:

First Half: Cleveland was cooking in the first half. They shot 61.5% from the field, including (7/11) 63% from downtown, and on the defensive end, they limited Minnesota to 32.6% shooting from the floor and forced 10 turnovers. Cleveland led by 21 points at the break, and according to Cavs Notes, the last time the Cavaliers had a 21-point lead at halftime on the road was November 20, 2017.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

There is nothing to see here. Check back another time. Well, we could nitpick about the turnovers(17), but we’ll pass on that for now.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland is now 9-5 on the road and has won four of their last five away from the friendly confines of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. All four of those road wins have been by at least 15 points. In addition, since November 1, they are 7-2 on the road; the only two teams with better road winning percentages in that timeframe are Brooklyn and Phoenix.

This team gets it done collectively, as evidenced by seven players in double figures and three with double-doubles Friday. Clearly, they are ahead of schedule right now, which is a great thing!

“I feel teams are starting to respect us now, and we got to keep on fighting,” Okoro said post-game.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home Saturday night against Sacramento as Cleveland will play three straight at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

-Cedi Osman added 13 points off the Cavs’ bench; Mobley chipped in with 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks, and in his return to Minnesota, Ricky Rubio had six points and eight assists.

-Karl Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 21 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Watch below as Markkanen and Okoro react to the big win over Minnesota:

Cavs’ Rubio on injuries: ‘We can’t be complaining about this guy being out or that guy’

Beating a team twice in a two-game set is very difficult, and it becomes even harder when you are down many of your key players. That is what the Cavaliers had to do on Monday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse as they concluded their two-game set against the Boston Celtics. 

Coming into this game, Cleveland had won two straight and six of their last seven.

Cleveland, who overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Celtics on Saturday night, was already missing Lauri Markkanen(Return To Competition Reconditioning), Kevin Love(Return To Competition Reconditioning), Collin Sexton(knee), Lamar Stevens(Ankle), and Jarrett Allen(Illness). They would also lose rookie Evan Mobley(elbow) early in the fourth. 

The Cavaliers(9-6) trailed by as much as nine points in the fourth and got within one late in the game, but Boston’s Dennis Schroder hit two big shots and stretched the Celtics lead to five, and Cleveland would fall to Boston(7-7) 98-92.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottomline of the Cavs’ loss to Boston:

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Cedi Osman scored 12 of his 26 points, including four of his game-high six threes in the fourth. He also dished out five assists off the Cavaliers’ bench. The five-year veteran is giving the Cavs great minutes off the bench this season, and he is shooting a career-high 42% from three-point range. 

-Ricky Rubio scored 26 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, including 14 in the third quarter. Rubio got the start for Cleveland. He also added six rebounds and two assists on Monday. He, like Osman, kept the Cavs in this game, and was making array of shots off the dribble.

The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

-Evan Mobley: Mama said there would be days like this, and Mobley, who started at center for the injured Allen, had an off day for the Cavs. He was 0/11 from the floor and scored only two points, but he did have nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Mobley will learn from this one as Boston’s Al Horford defended him very well. 

On Tuesday, the Cavs announced that Mobley would be out 2-4 weeks after an MRI confirmed that he had a sprained right elbow. According to the team, Mobley will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation.

Shooting: Cleveland shot 38.6% from the field on Monday night, but they did shoot 40% from downtown, so it wasn’t all bad. 

Bottom Line:

Both teams were playing their third game in four nights on Monday, and it showed.

Cleveland would’ve had to play better than they did on Saturday night to get this one, and without their key players, including Mobley, defeating Boston was going to be tough.

Mobley going down is a significant loss for the Cavaliers. He was playing so well. Hopefully, they can get Markkanen and Love back soon. Cleveland battled injuries all last season and is struggling with injuries now, but this is a resilient bunch, so expect this team to fight. 

“Hopefully, the guys who are out get healthy and recover fast,” Rubio said postgame. “We are who we are. Tonight, nine players played. If we have to play with five players we will. We can’t be complaining about this guy being out or that guy. At the end of the day, everybody goes through a lot of stuff.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland, who went 2-2 on their four-game homestand, goes to Brooklyn to battle the Nets before returning home for another four-game homestand.

Best of the Rest:

-Darius Garland had 17 points, including three threes on Monday night; Isaac Okoro had a bounce-back performance for Cleveland as he had 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists. On Saturday, Okoro was 0/7 and finished with two points.

-Boston’s Jayson Tatum scored 23 points, and in his return from a back injury, Horford added 17 points and nine rebounds.

Watch below as Osman and Rubio react to Cleveland’s loss to Boston:

Cavs’ Allen: ‘We’re having fun and we’re playing the right way’

Coming off a 3-2 road trip, the Cleveland Cavaliers were happy to be back at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Wednesday night against the Blazers(3-5).

Cleveland led by as many as 11 points in the fourth. However, Portland cut it to one with over eight minutes left.  The Cavaliers never surrendered the lead and survived after Damian Lillard missed a game-tying three at the buzzer to defeat Portland 107-104 for their second straight win.

After starting 0-2, Cleveland(5-4) has won five of their last seven.

The Cavs had six players in double figures for the second game in the row.

Here is the Great, Not the Great, and Bottom Line of Cleveland’s win over the Blazers.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Jarrett Allen again was huge for the Cavaliers. He had team-highs in points(24) and rebounds(17). Allen made plays in the paint and scored eight straight points for the Cavs in the fourth after the Blazers cut the lead to one.

Allen had 24 points and 16 rebounds against Charlotte on Monday night.

-Darius Garland had a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists. The third-year guard was 5/6 from three-point range. Cleveland had 29 assists on Wednesday night

-Evan Mobley recorded his second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. According to the Cavs, Mobley became just the fifth Cavs rookie since 2002-03 to accomplish that feat. In addition, Mobley had a block, and it was a big block on Lillard late in the fourth quarter.

Mobley is the only rookie with three double-doubles this season.

-Collin Sexton, the team’s leading scorer, had an efficient night as he went 8/13 from the field and finished 21 points.

-Cleveland shot 53% from the field and 15-30 from downtown on Wednesday night, both season-highs. 

-Dylan Windler and Cedi Osman were huge off the Cavs’ bench. Windler had 13 points, including 3/3 from three-point range, while Osman added 12 points with four threes.

Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

Cleveland had 19 turnovers on Wednesday night, which led to 31 Blazer points. 

Bottom Line:

The Cavaliers may have turned the corner after starting the season 0-2. The five-game road trip has given this team a lot of confidence. Without Lauri Markkanen(Health & Safety Protocols), Kevin Love(Health & Safety Protocols), and Isaac Okoro(hamstring), other players stepped up. Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has the team playing with much energy and effort.

“We’re having fun and we’re playing the right way,” Allen said. “We’re just going out and playing basketball together.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland goes back on the road to battle the Raptors on Friday night.

Best of the Rest:

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 26 points on 10/27 shooting; Norman Powell scored 23 points, and C.J. McCollum added 21 points.

Sexton, Garland, and Allen react to win over Blazers:

Suns’ Booker: ‘We have a target on our back’

With 8:50 left in the second quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers(3-4) had a 14-point lead (42-28) on Saturday night. However, the Suns closed out the half on a 22-4 run to take a 50-46 lead into halftime, sparking what would go on to be a 50-12 run.

Phoenix(2-3) opened up the second half outscoring Cleveland 28-8 to take a 78-54 lead with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter, and they defeated the Cavaliers 101-92 at Footprint Center.

Devin Booker scored a game-high 27 points to go along with nine assists, seven of which came in the first half, and Chris Paul had his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 assists. Before exiting in third with a right leg contusion, Deandre Ayton tallied 17 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

Before this game, Phoenix was winless(0-2) at home and on a two-game losing streak, but they busted out in the second quarter and never looked back.

“I think we were probably just on a string a little bit more,” Paul said about the 50-12 run. “Communicating a little bit better, and I think that helps everything—our offense, our defensive intensity picked up everything.”

Cam Johnson, who scored 10 points on Saturday, added about the 50-12 run: “We think we’re capable of that all the time. You keep your head down, keep pushing, keep trying to get better, keep trying to get back to high-level championship basketball. I think we’ve got a good team, good guys that always stick together, and that period of the game showed it. We can still obviously be so much better. If we went on that part 50-12, then what do we do the rest of the game? Cleaning all that stuff up going forward is going to be big for us.”

For the Cavaliers, who were on the second game of a back-to-back after losing to the Lakers on Friday night, fatigue might have been an issue, according to Kevin Love, who had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

“I feel like you could tell by the way that we shot it, pretty much across the board, that we were pretty fatigued,” Love said. “I don’t think we’ve shot the ball well from three all year; a number of us haven’t, me included. Fatigue played a big part in this, and I think you have to tip your hat to them; they were very hungry for the win. That’s a really good team down there in the other locker room.” 

The Cavs are now 2-2 on their five-game road trip.

Last season, Phoenix snuck up teams and ultimately became Western Conference champions, but now, they can’t sneak up on anybody, which Booker discussed postgame.

“We have a target on our back,” Booker said. “People watched what we did last year and probably have something to prove, so you’re not going to catch anyone off guard, and you’re going to get everybody’s best. It’s going to be a great crowd anytime you come to Phoenix, and people get hyped up for that, and we need the same energy.”

Best of the Rest:

-With 10 assists tonight, Chris Paul now has 10,328 in his career and is seven assists away from passing Mark Jackson (10,334) for fourth on the NBA’s all-time career assists list and eight away from passing Steve Nash (10,335) for third on the all-time list.

-Cedi Osman scored a game-high 20 points for Cleveland tonight, knocking down six three-pointers on 12 attempts. It marked Osman’s 24th career game of 20+ points and the first this season. His six three-point field goals matched a career-high, which he’s now done three times in his career, all on the road.

What’s Next:

Suns continue their five-game homestand on Tuesday night against former friend Willie Green and the Pelicans, and the Cavaliers finish their five-game road trip on Monday against the Hornets.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘Our focus strictly needs to be on how are we playing’

No Kawhi Leonard and no Paul George for the Clippers on Sunday night against the Cavaliers, but it did not matter. Lou Williams scored 30 points, and Marcus Morris Sr. added 23 as the Clippers(20-8) defeated the Cavaliers 128-111 at Staples Center. 

Collin Sexton led the way for Cleveland with 22 points.

With the loss, Cleveland(10-18) has now dropped seven straight and nine out of their last 10. Cleveland has been beaten by double digits in three out of the four games on this trip. The Cavalier finish off this five-game road trip on Monday night against the Warriors.

The defense was again an issue for Cleveland. The Cavaliers allowed over 120 points for the sixth time in the last seven games. 

 Cedi Osman, who scored 20 points off the bench, acknowledged that the team is not playing well on the defensive end.

“When we’re playing defense, offensively, we were great,” Osman said. “We were sharing the basketball. We were playing for each other, but right now, defensively, we are not playing good.”

In fairness to Cleveland, they have played some very good teams during this game road trip. Cleveland has lost to Clippers(2x), Bucks(2x), Denver, Portland, and Phoenix in the last seven.  

“Without making excuses, we have played really good teams in this stretch,” Cavaliers head. coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the loss to the Clippers. “Our concern has to be are we playing well, and if we’re playing well, we give ourselves an opportunity. Against these teams that are competing for a championship, you can’t afford to make those mistakes and give yourself an honest chance to win the game at the end, so our focus strictly needs to be on how are we playing.”

Cleveland surprised the league when they started the season 3-0, and they were not as good as that start indicated, but they are probably not as bad as what we have seen of late. Once Cleveland gets home, they can regroup and try to fix what’s wrong.