Cavs’ Garland: ‘We’ve got the bark and the bite right now’

The Cleveland Cavaliers were looking for a bounce-back performance on Friday night against the visiting Detroit Pistons, and they got it. 

Cleveland(8-5) led by as many as 27 points and defeated the Pistons(2-9) 98-78.

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Darius Garland did it all for Cleveland on Friday night. He scored 21 points, including four threes, and dished out seven assists as he was lobbing it left and right to Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley at the rim. Garland also added two rebounds and two steals.

-Evan Mobley, who was the third overall pick, got a chance to face the number one overall pick in Cade Cunningham on Friday night, and as he has done all year long, Mobley filled out the stat sheet. He had 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. According to the team, Mobley became the fastest Cavs rookie to grab 100 rebounds since Brad Daugherty (12 games) and Hot Rod Williams (13 games) in 1986.

-Cedi Osman was outstanding off the Cavs’ bench. He scored 17 points.

Defense: Cleveland held the Pistons to 78 points on .367% shooting from the field. In addition, they forced 23 turnovers, which turned into 27 points. The 78 points are the lowest amount of points they’ve allowed in a game since 2016.

Third Quarter Defense: The Cavaliers held the Pistons to 11 points in the third. Detroit(5/20) shot 25% from the floor. Cleveland led by as much as 22 in the quarter and took complete control of the game.

Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

-Cleveland did have 21 turnovers on Friday. Not a big deal on this night because it only led to 11 Piston points, but against a better team, this could have been a problem.

Bottom Line:

The Cavs did what good teams do to a bad team, and that’s beat them up. In addition, it was good to see this team come out with a level of anger after the tough loss to the Wizards that snapped their four-game winning streak. 

“We’ve got the bark and the bite right now,” Garland said postgame. “Everybody is jelling and is fun to be around. It’s a lot of fun.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland gets back at it on Saturday night at home against the Boston Celtics.

Best of the Rest:

Jarrett Allen’s streak of five straight double-doubles ended on Friday night as he chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds, and this beautiful dunk below:

-Isaac Okoro added nine points and nine rebounds.

-Ricky Rubio had five points, nine assists, and five steals off the bench.

-Lamar Stevens left with a right ankle sprain in the second quarter and did not return.

-Kevin Love (Health and Safety Protocols) and Lauri Markkanen (Health and Safety Protocols) are still out. However, Love was in the arena on Friday night and joined the team on the bench.

-Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 16 points and Cunningham added nine points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Watch below as Garland, Mobley, and Osman react to team’s win over Pistons:

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘We gotta grow up, and it’s that simple’

After their disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, the thought from the coaching staff and team is that the Cavaliers would be much better against the depleted Detroit Pistons on Monday night. 

Detroit(18-40) has the worst record in the Eastern Conference and was without seven players, including their leading scorer Jerami Grant and their top rebounder in Mason Plumlee. However, none of that mattered on Monday night, especially in the first quarter. Detroit led by as much as 23 points in that quarter, and while the Cavs(20-37) would take their first  lead midway through the fourth, Detroit was able to take control down the stretch and win 109-105 at Little Caesars Arena.

Detroit’s Saddiq Bey and Frank Jackson had 20 points apiece. Bey had 18 points in the first quarter, including six threes. Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 28 points, and Darius Garland added 23.

Cleveland, who has lost three straight, outscored Detroit in every quarter after their bad start. However, according to Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland was done in by the first quarter. 

“It was the first quarter that did us in,” Bickerstaff said. “To me, all that other stuff that happens afterward is irrelevant.”

The team’s approach to the game let Bickerstaff down, and according to him, it shows that the team has to grow up.

“It’s a conversation about our approach and a maturity level that we’ve yet reach,” he said. “And the thought that we wouldn’t come out tonight and play spirited basketball is disappointing…

“I love the dudes in that locker room. I think their heart and minds are in the right place, but we gotta grow up, and it’s that simple.”

Considering what was at stake regarding the playoffs, Monday night’s performance was unacceptable. However, it’s all a part of the process. Hopefully, these young guys can use this moment as a learning experience for the rest of this season and beyond.

Cleveland is now four games behind the Bulls for the 10th and final playoff spot with 15 games remaining. Cleveland will host the Bulls on Wednesday night.

Report: Blake Griffin to sign with Nets

The Brooklyn Nets have another piece to the puzzle. According to The Athletic’s Sham Charania, Blake Griffin has cleared free agency waivers, and the six-time NBA All-Star is expected to sign with the Nets.

The 31-year-old Griffin and the Detroit Pistons agreed to a buyout on Friday. 

During three-plus years with the Pistons (2018-21), Griffin posted averages of 20.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 33.3 minutes over 138 games (all starts). He earned All-NBA Third Team honors and his sixth NBA All-Star selection while averaging a career-best 24.5 points and leading the Pistons to the NBA Playoffs in 2018-19.  

In 20 games with the Pistons this season, Griffin averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.

It should be interesting to see what role Griffin will have in Brooklyn, but the assumption is he will probably be a starter. With what they have in terms of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant, Griffin will get a lot of good looks. If he can stay healthy, Griffin can definitely help the Nets. He gives them depth and another guy who can score the ball.

Drafted first overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Clippers, Griffin holds averages of 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 34.7 minutes in 642 career NBA games.

Pistons-Mavericks postponed due to severe weather in Dallas

There is a lot of snow and ice in Texas. Because of that, the NBA announced today that the Detroit Pistons at Dallas Mavericks game scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed due to the government shutdown of American Airlines Center because of severe weather conditions in Dallas.

The game will be rescheduled at a later date. 

Many people in Dallas are dealing with power outages after snow and ice have battered Texas. According to the National Weather Service, significant ice accumulation is expected over Central Texas, and significant snow accumulation is expected over North Texas tonight.

The Mavericks are coming off a 121-118 loss to the Blazers on Sunday night.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers sign former lottery pick Thon Maker

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed former lottery pick Thon Maker, the team announced on Monday. Maker became an unrestricted free agent after the Pistons decided not to extend a qualifying offer.

The 23-year-old Maker, who was acquired by the Pistons from the Bucks in February, played in 60 games (14 starts) for Detroit last season, averaging 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.9 minutes. He posted two double-doubles and scored in double figures on 11 occasions in 2019-20. 

The 7-footer was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft but has had a hard time getting consistent playing time. The four-year veteran owns career averages of 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.9 minutes over 255 games (65 starts) with Milwaukee and Detroit.

This is an opportunity for Maker to turn things around in his career and an opportunity for the Cavaliers to get a player who has potential. We’ll see how Maker does in Cleveland.

In other moves, the Cavaliers added center Marques Bolden and guard Charles Matthews to their 2020 training camp roster.