Cavs roll over Nets in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers began a two-game set in Brooklyn against the Nets on Tuesday, and the first game went to the Cavs.

Cleveland led by as many as 24 points and defeated the Nets 115-109 at Barclays Center.

The Cavs(46-28) have won two straight and four out of their last five, while the Nets(39-33) have lost four straight.

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

The Great:

Donovan Mitchell¬†led the Cavs with 31 points, including five threes. In the fourth quarter, Mitchell threw down a nasty dunk over Brooklyn’s Yuta Watanabe, which may have been one of the best dunks of the season.

Jarrett Allen returned after missing four games with an eye injury, and he was big-time. Against his former team, Allen had 12 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks.

Caris LeVert, another former Net, continues to play at a high level. He scored 18 points off the bench. In the last six games, LeVert has scored 15-plus points.

Second & Third Quarters: Cleveland trailed 30-23 at the end of the first quarter but took control in the second. The Cavs outscored the Nets 38-25 in the second and took a 61-55 lead at halftime. In the third, Cleveland started the quarter on an 8-0 run, and after a Mitchell three in the third, Cleveland had their largest lead at 84-60.

Cleveland would outscored the Nets 33-23 in the third and led 94-78 at the end of three.

Not So Great:

Isaac Okoro continues to struggle. In 20 minutes of action, he scored zero points on 0/4 shooting from the field; Okoro has not been in double figures in the last five games.

Bottom Line:

The Cavs continue to play well and continue to take advantage of the schedule. Three out of the four teams(Hornets 2x) the Cavs have beaten in their last five were against teams below .500, which is what you should do.

At this point, Cleveland(fourth seed in the East) must continue to take advantage of the schedule. Five of their final eight games in the regular season are against teams below .500, so winning 50 games seems inevitable, and most importantly, keeping homecourt in the first round also seems inevitable. (3.5 games up on fifth-seeded Knicks)

Best of the Rest:

-Mobley and Garland had 17 points apiece. Cedi Osman had 12 points off the bench. Cleveland had six players in double figures.

-Day’Ron Sharpe led Brooklyn with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie had 19 points and 11 assists. The Nets also had six players in double figures.

-The Cavs are 13-3 when six-plus players score in double figures.

Cavs equal win total from last season after routing Hornets

The Cavs(44-27) concluded their four-game road trip in Charlotte against the Hornets on Tuesday. Cleveland defeated the Hornets 114-108 on Sunday night and hoped to sweep the two-game set.

Cleveland was without their leading scorer Donovan Mitchell(Finger Sprain – Injury Management) and Jarrett Allen(Eye), but that didn’t matter as they had three players score 20-plus points in a 120-104 rout of the Hornets.

The Cavs went 3-1 on their road trip and have won two straight and five of their last six. Even more, they matched their win total from last season(44-38).

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

The Great:

Evan Mobley, who started his straight game at center for the injured Allen, had a team-high 26 points(10/15 FG) and six rebounds. 

Cedi Osman was huge off the Cavs’ bench. He scored 12 of his 24 points in the second quarter, and Osman made six threes. Early In the second quarter, with the Cavs leading 32-31, Osman scored eight of the team’s next 10 points to give the team an 11-point.¬†

Caris LeVert got the start for Mitchell, and he did the job. LeVert had 22 points(four threes), four rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.

Darius Garland scored 12 of 19 points in the first quarter and added seven assists. He got the Cavs off to the start they needed.

Second and Third Quarters: Cleveland led 30-27 after the first quarter but blew things open in the second and third quarters. The Cavs outscored the Hornets 68-49 in those quarters. Cleveland shot 50% in the second and 67% in the third. The Cavs led 98-76 at the end of three and had their largest lead of 26 points in the fourth.

Turnovers:¬†The Cavs forced 22 turnovers, which led to 35 points. Cleveland forced 15 turnovers in the first half, which led to 25 points, and that’s the most they had in any half since 2008.¬†

That’s a lot of turnovers and a lot of points.

Not So Great:

It’s all good, and it’s all great for the Cavs.

Bottom Line:

The Cavs did what they were supposed to do in these two games against the Hornets. It’s also impressive that they reached their win total from last season(44) with 11 games left, which was expected.

If Cleveland can win six of their final 11, they will win 50 games for the first time since the 2017-18 season, which would be a great accomplishment.

At this point, the focus is on seeding in the East. As stated numerous times, Cleveland is locked into the four seed. They are three games ahead of the fifth-seeded Knicks and three games behind the third-seeded 76ers, so again, barring anything crazy, Cleveland will have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs as the fourth seed in the East.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home to battle the 76ers on Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

Kelly Oubre Jr. had a game-high 28 points for the Hornets, and Terry Rozier added 22 points and nine assists.

-Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recorded his 200th win on Tuesday night.

Cavs overcome 16-point second-half deficit to defeat Hornets

The Cleveland Cavaliers(43-27) continued their four-game road trip in Charlotte against the Hornets(22-48) on Sunday. Cleveland, without center Jarrett Allen(eye), was looking to return to their winning ways after falling to the Heat on Friday night.

Cleveland did not get the start they wanted, but they got the finish they needed as they overcame a 16-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Hornets 114-108 at Spectrum Center,.

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

The Great:

After missing Friday’s loss against the Heat due to a quad injury,¬†Darius Garland¬†returned on Sunday and was big-time. He had a game-high 28 points, along with six rebounds and six assists.

Donovan Mitchell scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth. With the Cavs clinging to a 109-108 lead late in the fourth, Mitchell made a huge floater to stretch the lead to three‚ÄĒgreat work from one of the Cavs’ closers.

Evan Mobley, who started at the center for the injured Allen, had 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to go along with nine rebounds, and midway through the fourth, the second-year forward gave the Cavs their first lead at 100-99 since the first quarter with a dunk, which gave Cleveland the lead for good. 

Fourth Quarter:¬†Cleveland trailed 89-81 after three quarters but finally got it going in the fourth. In the final stanza, they outscored the Hornets 33-19 and shot 61% from the floor. In addition, they forced five turnovers, which led to 10 points. Mitchell and Mobley scored 20 of the team’s 33 fourth-quarter points.

Mobley and Caris LeVert were a team-best +14 in the fourth.

Forcing Turnovers: The Cavs forced 19 turnovers, which led to 29 points.

Not So Great:

Three-Points Shooting: Cleveland was 7/27 from deep, and Garland had the biggest issue as he was 2/10 from three-point range. 

First Quarter and Most of the Third Quarter: The Hornets led 35-25 after the first quarter and dominated most of the third quarter. In that third quarter, the Hornets had their largest lead of the game at 89-73. Fortunately for Cleveland, they found a way.

Bottom Line:

The Bottom Line is the Cavs got the win, and in the end, that’s all that matters. Clearly, this was not their best performance, and clearly, this was a game they could have and maybe should have lost, but again, they closed the game the right way on the road.

What’s Next:

Cleveland finishes their four-game road trip against the Hornets again on Tuesday night.

Best of the Rest:

-LeVert had 15 points, and Ricky Rubio added 11 points off the bench. Cleveland had five players in double figures.

-The Hornets starting five all scored in double figures. Terry Rozier led the way with 27 points; P.J. Washington had 19 points, and Nick Richards added 15 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks.

-According to Cavs Notes, this was the Cavs’ 14th win of the season when trailing by double-digits.

Cavs get big comeback win over Celtics

On Monday night, the Cavs hosted the Boston Celtics, and just like two other games this season against Boston, the game went into overtime, and like those other two games, the Cavs came out on top.

Cleveland(41-26) overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Celtics 118-114 in OT at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the win, the Cavs won the season series (3-1) against the Celtics. Boston(45-21), who was on the second half of a back-to-back after falling to the Knicks on Sunday, was without Jayson Tatum(knee) and Al Horford(back).

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

The Great:

Donovan Mitchell did not shoot(14/34 FG) well, but he did have a game-high 40 points and grabbed a season-high tying 11 rebounds and four assists. Mitchell was relentless! He gave the Cavs their first lead since the first quarter with 24.7 to go in regulation, and Mitchell made the game-tying free throws that sent the game to OT.

Evan Mobley did Evan Mobley-type things. He scored 25 points, had a game-high 17 rebounds, and three blocks. This was Mobley’s third straight double-double and his 20th double-double of the season.

Darius Garland, like Mitchell and Mobley, Garland had a double-double with 17 points, five rebounds, and 12 assists.

Lamar Stevens was great!! In only 17 minutes of action, Stevens had eight points and eight rebounds(career-high six offensive rebounds; five of the offensive rebounds came in the fourth). Additionally, he gave Cleveland the lead for good when he made a corner three in OT to make it 114-112 with just over two minutes to go. They don’t win without Stevens.

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed 92-78 heading into the fourth, and after playing sluggish throughout, the Cavs finally woke up. Cleveland outscored Boston 31-17 in the final stanza, holding Boston to 25% shooting from the field.

They also got a little help from Grant Williams. With 0.8 seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 109, Williams had an opportunity to win the game for Boston, but he missed both free throws, and the Cavs had life!

Not So Great:

The first three quarters were awful, and they did have 15 turnovers, but we’ll cut the Cavs some slack today.

Bottom Line:

This would have been a bad loss because of what Boston was missing, but it turned out to be a good for the Cavs. One thing about this team is they don’t quit. In fact, this was Cleveland’s 13th victory when trailing by 10 points or more, so again, they don’t quit.

The reason they don’t quit is Mitchell. He has a never say die attitude, and he willed this team to victory, and with the way the fifth-seeded Knicks(9 straight wins) are playing, the fourth-seeded Cavs have little margin for error.

What’s Next:

Cleveland begins a four-game road trip on Wednesday night with two games in Miami against the Heat, and they finish it off with two games in Charlotte against the Hornets.

Best of the Rest:

-Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and a season-high nine assists. Malcolm Brogdon had 24 points off the bench.

-Cleveland is 7-0 in OT games this season.

-According to Elias Sports, the Cavs have never had three overtime wins against a single opponent in the same season until this season (3 OT wins vs. Boston).

Cavs dominate, rout Pistons on Saturday night

The Cavs returned home on Saturday night to battle the Pistons.

Fortunately for Cleveland, they did not have much trouble with the lowly Pistons as they won handily, 114-90.

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

The Great:

Darius Garland scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the third. Garland made five threes and added seven assists and two steals.

Donovan Mitchell, who left in third with a sprained left finger and did return, mainly because of the score, added 20 points, four assists, and two steals.

Evan Mobley was a beast for the Cavs on both ends. He scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds; and had six assists; on defense, Mobley had four blocks and recorded his 200th career block.

Third Quarter: Cleveland led 54-45 at halftime, and they blew things open in the third. The Cavs were red-hot, shooting 73% from the floor, including 57% from deep. In addition, they created eight turnovers, which led to 12 points. Cleveland took its largest lead of 33 points in the third, and a nine-point halftime lead turned into a 29-point lead(96-67) at the end of three.

Not So Great:

Check back another night.

Bottom Line:

At this point, all wins are significant. The Cavs took advantage of the schedule and took advantage of a depleted Pistons team, who was down four starters, including leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Knicks, the fifth seed in the East, who have won eight straight, are coming, so again, the Cavs have to keep on winning.

Currently, the Knicks are 1.5 games behind the fourth-seeded Cavs.

What’s Next:

Cleveland hosts the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Jarrett Allen, who played in his 400th NBA game on Saturday, added 15 points, five rebounds, and two steals.

-Mitchell also played in his 400th NBA game

-Isaac Okoro, who played in his 200th NBA game, chipped in with five points.

-For the Pistons, Marvin Bagley had 20 points, a game-high 13 rebounds, and three blocks.

According to Cavs Notes, this was Cleveland’s 28th win by double-digits and their 21st game holding an opponent to under 100 points, both tops in the NBA.

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Cavs get great effort from Mitchell but fall short against Celtics

On Wednesday night, the Cavs(39-26) headed to Boston to battle the Celtics(45-18).

The game was close in first half, but Boston exploded in the third and survived a furious rally from the Cavs in the fourth to win 117-113.

Cleveland has now lost four of five, while the Celtics have won four of five. Boston beat Cleveland for the time in three matchups this season.

The two teams will meet again in Cleveland for the final time this season on Monday night.

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

The Great:

Donovan Mitchell left it all on the court against the Celtics. In 44 minutes of action, he scored 29 of his game-high 44 points in the second half. He was 17/32 from the floor and made four threes. Mitchell tried his best to secure the win, but his best was not good enough.

Mitchell, who played 23 of a possible 24 minutes in the second half, added four rebounds and five assists. 

Darius Garland had a good night for the Cavs. He finished with 29 points(11/19 FG, 5/9 3-PT FG) and nine assists. Garland made things interesting down the stretch, scoring 15 points in the fourth.

The Cavs’ backcourt scored 73 of the team’s 113 points.

Not So Great:

Third Quarter: The Celtics led 55-52 at halftime, but the Celtics took over in the third. Boston started the third on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 62-52, and they went on a 19-9 run to push their lead to 20. Boston had their largest lead of 21 and outscored the Cavs 41-26 in the third. 

Jayson Tatum scored 18 of his 41 points in the quarter, and the Celtics shot 61% from the field and were 6/7 from deep.

Boston took a 96-78 lead into the fourth.

Free Throw Shooting: Cleveland shot 13/21(62%) from the charity stripe. They have to be better at the line.

Bench: Cleveland has to get more from its bench. The Cavs got only 14 points off the bench against the Celtics. Currently, the Cavs are 28th in the NBA in bench points.

They will need to get more from the second unit going forward.

Bottom Line:

There is no shame in losing to the Celtics, especially in Boston, where they are 25-7. However, at this point, Cleveland may have to concern themselves with the fifth-seeded Knicks(37-27), who moved to 1.5 gamed behind the Cavs and have won seven straight. The Cavs do play the Knicks one more time at the end of March, and that game could mean a lot for both teams.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home to face the Pistons on Friday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Evan Mobley had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

-All five Boston starters scored in double figures. Al Horford had 23 points, including six threes and 11 rebounds; Robert Williams III added 11 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Tatum added 11 rebounds and eight assists.

-Mitchell scored 40-plus points for the seventh time this season. 

Cavs end three-game losing streak with win over Raptors

The Cavaliers(39-25) returned home on Sunday to face the Raptors(30-32), hoping to end a three-game losing streak.

For the first time in four matchups with Toronto this season, Cleveland defeated the Raptors 118-93 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to end their three game losing streak.

Cleveland led by as many as 30 points in their win over Toronto.

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

The Great:

Donovan Mitchell scored 22 of his game-high 35 points in the first half. He was on fire as he shot 13/21 from the field, including 8/12 from deep. Mitchell also added six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Darius Garland¬†did a lot of swishing and dishing versus the Raptors. He had a double-double with 18 points, 11 assists, and a career-high two blocks; this was Garland’s 16th double-double of the season.¬†

Jarrett Allen also had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Allen leads the Cavs with 28 double-doubles this season.

Post-Mitchell Flagrant Foul:¬†With just under seven minutes in the third, Mitchell was called for a flagrant foul on Jakob Poeltl . At that point, the Cavs led 76-66. Mitchell would score 10 of the team’s next 15 points as Cleveland went on a 15-5 run to take a 20-point lead, which was their largest lead in the third. That foul motivated Mitchell and the Cavs, and they never looked back.

Three-Point Shooting: Cleveland was raining threes on Sunday night. They were 18/36(50%) from deep.

Not So Great:

Bench: Cleveland got little from their bench. After three quarters, the Cavs only got two points from its bench; they finished with just 16 points off the bench, and the bench played most of the fourth.

Clearly, the Cavs are going to need more production from their bench.

Bottom Line:

Good to see the Cavs bounce back and get a win. They needed to get home, and they needed to get this win. Cleveland remains a dominant home team(26-7), which should serve them well come playoff time. Again, they must get more from the bench, but they’ll worry about that another night.¬†

What’s Next:

The Cavs get back at it on Wednesday as they battle the Celtics in Boston.

Best of the Rest:

-Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 25 points and eight rebounds.

-Evan Mobley added 18 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

-The Cavs had 31 assists on 44 field goals.

Cavs lose third straight, fall to Hawks in Atlanta

The Cleveland Cavaliers went on the road Friday to battle the Atlanta Hawks on the second half of a back-to-back after falling to the Denver Nuggets 115-109 on Thursday night.

This was Atlanta’s first game after the All-Star Break and their first game following the firing of head coach Nate McMillan and the hiring of interim head coach Joe Prunty.

Well, Atlanta got the effort they wanted. Trae Young led the Hawks with 34 points and nine assists, and Dejounte Murray added 25 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists as the Hawks routed the Cavs 136-119.

The 136 points are the most points the Cavs have allowed this season.

Cleveland(38-25) has now lost three straight, and the Hawks(30-30) snapped a two-game losing streak.

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

The Great:

Darius Garland was the lone bright spot for the Cavs. He led Cleveland with 33 points, including four threes.

Not So Great:

First Half: Man, this wasn’t good. Cleveland allowed a season-high 81 points in the first half. In addition, the Hawks shot 64% from the field and made seven threes.

After allowing 32 points in the first quarter, Cleveland allowed a whopping 49 points in the second quarter, which was a season-high, and the Hawks shot 82%(18/22) from the field.

Dejounte Murray scored quarter 15 points in the quarter and was a perfect 7/7 from the field.

Atlanta had their largest lead of the game at 81-49 in the second quarter, and the game was pretty much spoken for as the Cavs trailed 81-57 at the break.

Donovan Mitchell: He was off on Friday night. He was 6/17 from the field, including 2/10 from deep. Mitchell finished with 19 points but was not much of a factor. 

Bottom Line:

Cleveland just got blitzed in this one and could not stop Atlanta’s offense. On the second half of a back-to-back, you knew the Cavs’ energy might not be all the way there, but after their loss to the Nuggets, there should have been a much better effort. However, with an 82-game regular season, you won’t always be perfect.

Plus, a new coach usually means a big effort from the team, and the Hawks played well.

Not to minimize the loss, but the fourth-seeded Cavs will probably stay there(three games behind the third-seeded 76ers, 2.5 up on the fifth-seeded Nets), so this loss is not the end of the world.

With 19 games left, the focus is to get better and get ready for the playoffs.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to host the Raptors on Sunday night.

Best of the Rest:

Jarrett Allen had 14 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks; Evan Mobley added 13 points for the Cavs.

Cavs’ Mitchell: ‘I’m excited to see what we have going forward’

With 21 games left in the regular season, the 38-23 Cavs are the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference and should make the playoffs for the time since 2018 and for the time without LeBron James since 1998.

One of the biggest reasons for Cleveland’s success is the addition of four-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell, who Cleveland acquired in the offseason from the Jazz. This season, Mitchell is averaging a career-high 27.3 points per game.

For Cleveland, they can score, but it’s all about defense. The Cavs are the number one rated defensive team in the NBA, and that’s one of the biggest things that stands out for Mitchell.

“I think the biggest thing is, first of all, our defensive effort,” he said Saturday. “You know, obviously, we have talent to score offensively, but defensively I think it will be our staple. It’s something we will continue to build upon as a group. Like I said, we have guys that haven’t been to the playoffs, and I don’t think that will matter. I think we have a group of guys that really continue to put the work in. So when the time comes, we’ll be ready to go. I’m excited to see what we have going forward.

As we look at the standings, things are bunched up in both conferences, and there are no clear-cut favorites at this point, which Mitchell discussed.

“I think the last few years it’s been (that way),” he said. “I would say really after COVID until now; I think there’s been a lot of — really, outside of Golden State, has really been the only consistent (contender) outside of Cleveland when Bron was here. I think there’s a lot of different things that can happen. Knock on wood for everybody in here, but there’s injuries. Health is a big factor. There’s luck. There’s seeding. There’s who you go get. You look at the West; you may run into the Lakers first round. In the East, you have a lot of talented teams at the 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 spots. There’s no guarantees. You have to go out there and take everything. You have to earn it and work for it and be ready when your bell is called.”

The Cavs are definitely in the mix and will be tough out for any team in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland has a young team, and at age 26, Mitchell is the oldest starter for the Cavs, but they have vets in Danny Green and Ricky Rubio. According to Mitchell, he likes the mix of young and old on this team.

“Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Isaac Okoro are really the three out of our starting group, our core group that haven’t been(playoffs),” he said. “With the vets that we have, the guys that we have supporting, I think it’s a great mixture, for sure.”

Can they win a title this season? Probably not, which is not a bad thing. No matter what happens this year, Cleveland’s future is super bright.

Cavs’ seven-game winning streak ends in Philly

On Wednesday night, the Cavs’ seven-game-winning streak came to an end as they fell to the 76ers on the road 118-112.

Here’s The Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the 76ers

The Great:

Cavs Backcourt: Donovan Mitchell(33 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals) and Darius Garland(27 points, two rebounds, six assists, three steals) combined for 60 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals. Mitchell scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half, including 16 points in the fourth, and Garland was 10/14 from the field. Mitchell and Garland almost brought the Cavs all the way back in this one.

Second Half:¬†Cleveland trailed by many as 28 points in the first half and by as many as 27 in the third. However, they finally woke up. The Cavs outscored the 76ers 32-24 in the third but trailed by 17 going into the fourth. In the final stanza, Cleveland cut Philly’s 22-point fourth-quarter lead to four with 1:30 left and with just under a minute to go, but they couldn’t get any closer. The Cavs outscored the 76ers 74-55 in the second half and shot 63%.

Not So Great:

First Half: Cleveland came out slow and sluggish. They never led in this one, and the 76ers jumped on them early. Philadelphia shot 53%(8/15) from deep. Conversely, Cleveland was terrible on offense. They shot 36% from the field and were 4/17 from downtown. The Cavs were fighting uphill the rest of the way and trailed 63-48 at halftime.

The Final 52.5 seconds: With 52.5 seconds left in the game and the Cavs trailing 114-110, Joel Embiid rebounded an Evan Mobley missed hook shot. Instead of playing straight-up defense, Cleveland decided to foul, which did not make much sense. If you play defense and get the stop, you can get it to two or one with still a decent amount of time left, but they started fouling early, and Philly made their foul shots to put the game away.

Bottom Line:

Despite the loss, it was a great effort by the Cavs. For Cleveland(38-23) to come back from a 28-point deficit is impressive. However, this is another learning experience for the young Cavs. You have to start early against a team like the 76ers.

As they head into the All-Star break, the fourth-seeded Cavs are two games behind the third-seeded 76ers(38-19) and are 2.5 games up on the fifth-seeded Nets. 

At this point, with 21 games to go, the Cavs are probably locked into the fourth seed, which means homecourt advantage in the first round and a meeting with the Nets, Heat, or Knicks. All those series seem very winnable for the Cavs, so things are looking up in Cleveland.

Best of the Rest:

-Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and two steals. James Harden had 19 points and 12 assists. Philadelphia had six players in double figures.

-Evan Mobley had 23 points and nine rebounds; Jarrett Allen added 12 points and seven rebounds

-Cedi Osman(neck) and Ricky Rubio(illness) did not play on Wednesday night.

-According to Shams Charania, the Cavs, and Kevin Love are finalizing a contract buyout. The 34-year-old, who has not played in the last 12 games and is out of the rotation, has reportedly requested a buyout from the team.

Love has spent nine seasons with the Cavs and is making $31.2 million this season.