Cavs announce four-game preseason schedule

The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their four-game preseason slate on October 5 on the road against the 76ers, the team announced Wednesday.

After the 76ers, Cleveland will have back-to-back games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse against the 76ers (October 10) and Hawks(October 12). The Cavs will conclude their preseason schedule at Orlando on October 14.

With young talents like Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen, The Cavs, who were the seventh seed(44-38) in the East but were unable to make it to the playoffs after losing to the Hawks and Nets in the Play-In Tournament, hope to take that next step in the 2022-23 NBA season.

2022 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PRESEASON GAME SCHEDULE

Date              Opponent                                  Time (ET)

Oct. 5            at Philadelphia                          7:00 p.m.

Oct. 10          PHILADELPHIA                          7:00 p.m.

Oct. 12          ATLANTA                                   7:00 p.m.

Oct. 14          at Orlando                                 7:00 p.m.

Barnes, Cunningham, Mobley headline NBA All-Rookie First Team

Toronto Raptors guard-forward Scottie Barnes, Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Cleveland Cavaliers forward-center Evan Mobley have been unanimously selected to the 2021-22 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the league announced Wednesday.

The three players each received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

Joining Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley (200 total points each) on the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Rookie First Team are Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (183 points; 84 First Team votes) and Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (158 points; 58 First Team votes).

Barnes, the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year, ranked third among first-year NBA players in points (15.3 ppg) and rebounds (7.5 rpg) and fifth in assists (3.5 apg).  He was named the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month twice (February and March/April).  Cunningham, the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, led all rookies in points (17.4 ppg), was second in assists (5.6 apg) and finished fifth in rebounds (5.5 rpg).  He earned NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors for January.

Mobley, who finished second to Barnes in voting for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, led all rookies in rebounds (8.3 rpg) and blocked shots (1.67 bpg) and was fifth in points (15.0 ppg).  He was honored as the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November.

Wagner, the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December, started all 79 of his games and ranked fourth among first-year NBA players in points (15.4 ppg).  Green, the NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for March/April, finished second among rookies in scoring average (17.3 ppg) and recorded at least 20 points in 17 of his final 25 games.

The 2021-22 NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (123 points), Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (122), Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland (81), Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (75) and Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte (52).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s win or go home!

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

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

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

The Great for the Cavs:

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

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

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

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

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

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

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

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

Bottom Line:

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

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

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

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

What’s Next:

The offseason! It was a fun season!

Best of the Rest:

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

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

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

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

Cavs start slow, finish strong but fall in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to punch their ticket to the NBA Playoffs when they battled the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament.

Cleveland never led and trailed by 20 points after the first quarter and was down by as many as 22. The Cavs battled back and cut the lead to five late in the game; however, they could not get any closer as the Nets defeated Cleveland 115-108. 

Kyrie Irving had 34 points(12/15 FG, 3/6 3-PT FG) and 12 assists; Irving made his first 12 shots; Kevin Durant added 25 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, and three blocks.

The Nets get the seventh seed in the East and will battle the second seed, the Boston Celtics. The Cavs will try to get the eighth seed Friday night against the winner of Hornets/Hawks.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Nets:

The Great for the Cavs:

Darius Garland scored 16 of his 34 points in the fourth. Garland scored the first nine points for Cleveland in the final quarter, and he tried to rescue the Cavs. 

The moment was not too big for him, and the moment has not been too big for him all season long. This is what you want from your best player in a big spot. The All-Star also added five assists and two steals. 

-The moment wasn’t too big for rookie Evan Mobley as well. He had 14 of his 19 points in the second half to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Mobley has been steady all season long, and he was steady Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

-Rajon Rondo morphed into “Playoff Rondo” against the Nets. He made the right play time after time. The stat line wasn’t super impressive as Rondo had seven points and nine assists in 26 minutes of action, but he got it done for the Cavs. Rondo and Caris LeVert were the only two Cavs with a positive rating(+2), and Rondo had the best rating in the second half for Cleveland at +9. 

Any Quarter but the First: Cleveland trailed by 20 after the first quarter, but they outscored Brooklyn by 13 points in the final three quarters. They held Brooklyn to 17 points in the second quarter. After shooting 35% in the first half, Cleveland shot 55% from the field, including 50% from deep in the second half. They scored 35 points in the fourth quarter on 55% shooting, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: Last Friday, the Cavaliers trailed Brooklyn 34-19 after one quarter, and Tuesday night, the Nets got off to another great start. Brooklyn shot 71% from the floor, including 67% from downtown. Kyrie Irving was 5/5 from the field and scored 11 points in the first quarter; he finished with 20 points in the first half on 9/9 shooting.

The Nets led 40-20 after one quarter and 57-43 at halftime.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 15 turnovers, which led to 24 points for Brooklyn. 

-Isaac Okoro: The second-year guard struggled with his shot Tuesday night. He was 0/3 from the field, all threes, and finished with zero points in 13 minutes. No one expects Okoro to score a bunch, but he had open looks, and he has to make some of those open shots.

Bottom Line:

You can’t spot Brooklyn 20 points and expect to win. Cleveland played well after the first quarter, but they were swimming upstream just like last Friday’s game.

Brooklyn could win a championship, so there is no shame in losing this game. Cleveland has two games to win one. Hopefully, they can get back their All-Star center Jarrett Allen. Cleveland is 35-21 with Allen this season and 9-17 without him, so getting him back would help.

Getting to the playoffs won’t be easy; it should be fun to see the excitement at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the winner of Hornets/Hawks in the Play-In Game.

Best of the Rest:

-Kevin Love had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds; Lauri Markkanen chipped in with 13 points, and LeVert had 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.  

-Bruce Brown had 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, and three steals; Andre Drummond chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Nic Claxton had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Listen below as Garland and Love discuss the team’s loss to Brooklyn:

Kevin Love leads Cleveland to eighth seed

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Sunday’s action against the Milwaukee Bucks looking to get at least the eighth seed in the East or, if the Nets stumble versus the Pacers, the seventh seed.  

Fortunately, the Bucks decided to rest their whole starting lineup, and the Cavs took full advantage. Cleveland led by as many as 40 points and routed the Bucks 133-115 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Unfortunately, the Nets defeated the Pacers, so they will be the seventh seed, while the Cavs will be the eighth seed in the East, so Cleveland will to travel to Brooklyn Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament. 

Cleveland finished the season 44-38, and the Bucks ended the year 51-31.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

-Kevin Love, who played only 15 minutes, scored 23 of his 32 points in the first half off the bench. The five-time All-Star made a career-high tying eight threes. He finished 10/16 from the field, including 8/11 from deep. He also added 10 rebounds. Love had 18 points, including five threes in the first quarter. Here’s the crazy part, according to Elias Sports, Love is the first player in the shot-clock era (since 1954) to record 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in under 16 minutes of action.

-Evan Mobley had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and he also added four blocks. Mobley finished the regular season with 21 double-doubles, the fourth-most for a rookie in Cavs’ history. 

-Lauri Markkanen had 23 points(4/7 3-PT FG) and seven rebounds. 

First Half: The Cavs jumped on the Pacers early and did not let up. Cleveland tied a season-high with 46 points in the first quarter, which tied a franchise record for most points in any quarter in team history. Cleveland shot 60% from the floor, including 10/15(67%) from downtown. They led by 26(46-20) after one.

Ultimately, the Cavs scored 79 points in the first half and led by 33 points(79-46) at the break.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Not today!!!

Bottom Line:

The Cavs caught a break as the Bucks were clearly not looking to win this game. Now, it’s time to prepare to head to Brooklyn to face the seventh-seeded Nets.

Brooklyn will be tough to beat, but it’s one game, so anything is possible.

On Friday, the Cavs were down 17 points in the first quarter against the Nets and were swimming upstream the rest of the way; they took the lead in the third but fell short in the fourth, so Cleveland must get off to a better start.

Playing Brooklyn again could be to the Cavs’ benefit.  For example, last season, the Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Golden State Warriors on the road in the season finale. A week later, Memphis went back on the road and beat the Warriors in the Play-In Tournament, so again, anything is possible. 

Fortunately, as the eighth seed, Cleveland will have two games to win one, so if they fall short against the Nets, they will have a home game against the winner of the Hornets(10) and Hawks(9).

Quotes:

“I like our chances when it comes down to a dog fight,” Love said after the win. “That’s what it’s going to be come Tuesday night.”

What’s Next:

The Cavs travel to Brooklyn to battle the Nets Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament.

Best of the Rest:

-Mobley finished the season with 1,034 points, 570 rebounds(MOST among rookies), 174 assists, 115 blocks(MOST among rookies), 56 steals, and 21 double-doubles(MOST among rookies). 

-Love finished with 187 threes this season, which is the fourth most in team history.

-The Cavs finished the season 25-16 at home.

-Rajon Rondo had six points and a season-high 13 assists against the Bucks.

-Sandro Mamukelashvili led the Bucks with a career-high 28 points; Thanasis Antetkuonmpko had a career-high 27 points.

-Before the game, the Cavs announced that they had converted the contract of center Moses Brown to a standard NBA contract and signed guard RJ Nembhard to a two-way contract.

Brown, who would not have been eligible for the playoffs with a two-contract, signed his first 10-day contract with Cleveland on March 10, his second 10-day contract on March 21, and a two-way contract on March 31.  

Nembhard, prior to being waived on April 7, was signed to a standard NBA contract with Cleveland on March 31 and was originally signed to a two-way contract on October 16. Nembhard has appeared in 13 games this season for the Cavaliers and 13 games (12 starts) with the Cleveland Charge.

Listen below as Love and Mobley react to win over Bucks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavs fight but fall short in Brooklyn

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a big one Friday night in Brooklyn against the Nets. The winner of this game would have possession of the seventh seed in the East.

Brooklyn led by as many as 17 points, but Cleveland did take their first lead in the third. However, Brooklyn dominated the fourth and defeated the Cavs 118-107 at Barclays Center.

Kevin Durant had a game-high 36 points; Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown added 18 points apiece; Brown also added 10 rebounds. All five of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double figures.

Cleveland(43-38) has now lost three straight and dropped to eighth in the East, while the Nets(43-38) have won three straight. Brooklyn won the season series(3-1) over the Cavs, which means they are the seventh seed.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

-Darius Garland played like a superstar against Brooklyn. He shot 12/24 from the field, including three threes, and finished with 31 points in 41 minutes of action. The All-Star scored 21 of those 31 points in the second and third quarters. He probably should have played the whole second half, but we’ll get to that later.

-Evan Mobley was back after missing five games with a sprained ankle, and he picked up where he left off. The rookie had 17 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. He also became the eighth Cavs rookie to go over 1000 points in a season. Mobley plays winning basketball, and everything he does contributes to winning.

-Lamar Stevens did not fill up the box score as he only had two points on 1/5 shooting from the field to go along with two rebounds, but he did defend his butt off in the third quarter when the Cavs were making their run. Kevin Durant still got his points; however, late in the third, he forced two Durant turnovers. It wasn’t enough, but give Stevens credit.

Second and Third Quarters: Cleveland trailed 34-19 after the first quarter and looked dead in the water. However, in the second quarter, things got better. Garland had 10 points in the quarter; Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 35-28 and trailed 62-54 at the break.

In the third, things got even better for the Cavs. Brooklyn led 70-60 with just under ten minutes left in the quarter, but Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 28-13 the rest of the third and led by as many as seven. Garland again was big time as he had 11 points in the quarter. The Cavs outscored Brooklyn 34-21 in the third and took an 88-83 lead into the fourth.

Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 69-49 in the second and third quarters.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: Cleveland did not get the start they wanted. Brooklyn shot 57% from the field, including 4/8 from deep. On the other hand, Cleveland shot 40% from the floor, including 0/7 from downtown. The Cavs had issues stopping Durant, who had 16 points in the quarter. Brooklyn took their largest lead of the game at 34-17 and led 34-19 after one. 

Second Chance Points: Brooklyn is a great offensive team. They are tough to stop, but they become even harder to control when you give them second and third chances. The Nets outrebounded the Cavs 45-31, and Brooklyn had 25-second chance points Friday night, which is a lot. Rebounding is a big part of defense, and Cleveland had difficulty closing the possessions with a rebound. 

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland had all the momentum going into the fourth, but the Nets have firepower for days, and it’s hard to keep them from scoring. Brooklyn went on a 10-4 run to start the fourth to take the lead for good. The Nets led by as many as 15 points in the fourth. The Cavs appeared to run out of gas in the fourth as the Nets outscored them 35-19 in the quarter.

The first 3:09 of the Fourth: You hate to be critical of anybody in this one, but Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff may have made a mistake by resting Garland early in the fourth. Garland was rolling, and so was the team while he was on the court. He did play the whole second and third quarters; however, Garland did get rest at halftime and before the start of the fourth. The Cavs should have ridden its young star to the end. Brooklyn took the lead back while Garland was on the bench and never relinquished it.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland battled in this one, and they played their hearts out, but Brooklyn is Brooklyn, so winning this game would be tough. The Cavs have to start better to beat a team of Brooklyn’s caliber.

Fortunately, the eighth-seeded Cavs got a little help as the Hawks fell to the Heat, which allowed Cleveland to hold the eighth seed and keep the eighth seed if they beat the Bucks in the season finale. The Cavs can still get the seventh seed, but they need to win and Brooklyn to lose to the Pacers at home, which is highly unlikely.

So, Cleveland could be returning to Brooklyn next Tuesday for the 7-8 game in the Play-In Tournament. 

However, unfortunately, Cleveland could fall to the 10th seed if they lose to the Bucks, and Charlotte(Wizards), Atlanta(@Rockets), and Brooklyn(Pacers) win their final game, which would be disastrous.

Getting the eighth seed won’t be easy for Cleveland as the Bucks are still fighting for the second seed in the East, so Sunday’s game should be very interesting.

Remember, the seventh and eighth seeds have two games to win one, while the ninth and tenth seeded teams have to win twice to make the playoffs.

Quotes:

“I’m proud of the way they played and proud of the effort that they played with, the way they kept coming back and staying in the game,” Bickerstaff said after the game.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home to battle the Bucks in the regular-season finale.

 Best of the Rest:

-Lauri Markkanen had 17 points; Caris LeVert added 16, and Kevin Love had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

-Andre Drummond had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds for Brooklyn.

-Cavs shot 8/27 from three-point range.

Listen below as the Garland and Drummond react to loss to Brooklyn:

Time for the Cavs to focus on Play-In Tournament

The Cavs headed to Atlanta to battle the Hawks Thursday night in the second game of a back-to-back.

Cleveland lost to the Mavericks 120-112 Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Atlanta dominated and led from wire to wire and defeated the Cavs 131-107 at State Farm Arena.

Trae Young had a game-high 30 points and nine assists; Kevin Huerter had 23 points. The Hawks had six players in double figures.

Cedi Osman led the Cavs with 21 points off the bench.

Cleveland(42-35) dropped their second straight, while the Hawks(40-37) have won four straight and five of their last six.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

You lose by 24 points and trail from start to finish; there’s really nothing extraordinary, but let’s show some love to Moses Brown, who signed a two-way contract with the Cavs earlier in the day. Brown had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

EVERYTHING!!

The Cavs’ starting forwards of Caris LeVert and Lauri Markkanen combined for 17 points on 7/17 shooting from the floor. LeVert had nine points, while Markkanen had eight. They needed more from these two guys. 

Turnovers: The Cavs had 15 turnovers in their loss to Dallas, and they came back and committed 14 more turnovers Thursday night, which led to 24 points for the Hawks. 

Three-Point Shooting: Cleveland did not guard the three very well, and they could not make many threes either. The Cavs were 7/30 from three-point range. Both Dylan Windler(0/5 3-PT FG) and Kevin Love(2-7) miss five threes apiece. Conversely, the Hawks made 17 threes.

Defense: For the second consecutive night, Cleveland gave up 100 points after three quarters. Against Dallas on Wednesday night, they allowed 120 points in regulation. Thursday night, Cleveland gave up 131 points, which is unacceptable, but again, not surprising when two of your best defensive bigs(Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley) are sitting in street clothes. The Hawks shot 50% from the floor.

Third Quarter: Against the Mavs Wednesday night, the Cavs were outscored 39-22, and Thursday night versus the Hawks, their third-quarter woes continued as they were outscored 34-22 in the quarter. The Hawks shot 55% from the floor in the quarter and held the Cavs to 32% shooting from the field, including 1/3 from downtown. Atlanta led by 13 at halftime and had a 100-75 lead after three quarters. 

Bottom Line:

This was a bad performance for the Cavs, but these games happen in the NBA. Cleveland is a tired, depleted team who, at this point, is limping to the finish line. Unfortunately, they’ll have four games in five nights, so there’s no rest for the weary.

The way they’re playing right now, the Cavs may not win another game in the regular season. However, maybe this loss could wake them up.

With fives games left, they trail the fifth-seeded Bulls(45-32) by three games and the sixth-seeded Raptors(44-32) by 2 1/2 games, so that situation looks bleak.

It’s all about the Play-In Tournament for the Cavs. If they stay at the seventh or eighth seed, Cleveland would have two opportunities to win one game to make the playoffs, which is very doable, especially when you consider that they could have two home games(if necessary) in this tournament.

Currently, the seventh-seeded Cavs have a two-game lead over Brooklyn(40-37), Charlotte(40-37), and the Hawks(40-37), so they are in decent shape. 

At the end of the day, the Cavs just need to start playing better!

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads to New York City to battle the Knicks Saturday night.

Best of the Rest:

Earlier in the day, the Cavs announced that they had converted the contract of guard RJ Nembhard to a standard NBA contract.

The 23-year-old Nembhard has appeared in 13 games this season for the Cavaliers as well as 13 games (12 starts) with the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively-owned and operated NBA G League team. With the Charge, Nembhard averaged 22.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in 37.7 minutes. Nembhard went undrafted in 2021 after playing four seasons at Texas Christian University.

-Darius Garland had 18 points and eight assists against the Hawks. The All-Star recorded his 171st assists in the month of March, which is a team record.

Listen below as Osman reacts to loss to Hawks:

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on Doncic: ‘He’s a wizard with the ball in his hands’

The Cleveland Cavaliers concluded their three-game homestand Thursday night against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. 

The Cavs were without Evan Mobley(sprained ankle), which is a considerable loss.

Without Mobley, Cleveland could not slow down Doncic as he had 35 points, nine rebounds, and 13 assists, and Dorian Finney-Smith(6/12 3-PT FG) had a career-high 28 points as the Mavs defeated the Cavs 120-112 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Cleveland(42-34), who is the seventh seed in the East, is now two games behind the sixth-seeded Raptors(44-32) and the fifth seed, the Chicago Bulls(44-32).

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

The Great for the Cavs:

-Caris LeVert had his best game and highest-scoring night as a Cavalier. He scored 21 of his 32 points in the first half to go along with six rebounds and four assists. LeVert looked comfortable, and he attacked from start to finish.

-Darius Garland did what he has done all month long, and that’s record a double-double. The All-Star had 25 points, 10 assists, and four steals. This was Garland’s 11th double-double in the month of March, which is a team record for points and assists double-doubles in a month.

-Moses Brown got his first start as a Cavalier against his former team, and he played well. Brown had 12 points(5/5 FG) and nine rebounds. He played with a lot of energy Monday night.

Second Quarter: The Cavs trailed 34-30 after one quarter but started fast in the second. With the game tied at 34, Cleveland went on a 16-8 run to take their largest lead of the game at 50-42. LeVert had 12 big points in the quarter. The Cavs shot 58% from the floor, including 5/6 from deep. They outscored Dallas 37-27 in the quarter and led 67-61 at halftime.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Third Quarter: The game shifted in the third. With the game tied at 87 with just under five minutes left in the quarter, the Mavs went on a 13-0 run to take their largest lead of 13. Cleveland had no answers for Doncic and Finney-Smith. Doncic had 20 points in the quarter(8/12 FG, 2/3 3-PT FG), and Finney-Smith had 11 points(3/5 3-PT FG). The two scored 31 of Dallas’ 39 points in the third. The Mavs shot 65% from the field, including 50%(5/10) from downtown. The game was pretty much over after the third as Dallas led 100-89 at the end of three.

Defense: The Cavs have played good defense for most of the season. However, of late, they have struggled on the defensive end. They allowed the Mavs, who are 25th in points per game, to score 120 points in regulation on 52% shooting from the floor. Without Mobley and Jarrett Allen, it makes sense that they struggled defensively Wednesday night.

Turnovers: Cleveland had 15 turnovers Wednesday night, which led to 13 points for the Mavs. Way too many turnovers when you’re trying to beat an outstanding team like Dallas.

Bottom Line:

Barring a collapse from the Bulls and Raptors, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be involved in the Play-In Tournament. Considering where they were a few weeks ago, that’s a disappointment.

However, considering all the injuries, this team has dealt with and the expectations for this team coming into the season, making the Play-In Tournament is a success for the Cavs.

The Cavs have six games left, and they will need a lot of help to be one of the top six teams in the East.

Quotes:

“He’s a wizard with the ball in his hands,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said about Doncic post-game.

What’s Next:

Cleveland travels to Atlanta Thursday night to battle the Hawks. 

Best of the Rest:

Before the game, the Cavs announced that Mobley will be out at least three games, including Wednesday’s game against Dallas, with an ankle sprain after an MRI Wednesday confirmed the injury. According to the team, Mobley will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation, and his return to play will be updated as appropriate. 

-Lamar Stevens scored 16 points; Stevens has been in double figures in five of the last six games. 

-For the second straight game, Cedi Osman was a DNP-CD. 

Watch below as Bickerstaff talks loss to Mavs, Doncic, and more:

 

 

Cavs’ Love: ‘It gutted us to lose Evan(Mobley)’

The Cavaliers hoped to break a three-game losing streak as they hosted the Orlando Magic Monday night.

Cleveland had their largest lead of 20 points in the second quarter, but the Magic would grab the lead in the third. However, the Cavs would pull away in the fourth and win 107-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The seventh-seeded Cavs(42-33) snap their three-game losing streak and remain one game behind the sixth-seeded Raptors(43-32), who beat the Celtics in OT Monday night, and the fifth–seeded Bulls(43-32), who fell to the Knicks last night.

Cleveland has now clinched a winning season for the first time since 2018 and for the first time since 1998 without LeBron James.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

-Darius Garland had game-highs of 25 points and 12 assists to go along with three steals, and he took over late in the fourth. Cleveland led 95-92 with under four minutes to go, and Garland hit a floater, made a three, and assisted on an alley-oop dunk from Lauri Markkanen to put the Cavs up 102-92 with just over a minute left in the game. This was Garland”s 10th double-double in the month of March.

-Kevin Love came off the bench and got things done for Cleveland. Love scored 14 of his 19 points in the second quarter, including three of his four made threes. At one point, he scored eight straight for the Cavs in the second. Love, who added seven rebounds and three assists, leads Cleveland with 164 threes made this season.

-Lauri Markkanen had 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and gave the Cavs the lead for good with three at the 4:37 mark of the fourth.

-Dylan Windler spent more time in the G League than the NBA this season, but he took advantage of his opportunity Monday night. Windler had six points and nine rebounds, and he was on the court for the final 5-plus minutes of the game. He also won the “Junkyard Dog” award.

The First 3:49 of the Second Quarter: Cleveland began the second quarter on an 18-3 run to take a 20-point lead(largest of the game). During that run, Love had eight points, and Garland added five. However, the Magic would outscore the Cavs 28-15 the rest of the quarter, and Cleveland would lead 60-53 at the break.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Evan Mobley left in the second quarter and did not return after spraining his left ankle. The injury did not look good as Mobley had a noticeable limp, but hopefully, it’s not too serious. The Cavs can’t afford to be without two of the anchors of their defense in Mobley and Jarret Allen.

According ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the X-Rays on Mobley’s sprained left ankle were negative. 

Turnovers:  Cleveland had 15 turnovers, which led to 27 points for Orlando.

Bottom Line:

The Cavs got a win, which is all that matters. It wasn’t their best effort, but again, it’s a win. Now, hopefully, they won’t be without Mobley for too long. They took an emotional hit when the Rookie-of-the-Year favorite went down, which they acknowledged post game. 

This team has fought injuries all year long, and at this point, they are still standing. 

Now, they have to find a will and a way to get that sixth seed with seven games left in the regular season to avoid the Play-in Tournament. 

Quotes:

“It gutted us to lose Evan, whether it’s for a game, two games, three games, or whatever it may be,” Love said post-game.

What’s Next:

Cleveland concludes their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.

Best of the Rest:

-The Magic had seven players in double figures as Wendell Carter Jr. led the way with a team-high 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

-Isaac Okoro added 11 points for the Cavs.

-Before the game, the Cavaliers announced that forward Dean Wade, who missed the previous seven games dating back to March 14th, underwent successful surgery to treat ongoing issues with the meniscus in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season.

 In addition, the team announced that guard Rajon Rondo (Right Ankle Sprain) and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (Left 3rd Finger Fracture) remain out.

Watch below as Garland reacts to win over the Magic: