Cavs Love on Garland: ‘I’ve been telling him, keep leading us’

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Monday’s game against the New York Knicks without two valuable pieces in Lauri Markkanen(ankle) and Jarrett Allen(illness). However, like we’ve seen throughout this season with Cleveland, it’s next man up. 

Ed Davis and Dean Wade got the start for the Cavaliers.

Kevin Love scored a team-high 20 points off the bench as the Cavs would defeat the Knicks 95-93 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

The Knicks, who were on the second half of a back-to-back after defeating the Clippers on Sunday, had a chance to beat Cleveland at the buzzer, but Julius Randle’s three was wide.

Cleveland(29-19) has won two straight and seven of eight, while the Knicks(23-25) have lost four of five. 

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Kevin Love gave Cleveland the lift they needed off the bench. Love had 20 points, including six threes. He also added 11 rebounds. The 14-year veteran went off in the third as he scored 14 on four threes. Love also had a milestone as he moved into fourth place on the team’s all-time defensive rebounds list.

-Evan Mobley had his second straight double-double as he scored 15 points and 12 rebounds. He also added five assists. This was Mobley’s 15th consecutive game in double figures.

-For the fifth straight game, Darius Garland had a double-double. The third-year guard had 13 points and 12 assists. This was Garland’s seventh double-double in eight games. In addition, with the score tied at 91, Garland made the game-winning three with 1:23 to go in the fourth.  

According to ESPN’s Stats and Info, Garland recorded his fifth straight game with 10 assists,  tying LeBron James (2017-18) for the longest streak by any Cavaliers player over the last 10 seasons.

-Isaac Okoro brought energy and effort against the Knicks. He was all over the court and finished with 14 points and six rebounds. 

Third Quarter: New York and Cleveland were tied at 50 at the break. In the third, Love came alive as he scored 14 of his 20 points in the quarter. With just over five minutes left in the third and the game knotted at 61, Love got hot, and the Cavs went on a 15-1 run to take a 76-62 lead. The five-time All-Star scored 11 points during that run.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers: On Saturday against OKC, Cleveland had a season-high 23 turnovers, and Monday night, they added 20 more turnovers, which is a combined 43 turnovers in two games. We keep saying all these turnovers are going to lead to a loss. However, Cleveland has found ways to get it done. 

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland took their largest lead of 15 points at the 9:41 mark in the final period, but they let the Knicks creep back in. New York went on a 20-5 run to knot the game at 91. The Knicks would outscore Cleveland 24-19 in the fourth. The Cavs had trouble scoring in the fourth as they shot 26.3% from the floor and went over five minutes without a field goal. However, again, the Cavs would find a way to get things done. 

Bottom Line:

The Cavaliers were missing 2/3 of their frontcourt Monday night and did not really play a good game against the Knicks. However, good teams find ways to win games when they are not at their best, and it’s clear the Cavs fall under the good team category. 

With the win, Cleveland continues to move up the standings. The fifth-seeded Cavs are 1.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot in the East, and one of the teams they’re chasing, the fourth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, comes to Cleveland Wednesday night.

 “I’ve been telling him, keep leading us,” Love said about Garland after the game.

What’s Next:

The Cavaliers conclude their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the world champion Milwaukee Bucks. 

Best of the Rest:

Dean Wade had 13 points, including four threes and five rebounds. Rajon Rondo, who missed six games due to a hamstring injury, had eight points, four rebounds, and three assists off the bench.

-RJ Barrett led the Knicks with a game-high 24 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Watch below as Love and head coach J.B Bickerstaff talks big win over Knicks:

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on victory over OKC: ‘We’ll take the win, but that was a disappointing game for us’

The Cavaliers began their three-game homestand Saturday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Cleveland hoped to return to their winning ways after their five-game winning streak ended against the Bulls Wednesday night.

Cleveland, who defeated the Thunder in Oklahoma City 107-102 last Saturday, led by as many as 17 points in this one as they held on to defeat the Thunder 94-87 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

The Cavaliers (28-19)have won six of seven, while OKC(14-32), who was playing the second half of a back-to-back, has dropped five straight.

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Evan Mobley had 15 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds. It was Mobley’s 14th straight game in double figures. The last Cavs’ rookie to get 17 rebounds was Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who accomplished the feat in 1998. 

-Double-Double Darius: Darius Garland had his fourth straight double-double with 23 points and 11 assists. The third-year guard has six double-doubles in his last seven games. This was his 15th double-double of the season. Garland had a big third quarter as he scored 13 points on 5/6 shooting from the field.

-Jarrett Allen returned to his double-double way on Saturday. Allen had 14 points and 13 rebounds against OKC. He also added two blocks. It was Allen’s fourth double-double in his last five games. 

Third Quarter: Cleveland led 47-45 at halftime but got hot in third. Cleveland shot 70% from the floor. The Cavs went on a 21-7 run in the third to take their largest lead of the game of 17. Cleveland would take a 78-68 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers: Cleveland had a season-high 23 turnovers, which led to 20 Thunder points. The Cavs were very sloppy Saturday night. You can get away with that against OKC, but not against the better teams in the league. Garland was the biggest culprit with eight turnovers.

Free Throw Shooting: The Cavs shot 18/35(51.4%) from the line. That’s not good, and on most nights, that could mean a loss.

Three-point Shooting: Cleveland could not buy a three-pointer. They shot 6/27 from deep. Again, shooting that bad from downtown would get you beat on most nights.

Lauri Markkanen: He left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did return. It did not look good for him. However, according to cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, X-Rays were negative and thought is Markkanen has a high-ankle sprain.

Before the injury, Markkanen was playing well as he came off a 28-point performance against the Bulls Wednesday night. Hopefully, he’ll be back sooner than later.

Bottom Line:

OKC gave the Cavs a challenging game last week, so it’s not surprising they gave Cleveland a tough game Saturday night. Wins are hard to come by in the NBA, so a win is a win, especially with the way the Eastern Conference is right now. 

Cleveland, who is the fifth seed in the East and are two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the conference, could win three in a row and possibly be the top spot in the East. However, they could lose three in a row and slide below the sixth seed as they are 1.5 games ahead of the seventh-seeded Hornets.

So, while it was not pretty, it still goes on the right side of the ledger. 

“We’ll take the win, but that was a disappointing game for us,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Hopefully, it won’t be too long until Lauri is back with us. It’s over now, and we got the win, but we can’t afford to play that way. We didn’t play well.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their three-game homestand Monday night against the Knicks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led OKC with a game-high 29 points to go along with nine rebounds and six assists.

Watch below as Bickerstaff and Garland talk win over OKC:  

Cavs five-game win streak ends in Chicago

The Cavaliers came into Wednesday’s game against the Bulls on a five-game winning streak and 1.5 games behind Chicago for the top spot in the East.

The Bulls were without Lonzo Ball(knee) and Zach LaVine(knee), but they had DeMar DeRozan, who scored 16 of his game-high 30 points in the second quarter, and Nikola Vucevic, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds as Chicago defeated Cleveland 117-104 at United Center.

Cleveland’s (27-19) five-game winning streak, which was the longest current streak in the NBA, is over, while Chicago(28-15) snapped their four-game losing streak.

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Lauri Markkanen returned to Chicago and did everything in his power to lead the Cavaliers to victory. Markkanen had a season-high 28 points, including 5/9 from deep. He also added seven rebounds and a block. 

-Evan Mobley had another game where he did it all. The rookie had 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Mobley, who scored in double figures for the 13th straight game, was the only player for the Cavs that had a positive rating(+5). 

-One thing that was a constant during the Cavs five-game winning streak was Darius Garland’s double-doubles. Garland had 20 points, five rebounds, and 12 assists against the Bulls. This was Garland’s third straight double-double and fifth double-double in the last six games. In those six games, he averaged 20.7 points, 12.5 assists, and 5.8 rebounds.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

End of the Second Quarter: After a Garland three gave the Cavs a 46-44 lead with just under five minutes to go, Chicago went on a 14-3 run to close the quarter. The Bulls led 58-49 at halftime. 

End of the Third Quarter: Following a Garland fadeaway jumper that cut Chicago’s lead to 78-74 with just under four minutes to go, Chicago went on a 7-0 run to go up 11. Again, the Bulls would end the quarter up nine(87-78).

End of the Game: Cleveland trailed 103-102 with 4:18 to go in the game. From there, they would get outscored by Chicago 14-2, and the Bulls would win 117-104. 

Defense: The Cavs had a forgettable defensive performance against the Bulls. They allowed 117 points(58 points in the paint), they let Chicago shoot 54.7% from the field, including 45% from deep.

Bottom Line:

Without Ball and LaVine, this was a great opportunity for Cleveland to get a win in Chicago. However, you have to close quarters strong in the NBA, especially against outstanding teams, and Chicago is an excellent team.

In reality, Cleveland is still a young basketball team, so, unfortunately, there will be growing pains. 

Right now, the Eastern Conference is bunched up, and with the loss, Cleveland went from the fourth seed to the sixth seed in the East. There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played, but it’s clear the Eastern Conference is a very competitive conference from top to bottom.

“They’re a really good team, and they have really good players,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “To go on the road against a team that had lost four games in a row, they were gonna come out with that sense of purpose. Now, it’s our opportunity to understand it and see if we can figure out our way through it.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns home Saturday to face the Oklahoma City Thunder as they begin a three-game homestand.

Best of the Rest:

-Kevin Love added 13 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for Cleveland off the bench.

-For Chicago, Ayo Dosunmu chipped in with 18 points, including three threes to go along with three rebounds and eight assists; Coby White added 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

-Cleveland was again without Lamar Stevens(knee) and Rajon Rondo(hamstring).

Watch below as Markkanen talks loss to Bulls, more:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Nets: ‘It’s a signature win for us against a high-level team’

The Cleveland Cavaliers returned home Monday to face the Brooklyn Nets on MLK Day after an impressive 5-1 road trip. The Cavs came into this game on a four-game winning streak and playing maybe their best ball of the season.

Brooklyn was without the league’s leader scorer, Kevin Durant(knee), who they could have used down the stretch.  Behind Darius Garland’s 22 points and 12 assists, Cleveland held on to defeat Brooklyn 114-107 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the win, Cleveland(27-18) has won five straight and six out of their last seven, while Brooklyn(27-16) has lost two of their last three. 

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-During the game, it was announced that Darius Garland was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, and on Monday, he started this week the right way. Garland had 22 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists. With just over three minutes left in the fourth and the game tied at 105, Garland assisted on a Lauri Markkanen three, and later, an Evan Mobley dunk that gave Cleveland a 110-105 lead with just over a minute left to go. He made all the right moves for the Cavaliers against Brooklyn.

-Jarrett Allen had his third consecutive double-double with 14 points(6/6 FG) and 10 rebounds. He also had two big blocks. This was Allen’s fourth double-double in five games.

-Isaac Okoro returned to the starting lineup and was good on both ends of the court. Okoro had 15 points and two steals. In the fourth, the second-year guard did a great job on Kyrie Irving and helped limit the former Cavalier to four points on 2/7 shooting from the field. In addition, he put an exclamation point on the game when he stole an errant James Harden pass and finished it off with a jam to give Cleveland a 112-107 lead with 15.8 seconds to go.

-Lauri Markkanen had 14 points, including 4/9 from deep and six rebounds. Markkanen had made some big shots on the Cavs’ six-game road trip, and that continued Monday when he made a big three to give the Cavs the lead for good in the fourth.

-Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed 88-87 after three quarters. However, in the fourth, the Cavaliers took control of the game. Cleveland stepped up defensively as they held Brooklyn to 30% shooting, including 0/4 from downtown. 

In addition, the Cavs shot 57% from the floor and made play after play down the stretch to get the win. Cleveland outscored Brooklyn 27-19 in the fourth.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Great win for the Cavs. We could find some bad, but not on this day.

Bottom Line:

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff called this victory a “signature win” for Cleveland, and while this was a big win, a signature win might be a stretch because Brooklyn was without their best player in Kevin Durant. However, again, this was a big win.

If we look at the Eastern Conference standings, we see the Cavs slowly working their way up. At this point, Cleveland(fourth seed) is 1.5 games behind the Bulls(27-15) for the best record in the East, and they play the Bulls on Wednesday, so they could get even closer with a win. 

“It’s a signature win for us against a high-level team,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “Obviously with reasons why and excuses coming back off that long road trip and all those things, playing against two of the most elite players in our league, and our guys figuring out a way.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland heads back on the road to battle the Bulls in Chicago Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists. James Harden had 22 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists. Brooklyn had six players in double figures, including all five starters.

-Kevin Love had 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench, and rookie Evan Mobley had 12 points and six rebounds. It was the 12th straight game in double figures for Mobley.

Cleveland also had six players in double figures, and like Brooklyn, all five starters scored in double figures.

Lamar Stevens(knee) and Rajon Rondo(hamstring) missed Monday’s action.

Watch below as Garland and Okoro react to big win over Nets:

 

Cavs’ Allen on loss to Warriors: ‘We didn’t play to who we are; we kinda played timidly’

It was “Klay Day” Sunday night at Chase Center as Warriors star Klay Thompson returned after missing two-plus years due to ACL and Achilles injuries.

In his return, Thompson scored 17 points, including three threes. This was a great day for Thompson, a great day for the Warriors, and a great day for the NBA.

Oh, by the way, Golden State defeated the Cavs 96-82.

Golden State(30-9) snapped their two-game losing streak, while the Cavs(22-18) have lost two of three.

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Fourth Quarter Rondo: Rajon Rondo set a season-high in points for the second straight night. He scored 13(5/6 FG, 3/3 3 PT) of his 15 points in the fourth. Golden State led by as many as 21 points in the fourth, and two Rondo threes cut the lead to 10 on two occasions. Rondo did everything in his power to get the Cavs back into the game, but it wasn’t enough.

No Fear Stevens: Lamar Stevens played with no fear Sunday night. The second-year guard scored a career-high 17 points with four rebounds and two steals. Whether it was guarding Thompson or finishing at the rim, Stevens was fearless.

The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers: Cleveland was reckless with the ball Sunday night. They committed 19 turnovers, which led to 25 Warrior points. Evan Mobley was the biggest culprit with five turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over against one of the best teams in basketball and expect to win.

Rebounding: The Warriors outrebounded Cleveland 54-42, including 22 offensive rebounds. In addition, Golden State had 22 second-chance points. Again, you can’t give a team like the Warriors extra possessions and extra opportunities and expect to win.

Third Quarter: After taking a 51-46 lead at the break, Golden State outscored the Cavs 28-14 in the third. The Warriors led 66-55 midway through the third, and they went on a 13-0 run to take their largest lead of 24 points. Cleveland struggled with shotmaking as they shot 40% from the floor, including 1/5 from deep in the quarter. 

Darius Garland: Garland is undoubtedly playing like an All-Star, but he came up short on the big stage. He shot 3/12 from the floor and finished with nine points, two rebounds, and four assists; he also had four turnovers. 

Bottom Line:

The moment seemed too big for the young Cavaliers. That was a playoff atmosphere Sunday night, and the Cavs were not ready for the moment. However, Cleveland will learn from this game.

The goal for this team is to make the playoffs, and they will experience these types of environments come playoff time.

“I’m going to take it one step further; it felt like a Finals game,” Allen said after a reporter asked him if it felt like a playoff atmosphere. “I mean, everything that the Warriors did, they got a big cheer from the crowd, but that is to be expected when you come to the Chase Center. They have great fans here, and they are going to make the game intense. We kinda looked at the moment, and we kinda – J.B.(Bickerstaff) said in the locker room that we shied away from it – and I think that is true. We didn’t play to who we are; we kinda played timidly.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland gets right back at it Monday night as they travel to Sacramento to play the Kings. The Cavs will play five games in seven days

Best of the Rest:

-Steph Curry had a game-high 28 points for the Warriors, including 4/11 from downtown.

-Jarrett Allen added 12 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks; Mobley chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds for Cleveland.

Watch below as Allen talks loss to Warriors:

 

 

 

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’ Rondo believes the team can do big things

Rajon Rondo met the Cleveland media after the Cavs acquired the four-time All-Star Monday from the Lakers in a three-team deal.  

Cleveland acquired Rondo after losing backup point guard Ricky Rubio for the season with a torn ACL.

The 16-year veteran brings a lot of experience to the Cavs, and he believes that knowledge can help Cleveland.

“Obviously, number one, leadership. My experience in the game,” Rondo said Wednesday. “This is Year 16 for me. Coming in and being a voice in the locker room. Being myself, not trying to be anyone else. Trying to come in, give the guys what I have as far as knowledge, and go out there on the court and compete at a high level. 

The 35-year-old Rondo is excited to play with Darius Garland and the three bigs(Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Lauri Markkanen), and he hopes to make the game easier for those guys.

“Having DG(Garland) back is big for the organization,” Rondo said. “I’m looking forward to playing alongside of him. Also, the 7-footers. I never played with three on the court at one time, so I’ll be looking forward to throwing some lobs and making the game easy for certain guys.”

The Cavaliers begin a six-game road trip Friday in Portland against the Blazers, and according to the four-time All-Star, this trip will allow him to bond with his teammates. 

“I think this road trip will help a lot,” he said. “I think we’re on like a seven-day road trip, not the best cities in the world, so there will be a lot of time together in the room.”

The two-time NBA champion has experienced a lot of winning, and he believes the Cavs can do big things.

“I’ve always been an underdog my whole entire career, ” Rondo said. “That’s what I kind of pride myself on doing the impossible, doing the unthinkable, and this group has the talent to do it, and I’m looking forward to making some noise.”

In 936 regular-season games, Rondo owns career averages of 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 30.1 minutes per contest. However, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.7 steals in 34.0 minutes per game in the playoffs, so maybe we’ll see “Playoff Rondo” come playoff time for the Cavs.

Rondo won’t replace everything Rubio brought to the table, but maybe he can do things like efficiently run the offense and be a team leader. 

Watch below as Rondo talks joining the Cavaliers:

Cavs fall short against Memphis

The Cavaliers hoped to end their three-game homestand with a win Tuesday night, but they ran into the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies, who came in winners of five straight.

Memphis was up 102-100 with just under two minutes left, and from there, Ja Morant took over. He scored Memphis’ final eight points, including six in the last 30 seconds as the Grizzlies defeated Cleveland 110-106 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Morant led Memphis with 26 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds. The Grizzlies had six players in double figures.

Memphis(25-14) has won six straight, and Cleveland(21-17) ended their three-game homestand 1-2 and have lost four out of their last five.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Jarrett Allen had his second straight double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He also added three blocks. Allen has recorded 20-plus points in two out of his last three appearances.

-Darius Garland had 27 points and 10 assists and only one turnover in his first game back after missing four games due to health and safety protocols. It was Garland’s fifth straight 20-point game. 

-Evan Mobley had 17 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Mobley recorded his 15th multi-block game of the season, which leads all rookies

-Kevin Love is turning himself into a sixth-man of the year candidate. The five-time All-Star had 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. This was Love’s 14th straight game in double figures.

The Not Great for the Cavaliers:

Late Game Execution: After Ja Morant made a tough layup, Cleveland trailed 106-104 with 29.9 seconds left and had a chance to tie or take the lead. However, Brandon Goodwin’s pass was stolen by Morant. Cleveland had to take a foul, and Morant made both free throws to put the game away.

You have to get a shot up in that situation, and the Cavaliers did not do that. 

“We’re learning that the fourth quarters are what’s important,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “Every shot, every pass, every possession, every box out, every rotation means everything. Give Memphis credit for hitting the shots at the end.”

Bottom Line:

This was a battle of two young teams, who are both playing good basketball, and the Grizzlies were able to get the job done. Not a bad loss for the Cavs, but these are the games they have to learn how to win. 

Also, it was great to see Garland out there on the court. He’s the team’s best player and the guy that makes this team dynamic. 

Now it’s time to head west as the Cavs begin a six-game road trip.

What’s Next:

On Friday, Cleveland will travel to Portland to battle the Blazers 

Best of the Rest:

-Jaren Jackson Jr added 22 points, and Brandon Clarke had 13 points and nine rebounds for Memphis.

-Cedi Osman (Health and Safety Protocols) missed his sixth straight game.  

-Collin Sexton was in attendance for the time since his surgery to repair a torn meniscus. 

 

 

 

Cavs’ Allen on Mobley: ‘If he keeps being aggressive, we believe that’s going to help us keep winning games’

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Sunday’s game against the Pacers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on a three-game losing streak.

Early In the fourth, with the game tied at 90, Cleveland went on a 7-0 run and never looked back as the Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 108-104.

Cleveland(21-16) snapped their three-game losing streak, while the Pacers(14-23) have lost four straight.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Evan Mobley is a special talent. He had 24 points(11-16 FG, 2-2 3pt FG), nine rebounds, four assists. This is Mobley’s third 20-plus point game in the last four. 

-Kevin Love again brought instant offense off the bench. Love scored 10 of his 20 points in the third quarter. He had three threes, added eight rebounds, and four assists. Love is 27/51(52%) from downtown in the last five games.

-Jarrett Allen added a double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. Allen is eighth in the NBA in double-doubles(18). 

-Lamar Stevens had a career-high 15 points, to go along with three rebounds and two assists.

15-0 run in the third quarter: Cleveland trailed 84-73 with just over three minutes in the third, but they went on a 15-0 to end the quarter, and eight of those 15 points came from Love.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Three-point Shooting: Again, Cleveland struggled from deep as they shot 6/26 from three-point range. The Cavaliers are 36/120 from downtown in the last four games, and not having Darius Garland is definitely impacting that number.

Bottom Line:

It’s great for the Cavaliers to get back in the win column after losing three straight. With their upcoming six-game west coast trip, which includes games against the Jazz and Warriors, it will be important for Cleveland to get the final game of their three-game homestand against the Grizzlies. 

 “If he keeps being aggressive, we believe that’s going to help us keep winning games,” Allen said about Mobley. “We really needed this tonight to give us a boost.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland finishes up their three-game homestand against the Grizzlies Tuesday night.

 Best of the Rest:

-Indiana had five players in double figures led by Domantas Sabonis, who had 32 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Duane Washington, Jr. had a career-high 20 points.

-Lauri Markkanen added 12 points and six rebounds for the Cavs. Isaac Okoro left in the second quarter with a left elbow injury and did not return.

Garland and Cedi Osman were out again due to health and safety protocols, and for the Pacers, Goga Bitadze Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Caris LeVert , Kelan Martin,  T,J, Warren were all out due to health and safety protocols.

Watch below as Mobley, Allen, and Stevens react to win over Pacers:

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on loss to Hawks: ‘We let our guard down and it came back to bite us’

The Cavaliers started a three-game homestand Friday night against the Hawks. Cleveland got the start they wanted and had a 15-point halftime lead.

However, the Hawks picked it up in the second half and took the lead for good in the third. Cleveland had one last chance to tie the game late, but Kevin Pangos missed a three at the buzzer, and Atlanta defeated the Cavaliers 121-118.

Cleveland(20-16) has now lost three straight and four out of the last five, and Atlanta(16-19) snapped their three-game losing streak.

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

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Love is in the air!! Kevin Love had a season and team-high 35 points, including a game-high seven threes, 11 rebounds, and four assists in 30 minutes of action. According to Elias Sports, he’s the only Cavaliers’ player to tally 35-plus points and 10-plus rebounds off the bench since 1975. Love has been a great weapon off the bench, and this is his fourth straight game of 20-plus points or more. 

-Jarrett Allen is back after missing four games due to health and safety protocols. Allen picked up where he left off and scored 21 points(9/11 FG) and grabbed eight rebounds.

-Evan Mobley just gets it done. The rookie stuffed the stat sheet Friday night. He scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists, and blocked three shots. This season, Mobley has tallied 14 multi-block games and leads all NBA rookies in blocked shots (51 blocks).

-Brandon Goodwin signed with the Cavaliers Friday and made his debut the same day. He had 13 points, six assists, four rebounds in 25 minutes of action off the bench. 

First Half: Cleveland shot 70% from the field(28/40 FG), including 5/11 from downtown in the first half. The Cavs shared the ball as they had 19 assists on 28 field goals. Cleveland had 42 points in the paint and took a 66-51 lead at halftime.

The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:

Third Quarter: Things got bad for the Cavs in the third. Atlanta went on an 11-0 run to take a three-point late and outscored the Cavs 40-22 in the quarter. The Hawks shot 62% from the floor, and Trae Young scored 12 of his 35 points in the third as Atlanta took a 91-88 lead into the fourth.

Three-point shooting: In the past three games, including Friday’s night loss to the Hawks. Cleveland has shot the three ball well in the first quarter, but it falls apart after that.

On Friday night, the Cavaliers shot 4/6 from deep in the first quarter. After that, they were 4/19 from three-point range against Atlanta.

In the last three games, they’ve shot (17/27)63% from three in the first quarter. However, in quarters two through four, they’ve shot 13/67(19%) the rest of the way.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland needs point guard help badly, and it continues to be a struggle without Garland and Ricky Rubio. Fortunately, Garland will be back at some point. It’s a difficult time for the Cavaliers, just like every NBA team, because of health and safety protocols.

We’ve seen what the Cavs look like when they’re whole, and that will happen soon enough, minus Rubio. In addition, they will get Rajon Rondo, so maybe that will help.

However, give Young credit. He’s a star, and stars make things happen, and that’s what he did Friday night for the Hawks.

“We were complacent because we had a lead, but you have to understand they’ve got winners over there who just went to the Eastern Conference finals,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We let our guard down and it came back to bite us.”

What’s Next:

The Cavaliers return to action Sunday when they host the Indiana Pacers.

Best of the Rest:

-Atlanta had six players in double figures. Young led the Hawks with 35 points and 11 assists. Clint Capela added 18 points and 23 rebounds, and Skylar Mays chipped in with 19 points.

-Isaac Okoro added 10 points(4/4 FG) for the Cavs. Cleveland was without Garland (Health and Safety Protocols) and Cedi Osman (Health and Safety Protocols).

-Atlanta had 12 players out due to health and safety protocols: Bodgan Bogdanovic, John Collins,  Sharife Cooper, Gorgui Dieng,  Malik Ellison, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Huerter, Malcolm Hill, Jalen Johnson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Onyeka Okongwu, Delon Wright.