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. 

 

 

 

The great, the not so great, & bottomline of Cavs’ loss to Grizzlies

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in their season opener 132-121 at FedExForum. 

Memphis’ Ja Morant led all scorers with 37 points, including six assists and five rebounds.

Here’s the great for Cleveland:

-Darius Garland started slow but picked things up in the second half. Garland had two points in the first half, but the third-year point guard had 11 of his 13 points and eight of his team-high 12 assists in the second half.

-Ricky Rubio is just a professional point guard, and he also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in 25 minutes of action. Rubio is a calming presence for this team.

-Jarrett Allen was perfect from the field(11-11) and had 25 points, four rebounds, and three block shots. He did a great job of scoring around the basket.

-Rookie Evan Mobley was impressive in his debut. He had a great stat line with 17 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in a team-high 38 minutes. He even showed off the range with three in the corner. 

-Cleveland was very unselfish last night. They had 38 assists on 47 field goals. The 38 assists are the most the Cavs have had in a game since 2016.

The Not So Great:

-Cleveland’s defense was not great last night. First, they allowed 132; next, they allowed 70 points in the paint, and finally, they allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 53% from the field, including 14-33 from downtown. 

Lauri Markkanen struggled with his shot last night(4-14 FG, 10 points). This is not a big deal, Markkanen is a solid shooter, and his shots will fall.

Bottom line:

The Cavaliers showed a lot of fight in this game. They battled back and cut the lead to one after falling behind by 14 in the fourth quarter. This was not a bad performance by Cleveland. Going forward, they have to be better on defense, but again, not a bad start for the young Cavaliers.

What’s next:

The Cavs will host the Hornets in their home-opener on Friday night.

Doncic on loss to Grizzlies: ‘That game was obviously one of the worst I’ve ever played’

In the final week of the NBA season, both the Dallas Mavericks(40-29) and Memphis Grizzlies(36-33) have a lot to play for. Dallas is trying to hold onto at least the sixth seed in the Western Conference to avoid the Play-In Tournament, while the Grizzlies are trying to move up to the eighth seed, which would mean they would have to win one game to advance in the Play-In Tournament.

The Grizzlies defeated the Pelicans 115-110 on Monday night, so you would think Dallas, who was off on Monday night, would be the fresher team, but that was not the case.

Behind Ja Morant’s 24 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, and Dillon Brooks’ 22 points, Memphis routed the Mavericks 133-104 at FedExForum. 

Memphis had seven players in double-figures on Tuesday night and outscored Dallas by 11 points in the third quarter to take complete control of the game. The Grizzlies led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter.

For Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way with 19 points, and Willie Cauley-Stein had a season-high 16 points. Luka Doncic struggled against the Grizzlies. He shot 4/16 from the field and had 12 points. Doncic also had five turnovers.

“I wasn’t myself,” Doncic said after the game. “We’ve got to bounce back, but that game was obviously one of the worst I’ve ever played. I’ve got to be better than that.”

According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the game changed in the first quarter when the Grizzlies went on a 11-2 run to close the quarter, and Memphis led 28-27 after one.

“Obviously, we didn’t play well over the course of 48 minutes,” Carlisle said. “A key part of this was the way we ended the first quarter… They were able to finish the quarter, I think, on a 9-0 run to take the lead. They got the momentum from there, and we were never really able to get it back. Very disappointing loss, but we gotta get ready for tomorrow.”

This was a game Dallas needed to have and to play as poorly as they did, was disappointing. Dallas and Portland have identical records, but Portland is now the fifth seed, while Dallas has fallen to six. Dallas has a 1.0 game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers.

The good news for Dallas is they are expected to get Kristaps Porzingis back on Wednesday against the Pelicans, who missed his seventh consecutive game due to a knee injury. However, they will be without JJ Redick, who left the game in the third quarter with a right heel injury and did not return. Redick missed 21 games with that same injury.

All is not lost, but Dallas needs to bounce back against New Orleans if they want to continue to be in a position to avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Spurs’ Popovich on White: ‘I thought he did very, very well for having been gone so long’

During the Spurs’ three-game winning streak, San Antonio came up big on the defensive end, but on Saturday night against the Grizzlies, the defense came up small.

San Antonio, who allow 111.3 points per game and 47% from the field, let the Grizzlies score 129 points and shoot 56% from the field, and the Grizzlies shot 48.6 percent (17-35) from three-point range for 51 points, the second-most the Spurs have allowed this season from beyond the arc. Ultimately, the Spurs would fall to Memphis 129-112 at AT&T Center.

De’Anthony Melton scored 20 points, and Ja Morant added 19 points and 11 assists for the Grizzlies. Memphis is on a six-game winning streak and played their first game since January 20 due to health and safety protocols. 

After the game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said maybe the team playing on Friday night impacted their performance.

“Everybody plays back-to-backs and three and four nights, and it probably showed a little bit on us, but everybody goes through it,” Popovich said. “You just have to play. We got outplayed tonight. That’s the bottom line. 

While they lost, some good news came from this game for the Spurs. Derrick White returned after missing 14 games due to a toe injury, and in 22 minutes off the bench, White led the Spurs with 18 points. 

“I’m feeling good,” White said. “I don’t have a broken toe this time, so that’s cool, but I feel good. Just trying to get my legs underneath me. Feel like I haven’t played in a while, so just trying to get my legs back underneath me and do whatever it takes to help us compete. That’s all I’m trying to do.”

Popovich added on White: “I thought he did very, very well for having been gone so long.”

The beauty of the 2020-21 NBA schedule is the two-game sets, and for the Spurs, they have an opportunity to get back at it against the Grizzlies on Monday night and correct whatever they did wrong.