Cavs’ Bickerstaff on loss to 76ers: ‘That game was taken from us’

This season, the Cavaliers have not been able to solve the riddle that is the Philadelphia 76ers. In the first three meetings between these two teams, Cleveland was 0-3.

The Cavs had one final chance to defeat the 76ers Sunday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. However, just like the previous three meetings, they could not get it done. Joel Embiid had 44 points, 17 rebounds, and five blocks, and James Harden recorded a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists as the 76ers defeated the Cavs 112-108 to sweep the season=series.

Cleveland(43-36) has now lost six of eight; the 76ers(48-30) have won two straight and clinched a playoff berth with the win.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

-Darius Garland led the Cavs with a team-high 23 points, four rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Garland recorded his 40th 20-plus point game this season. Interestingly enough, the All-Star scored 20-plus points 26 times in the first two seasons of his career. Garland is truly having a special season.

-Lamar Stevens has found his groove, and he continues to be a key contributor on both ends of the court. Stevens had 18 points, three rebounds, two assists, and three blocks. Great effort from Stevens!

-Caris LeVert is looking more and more comfortable each game, and he had 18 points, three rebounds, and seven assists. Obviously, Cleveland will need LeVert’s ability to get to the basket and score in the playoffs, which he did Sunday night.

Second Quarter:  Cleveland led 23-21 after the first quarter. The Cavs started the second quarter on a 14-4 run to take their largest lead of the game at 37-25. They shot 55% from the field, including 67% from three-point range. Stevens led the way with seven points in the quarter. Ultimately, the Cavs led 55-49 at halftime.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Third Quarter: The Cavs had some momentum coming into the third, but Embiid(14 points) and Tyrese Maxey(eight points) started attacking and combined for 22 of Philly’s 32 points in the quarter. The 76ers also picked things up defensively as the Cavs shot 36% from the field, including 25%(2/8) from downtown. Philly, who shot 56% from the field, including 5/6 from deep, outscored Cleveland 32-25 in the quarter. The 76ers led 81-80 after three.

Rebounding: Cleveland was outrebounded 50-41 by the 76ers, and Philadelphia had 16 second-chance points. The 76ers shot only 41% from the floor, but they did a great job on the glass.

Playing defense without fouling: Embiid(17/20) and Harden(11/12) combined for 32 of the 76ers’ 42 free throw attempts. You can argue that it should go both ways, but in reality, these two just know how to create contact. Maybe you can blame the officials, who knows, but you have to find a way to defend these two without fouling. Cleveland did have 31 free throw attempts Sunday night, and while Philly did have 42 attempts, four of them came due to intentional fouls by the Cavs late in the game, so free throw disparity was not that drastic.

Late-game execution: With the 76ers holding a 107-106 lead, Darius Garland’s floater was blocked by Embiid with 15.2 seconds in the game. Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes Garland was fouled on his drive, but there was no call. 

Cleveland trailed by three with 07.2 seconds to go, but Love’s inbound pass was stolen by Matisse Thybulle, which ended in a Tobias Harris dunk that sealed the game. 

Bottom Line:

Cleveland played their heart out against Philadelphia. All four matchups between these two teams have felt like the playoffs, and while Philly swept the season series, these games were very competitive and a lot of fun. 

The Cavs have played well in their last two games, which is the most important thing at this point of the season. Hopefully, they can get Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen back for the playoffs.

With the Cavs now 2.5 games behind the Bulls and Raptors for one of the top six spots in the East, and only three games to play, Cleveland might think about resting some guys before the start of the Play-in Tournament. However, J.B. Bickerstaff did say postgame that was not the plan, which is understandable. There’s still meaningful basketball left as the Cavs want to get at least the seventh seed.

The Cavs are 1.5 games up on the eighth-seeded Hawks(41-37) and 2.5 games up on the ninth-seeded Hornets(40-38) and the tenth seed, the Nets(40-38).

Quotes:

“That game was taken from us,” Bickerstaff said. “We deserved to win it.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland goes to Orlando to play the Magic Tuesday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Lauri Markkanen had 16 points, including four threes and seven rebounds. Kevin Love added 12 points off the bench.

-Rajon Rondo returned after missing 11 games with an ankle injury. He had six points in 14 minutes of action.

-Maxey and Harris had 11 points apiece for the 76ers.

-According to StatMuse, Embiid joins Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Patrick Ewing as the only players with multiple 40-point/15 rebound/5 block games since 1990.

Listen below as Bickerstaff talks loss to Cavs and more:

Cavs’ Garland, Mobley shine in Indiana

On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers began a three-game road trip in Indiana against the Pacers.

Cleveland got a big night from Darius Garland, who had a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning free throws with 14 seconds left as the Cavs defeated the Pacers 127-124 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Cavs(38-27) have won two straight, while Indiana(22-45) has dropped three in a row.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

Garland!: Darius Garland was just ridiculous. The Gary, Indiana native, had 21 of his career-high 41 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 13 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. The last Cavs player to have 40-plus points and 10-plus assists in a game was, of course, LeBron James(2018).

The All-Star carried the Cavs in the fourth. With just under a minute to go, and the Cavs trailing 122-120, Garland’s driving layup tied things up, and he made the game-winning free throws.

What a night for Garland, who finished with 31 points in the second half.

Evan Mobley: No Jarrett Allen, no problem. Rookie Evan Mobley filled in at the center spot and recorded his second straight 20 and 10 double-double as he had 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and a career-high five steals. He also had a big tip-in late in the contest to tie the game at 124 with 33.6 seconds left. Mobley did it all for the Cavs Tuesday night.

-Lauri Markkanen had a strong game for the Cavs. He had 21 points and five rebounds. This was Markkanen’s second consecutive 20-plus point game.

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed 98-90, entering the fourth quarter. However, they got it done in the fourth, especially Garland(7-10 FG). As a whole, the Cavs shot 59% from the floor. They outscored the Pacers 37-26 in the quarter.

Lamar Stevens: He made two big defensive plays down the stretch. With the game tied at 124, Stevens made a big block on Malcolm Brogdon’s layup attempt, which was retrieved by Mobley, who gave it off to Garland, who was fouled and hit the game-winning free throws.

The next possession, Dean Wade had a deflection, which Stevens grabbed. Ultimately, Stevens won the “Junkyard Dog Award” for his defense late in the game. He finished with nine points.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Defense: Despite the win and Stevens’ big plays on defense, Cleveland did not have their best defensive performance Tuesday night. They allowed the Pacers to score 124 points in regulation, and Indiana shot 54% from the floor, including 50%(16/32) from downtown. Without Allen and Caris LeVert, Cleveland will need their defense. They did create 18 turnovers to their credit, which led to 23 points for the Cavs.

Bottom Line:

The Cavs needed this game. They had to win, especially with back-to-back road games against the Heat and Bulls coming up.

Fortunately for Cleveland, Garland and Mobley got the job done.  

According to Cavs Notes, the 22-year-old Garland(41) and the 20-year-old Mobley (22) combined for 63 points. They are the first Cavs’ teammates age 22 or younger to combine for 63-plus points in a single game since 2013.

As for the standings, the sixth-seeded Cavaliers are now a 1/2 game behind the fifth-seeded Celtics(39-27).

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their three-game road trip Friday night in Miami against the Heat.

Best of the Rest:

Indiana had eight players in double figures, led by Tyrese Haliburton’s 25 points and nine assists. Goga Bitadze, Jalen Smith, and Duane Washington Jr. had 15 points apiece.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Cavs. Isaac Okoro added 11 points, and Wade chipped in with 10.

-The Cavs(4-0) swept the season series with the Pacers.

-Rajon Rondo returned after missing six games with a toe injury. He went scoreless in 11 minutes of action, but he did have two rebounds and four assists

LeVert(foot) missed his seventh straight game.

Watch below as Mobley and Garland react to the win over the Pacers:

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Jazz: ‘We took all 48 minutes of it seriously’

The Utah Jazz came into Wednesday’s game against the Cavs, a depleted team. The Jazz had six players out due to health and safety protocols, including Rudy Gobert, Rudy Gay, and Hassan Whiteside. 

The Cavs took full advantage of it.

Cleveland had six players in double figures as they went into Utah and routed the Jazz 111-91 at Vivint Arena. The 20-point win was the largest victory by the Cavs in Utah in team history.

The Cavs(24-18) have won two straight and are 3-1 on their current six-game west coast trip.

Utah(28-14) has now lost four straight.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Darius Garland messed around and got his first career triple-double. The third-year guard had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high 15 assists. Garland registered his triple-double after three quarters. The only player in Cavs history to have a triple-double after three quarters is LeBron James. 

-Lamar Stevens had a career-high 23 points. Stevens went off as he scored 15 of the team’s 30 points in the third, including 11 straight for the Cavs. On Sunday, Stevens had a then career-high 17 points against Golden State, and he surpassed that Wednesday night.

“I got lost in the moment,” Stevens said about his big third quarter. “I was able to pick and choose my spots. I just felt really confident, and I was just riding that confidence and allowing my game to just take me to those 15 points.”

-Lauri Markkanen busted out for the Cavs. He scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds. 

Markkanen was 8/11 from the floor, including four threes. It was Markkanen’s first 20-point game since December 26.

-Evan Mobley had another Evan Mobley-type game. The rookie had a double-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and he added five assists. Mobley became the first Cavs’ rookie to have 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists since, guess who, LeBron James. 

-Third Quarter: Cleveland broke the game open in the third after leading 58-52 at halftime. The Cavs outscored Utah 30-16 in the quarter, including an 21-0 run to take their largest lead of 25 points. Utah couldn’t make shots as they went 5/23 from the floor. 

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Nothing! Nothing at all!

Bottom Line:

Even though they beat a depleted Jazz team, this is still a quality win for Cleveland. This was the type of performance we saw from the Cavs when they were blowing teams out during their six-game win streak. It was a team effort during that streak, and we saw the Cavs have a team effort Wednesday night. 

In addition, when Markkanen plays the way he did against the Jazz, Cleveland is tough to beat. He can make shots, and the Cavs will only get better if he gets a little more consistent with his shot-making. Cleveland is 5-2 when Markkanen scores 20-plus points. 

“We didn’t start messing with the game,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We took all 48 minutes of it seriously.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland travels to San Antonio to battle the Spurs Friday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Kevin Love added 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench; Jarrett Allen chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds. 

– Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 22 points off the bench.

-Cleveland outrebounded the Jazz 50-32.

-Rajon Rondo(hamstring) missed Wednesday’s win over Utah.

Watch below as Stevens and Garland talk win over Utah:

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’ 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 sign Malik Newman to 10-day contract

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Malik Newman to a 10-day contract via the NBA’s hardship exception, the team announced Wednesday.

Newman (6-3, 190), 24, has appeared in 13 games (4 starts) this season for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively owned and operated NBA G League affiliate, averaging 17.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 27.3 minutes per contest.

Newman has appeared in 77 total games for the Charge during his career, appearing in 25 games in 2018-19 and 39 games (31 starts) during 2019-20 in addition to this season. Newman has played in one career NBA game for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2019-20 season after receiving a 10-day contract.  

Currently, Cleveland has five players in health and safety protocols: Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis, Darius Garland, Lamar Stevens, Dylan Windler.

Sexton, Nance Jr., Hartenstein, Dellavedova, Stevens out against Raptors

The Cavaliers(21-39) will be a very depleted team against the Toronto Raptors(25-35) on Monday night. Forward Larry Nance Jr.(right thumb fracture), Matthew Dellavedova(neck strain, eye), center Isaiah Hartenstein(concussion), and forward Lamar Stevens(concussion), the team announced on Monday. All the injuries were sustained against the Wizards on Sunday night.

Nance Jr. will probably miss the rest of the season.

Also, Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (concussion), forward Taurean Prince (left ankle soreness), and guard/forward Dylan Windler (left knee surgery) remain out tonight against Toronto.

The Cavaliers have lost seven of their last nine games and are six games behind the Wizards for the tenth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cavs sign Lamar Stevens to multi-year contract

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Lamar Stevens to a multi-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday. 

According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, it’s a four-year deal. The contract is non-guaranteed for the next three seasons, and there’s a team option attached to the final year.

The 23-year-old Stevens, who went undrafted in 2020 coming out of Penn State, signed a two-way contract with Cleveland last November.

Stevens has appeared in 37 games for the Cavaliers this season with averages of 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.1 minutes. The rookie forward has scored in double figures on three occasions. Against San Antonio on March 19, Stevens posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 17 minutes, becoming the first player in Cavaliers history to record those totals in under 18 minutes of play.

He also made the game-winning basket with 4.1 seconds remaining in Cleveland’s 112-111 victory over Atlanta on February 23.

Stevens has been a sparkplug for the Cavs off the bench and has given the team defense, energy, and hustle. He proved that he can score in college and remains second on Penn State’s all-time scoring list with 2,207 points and holds the record for field goals made (801) and starts (135), so as we go forward, we might see that side of his game with the Cavaliers.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on loss to Spurs: ‘I thought there was an opportunity if we would have competed the way we did in the fourth quarter for 48’

When the Cavaliers get off to a slow start, nine times out of ten, they will lose. Against the San Antonio Spurs(22-16) on Friday night, Cleveland(15-26) trailed by three points after one quarter and trailed by 12 points at the break. The Cavaliers fell behind by as many as 22 points in the third quarter. Ultimately, despite a valiant effort in the fourth quarter, they would fall at home to the Spurs 116-110.

Cleveland is now 2-20 when trailing after the first quarter this season. However, they battled hard in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers scored 44 points in the final stanza, but it was too little, too late. 

The Spurs were led by Keldon Johnson, who had 23 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, which was the first 20-20 game for San Antonio since Tim Duncan did it in 2013. Cleveland’s backcourt had another huge game on Friday night. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland had 29 points apiece. For Garland, the 29 points were a career-high.

According to Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, this team has to be at their best from the beginning.

“I think we got off to a slow start,” Bickerstaff said. “I’m not necessarily sure what the cause of it was, but the message to the group was, ‘we don’t have the opportunity to ease our way into games.’ We have to have that spirit for 48 minutes in order to give ourselves a chance… I thought there was an opportunity if we would have competed the way we did in the fourth quarter for 48.”

Cleveland was able to get back into the game because of the play of rookie reserve Lamar Stevens. The two-way player gave Cleveland a huge spark in the third and fourth quarters. in 17 minutes of action, Stevens had career-highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Bickerstaff was happy with his play.

“He was superb tonight,” Bickerstaff said. “Unbelievable effort. He sparked that group, and he was phenomenal tonight.”

Bickerstaff is correct. Cleveland is not good enough to start slow. They have to bring that same energy that they brought in the fourth throughout the game, but these are the things that happens when you have a young team.

Cleveland plays the third game of their four-game homestand against the Raptors on Sunday night.