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.