Cavs’ Love: ‘We’re living in the moment, but our big-picture goals are toward the end of the year’

The Cleveland Cavaliers continued their winning ways Monday night as they defeated the Miami Heat 105-94 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland led the whole second half,  but in the fourth, Miami cut the Cavs lead to five with over eight minutes left. However, Cleveland would go on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 13. From there, the Cavs would have their largest lead of 16 and would coast the rest of the way. 

The Cavs had five players in double figures Monday night.

Cleveland(17-12) has now won four straight for the third time this season, while the Heat’s(16-12) two-game winning streak was snapped.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Second Half Kevin Love: The 13-year veteran got hot in the second half. Love scored a season-high 23 points, all in the second half. Love was 6/8 from the field in the second half, including five threes(5/7). He also added nine rebounds.

Love is shooting the ball well right now and has made three-plus threes in five consecutive games.

-Isaac Okoro has been solid in the last three games. He scored 18 points, including four threes(ties career-high) Monday night, and he also helped limit Duncan Robinson to six points on 1/7 from downtown.

This was Okoro’s third straight game of at least 16 points or more, and during this stretch, he’s  averaging 18 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. Furthermore, in the last three, Okoro is 7-14(50%) from three-point range.

-Jarrett Allen had 12 of his 18 points(6/6 FG) in the first half, and while his three-game double-double streak was snapped, he did grab eight rebounds and added a block.

Second Quarter: Cleveland outscored the Heat 32-19 in the quarter, and after trailing 25-23 in the first, the Cavaliers took a 55-44 lead at the break. Cleveland turned things up defensively as they held the Heat to 38% shooting from the floor, including 2/12 from three-point range(16.7%).

-Lamar Stevens did not give the Cavaliers much offensively(three points), but he gave Cleveland a big lift with his energy. He, along with Okoro, helped limit Miami’s three-point shooting as Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson were a combined 1/10 from three-point range.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Third Quarter: Miami started the third on a 10-0 to cut the Cavs’ 11-point halftime lead to one. The Heat outscored Cleveland 29-23 in the quarter. Miami shot the ball well in third as they ended the quarter, shooting 58% from the floor and making five threes(5/9). The Heat cut the Cavs’ lead to 78-73, heading into the fourth. 

Bottom Line:

Cleveland is now 8-2 in their last 10 games and won those eight games by at least 11 points or more. In addition, five(Heat twice) of those eight wins are against teams above .500. 

Every night it seems like someone different steps up for this team. Tonight, it was Love and Okoro.

The chemistry Cleveland has is special, and after 29 games, they are the fourth seed in the East. Unreal!!

“We’re living in the moment, but our big-picture goals are toward the end of the year,” Love said.

What’s Next:

Cleveland’s three-game homestand concludes Wednesday night against the Rockets.

Best of the Rest:

Ricky Rubio had seven points and seven assists. Rubio hit a significant milestone Monday night as he recorded his 5,000 assist to the man he started his career in Minnesota with, Kevin Love.

Darius Garland had 16 points, five assists, and three steals.

P.J. Tucker led Miami with 23 points and nine rebounds, including five threes, and Kyle Lowry added 22 points(four threes) and five assists. Miami had five players in double figures.

Watch below as Love, Okoro, Allen react to Cavs’ win:

Mavs’ Kidd on Heat: ‘I would consider them the best team in the league right now’

The Miami Heat(6-1) came into Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks(4-3), riding a four-game winning streak and playing big-time basketball, but Miami got off to a slow start against Dallas and trailed by as much as 11 in the first quarter.

However, the Heat would score 46 points in the second quarter and took control of the game from there. Ultimately, Miami would win their fifth straight and defeat the Mavericks 125-110 at American Airlines Center.

Dallas dropped their first home game of the season.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom Line of Dallas’ loss on Tuesday night.

The Great for the Mavericks:

Luka Doncic did his part for the Mavericks. He had a season-high 33 points, to go along with five assists and three rebounds. He led the team in scoring for the seventh consecutive game. Doncic’s streak of seven games is the longest to begin a season in Mavs’ history. 

The fourth-year guard also passed Jason Kidd (5,258) for 14th place on the Mavs’ all-time scoring list. 

-Jalen Brunson got his first start of the season and went 10-13 from the field en route to a season-high 25 points. Brunson also had a season-high-tying seven rebounds to go with three assists.

-Miami native Tim Hardaway Jr. compiled 17 points with three rebounds and three assists against his hometown team.

Not so Great for the Mavericks:

Second-Quarter: Dallas was outscored 46-32 in the second quarter on Tuesday night. Miami shot 68% from the field in the quarter, including 8/9 from three-point range. Tyler Herro scored 15 of his team-high 25 points in the quarter off the bench.

Defense: The Mavericks allowed 125 points against the Heat. In addition, Miami shot 52% from the field, including 13/25 from downtown.  

“Yeah, it’s tough, any team that has 4 or 5 guys in double figures like that, especially the way they shot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from three and 86 percent from the line,” Brunson said.

-Trey Burke, who is unvaccinated, missed the COVID-19 testing window and did not play Tuesday night and won’t play Wednesday against the Spurs. Burke, who will travel with team, missed the testing window for the second time in four games.

Bottom Line:

It would have been difficult to beat Miami with a full roster, and you knew Dallas would have a hard time defeating the Heat without Kristaps Porzingis(back) and Maxi Kleber(strained oblique). Miami is one of the best team’s in basketball, and that was on full display as they had four players with 20+ points.

“The Heat are – I would consider them the best team in the league right now,” Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said. “They’re men and they know how to play.”

What’s Next:

The Mavs play the second game of a back-to-back on the road in San Antonio against the Spurs, who they defeated 104-99 in Dallas.

Best of the Rest:

Jimmy Butler (23), Kyle Lowry (22), and Bam Adebayo (22) all scored 20+ points for Miami. Adebayo added 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double in seven games.

According to the Miami Heat, Herro’s 157 points scored off the bench through the first seven games is the most points by a reserve through his first seven games to open a season in NBA history.

Watch below as Kidd talks loss to Miami:

 

 

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on loss to Heat: ‘I thought it was a tale of two halves’

It was a tale of two halves for the Cleveland Cavaliers(17-32) in Miami on Saturday night. Cleveland had a hard time stopping the Heat(26-24) in the first half. Miami scored 67 points and shot 58% from the field, including 47%(10-21) from three-point range, and ultimately, they led 67-54 at halftime.

Cleveland tightened the screws in the third quarter, which has been an Achilles heel for this team all season long. However, on Saturday night, they came out and defended well. They held the Heat to 17 points in the quarter, including 33% from the field. Unfortunately, Cleveland only scored 19 points in that quarter, and they would eventually fall on the road 115-101.

The Cavaliers have now lost 20 straight games in Miami and have not won there since 2010. 

Miami had seven guys in double figures led by Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who had 18 points apiece. Adebayo also added 11 rebounds. For Cleveland, Collin Sexton had a game-high 26 points, Taurean Prince had a season-best 19 points off the bench, and rookie Isaac Okoro finished with a career-high 17 points. 

While the Cavaliers lost their fifth straight game and six of their last seven, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was happy with how the team played in the second half, but he knows they have to play a complete game to beat the Heat.

“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” Bickerstaff said. “I thought we were really good in the second half. We come out and hold this team to 17 points; I thought we did a phenomenal job in that second half. I thought our scrap and our grit was much better in the second half. Again, you’re playing a caliber of team like this with the weapons they have. You gotta play it for 48.”

Late in the fourth, frustration started to boil over for the Cavaliers. Darius Garland tried to take a charge on Trevor Ariza, but he was called for a blocking foul. An angry Garland punched the ball and was assessed a technical foul, which led to his ejection.

Bickerstaff took issue with the ejection.

“They decided to throw him out on one technical, which I completely disagree with,” Bickerstaff said. “There’s no justification for throwing him out of the game on one technical.”

Cleveland will try to snap their five-game losing streak when they head to San Antonio to battle the Spurs. The Cavaliers will complete their three-game road trip against the Thunder on Thursday night.

Notes:

Kevin Love posted his 1st double-double of the season with 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and one block in 23 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mavericks’ Carlisle was happy with team’s defensive performance against Miami

Coming off a disappointing home loss to the Hornets on Wednesday night, which disappointed both the coaching staff and players, the Mavericks were looking to get back on track against the Heat, and they did.

Luka Dončić led the way for Dallas with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points, and the Mavericks(2-3) would go on to beat the Heat(2-3) 93-83 at American Airlines Center on Friday night.

Bam Adebayo led Miami with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Dončić has struggled with his shot this season, especially from three-point range. The third-year player was only 3-10 from downtown on Friday night, but it’s an improvement when considering he was 2-21 from three-point range coming into the game against Miami. 

After all the struggles, Dončić was super excited to make his first three on Friday.

“I was so happy,” Dončić said on making his first three in the game. “I’ve been struggling a lot, so I was happy when I made that three. It made my day.”

Dallas’ win against Miami was about what they did on the defensive end, especially in the second quarter when they held Miami to 15 points, including 16% shooting from the field. Mavericks F James Johnson came off the bench and gave the team a spark on both ends of the court. The former Heat player scored eight points in the quarter, and Dallas led 46-31 at the break.

“(James) Johnson’s given us a big lift off the bench,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. He’s experienced, he makes impact plays at both ends of the floor and he’s unselfish and gets his teammates involved… He’s a great spirit guy for our team. He’s a great leader as a veteran guy. He talks to everybody; he keeps people up on the bench. He’s been a great acquisition for us.”

After losing to the Hornets 118-99 on Wednesday night, Carlisle’s primary focus at practice was the team’s defense.

“We didn’t even talk about offense the last couple of days,” Carlisle said. “We’re just talking about defense, intensity, playing together hard, effort, and the importance of details. We spent a lot of time on the details heading into this game, and it paid off. The stats will show that their 3-point shooters didn’t get going and that’s because we really put forth a good effort to stay on their tails the whole time. We won the rebounding battle, which is always going to be important because that’s possessions. I don’t know what the deflection count was but it was good. We’ve got to maintain, and we’ve got to sustain.”

Dallas has been up and down this season, but this was a good win for Dallas against the Eastern Conference champions, and now they have to build off this victory. According to Johnson, the team was humbled in the first few games, which should help them as they head out on a three-game road trip.

“All of the games are tough,” Johnson said. “They are so quick. But I think we went through our tough stretch in the first three games, honestly. It really showed us where we were at and humbled us. We are locked in. We are ready to get to work and the guys are always excited to come in.”

Dallas begins their three-game road trip on Sunday against the Bulls.

 

Spreading love the Brooklyn way; Nets to sit six players against the Bulls

The Chicago Bulls control their own destiny. If they beat the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, they are in the playoffs. Well, Brooklyn may have given the Bulls an “assist.” Brooklyn will sit the following players for Wednesday night’s game: Trevor Booker, Jeremy Lin, Brook Lopez, Quincy Acy, Joe Harris and Sean Kilpatrick.  I guess this how you “spread love the Brooklyn way.”

The Nets actually beat the Bulls last Saturday 107-106 in Brooklyn. However, this game will be in Chicago.

Three teams (Pacers, Bulls, Heat) fighting for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference. Bulls and Pacers control their own destiny. In order for the the Miami Heat to make the playoffs, they need to win at home against the Wizards, and hope that either the Bulls or Pacers(play Hawks) lose.

Expect the Bulls and Pacers to be in the playoffs!