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:

 

Mavs sign Chriss to multi-year deal, waive Cauley-Stein

The Dallas Mavericks have signed forward Marquese Chriss to a multi-year contract, the team announced Saturday.

It’s reportedly a two-year deal for Chriss.

The 24-year-old Chriss (6-9, 240) was in the midst of his third 10-day contract under the COVID-related hardship allowance and has averaged 6.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 11.9 minutes in 12 games with Dallas. Chriss has scored in double figures in three games with the Mavericks.

The six-year veteran was selected by Sacramento with the eighth overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft and subsequently traded to Phoenix, where he earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors in his first season. Chriss played collegiately for one season at Washington.

In an additional move, Dallas has requested waivers on center Willie Cauley-Stein. The seven-year veteran, who has been out due to personal reasons, last played for the Mavericks on November 27 against the Wizards.

Hawks deal Cam Reddish to Knicks

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired forward Kevin Knox II and a conditional future first-round pick (Charlotte’s protected first-round pick) from the New York Knicks in exchange for forwards Cam Reddish and Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick and cash considerations, the teams announced Thursday.

Because of what Atlanta has in terms of wing players(Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter), Reddish became expendable. Atlanta(17-23), who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season, brought the whole team back this season, but they are struggling, and they needed to make a change, and there could be more moves on the way.

Also, it should be interesting to see if Knox, who was buried on the Knicks bench, will benefit from a change of scenery.

Regarding the Knicks(21-21), they, too, are off to a slow start, and getting a talent like Reddish, who reunites with his former college teammate at Duke, R.J. Barrett, can help, but we’ll see how he fits with New York going forward as they are also crowded at the wing spots.

This season, the 22-year-old Reddish, who was the 10th overall pick by the Hawks in 2019, is averaging 119. points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per contest.  

Knox, 22, is averaging 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game. The former Kentucky star was the ninth overall pick by the Knicks in 2018.

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:

Suns sign Paris Bass to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed free agent forward Paris Bass to a second 10-day contract, the team announced Wednesday.

Bass first signed a 10-day contract with the Suns on Dec. 31 and appeared in two games. In his NBA debut on January 2 at Charlotte, he recorded four points, two rebounds and a steal in five minutes off the bench, and he tallied two points and two rebounds in two minutes on January 6 vs. the LA Clippers.

Prior to signing his first 10-day contract with the Suns, the 6-8 Bass was named to the NBA G League All-Showcase Team in December after appearing in 14 games for the South Bay Lakers this season, averaging 17.9 points on 49.0% shooting, 8.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals. This is Bass’ second season in the NBA G League, as he also played with the Erie BayHawks in his first professional season in 2016-17.

The 26-year-old played internationally in Puerto Rico and Austria between his time in the NBA G League. A native of Birmingham, Michigan, Bass played collegiately at Detroit Mercy. He earned First Team All-Horizon League honors as a sophomore in 2015-16, averaging 18.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals, and was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year in 2015.

Cavs’ Altman on extension: ‘I will forever be grateful for this continued opportunity’

The Cleveland Cavaliers and GM Koby Altman have agreed on a new long-term contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

Altman, 39, will also take on the title of President of Basketball Operations effective immediately.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the extension runs through the 2027-2028 season.

Last month, the Cavaliers signed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to a multi-year extension that will reportedly run through the 2026-2027 season, and now they’ve locked up Altman.

Cleveland (23-18) is off to a great start, and with lottery picks Darius Garland (No. 5 in 2019) and Evan Mobley (No. 3 in 2021), Altman has built a solid young core. In addition, Altman, who was named Cavs general manager in 2017, acquired 23-year-old center Jarrett Allen, who is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage, and signed him to a five-year contract extension this past offseason. Altman also traded for NBA veteransRicky Rubio and 24-year-old Lauri Markkanen.

Altman has the Cavs going in the right direction post-LeBron James, and it appears this team has the potential to do big things going forward.

“I will forever be grateful for this continued opportunity. With Dan setting the example and providing us with amazing resources, we are building something truly special here in Northeast Ohio,” said Altman via a press release from the team. “We remain committed to our player development program, and our players have shown incredible growth and improvement this season. Our evolving culture is driven by our players, coaches, and staff, who all play a significant role in defining what it truly means to be a Cavalier, and we are very excited for our future.”

Before being named GM, Altman had been a part of the Cavaliers’ basketball staff for five years, including being promoted to assistant general manager in September 2016. As a member of Cleveland’s front office, Altman has been an integral part of a team that reached four straight NBA Finals (2015-2018) and won an NBA Championship in 2016. 

76ers sign Charlie Brown Jr. to two-way contract

The Philadelphia 76ers signed Charlie Brown Jr. to a two-way contract, the team announced Tuesday.

After signing a 10-day contract with the 76ers on January 3, the 24-year-old Brown appeared in two games for Philadelphia and showed off his athleticism and defense, swiping a pair of steals in each of his appearances against San Antonio and Houston.

Before joining the 76ers, Brown played for Dallas on a 10-day contract, playing 15 total minutes across three games. Brown also saw action in 11 NBA G League games this season with the 76ers’ affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.   

For his career, Brown has seen action in 24 NBA games with Philadelphia, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta after going undrafted in 2019.   

A Philadelphia native, Brown played his college basketball at Saint Joseph’s.

In a related move, Philadelphia has waived Aaron Henry. 

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Kings: ‘It’s a win, so we’ll take it, but it wasn’t our best’

The Cavaliers had a terrible taste in their mouth after losing to the Warriors Sunday night, but fortunately for them, they had a chance to change that taste when they played the Kings Monday night as both teams were playing the second half of a back-to-back.

Cleveland got off to a good start and led 62-49 at halftime. However, the Kings would rally in the second half to take a four-point lead in the fourth with over six minutes to go, but the Cavs would eventually build a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and would hold on to defeat the Kings 109-108 at Golden 1 Center.

The Cavs(23-18), who swept the season series from the Kings, are 2-1 on their current six-game road trip, while the Kings(16-27) have lost five straight.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Jarrett Allen is a man of his word. Allen took full responsibility for the Cavs getting outrebounded against Golden State. He knew he had to be better, and against the Kings, he was better. Allen had a double-double with 18 points, 17 rebounds to go along with two blocks. He secured the double-double in the first half with 12 points and 12 rebounds, including a career-high tying nine rebounds in the first quarter.

-Evan Mobley also had a bounce-back game. He had 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Mobley, who scored in double figures for the eighth consecutive game, stuffed the stat sheet as he usually does. 

-Darius Garland had a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. He also added five rebounds. Garland had only three points in the first half but scored nine points in the second half, including seven in the final quarter.

Kevin Love and Cedi Osman gave the Cavs great production off the bench. Love scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, and Osman added 15 points. Since returning from COVID, Osman has been in double figures in two out of the last three games.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Turnovers:  Cleveland had 17 turnovers, which led to 20 points for Sacramento. The Cavs have had 36 turnovers in the last two games.

The final 2:34 of the game:  After a Lauri Markkanen(15 points) three, Cleveland led 109-99 with 2:34 left in the game. However, the Kings went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 109-108 with 11.0 seconds to go. Fortunately for Cleveland, De’Aaron Fox missed a jump shot at the buzzer after great defense from Rajon Rondo, and the Cavs would hold on.

Bottom Line:

Excellent bounce-back performance for the Cavs after the way things went against the Warriors. This is the type of effort you like to see from a team following a bad performance, especially Allen, who showed that he’s a team leader and an All-Star.

Cleveland was not at its best Monday night, but a win is a win, and now they have surpassed their win total(22) from last season.

“It’s a win, so we’ll take it, but it wasn’t our best,” Cavs head coach Bickerstaff said. “We talk about playing with purpose and discipline for 48 minutes. We didn’t do that tonight.

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their six-game road trip in Utah against the Jazz Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

The Kings had six players in double figures, led by Tyrese Haliburton’s 21 points. Buddy Hield added 19 points off the bench. 

Cleveland also had six players double figures. In addition, Rondo had five points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals off the bench.

Watch below as Mobley and Allen react to win over Kings:

Mavs sign Chriss to third 10-day contract, sign Pinson to two-way deal

The Dallas Mavericks were busy on Monday. They signed forward Marquese Chriss to a third 10-day contract under the COVID-related hardship allowance, signed guard/forward Theo Pinson to a two-way contract, and waived guard JaQuori McLaughlin.

Chriss, 24, signed his first 10-day with the Mavericks on December 21 and a second 10-day contract on December 31. He averaged 6.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 11.9 minutes in 10 games with Dallas.

The six-year veteran was selected by Sacramento with the eighth overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft and subsequently traded to Phoenix, where he earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors in his first season.

Pinson, 26, signed his first 10-day on December 20 and has averaged 2.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 9.3 minutes in 10 games. The four-year veteran spent the beginning of this season with the Maine Celtics of the NBA G League and played the last two seasons with the New York Knicks.

McLaughlin, 23, signed a two-way contract with Dallas on September 3 after going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft. The rookie guard saw action in four games this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: