Cavs’ season was a huge success, but a massive disappointment at the same time

After falling to the Nets Tuesday night in Brooklyn in the Play-In Tournament, the Cavs had one more chance to get into the playoffs when they hosted the Atlanta Hawks Friday night.

It’s win or go home!

The Cavs got All-Star center Jarrett Allen back after he missed 19 games(including Play-In Tournament) with a fractured finger. Cleveland had their largest lead of 14 points in the first half and led by 10 at the half. However, Trae Young happened! The All-Star had 32 of his 38 points in the second half as the Hawks defeated the Cavs 107-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavs season ends, while the Hawks capture the eighth seed and move on to face the Heat in first round of the playoffs, which begins Sunday in Miami. 

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

The Great for the Cavs:

-Lauri Markkanen played like he did not want to go home. He had 17 of his team-high 26 points in the first half to along with eight rebounds. Markkanen shot 10/17 from the field, including 6/12 from deep. Unfortunately, he did have a bad pass that was stolen by Kevin Huerter late in the fourth, which sealed the deal for the Hawks, but all and all, Markkanen did his job Friday night.

-Evan Mobley will be a special player, and he played well against the Hawks. The rookie had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Just like Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the moment was not too big for Mobley.

-Darius Garland struggled with his shot(9/27 FG), but he battled through it and finished with 21 points, nine assists, and three steals; however,  he did turn the ball over five times.

First Half:  The Cavs fed off their crowd in the first half. Cleveland shot 52% from the floor in the first quarter, including 67%(6/9) from deep. The Cavs led 36-25 after one. Cleveland made 10 threes in the first half and got great looks. In addition, they held the Hawks to 17%(3/17) from three-point range, and Cleveland led 61-51 at the break. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Third Quarter: Great players do great things, and Young is a great player. Young woke up after being held to six points in the first half. He either scored or assisted on 27 of the Hawks’ 33 points in the quarter. He finished with 16 points in the third. Atlanta shot 61% from the floor(4/8 3-PT FG). The Hawks outscored the Cavs 33-23 in the quarter, took their first lead late in the third, and erased a 10-point halftime deficit. The game was knotted at 84, heading into the fourth.

Second Half Offense: The offense stagnated in the second half, and some credit has to go to Atlanta’s defense, which stiffened. Cleveland did not get the same looks they had in the first half. You often saw some 911 shots with the shot clock running down from the Cavs, and they had two shot-clock violations early in the fourth. After scoring 61 points in the first, Cleveland was held to 40 points in the second half. In the fourth, they shot only 33% from the field, including 1/8 from downtown. After making 10 threes in the first half, the Cavs made only three more the rest of the way.

Bench: The Hawks’ bench outscored Cleveland’s bench 25-9. Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo were not much of a factor in this contest. Maybe Love could have gotten more minutes, but Atlanta was trying to go after him on the defensive end. The Cavs’ starters were a combined +10, while the bench was a combined -40.

Bottom Line:

It’s kind of stunning how the season ended for Cleveland. At one point, especially after the addition of Caris LeVert, many thought this team could make a deep playoff run. Now, just like that, it’s over!

The season was a success. Players like Garland and Jarrett Allen grew and became All-Stars, and Evan Mobley looks like a star. LeVert will have a whole training camp to get acclimated with the team, and maybe they’ll bring back soon-to-be restricted free agent Collin Sexton or move him to get another piece. In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so that’s another opportunity to improve this roster. Youth is on their side as Garland, Allen, Mobley, and Markkanen are all under 25.

Even in saying the season was a success, it feels like a disappointment at the same time. They were in striking distance of the top spot in the East for most of the season, but the day that destroyed the season was March 6. Cleveland defeated Toronto in that game and was 37-27 and was the sixth seed in the East with a three-game lead over the seventh-seeded Raptors. However, Allen fractured his finger and missed the final 18 games of the regular season. During that stretch, the Cavs went 7-11. Also, during that stretch, Mobley went down with an ankle injury and missed five games. They overcame the injuries of Sexton and Ricky Rubio, but they did not overcome Allen’s injury.

Again, a fantastic season for the Cavs, and the future seems bright. However, from top to bottom, the East will be challenging, and here’s also the thing: Cleveland is not sneaking up on anyone, so expectations have changed, which means the pressure is on this young group to get better. We’ll see how they’ll respond next season.

What’s Next:

The offseason! It was a fun season!

Best of the Rest:

-LeVert had 16 points for the Cavs as all five starters scored in double figures. Allen, who was basically playing with one hand, had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a block.

-Bogdan Bogdanovic had 19 points for the Hawks off the bench. 

-During the second quarter, Clint Capela suffered a right knee hyperextension after fouling Mobley. According to the team. he will undergo an MRI in Miami, and his status will be updated as appropriate.

Watch below as Garland and Mobley react to the loss to Atlanta:

Kevin Love leads Cleveland to eighth seed

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Sunday’s action against the Milwaukee Bucks looking to get at least the eighth seed in the East or, if the Nets stumble versus the Pacers, the seventh seed.  

Fortunately, the Bucks decided to rest their whole starting lineup, and the Cavs took full advantage. Cleveland led by as many as 40 points and routed the Bucks 133-115 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Unfortunately, the Nets defeated the Pacers, so they will be the seventh seed, while the Cavs will be the eighth seed in the East, so Cleveland will to travel to Brooklyn Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament. 

Cleveland finished the season 44-38, and the Bucks ended the year 51-31.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Bucks.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Kevin Love, who played only 15 minutes, scored 23 of his 32 points in the first half off the bench. The five-time All-Star made a career-high tying eight threes. He finished 10/16 from the field, including 8/11 from deep. He also added 10 rebounds. Love had 18 points, including five threes in the first quarter. Here’s the crazy part, according to Elias Sports, Love is the first player in the shot-clock era (since 1954) to record 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in under 16 minutes of action.

-Evan Mobley had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and he also added four blocks. Mobley finished the regular season with 21 double-doubles, the fourth-most for a rookie in Cavs’ history. 

-Lauri Markkanen had 23 points(4/7 3-PT FG) and seven rebounds. 

First Half: The Cavs jumped on the Pacers early and did not let up. Cleveland tied a season-high with 46 points in the first quarter, which tied a franchise record for most points in any quarter in team history. Cleveland shot 60% from the floor, including 10/15(67%) from downtown. They led by 26(46-20) after one.

Ultimately, the Cavs scored 79 points in the first half and led by 33 points(79-46) at the break.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Not today!!!

Bottom Line:

The Cavs caught a break as the Bucks were clearly not looking to win this game. Now, it’s time to prepare to head to Brooklyn to face the seventh-seeded Nets.

Brooklyn will be tough to beat, but it’s one game, so anything is possible.

On Friday, the Cavs were down 17 points in the first quarter against the Nets and were swimming upstream the rest of the way; they took the lead in the third but fell short in the fourth, so Cleveland must get off to a better start.

Playing Brooklyn again could be to the Cavs’ benefit.  For example, last season, the Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Golden State Warriors on the road in the season finale. A week later, Memphis went back on the road and beat the Warriors in the Play-In Tournament, so again, anything is possible. 

Fortunately, as the eighth seed, Cleveland will have two games to win one, so if they fall short against the Nets, they will have a home game against the winner of the Hornets(10) and Hawks(9).


“I like our chances when it comes down to a dog fight,” Love said after the win. “That’s what it’s going to be come Tuesday night.”

What’s Next:

The Cavs travel to Brooklyn to battle the Nets Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament.

Best of the Rest:

-Mobley finished the season with 1,034 points, 570 rebounds(MOST among rookies), 174 assists, 115 blocks(MOST among rookies), 56 steals, and 21 double-doubles(MOST among rookies). 

-Love finished with 187 threes this season, which is the fourth most in team history.

-The Cavs finished the season 25-16 at home.

-Rajon Rondo had six points and a season-high 13 assists against the Bucks.

-Sandro Mamukelashvili led the Bucks with a career-high 28 points; Thanasis Antetkuonmpko had a career-high 27 points.

-Before the game, the Cavs announced that they had converted the contract of center Moses Brown to a standard NBA contract and signed guard RJ Nembhard to a two-way contract.

Brown, who would not have been eligible for the playoffs with a two-contract, signed his first 10-day contract with Cleveland on March 10, his second 10-day contract on March 21, and a two-way contract on March 31.  

Nembhard, prior to being waived on April 7, was signed to a standard NBA contract with Cleveland on March 31 and was originally signed to a two-way contract on October 16. Nembhard has appeared in 13 games this season for the Cavaliers and 13 games (12 starts) with the Cleveland Charge.

Listen below as Love and Mobley react to win over Bucks:









Cavs’ Osman on loss to Minnesota: ‘We’re upset we lost because we fought really hard’

The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to build off Saturday’s win over the Wizards as they hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night.

Of course, Cleveland was still without Darius Garland(back), Caris LeVert(foot), and Rajon Rondo(toe).

After trailing by 23 points in the third, the Cavs(36-25) tied the score at 122 late in the fourth, but Karl-Anthony Towns hit a three with 12.4 seconds left to give Minnesota(33-29) a 127-122 victory at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the loss, Cleveland’s eight-game home winning streak was snapped. 

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Minnesota.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Kevin Love was 2/15 from the floor, including 1/9 from deep in the last two games. He broke out of his little shooting slump Monday night, and he helped lead the comeback. Love scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including five threes. He also had five rebounds and four assists. 

-Cedi Osman was also big-time off the Cavs’ bench. He scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth and made the game-tying three late in the fourth. Unfortunately, he missed a three with a chance to tie with 04.6 seconds left.

Osman also added five assists and was a huge reason the Cavs had a chance at the end.

-Brandon Goodwin did his job Monday night. He recorded the first double-double of his career with 17 points and a career-high 12 assists. Goodwin also had just one turnover, and he added four rebounds. 

-Jarrett Allen had another efficient night as he had 21 points(9/10 FG) and eight rebounds. 

-Rookie Evan Mobley registered his second straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mobley has three double-doubles in the last four games, and he also had four assists and two blocks Monday night.

First Quarter: Cleveland got off to a great start against the Timberwolves. They shot 52% from the floor and got a big performance from Jarrett Allen, who scored 10 points on 4/5 shooting. In addition, they forced four turnovers, which led to nine points. Ultimately, the Cavs led 37-26 after one quarter.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs cut Minnesota’s 23-point lead to 13 at the end of the third and continued to battle in the fourth. Cleveland went on a 13-4 run to cut the lead to 105-101, and they went on to tie the game at 122 late in the quarter.

In the final quarter, the Cavs shot 50% from the floor and almost pulled off the comeback.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Second Quarter: The Cavs struggled on the defensive end in the second quarter. Cleveland allowed Minnesota to shoot 68% from the field. The Cavs got a little sloppy with the ball as they turned it over seven times in the quarter, which led to 14 points for the Timberwolves. Minnesota would score 38 points in the quarter and take a 64-61 lead at halftime.

Third Quarter:  After getting outscored by 14 points in the second quarter, Cleveland did not do much better in the third quarter. Minnesota went on a 29-9 run to start the third and took their largest lead of 23 points. The Timberwolves shot 60% from the floor, including 58%(7/12) from three-point range. Minnesota would outscore Cleveland 37-27 in the quarter and took a 101-88 lead into the fourth.

-Turnovers: Cleveland had a season-high-tying 22 turnovers Monday night, which led to 35 points for Minnesota. When you’re down two point guards, this is understandable. However, you have to do a better job protecting the ball.

Defense: Cleveland, who allows a league-best 102.7 ppg, allowed 101 points after three quarters. In addition, Cleveland allowed Minnesota to shoot 55% from the floor, including 18 threes. The Timberwolves scored 50 points in the paint. 

Bottom Line:

The Cavs got close, but they just could not get over the hump against Minnesota. We all know how the Cavs must defend to win without Garland and LeVert, and that did not happen Monday night. To their credit, Cleveland never gave up in this one, but hey, no moral victories for this team; they need wins.

Cleveland(fifth-seed) is now 4.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot in the East, but they may have to worry about what’s behind them. The sixth-seeded Celtics(36-27) are one game behind Cleveland, and the Raptors(33-27), who are the seventh seed, are now 2.5 games behind the Cavs, so Cleveland, despite the injuries, has to win.

“We’re upset we lost because we fought really hard,” Osman said. “I apologize for that last shot. I have to be better in those positions.”

What’s Next:

The Cavs conclude their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Hornets.

Best of the Rest:

Minnesota had six players in double figures led by D’Angelo Russell’s 25 points, and Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Jaden McDaniels had 17 points apiece.

Cleveland also had six players in double figures.

Watch below as Love reacts to loss to Minnesota:


Cavs’ Bickerstaff on loss to Pistons: ‘I didn’t think we had enough players who were locked into doing what we needed to do to win’

Fresh off the All-Star break, the Cleveland Cavaliers came into Detroit to battle the Pistons, missing some serious firepower. Darius Garland(back) and Caris LeVert(foot) were out. LeVert is expected to miss 1-2 weeks, and Garland will undergo treatment and rehabilitation over the next couple of days and his return to basketball activities will be updated as appropriate, according to the team.

Without Garland and LeVert, others had to step up, which unfortunately did not happen. After four Cade Cunningham free throws gave the Pistons a 106-103 lead, Cleveland had three chances to tie the game, but Lauri Markkanen, Brandon Goodwin, and Evan Mobley all missed threes on the final possession, and the Pistons would hold on to defeat the Cavs 106-103 at Little Caesars Arena Thursday night.

The Cavs(35-24) have lost three straight, while the Pistons(14-45) have won two in a row.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Pistons.

The Great for the Cavs:

Lauri Markkanen returned after missing 11 games with an ankle injury and was solid. While he did not shoot it well(6-16 FG), he scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth and gave Cleveland the lead late with a free throw. He also had six rebounds.

-Brandon Goodwin gave the Cavs a lift off the bench. He had 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists. In the last five games, Goodwin had a combined 19 points. Without Garland, the Cavs needed Goodwin to shine, and he did just that.

-Fight in the fourth: The Cavs got down by as many as 11 points in the fourth but went on a 17-5 run to take a 103-102 lead. During that run, Markkanen scored eight of the 17 points. 

First Quarter: Cleveland got the start they wanted against the Pistons. The Cavs shot 53% from the floor, including 56% from three-point range. Cedi Osman led the way with nine points in the first, and Cleveland had a 33-27 lead after one. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Free throw line:  The Cavs had issues at the line Thursday night. They missed 11 free throws(23/34), and when you’re down two quality players in Garland and LeVert, you need to make your free throws.

Kevin Love/Cedi Osman: Cleveland needed Love to be what he’s been all season long, and unfortunately, that was not the case Thursday night. Love was 1/5 from the floor and finished with four points and five rebounds off the bench. In addition, Osman was scoreless in the final three quarters after scoring nine points in the first. Combined, Osman and Love were 3/12 from the field.

Fourth Quarter:  The Cavs took an 82-80 lead into the fourth, but Cleveland went cold. They were 7/20(35%) from the floor, including 3/10 from deep. Detroit led by as many as 11 in the quarter, which was their largest lead of the game. Cleveland took a 103-102 lead with just over a minute to go. However, the Pistons closed out the game on a 4-0 run. 

Bottom Line:

Cleveland had struggled before the break, and they struggled Thursday night. The Cavs usually handle their business against bad teams, and coming into this game; they were 19-9 against sub .500 teams. 

However, this is Cleveland’s second straight loss to the Pistons. 

While the loss is understandable, it’s not acceptable, especially with the Cavs in the middle of a tight playoff race.

As for the Eastern Conference standings, the fifth-seeded Cavs are now tied with the fourth-seeded Bucks(35-24). They are one game ahead of the sixth-seeded Celtics(35-26) and two games ahead of the seventh-seed, the Toronto Raptors(32-25).

We all know this team is young, and we know they don’t have their best scorers, but the goals and objectives of this season have now changed, and at this point, every game matters.

We know LeVert could be out 1-2 weeks, but Garland seems as if he will be in and out of the lineup the rest of the way. According to Bickerstaff, the All-Star Game did not impact Garland’s availability, but in hindsight, maybe they could have reduced his minutes. Garland played 24 minutes in that contest. However, he did earn that opportunity, so it’s understandable.

“I didn’t think we had enough players who were locked into doing what we needed to do to win the game,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “What’s disappointing is that I felt like that’s how we went into the break and now how we are coming out of it.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland will return home Saturday night to play the Wizards as they begin a three-game homestand at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

-Detroit had six players in double figures led by Hamidou Diallo 21 points; Cade Cunningham added 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Jerami Grant and Marvin Bagley III chipped in with 16 points apiece.

-Cleveland also had six players in double figures, including all five starters. Evan Mobley and Rajon Rondo had 12 points apiece. Rondo added nine assists and Mobley chipped in with eight rebounds and three blocks. 

Listen below as Markkanen reacts to the loss to the Pistons:

Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘Caris(LeVert) is a complete player’

The Cleveland Cavaliers love to have 20-plus point deficits against the Indiana Pacers. Last Sunday night, Indiana led Cleveland by as many as 20 points, and the Cavs stormed back to defeat them 98-85 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

On Friday night in Indiana, the Cavs trailed by as many as 21 points to the Pacers in the second quarter, and like they did last Sunday, Cleveland battled back and defeated the Pacers 120-113 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. 

This was the Cavs largest comeback victory of the season.

Cleveland had seven players in double figures Friday night. 

The Cavs(35-21) have now won four straight and 13 of 16, while the Pacers(19-38) have lost five straight.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

Caris LeVert, in his first game back in Indiana since the trade, got the start at point guard for the injured Darius Garland(back), and he made play after play down the stretch. He scored eight(4-4 FG) of his team-high tying 22 points in the fourth. LeVert scored those eight fourth-quarter points in crunch time. Cleveland trailed 109-105, and LeVert cut it to two with just under five minutes to go, and after a Rajon Rondo three gave the Cavs a 110-109 lead, LeVert scored six straight points for the Cavs. That’s how you close a game. LeVert also added five assists, three steals, and a block.

Make it four straight double-doubles for Jarret Allen. He had 22 points and 14 rebounds. In the last four games, he’s averaging 20.2 points and 16.7 rebounds. Unfortunately, we can’t call Allen an All-star, but we can say he’s playing like one.

Rajon Rondo was a calming presence Friday night. He made all the right plays. The four-time All-Star had a season-high 17 points(6/7 FG), 10 which came in the fourth, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals. LeVert was good, but they don’t win this game without Rondo, who gave the Cavs their first lead of the game when he hit a three to put Cleveland up 110-109 with just over four minutes left in the fourth.  

Fourth Quarter: After falling behind by 16 points late in the third, Cleveland went on a 10-2 run to get the deficit under ten as they trailed 96-88, heading into the fourth. In the fourth, the Cavs picked it up. Rondo and LeVert combined for 18 of the team’s 32 points in the final period. Anytime you make a large comeback, you need your defense and Cleveland defended. They held Indiana to 32% shooting from the floor, including 2/11 from three-point range, and created eight turnovers leading to 13 points. Cleveland outscored Indiana 32-17 in the quarter.

Second-Half Defense: Cleveland allowed a season-high 74 first-half points Friday night, but things got better in the second half. The Cavs held the Pacers to 39 points in the half. Indiana was on fire in the first half as they shot 61% from the floor, including 63%(12/19) from downtown. However, Cleveland held Indiana to 33% shooting from the field in the second half. In addition, they created 12 of Indiana’s 23 turnovers in the second half, which led to 19 points. In total, Cleveland scored 28 points off turnovers. 

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter:  The Pacers could not miss in the first quarter. They shot 71% from the field, including `10/12(83%) from three-point range. Cleveland allowed a season-high 47 points in the first. After one, Indiana led 47-28 and took a 74-63 lead at halftime.

In the last four games, all wins, Cleveland has been outscored by a combined 44 points in the first quarter, so that’s something they have to fix going forward. 

Bottom Line:

LeVert showed he could be a closer Friday night. He was able to get anywhere he wanted on the court and showed that he is a “bucket.” Also, give credit to Rondo, who also rescued this team in the second half.

Cleveland did not play its best game without their best player(Garland), but they found ways to get it done. Learning how to get the victory when you’re not at your best is what the better teams in the NBA do, and Cleveland is just that, one of the better in the league.

The Cavs(second seed) are now one game behind the Heat for the top spot in the East as they have a big one against Philadelphia Saturday night.

“Caris(LeVert) is a complete player,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “He’s not just an offensive player. He knew what we needed to get it done.”

What’s Next:

The Cavs continue their three-game road trip before the All-Star break in Philly Saturday night against the 76ers, in the first of four games against Philadelphia this season.

Best of the Rest:

Kevin Love and Cedi Osman added 14 points apiece off the bench for Cleveland. Love also recorded his 7,000th point as a member of the Cavs Friday night; he became the ninth player to accomplish the feat in team history. Dean Wade chipped in with 13 points, and Isaac Okoro had 10.

Indiana had six players in double figures led by Tyrese Haliburton’s 23 points; Chris Duarte and Oshae Brissett had 18 points apiece.

The Pacers were 18/38(47%) from three-point range.

Watch below as LeVert reacts to the win over the Pacers:


Cavs’ Love: ‘This team doesn’t have any fear’

After defeating the Hornets Friday night in Charlotte, the Cleveland Cavaliers returned home to battle the Indiana Pacers Sunday night, and for the fourth straight game, Cleveland did not have the services of point guard Darius Garland(back).

The Pacers jumped out on the Cavs and led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but Cleveland stormed back. The Cavs scored the first 19 points in the fourth and would defeat Indiana 98-85 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Cleveland(33-21) has now won two straight and 11 of their last 14. Indiana(19-36) has lost three straight.

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

The Great for the Cavs:

Fourth Quarter/Second Half Cedi Osman: Going into the fourth quarter, Cedi Osman was 1/8 from the floor, including 0/5 from deep, and had only four points. Then, Osman went off. He scored 18 points on 7/8 shooting, including 4/5 from downtown in the fourth. The last player in Cavs’ history to score 18-plus points in a quarter was LeBron James in 2018.

Osman finished the game with 22 points and he scored 13 of Cleveland’s 19 points during the Cavs’ big 19-0 run in the final period.

In addition, Osman’s 18 points in the fourth were the most points he’s scored in a quarter in his career.

Second Half Kevin Love: Kevin Love scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth. Love had six of the 19 points during the team’s 19-0 run in the fourth. The five-time All-Star finished the game 4/8 from downtown, three which came in the fourth. Love also added seven rebounds and five assists.

Second Half Rajon Rondo: The 16-year veteran was big-time Sunday night. He had 10 of his 15 points, including seven in the fourth and eight of his season-high 12 assists in the second half. He also added five rebounds. This was not the playoffs, but we may have gotten a sample of “Playoff Rondo” Sunday night. 

Cavs’ Bench: Cleveland got an enormous performance from their bench. The Cavs had 62 bench points, and the bench outscored Cleveland’s starters 62-36. 

Cleveland’s bench also outscored the Pacers’ bench by 30 points(62-32). 

-Jarrett Allen had 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Like he did Friday night against Charlotte, Allen had a double-double in the first half. He also added two blocks against the Pacers.

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland entered the fourth trailing 68-61. In the fourth, the Cavs scored the first 19 points and would take an 80-68 lead. Cleveland would have their largest lead of the game of 17 points in the fourth. All told, the Cavs shot 13/18(72%) from the floor, including 8/11(72%) from three-point range. Cleveland would outscore the Pacers 37-17 in the quarter.

Not So Great for the Cavs:

First Quarter: The Cavaliers did not get the start they wanted Sunday night. Cleveland trailed by as many as 18 points in the first quarter. The Cavs shot 4/23(17%) from the field, including 0/5 from deep. Indiana forced five Cavs’ turnovers leading to nine points. Ultimately, the Cavs would trail 27-12 after one and was down 47-36 at the break.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland showed a lot of scrap Sunday night. They looked dead in the water in the first half, but they slowly crawled their way back and got it done.

Now, the best news. According to ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland will acquire Pacers guard Caris LeVert for a 2022 second-round pick via Miami for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract, a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick, and two second-round picks.

The Cavs needed another scorer and a guy who gets buckets, and LeVert gets buckets, including scoring 42 points Friday night against the Bulls. This season, LeVert, an Ohio native, is averaging 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.

In addition, Cleveland(fourth seed) is now one game behind the Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The goal coming into the season was to be better and possibly make the playoffs, and now, the goal could be the NBA Finals.

“This team doesn’t have any fear because we trust each other,” Love said after the game. 

What’s Next:

Cleveland will have a few days off before they battle the Spurs Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

Chris Duarte led the Pacers with 22 points, Duane Washington Jr. added 17 points and Domantas Sabonis had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Evan Mobley added nine points, four rebounds, and three blocks for Cleveland. This was Mobley’s 23rd multi-block game of the season, which is the most among rookies.

-Cleveland forced 19 turnovers which led to 24 points. In addition, they held the Pacers to 37% shooting from the floor, including 26% from deep.

-Lauri Markkanen(ankle) missed his seventh straight game Sunday night.

-Cleveland had five players in double figures.

Watch below as Rondo talks big win over Pacers, LeVert, more:

Cavs’ Rondo on Garland: ‘I think he’s the best closer in the game’

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland is playing at an elite level this season. The third-year guard is averaging 19.7 points, 8.2 assists, and 3.3 rebounds a game. Garland and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic are the only players in the NBA averaging 19.0+ PPG, 7.0+ APG, and .460+ FG%.

In the last nine games, where the Cavs are 8-1, Garland is averaging 19.9 points, 11.8 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per contest, including seven double-doubles. He’s recored 16 double-doubles this season and ranks fourth in the NBA in point and assist double-doubles.

He has contributed to winning as Cleveland is 20-6 in the last 26 games Garland played. The numbers for Garland are big-time as he’s recorded 21 games this season with 20-plus points. 

It would be shocking if Garland is not playing in the All-Star game in Cleveland. 

According to Rajon Rondo, Garland has turned himself into the best closer in basketball.

“Right now, I think he’s the best closer in the game,” Rondo said about Garland after the practice Saturday. “I played with a lot of talented players. He puts the weight on his shoulders. He pretty much has to make every play for us in the fourth, which he has been doing, especially coming from the west coast trip. You see the point guard play, 21 years old(22), like I said, in those tough environments and coming out with W’s. Every guy he matched up against, so-called All-Stars you want to claim, he busted their a**.”

Garland is the biggest reason the Cavs are 30-19 and third in the Eastern Conference. At 22, the sky’s the limit for Garland. To Rondo’s point, he’s the orchestrator for the Cavs and has made big play after big play. If he continues to play at this level, maybe, just maybe, he can lead the Cavs to the top spot in the East.

Watch below as Rondo talks Garland, Evan Mobley, and more:

Cavs’ Garland: ‘The first couple plays were kinda like, `Dang, that’s Rondo on the floor’

The Cavaliers began their six-game road trip Friday in Portland against the Blazers. Fortunately for Cleveland, Portland was without their two leading scorers in Damian Lillard(Abdomen) and C.J. McCollum(Lung), and they were missing Larry Nance Jr.(Knee).

Cleveland led 57-47 at halftime and would take an 82-78 lead into the fourth. After Nassir Little’s three cut the lead to 90-87 with just over eight minutes left, the Cavs went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 10 and would defeat Portland 114-101 at Moda Center.

With the win over the Blazers, the Cavs(22-17) swept the season series and won in Portland for first time since 2013. 

Portland(14-24) has lost two straight and six of their last seven.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Blazers:

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Darius Garland continued his strong play after returning from COVID. He scored eight of his 26 points in the fourth. Garland also added six assists. This was his sixth straight 20-plus point game as he continues to make his case for being an All-Star. 

The third-year guard, who made a game-high tying five threes, had an incredible sequence late in the fourth. With the Cavs leading by eight with just over two minutes to go, he assisted on a dunk from Evan Mobley and made a great hustle play, where he made a steal and got credited with a basket after Jusuf Nurkic was called for a goaltend.

Watch below:

-Evan Mobley had another solid all-around game. He scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds, dished out three assists, added two blocks and a steal. 

-Cedi Osman is back after missing six games due to COVID, and he was huge in the fourth. Osman scored 12 of his 14 points in the final period, including four threes off the Cavs’ bench. After Portland cut the t0 101-96 with just over three minutes to go, Osman would hit a big three to push the lead to eight.

The fifth-year forward continues to give Cleveland great production off the bench this season.

-Rajon Rondo made his Cavs’ debut Friday night and recorded a season-high 11 points off the bench. In addition, the 16-year veteran added five rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes of action.

 Rondo got off to a great start and had three points, three rebounds, and three assists in five minutes of action in the first quarter.

-Jarrett Allen had his third straight double-double following his return from COVID. Allen had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and a team-best +16 rating.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

Rebounding: Portland outrebounded the Cavs 51-43 and outscored them 21-10 in second-chance points. Cleveland overcame the glass on this night, but you don’t want this to be an issue going forward.

Bottom Line:

Portland was without their two best players, so this was a game Cleveland should have won.

However, that does not take away from what we saw from Garland, who made big plays in the fourth; Osman, who caught fire in the final quarter; and Rondo, who gave this team a professional point guard off the bench.  

“It was fun; the first couple plays were kinda like, `Dang, that’s Rondo on the floor.'” Garland said.

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their six-game road trip Sunday night against the Warriors, who are expected to have Klay Thompson back, which should make for a fun night in San Francisco.

Best of the Rest:

Portland had five players in double figures led by Norman Powell’s 19 points. Nurkic added 14 points and 12 rebounds. 

-Lauri Markkanen added 15 points and five assists for the Cavaliers.

Watch Below as Rondo talks debut with Cavs:

Cavs’ Rondo believes the team can do big things

Rajon Rondo met the Cleveland media after the Cavs acquired the four-time All-Star Monday from the Lakers in a three-team deal.  

Cleveland acquired Rondo after losing backup point guard Ricky Rubio for the season with a torn ACL.

The 16-year veteran brings a lot of experience to the Cavs, and he believes that knowledge can help Cleveland.

“Obviously, number one, leadership. My experience in the game,” Rondo said Wednesday. “This is Year 16 for me. Coming in and being a voice in the locker room. Being myself, not trying to be anyone else. Trying to come in, give the guys what I have as far as knowledge, and go out there on the court and compete at a high level. 

The 35-year-old Rondo is excited to play with Darius Garland and the three bigs(Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Lauri Markkanen), and he hopes to make the game easier for those guys.

“Having DG(Garland) back is big for the organization,” Rondo said. “I’m looking forward to playing alongside of him. Also, the 7-footers. I never played with three on the court at one time, so I’ll be looking forward to throwing some lobs and making the game easy for certain guys.”

The Cavaliers begin a six-game road trip Friday in Portland against the Blazers, and according to the four-time All-Star, this trip will allow him to bond with his teammates. 

“I think this road trip will help a lot,” he said. “I think we’re on like a seven-day road trip, not the best cities in the world, so there will be a lot of time together in the room.”

The two-time NBA champion has experienced a lot of winning, and he believes the Cavs can do big things.

“I’ve always been an underdog my whole entire career, ” Rondo said. “That’s what I kind of pride myself on doing the impossible, doing the unthinkable, and this group has the talent to do it, and I’m looking forward to making some noise.”

In 936 regular-season games, Rondo owns career averages of 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 30.1 minutes per contest. However, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.7 steals in 34.0 minutes per game in the playoffs, so maybe we’ll see “Playoff Rondo” come playoff time for the Cavs.

Rondo won’t replace everything Rubio brought to the table, but maybe he can do things like efficiently run the offense and be a team leader. 

Watch below as Rondo talks joining the Cavaliers:

Cavs acquire Rondo in three-team deal

With Ricky Rubio out for the season due to a torn ACL, the Cleveland Cavaliers needed a backup point guard, and on Monday, they got their guy.

The Cavs acquired point guard Rajon Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-team trade.

In the deal, the New York Knicks receive guard Denzel Valentine from Cleveland and the draft rights to Wang Zhelin (57th pick in 2016 NBA Draft) and Brad Newley (54th pick in 2007 NBA Draft) and cash considerations from the Lakers. In addition, Los Angeles receives the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie (57th pick in 2014 NBA Draft) from New York.

The 35-year-old Rondo played in 18 games for the Lakers this season.

Over his 16-year NBA career, he has appeared in 936 games (732 starts) with the Lakers, Clippers, Hawks, Pelicans, Bulls, Kings, Mavericks, and Celtics, owning career averages of 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 30.1 minutes per contest.

A two-time NBA Champion (2008, 2020) and four-time NBA All-Star (2010-2013), Rondo has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team four times (2009-2012), including two First Team nods (2010, 2011), and was an All-NBA Third Team selection in 2012. Additionally, Rondo has appeared in 134 playoff games (105 starts), averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.7 steals in 34.0 minutes per game.

Valentine, 26, signed with the Cavaliers in the offseason and appeared in 22 games this season.

In other news, Cavaliers guard/forward Isaac Okoro left Sunday night’s game against Indiana in the second quarter with a left elbow injury and did not return. Okoro, who underwent an MRI Monday, will be out 2-3 weeks with a left elbow sprain.