Cleveland Cavaliers: Games 17-25 Review

The Cavaliers now have a record of 6-19, winning just one of their last nine. Through 25 games, the Cavaliers have been a mess.

Here is a quick look at each game so far.

Game 17: Nets 108, Cavaliers 106

Points: Clarkson 23
Rebounds: Nance 13
Assists: Porter 7
Steals: Porter 2
Blocks: Thompson 2
3PM: Clarkson 5
MVP: Jordan Clarkson (2)

Despite an explosive fourth quarter from Jordan Clarkson, the Cavaliers fell late. Clarkson had 16 points in the fourth including going 4-for-4 from the three-point line. The Cavaliers had two shots to take the lead in the final seconds, but Clarkson and Collin Sexton had shots rim out before Spencer Dinwiddie launched a dagger into the hearts of Cavs fans everywhere. The Cavs went on a nine-to-zero run in the final two minutes, but they could not close out the game.

Game 18: Magic 116, Cavaliers 104

Points: Sexton 20
Rebounds: Thompson 15
Assists: Sexton 6
Steals: Nance 2
Blocks: None
3PM: Osman/Garland/Love/Nance 2
MVP: Collin Sexton (3)

The Cavaliers played a messy brand of basketball, turning the ball over an absurd 25 times. Darius Garland accounted for eight of the turnovers while Sexton had five more despite the all-around solid game from the Alabama product. Cedi Osman and Jordan Clarkson shot 27 percent from the field and hit on just 25 percent of their threes, leading to worthless possessions. As a team, the Cavs shot reasonably well, but the Magic were able to shoot better as a team.

Game 19: Bucks 119, Cavaliers 110

Points: Garland 21
Rebounds: Thompson 13
Assists: Love 7
Steals: Sexton 3
Blocks: Nance 1
3PM: Garland 5
MVP: Darius Garland (2)

Harkening back to the first few reviews, the Cavaliers came out flat in the first half, being torched to the tune of 67-47. Despite an electric third quarter that cut the lead in half, the Cavaliers could not trim the lead any further. All things considered, the Cavs kept Giannis Antetokounmpo in check, but the Greek Freak still went off for 33 points and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers were hyper-efficient from three-point land as they hit 17 of 34 attempts. It was promising to see how well the Cavaliers played for a half against one of the best teams in the NBA.

Game 20: Pistons 127, Cavaliers 94

Points: Sexton 22
Rebounds: Thompson 14
Assists: Nance 5
Steals: Sexton/Knight 2
Blocks: Nance 2
3PM: Love/Porter/Clarkson
MVP: Collin Sexton (4)

The Cavaliers were outscored in all four quarters as the Pistons had six players score at least 12 points including a high-water mark of 24 points from Blake Griffin disguised as Steph Curry. The Pistons were hitting 54 percent of their field goals and an insane 51 percent of their threes as the Cavs slumped to just 30 percent from three. Sexton had an efficient 22 points, but it was not enough to keep the game close.

Game 21: Magic 93, Cavaliers 87

Points: Sexton 19
Rebounds: Nance 11
Assists: Thompson 5
Steals: Osman 4
Blocks: Henson 3
3PM: Osman 3
MVP: Collin Sexton (5)

Sexton played well through three quarters, but he hit a wall in the fourth quarter, hitting just one of five shots in the final frame. If any of his shots had fallen, the Cavaliers could have slipped away with a win. Kevin Love was inactive for the game, and trade rumors began to swirl around the former All-Star. If Love had played, the Cavaliers would likely have been able to pull out the win, but they lacked the firepower to win in the fourth quarter.

Game 22: 76ers 141, Cavaliers 94

Points: Garland 17
Rebounds: Love 7
Assists: Thompson/Porter 4
Steals: Sexton/Porter/Zizic/Dellavedova 1
Blocks: None
3PM: Garland 3
MVP: No one deserves MVP when you lose by 47.

That was disgusting. The Cavs were down 37 after just 24 minutes as Ben Simmons and Mike Scott outscored the Cavaliers 42-36 in the first half. Even without Joel Embiid, the Sixers massacred the Cavs for 48 minutes. Ben Simmons even hit a three. Burn the tape, Coach Beilein.

Game 23: Celtics 110, Cavaliers 88

Points: Clarkson 19
Rebounds: Thompson 11
Assists: Dellavedova 4
Steals: Porter 3
Blocks: Porter/Zizic 1
3PM: Clarkson 3
MVP: Jordan Clarkson (3)

The Cavaliers were never close to knocking off the Celtics. The Celtics scored the first basket of the game and never looked back, leading for all but the first 36 seconds of action. The Celtics were up by as many as 29 in the third quarter, but the Cavs had a 19-2 spurt to trim the lead to 12 until Kemba Walker buried three threes in 90 seconds to increase the lead from 13 to 20 in the last few minutes of the game.

Game 24: Rockets 116, Cavaliers 110

Points: Porter 24
Rebounds: Love 11
Assists: Osman 7
Steals: Porter 3
Blocks: Thompson/Love/Osman/Clarkson 1
3PM: Porter 6
MVP: Kevin Porter (2)

The Cavaliers lost again, their eighth in a row, but Kevin Porter had an outstanding stretch in the fourth quarter, nearly matching James Harden shot-for-shot. Harden had 20 in the quarter while Porter dropped 16 of his own. The future is bright for the 19-year-old. Sadly, the Cavaliers were owned by James Harden as he had a mammoth 55 points, including 10 threes. On the bright side, the Cavaliers likely would have won the game if Harden did not explode for 55.

Game 25: Cavaliers 117, Spurs 109 (F/OT)

Points: Love 30
Rebounds: Love 17
Assists: Garland 5
Steals: Osman/Sexton/Clarkson/Porter/Dellavedova/Henson 1
Blocks: Osman/Thompson/Henson 1
3PM: Love/Clarkson 4
MVP: Kevin Love (5)

In a miracle, the Cavaliers actually won a game. It felt like they never would. All jokes aside, the Cavaliers had a good overtime frame as they kept six of seven Spurs scoreless in the period. The Cavaliers did blow a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter, but Kevin Love hit a game-tying three in the final seconds to force overtime. Love is likely nearing the end of his run with the Cavaliers, so it was nice for him to hit one last clutch shot before he becomes a member of a new squad.

The Good:

The Cavaliers are the NBA’s team for avoiding fouls. It feels counterintuitive for such a young team to avoid fouls as they do, but it is helpful because the Cavs do not allow many free points at the free-throw line. That is about the only thing the Cavs do well.

The Bad:

The Cavaliers have the double whammy of blocking the least shots in the NBA while having the most shots blocked by opponents. Blocks are not the only defensive metric, but the Cavaliers have struggled with getting off clean shots.

The Rooks:

As Dylan Windler continues to sit out due to injury, Kevin Porter and Darius Garland have had their moments of being good players, but it has been fairly messy from both players. Porter had his showcase performance in a duel with James Harden, so the future seems to be bright for the former USC Trojan. Garland has had a handful of solid performances, but he has also had a couple of terrible performances.

Collin Sexton:

Sexton has morphed into more of a shooting guard in Year 2 as about 80 percent of his minutes have come as the two-guard. Sexton has started to take higher percentage shots and make more of them. Sexton has improved at the rim, within 10 feet, and within 16 feet, and a larger share of his shots have come from those ranges. Sexton has significantly cut his number of long twos down from 21 percent to just six percent. While the Cavs will hope that Sexton returns to his rookie form from the three-point line, his shot selection has been more promising and more conducive to scoring points.

Next 5 Games:

The Cavaliers travel to Milwaukee and Toronto before settling back home for a three-game stretch against the Hornets, Grizzlies, and Hawks.

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