Recap: Chicago 99, Cleveland 98 (Or, At Least It’s Fun Again)

Leading up to the season most of us were pretty optimistic. With several returning players and a promising new rookie, the Cavs featured some things to be excited about. Unfortunately, pretty quickly it became apparent that the coaching staff, and Ty Lue in particular, had largely sat on their hands all summer long and failed to implement any sort of system. Then Lue got fired, the Cavs hired Larry Drew, and the games suddenly got a bit more interesting to watch after the early season beat downs.

Despite continued losses, at least the Cavs are playing a brand of basketball that can be watched, and this one was no exception. The game came down to the wire and though Cleveland lost 99-98, the game was close nearly the whole way and was engaging until the last second. The Cavd were in a position to win it late and gave rookie Collin Sexton a chance to finish it off. It didn’t work out, but that’s okay. With our adjusted expectations of the season, that’s all any of us can hope for. Let’s get into it.

The first quarter featured a strange starting lineup of Collin Sexton, Rodney Hood, JR Smith, Larry Nance Jr., and Tristan Thompson. The lineup didn’t really work as the Bulls were able to get things going pretty quickly inside the paint. Fourteen of their first twenty one points came right inside the paint and the Cavs couldn’t do a thing to stop them. At points, it appeared like Chicago could almost literally walk the ball into the paint for an open basket. Despite this, there were some things to like out of the few points the Cavaliers scored, especially from the rookie point guard. Sexton had a nice dump-off to TT that led to a bucket after driving ALL THE WAY to the hoop. Yeah, that’s right, it appears that the number of times Sexton is taking it completely to the rim instead of lifting off from the free throw line appear to be decreasing ever so slightly. That’s a good sign. Collin also managed to hit a pull up three off the dribble, a rarity for him. If he’s going to be more dynamic on the offensive end and avoid looking like a younger version of Derrick Rose, he’ll need to continue to work on that three point shot.

Unfortunately, the youngster wasn’t enough to keep it close in the first quarter as the Bulls continued their waltz to the paint. The Bulls had 20 points in the paint in the first quarter and Cleveland didn’t really have an answer for it. The quarter ended heavily in Chicago’s favor, as they led 37-23.

The second quarter went a bit better for Cleveland, partly because of some increased activity on the defensive end for Cleveland and party because the Bulls are also bad and started missing a bunch of shots. Early on in the quarter the Cavs committed some dumb turnovers which led to easy transition buckets for the Bulls. But with the help of a pair of three pointers each for Korver and Clarkson, combined with a sudden ability to finish inside for Cleveland, the Cavs closed the gap. They even managed a three point lead with a minute to go. After an impressive baseline drive by LaVine and a foul in transition leading to a made free throw, the Cas settle for a tie, 53-53 at the half.

The third quarter was much more even and a bit uglier as well. The Cavaliers made one triple i the quarter (another Collin Sexton pull up off the dribble). Everything else was cobbled together from a few put backs at the rim, some long twos, and a few made free throws. Fortunately, the defensive activity continued for Cleveland and they were able to at least irritate Chicago enough to cause some missed shots. Thompson returned to form a bit as he gobbled up a few offensive rebounds. Nance had a hard time finding his shot but was able to abuse the Bulls on the boards as he finished the game with only 2 points, but 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. Practices must be a rebounding frenzy between Nance and Thompson and that’s a good thing. After a Zizic block and an Andrew Harrison turnover, the quarter ended with the Bulls up 79-77.

The final frame was one of the lower scoring quarters I’ve watched in this early NBA season. The count for the fourth quarter was only 21-20 in favor of Cleveland. Rodney Hood, of all people, managed to really get it going in the fourth, going 4-8 from the field. He would finish the night with 20 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. With about 1:30 left on the clock, Hood made a tough jumper for two with a hand in his face. He followed up the tough shot with a very rare thumper in traffic to bring Cleveland within one. Really, how often do you see this out of Rodney “T-Rex Arms” Hood? Not often, I’ll tell ya. Check him out below as he puts rookie Wendell Carter Jr. in a poster.

With under a minute to go in the game, Thompson forced LaVine into a long two which he missed. Cleveland brought the ball up the court with 52 seconds on the clock. Hood took and missed another long two. But with just 15 seconds on the clock the Bulls had a miscommunication and a turnover which gave the Cavaliers an opening. After a timeout, they put the ball in rookie Collin Sexton’s hands and let him go to work. Sexton got into the paint fairly easily and got all the way to the restricted area under the hoop before pulling up for what would be an open look. The shot fell short, Secon got his own rebound, and but was blocked by Wendell Carter. Ultimately, so were the Cavs, but the effort was there. The game ended at 99-98, Chicago.

The finish to this one was quite entertaining, if disappointing. Cleveland is going to need to put the ball in Sexton’s hands in high pressure situations if they are going to want him to be able to produce in those situations. The fact that he missed the shot isn’t really material in any way. The important thing is that he didn’t shy away and went right at the Bulls. Sure, he probably should have been able to finish that, but they were there in the end and that’s all that I want to see as the season goes on. After all, one more loss gets Cleveland one more loss closer to a Duke phenom. This Bulls team isn’t any good either and were missing several key rotational pieces in Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Bobby Portis. But let’s not forget the Cavaliers were missing even more in Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, and George Hill.

Some Notes:

1) I love the way Tristan Thompson is playing right now. He finished the night with 22 points, 12 rebounds (7 of the offensive variety), 2 steals, and an assist. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is a future for him on this team anymore but boy is he increasing his trade value. Someone will want to bite on all of those offensive rebounds. Especially with the number of shots some teams are getting up these days. Hopefully he’s not as untradeable as all of us fear.

2) Collin Sexton still has a long, long way to go. But I don’t care how many times Ben Werth tells me Sexton won’t amount to much, I’m pretty much belligerently ignoring it. Yes, I recognize his faults, but I put faith in all we’ve heard about Sexton being a learner. I’m already seeing some improvements. He’s been driving further into the paint a bit more. His two pull up threes were good to see tonight. The rookie finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and only one turnover. I’d like to see some more distribution from him but that’s not a bad stat line for the youngster.

3) JR Smith isn’t really bringing anything to the table anymore. Nwaba doesn’t have Smith’s shooting stroke, but right now, Smith doesn’t have it often either. I’d rather the Cavsv get Nwaba’s defensive production. Their minute distribution should be switched.

Overall, it was certainly not the worst loss of this young season. The Cavs face off next against the Hornets on Tuesday. Hopefully they can avoid the same fate as their last meeting. As always, Go Cavs!

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scotch
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scotch
2 months 11 days ago

I LOVE that boston is having trouble figuring out how to play their actual stars with Kyrie. It’s amazing how prescient the comments our podcast hero’s comments have been. President business does great with a team of not that talented but willing to commit try=hards….but he seemingly has trouble with actual stars. Although the Celtics and 76rs have both started slow. perhaps the Cavs can get some assets out of their struggles…

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 10 days ago

And they have the most assets available. Unless Ainge offers a first round pick, I would only work with the Sixers here.

John B
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John B
2 months 10 days ago

76ers are a prime candidate for Korver. I think they really really with need more shooting and may be desperate for it come the trade deadline. I want a first, not Fultz, though. Think Fultz will just never be the same and therefore has busted himself.

MikeO
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MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

Tim Macmahon reporting that Rockets players and coaches believe Melo has played his last game for the Rockets. So who’s he going to play for? The Lakers? God, I hope so.

CLF
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CLF
2 months 11 days ago

LOL @ the Celtics not being able to beat Portland who turned it over 20 times…. looks like Kyrie and dirty Al Horford shot them out of the game LMAO

Simmo
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Simmo
2 months 11 days ago

It was enjoyable. Horford sucked. Kyrie played pretty well actually, hit some huge shots but down the stretch when he drove inside several times and looked determined to score, the blazers did a great job of shutting him down – not easily done since he was moving pretty well. Tatum far and away the best player on court.

CLF
Guest
CLF
2 months 11 days ago

Thanks for the info Simmo!!! Yeah, great shooters keep shooting, and they find a way to make them when they need them.

For the Celtics’ sake, they better hope Kyrie and Tatum find a way to play off of each other and share the closing duties.

CLF
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CLF
2 months 11 days ago

Thanks for the updates MikeO…. Trae Young’s gonna be a stud. Ridiculously good game for him as a 19 year old rookie, against Lonzo Ball, on the road against a LeBron led team.

CLF
Guest
CLF
2 months 11 days ago
MikeO
Guest
MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

Yeah, he has terrible turnovers at times, but he’s built for today’s NBA. His drive for the attempted game winner was amazing…juked the defender (Hart, maybe? Not positive who was on him) out of his shoes for an open drive to the hoop. Could have easily made it. He’s going to be fun.

And before ‘anonymous’ comes in here with his tired ‘Cavs should have drafted him’, I’m sure they would have. They weren’t in the position to. Get that through your thick skull, ‘anon’.

CLF
Guest
CLF
2 months 11 days ago

Totally agree Mike… he’s built to take advantage of today’s NBA, and the keys to his game are his ability to hit long distance shots and his excellent passing vision.

Yeah, it’s ridiculous to think the Cavs had any shot at him in hindsight… he’s probably a top 3 player from this draft and he was never falling past 5. Also, “anon” is a freaking jerk for trolling about him… makes having any conversations about him harder to have.

MikeO
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MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

Young gets blocked on a nice drive in the lane by Chandler at the buzzer. Even as old as he is, Chandler is going to be a useful player for them, unfortunately. Anything is better than a defensize zero like Kuzma playing backup center.

MikeO
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MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

Bazemore can have big games, but he’ll always be an immature moron. You’re paid like a pro, act like one.

MikeO
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MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

These Chandler tip out rebounds are going to get old fast. Real fast.

MikeO
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MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

3’18” left, Hawks up by three with the ball…Trae Young having a good 4th, espdcially passing…

MikeO
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MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

Lakers down by one late-ish in 4th, after they were up 15+ on Hawks…gotta say I like it…

Simmo
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Simmo
2 months 11 days ago

This Boston team can close a 10-15pt lead in a heartbeat. They aren’t playing full games yet, but they seem turn up when it matters.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
2 months 11 days ago

They will be up there with the bucks, Raptors, and Philly. Turning out to be a very interesting season in the east. There are four great teams in the east, or there will be by season’s end. Then there is everyone else.

Think the Bucks may come out of it though. Or the raptors. Philly could, but I think they need way more shooting. Should be an entertaining playoffs. I would say the top two in the east are better than everyone but GS. Celtics have the potential to be on the bucks raptors level and so do the sixers. Finally some talent heading east again with Kawhi and Butler in the east.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

MELO’S TIME WITH ROCKETS LOOKS LIKE IT IS ENDING SOON—–WHICH TEAM (S ) MIGHT EXPRESS INTEREST —DO YOU THINK LA-BRON LOBBIES TO GET HIM TO L.A. ?

JOHN B
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JOHN B
2 months 11 days ago

Not if he wants to win this year.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

THANKS JOHN—-“THE ZION–LION “—-WHAT IS HE LIKE SHOOTING 80% FROM THE FIELD SO FAR ——6 BLOCKS IS IMPRESSIVE AT ANY LEVEL !!—–” TYRIN —DYIN –FOR THE ZION —NOT LYIN “——HE KEEPS THIS UP HIS SHOE CONTRACT WHEN HE GETS DRAFTED WILL SURPASS LA-BRON’S

JOHN B
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JOHN B
2 months 11 days ago

Some of those blocks today were utterly ridiculous. And yeah something like 80% from the field. Who needs a jump shot when no one is big enough to bother you in the paint or knock you off your lane to the hoop.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
2 months 11 days ago

Duke watch. Beat Army 94-72.

Barrett had 23 points on 9-19 from the field (3-9 from three) with 6 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 5 turnovers.

Zion had 27 points on 11-14 from the field (0-1 from three), with 16 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 6 freaking blocks, and 2 turnovers.

Reddish had 25 points on 9-21 from the field (7-13 from three), with 7 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers.

Nate Smith
Admin
2 months 11 days ago

TT weirdly becoming a not awful finisher with his ambidextrous hook. Sexton needed to finish that last shot left, and I thought Drew made a mistake callung a timeout at the end with sexton barelling down the court. Would’ve taken my chances there over a set d, plus the chance to foul and get the ball back.

CLF
Guest
CLF
2 months 11 days ago

Didn’t see the play, but great observation because Drew is a control freak with how he coaches the game. It was apparent from the Nance interview on Drew.

Cedi Mind Tricks
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Cedi Mind Tricks
2 months 11 days ago

Agree, Sexton was at full speed 1 on 1

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

JIMMER FREDETTE SCORED 75 PTS / CHINA LAST NIGHT —-MOVE OVER STEPHON MARBERRY ——WHICH NBA TEAM IS GOING TO TAKE A CHANCE AT THE JIMMER AGAIN—-DOUBT IF JIMMER WOULD EVEN COME BACK—HE IS A ” BASKETBALL GOD ‘ OVER THERE

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 11 days ago

If I’m him, other than because it’s a completely different country/culture, I would ride that wave until I could no longer shoot a basketball.

Good for him.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

AT LEAST IT IS FUN AGAIN—–BEING A BROWNS FAN ( AND CAVS )——GO BROWNS!—MAYBE NOW COLIN HERD WILL STFU ABOUT DARNOLD BEING BETTER THAN MAYFIELD

Chris K
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Chris K
2 months 11 days ago

Darnold a DNP-COACH’S DECISION today?!

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 11 days ago

Go Browns!

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

“BAKER-MANIA “—–HELL OF A 1ST HALF—-!!

CLF
Guest
CLF
2 months 11 days ago

Sexton was great last night. Should’ve made that GW bunny, but I partially blame Drew for icing him for too long after a blazing hot 3rd quarter… Sexton definitely lost some rhythm in the 4th.

TT was great compared to Nance…. Nance needs to work on his hands, his finishes, and his shot. He just didn’t do anything on offense even though he was set up nicely a few times.

Clarkson and Korver kept the Cavs in the game in the 2nd quarter. Clarkson and Harrison were bad subbing in for Hood and Sexton in the 3rd/4th quarter…. they gave up the lead.

Nwaba can’t shoot, but he’s a defensive playmaker out there. He needs to lock himself in a gym and practice catch and shoot 3s if he wants to be an NBA player.

Hood was great as well…. he fought threw some early struggles and came on strong late. Good to see him stay with it.

Ben Werth
Editor
2 months 11 days ago

It was the perfect game almost. TT plays up his trade value, Sexton makes me cringe 20% less than normal, and the Cavs still got the L!!! Tank mode perfection.

Almost, JR was a non factor and Clarkson continued to drive me up a literal wall. Yes,literal. I frequently do handstand pushups against a wall to avoid watching too many Clarkson possessions.

Ignore me or not on Sexton. We still have to watch the young man regardless. I am just trying to absurd expectations.

Though it is always interesting to see what kind of players people enjoy watching. My faves growing up were guys that can’t really hang in the league anymore. Hard nose, old school power forwards. My man Tyrone Hill, for example. Man I miss watching a team collectively box out. Sigh.

Chris K
Guest
Chris K
2 months 11 days ago

Nice T-time name drop… I believe he was a Cavs’ All-Star representative one year…

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

SOMEWHAT AGREE NICK—–BUT THE WAY T.T. IS PLAYING —-STOCK IS RISING—-TEAM (S) ARE WILLING TO GIVE A NICE DEAL / ASSETS—THEN WE HAVE TO PULL THE DEAL—–AS OF RIGHT NOW —-THE WAY T.T. IS PLAYING —CAVS HAVE THE LEVERAGE –‘IN THE DRIVERS SEAT “— BE PATIENT BUT KEEP THE “ANTENNAE’S ” UP

NickNevers
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NickNevers
2 months 11 days ago

Is there really a reason to get rid of TT? If the right deal comes along then sure, but maybe the dude could just be a Cavs lifer and that’s not a bad thing.

Chris K
Guest
Chris K
2 months 11 days ago

If we traded him, we also would be down to two playable power forwards and one center….

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 11 days ago

I was happy to see Sexton improve in this game. Gave me a little hope for his future.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
2 months 11 days ago

JMAY GOOD RECAP—–YES TO ALL YOUR POINTS —T.T. ( IF PLAY CONTIN UES HIS STOCK SHOULD / WILL RISE )—SEXTON -( EVEN WHEN HILL GETS HEALTHY– SEXTON HAS TO BE THE STARTER —-BELIEVE IT IS GOOD FOR HIM BUT ALSO GOOD FOR CLARKSON )—-NWABA –( WE ALL HAVE A “SPOT ‘ FOR SWISH )—BUT IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON FROM HIM —( MAYBE THE ROCKETS CUT TIES WITH MELO AND WANT SWISH –WHO KNOWS )—–NWABA NEEDS MINUTES SO HE CAN SHOW WHAT HIS TRUE VALUE IS GOING FORWARD —–GO CAVS —CONTINUE TO GROW —CONTINUE TO COMPETE !!!—–” BUYIN FOR ZION —-DYIN —TRYIN “

Jason
Guest
Jason
2 months 11 days ago

Good effort. Nice game from TT. Good first half from Clarkson & 3 quarters from Sexton.

Did not like the 1 v 1 stuff at the end.

Also, someone teach these dudes to use the freaking backboard on drives. Sexton, Hood, and Clarkson all guilty multiple times.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
2 months 11 days ago

Didn’t see much of this one, but not a bad effort. So many players out it will be tough for Cavs to beat anyone until they are healthier.

Nuts as it sounds, but TT has probably been their best player this year. When TT is probably your best player you’re on the fast track for Zion.

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