Recap: Thunder 100, Cavs 83 (Or, Pain in the Paint)

The Cavs kept it close for a half before the Thunder clamped down on defense and owned the paint in the third quarter to outscore them 26-15. Cleveland finished the night shooting just 39.3% from the field, while the Thunder shot 47.7% and  controlled the paint scoring 56 points there compared to Cleveland’s 32. The Thunder were a pain in the paint.

Cedi Osman provided the Cavs with a steady hand this evening putting up 14 points, pulling down 10 boards, and dishing out six assists. Jordan Clarkson led them in scoring with 25 points and Collin Sexton had his first double-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.

Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double for the Thunder with 23 points, 19 boards, and 15 assists and Jerami Grant had a breakout game with 21 points.

This game was essentially a tale of two halves. Check out the shot charts to have a little bit of a guiding narrative to this outing.

FIRST HALF:

SECOND HALF:

The Cavs started the first quarter with some good ball movement, but between Rodney Hood dribbling randomly without purpose,  and the Thunder swatting three shots, the points were hard to come by. Cedi Osman helped out though putting up seven points including a beautiful drive to the rack off a Sexton pass.

The Thunder couldn’t score very easily either though because they turned the ball over five times. Cleveland managed to grab a lead when Jordan Clarkson checked in and got molten lava hot getting 10 points on 4-5 shooting in under five minutes. He canned a mid-ranger and then hit his next 3-pointer to complete a Cavs near end of the quarter 11 point run. And, Clarkson’s lone miss was put back in by Larry Nance Jr. to put the Cavs up 28-21 after one.

The Cavs opened up the second quarter trapping and Nance was able to deflect the first pass of the action. The defensive intensity continued as Andrew Harrison took a charge from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot a few seconds later. Unfortunately, that intensity just didn’t continue. Offensively, the Cavs needed more Clarkson. He put up a quick seven to push the lead to 11.

The Thunder started to come alive offensively after a few minutes, which was fine initially. Westbrook blasted up a 3-ball, and Cedi  responded right away with a beautiful backdoor cut where Nance hit him. Immediately after that Nance found Cedi in 3-land after Cedi faked a cut and turned back.

Then the matching on shots stopped. The Thunder went on a 17-4 run. It was largely the result of the Cavs not hitting shots, and the Thunder just getting way too much penetration. Just two of the their shots came from the mid-range. Everything else was a 3-pointer or at the rack.

Clarkson put up a 3-pointer to tie the game going into the half, 47-47.

The third quarter is where it fell apart for the Cavs. It looked bad right away when Tristan Thompson opened up taking a long goofy brick of a push shot from a roll to the rack. They settled time and time again for mid-range jumpers, when the 3s they were getting in the quarter were good looks that just weren’t falling. And, just to give more of an idea about the general suckery that went on, Andrew Harrison had a backcourt violation when he passed the ball to a trailing Nance. Even the shots the Cavs got at the rim were hopeless.

The Thunder had near flawless shot selection, and they went 2-3 on their shots that weren’t at the rim or beyond the arc. Westrbrook set the tone with his steadfast refusal to pick up his dribble. Sexton should learn from him. Russ refuses to stop his dribble when he brings the ball up the court until he’s got someone reeling back and he can make a pass or score.

The Thunder entered the fourth quarter up, 73-62. Cleveland couldn’t make any dent into the Thunder’s lead during the final frame, but Sexton put up nine and dueled with Westbrook a little bit trading mid-range jumpers.  Other than that, not much interesting happened in the later minutes.

Gripes

1. This game was a loss and the Cavs lost it in one singular way. They couldn’t stop the Thunder from penetrating. The Thunder don’t shoot 3s well and the Cavs didn’t make them take enough tonight. They went 6-27. That’s awful.

2. Instead, they just scored 56 points in the paint. That’s 24 more than Cleveland.

3. These things happen though. Westbrook is an animal and he knows how to get deep into the paint. He had 15 assists, and if you watch him, a lot of them are solely the result of him posting on a guard. He gets into these great spots because he keeps his dribble all the way into the post area. He doesn’t rely on someone tossing him an entry pass.

4. As we all know, when guys get deep on the Cavs, help will be sent and rotations will have to be made. That’s when the mistakes and easy shots happen against Cleveland.

5. Tristan Thompson was literally no help down low tonight. He was a step slow; he put up four points and grabbed only two boards. He also got swatted multiple times because of his inability to not have to gather himself and show the ball as soon as he touches it. The Cavs got blocked 11 times!

6. Rodney Hood was also a no-show tonight. Offensively, he stalled the team out far too much. He would receive a pass with the Thunder scrambled and just stand there or dribble a few steps before launching up an ill-advised shot. He had 12 points and four assists. His defense was particularly bad. He bit on nearly everything tonight.

7. Larry Drew is going to get some of my wrath here. He needs to play his guys a little less. I understand that the team is super short right now, but he should have given Harrison and Ante Zizic more time. Sexton looked gas during his half-time interview. He played nearly 38 minutes, which is too much for a rookie.

8. Drew also needs to get these guys moving more efficiently and consistently on offense. Early on tonight, the team was moving and setting a ton of off-ball stuff, but just couldn’t get free. There’s a few reasons why. The Thunder are a decent defense, but the bigger reason was just guys setting sloppy screens and not cutting with dedication. It seemed like it was guys going through the motions at times. When the offense works though, it looks good, and it’s clear that Drew does have the team moving in the right direction.

Hypes

1. Look at this play:

That’s a simple play, but this is a new development for the Cavs. This is not something we would have seen under Tyronn Lue. It features Hood curling around a Nance screen after starting at the baseline, while Cedi flirts with a TT screen before finding Hood. That simple movement made the Thunder defense have to play honest.

2. The Cavs also didn’t turn the ball over a ton tonight. They had just 12 and it only led to 13 points. The Thunder average over 20 points a night from turnovers typically.

3. Sexton struggled shooting the ball, but his dedication to rebounding is admirable and it helps the team. He had 10 boards. He also showed great perseverance when things didn’t go his way. He never gave up on plays. Look below:

4. Jordan Clarkson continues putting up Kobe esque lines. He got 25 points but it took 22 shots and he had just two assists. Nonetheless, he provided the Cavs with several sparks this game that kept things from getting too out of hand.

5. Larry Nance had another alright game with 10 boards, seven points, and two assists. His assists continue to impress.

6. The Cavs are playing Boston on Friday.

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MikeO
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MikeO
9 days 19 hours ago

GS-Toronto was a good game. Raptors let it get away from them late, and had to win in OT. They still may need another piece assuming Curry is healthy in a hypothetical Finals.

Jason
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Jason
9 days 18 hours ago

When healthy the Dubs should be overwhelming favorites. Houston is way worse. Curry, Klay, KD, Dray, Cousins is obscene. Iggy, Liv, and Jerebko give them 8 real solid guys. Looney/Cook pushes it to 10.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
9 days 1 hour ago

I am still unsure if Cousins comes back the same or how he fits. Another luxury for them I suppose.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
9 days 18 hours ago

Draymond was out tonight as well.

MikeO
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MikeO
9 days 10 hours ago

Yeah, Bray hasn’t been too great this year…Curry out is the bigger hit…

John B
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John B
9 days 10 hours ago

No doubt. But they still aren’t the same defensively without green.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
9 days 23 hours ago
JRL
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JRL
9 days 9 hours ago

Man you’re making me like Curry a little bit here. I hate you 😁

Jason
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Jason
10 days 2 hours ago

Hill & Burks will will give us enough guys 1-3.

But with Love & Dekker out, Frye non-playable, and Zizic close to that, we are hurting up front. Nwaba can o
play a little 4, but is WAY undersized. The guys we do have (TT, Nance, Zizic) all clog the lane for our playmakers. When 2 of them are in together, it gets ugly unless Sexton hits 15-20 from midrange or Hood/Cedi/Clarkson take turns going nuts.

Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 42 minutes ago

What proof do we have that Frye is non-playable?

Jason
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Jason
9 days 19 hours ago

Well, our coaches refuse to play him.

We only have 9 guys in uniform, we cannot score, and desperately need a big who could shoot. And he sits. He has played in 3 games (1 start!), 31 minutes.

If he does not play under those circumstances, when does he?

31 minutes in 20 games speaks loudly.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
10 days 1 minute ago

I think Frye should be getting 15-20 minutes per game, at least. He can drain 3s.

Jason
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Jason
9 days 19 hours ago

I tend to agree. Maybe 12ish, however. I think it would do the young guys good to play with some spacing.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
10 days 6 minutes ago

None. He can still hit threes. Defense might suffer if you replace one of Nance or TT. But the way Zizic has been playing, Frye could offer more spacing and likely the same d off the bench. Or you could insert him for one of the starting bigs to unlock much more spacing and driving lanes for Sexton and Cedi.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
10 days 3 hours ago

AGREE WITH JASON— FILL THE ROSTER SPOTS WITH BODIES —JUST TO CURTAIL SOME MINUTES FOR THE OTHER PLAYERS —–YEAH JASON FORGOT KORVERS PLAYOFF SHOOTING—MORE DUE TO DEFENSES ‘RATCHING ” IT UP / REF’S ALLOWING MORE CONTACT THAN KORVER ACTUALLY CHOKING AND “HALF CT” HARRISON HAS TO GO ………..IF NOT CUT AT LEAST TO THE END OF THE BENCH

Jason
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Jason
10 days 5 hours ago

Yep, good cap overall. Did not mean to pick too mant nits? Or is it knits?

For those who cannot get Korver’s turrible Finals shooting performance from last year out of their heads (and I get it if you can’t), Cavs.com has him at 40.4% on playoff threes for us (45.3% regular). Non finals POs must have been good cause his Finals% was awful.

ChrisKorvalier
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ChrisKorvalier
9 days 8 hours ago

I think it was Game 4 against Indiana last year when he lit it up in the 4th and basically won the game for us.

EvilGenius
Admin
10 days 5 hours ago

Nice cap DW… Cavs certainly put the “pain” in paint last night… Only real disagreement I have is more Harrison… if anything I want less… as in no longer on the team…

Jason
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Jason
10 days 5 hours ago

On moving forward, the two things we need the most are some frontcourt scoring/shooting and reliable PG play.

Hill can supply the latter. But he is oft injured & likely to get traded. Dekker (in theory) gives us the former.

We may try to wait until we are done trading to make more moves. If that is imminent, fine. If it is gonna be two months, then do sonething now. With all the injuries and 2 useless roster spots (open + JR) I just feel the guys out there deserve some kind of lifeline.

CLF
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CLF
10 days 5 hours ago

Good point about a lack of frontcourt offense. TT and Nance aren’t consistent. KLOVE is injured. Hood and JC can finish well around the rim, but don’t take enough shots in that range. Sexton struggles to finish around the rim. All that adds up to a lack of easy points.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
10 days 6 hours ago

YEAH WITH BURK BELIEVE WE HAVE MANY OPTIONS –( PROBABLY MORE THAN THEY HAD WITH KORVER )—–AND ALSO DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR KYLE / HE DESERVED IT—–ALSO SENDING MESSAGE TO OUR OWN PLAYERS / POTENTIAL FREE AGENTS THAT CAVS MGT TRYING TO BE FAIR / HONEST WITH PLAYERS ———READ AN ARTICLE —” BIG NEWS “—LEBRON IS IGNORING LUKE ‘S PLAYS / CALLING HIS OWN ……WELCOME TO THE “DRAMA ” L.A. —-JUST STARTING —-GET USED TO IT !!

NOMAD
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NOMAD
10 days 8 hours ago

THANKS JASON FOR THE INFO / KEEPING US ALL EDUCATED / WOULD SERIOSLY THINK ABOUT DROPPING HARRISON’S 2 WAY CONTRACT—-GIVE TO ANOTHER PLAYER—-WASN’T HE SIGNED TO 45 DAY CONTRACT—SO MAYBE THIS IS THEIR PLAN

Jason
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Jason
10 days 5 hours ago

The two way guys can spend a max of 45 days with the NBA club. Not sure how they count that, do off days count? Practice days? Games days? Travel days?

Once those are burned the player has to stay with Canton. At least until D league is over.

EvilGenius
Admin
10 days 5 hours ago

Jason, you are taking money out of the pockets of important people at Gatorade… ;)

Jason
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Jason
10 days 7 hours ago

I do agree with you 100% in Zizic needing PT, however. We just are so short handed now.

I am almost there on giving up on Harrison.

JoeyB
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JoeyB
10 days 6 hours ago

You can go ahead and get all the way there. Harrison is not an NBA player.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
9 days 18 hours ago

Yep he is beyond awful.

Jason
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Jason
10 days 8 hours ago
MikeO
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MikeO
10 days 1 hour ago

Nice piece. I think the Cavs did well, because I am pretty sure they will be able to move Burks later in the season for another pick. I hope Korver kick starts Utah — he will be a breath of fresh air as a shooter for them after watching Crowder bricks threes for so long.

JRL
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JRL
10 days 7 hours ago

Good article.

Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 8 hours ago

Yeah the Cavs inability to defensive rebound and Russ’s 19 boards were a thing. Steven Adams is a damned oak tree in the lane he might be the hardest guy to.move in the association. Also, Cavs had to double Russ cause he didn’t miss when he shot over Sexton.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
10 days 8 hours ago

AGHAINST THAT OKC PRESURE —NEEDED LESS DRIBBLING –MORE BODIES MOVING —IDEAL OPPORTUNITY FOR BACK DOOR CUTS / BASKETS ——I WOULD ALMOST BE OK WITH SENDING HARRISON TO CANTON—BRING UP ANOTHER BODY —BONZI/ BLOSSOMGAME / SCOOTCHIE

Jason
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Jason
10 days 8 hours ago

We cannot ‘bring those guys up’. Only 2 way players (Harrison, Preston) and guys on the roster (Zizic) can be assigned to Canton & then yo-yo’d back to the Cavs.

We would need to sign Scoitchie/Colson/Blossomgate to a 2 way deal (& drop Harrison) or a full NBA contract (we do have a spot open).

JRL
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JRL
10 days 8 hours ago

Thank you for the info Jason. I don’t know/care one bit for the business/contract side of things, so it’s good to be reminded.

JRL
Guest
JRL
10 days 8 hours ago

Yes. Harrison and Zz to Canton would be the right move.

Hill and Nwaba can’t get back quickly enough. Sexton was winded as if he had ran the San Fermin Bull Run going into halftime. He was completely gassed which showed in the 3rd quarter.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
10 days 9 hours ago

WATCHED THE REPLAY– (FELL ASLEEP MID WAY 3RD QTR–GUESS I DIDN’T MISS MUCH )–TIRED LEGS / SHORT BENCH —-AND A BEAST OF A DEFENSIVE TEAM / PUSHED THE CAVS OFFENSE OUT / NEVER ALLOWED TO GET INTO EASY OFFENSIVE SET / OFFENSIVE RHYTM —-ACTUALLY ENJOYED WATCHING OKC GET AFTER IT ——“ZZ” NEEDS REGULAR MIN’S EVERY GAME —TO RESTORE HIS CONFIDENCE –GET INTO A GAME FLOW / GET GAME EXPERIENCE –IF HE STRUGGLES –SO BE IT / THOUGHT THIS WAS A REBUILDING YEAR—IS WHAT YOU WILL GET / AND YES MAYBE A FEW GAMES DOWN IN CANTON / LET HIM ‘BEAST ‘ IT UP WOULD HELP—WE MISS NWABA —HOPING BURK WILL TAKE AWAY MINUTES FRIM HARRISON –HE STUNK LAST NIGHT / BELIEVE SCOOTCHIE / CANTON COULD PERFORM JUST AS GOOD ——–AGAIN GOOD LUCK AND MANY THANKS TO KYLE —–YOU WILL BE MISSED !!

JRL
Guest
JRL
10 days 9 hours ago

I said it on the live thread, Harrison is playing himself out of the rotation. One thing is to miss shots, another is to make insanely stupid mistakes which leads to buckets on the other end, repeatedly.

We need Nwaba badly.

JRL
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JRL
10 days 10 hours ago

Tired legs miss plenty shots.

Jason
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Jason
10 days 10 hours ago

Fedor’s piece on the Korver trade has a Cavs source saying we felt Fultz was not enough return for Korver. That is interesting.

And a point for Nate on his Fultz assessment.

Nate Smith
Admin
10 days 8 hours ago

Could still flip burks for Fultz if they want. Hes actually a better fit for what they want to do with thwir cap than Korver. Also guess who’s leading the nba in rpm for rookies?

Mikal Bridges. That Philly draft day trade will go down as the dumbest of 2018.

Jason
Guest
Jason
10 days 10 hours ago

Yep. Our bigs gotten eaten alive & provided zero offense. Nance was OK but TT and Ziziz were awful.

OKC has the beat record in the association over the last 15 games and their D is a whole lot better than decent.

Still, we were tied at half with six functional players suited up (I am not counting Zizic, Frye, & Harrison). Odd time to gripe about PT. Anyone who looked at that game and thought: “Harrison should have played more.” That is stunning.

Losing Korver hurts us short term. He gave us 22 on 6-9 from deep two games ago and WAS the only offensive player we had with some gravity. We have nothing teams fear, now.

Our best O is Sexton/Hood/Clarkson mid-range stuff, and those are shots other teams can live with us taking.

Jason
Guest
Jason
10 days 10 hours ago

Best record.

Leo
Guest
Leo
10 days 11 hours ago

Cavs bigs got eaten alive tonite and they went ice cold in 3rd quarter which blew the game wide open. I know Hill is hurt and may be coming back, but is there really no one better than Harrison…the dude had two over and back calls in a row which should lead to automatic firing and release of any player. Maybe with Burks coming over from Utah that will allow Cavs a better option.

Cavs also have zero go to guys other than ‘And 1 mix tape’ Clarkson who isn’t reliable in that position. Cedi is a year away; Hood is too scared as evidenced by tonight and Sexton is about a year or two away.

Korver trade was nice for Cavs, he wasn’t doing much for the team and wanted out during a rebuild. Hopefully Cavs can utilize future picks wisely.

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