Not A Recap: Celtics 128, Cavs 95 (or, Nephewed)

Uncle Drew has been in Collin Sexton’s shoes. Kyrie Irving was once a promising rookie getting nightly lessons from the NBA’s best point guards. He understands being the hope of a re-building franchise in the aftermath of a LeBron James departure. He struggled through a 21 win inaugural season (we’ll see if Sexton and this iteration of the Cavs get anywhere close to that), while shouldering the dreams and expectations of a fanbase that’s more used to winning than losing.

But now, the shoes are on the other feet. The roles are reversed, and Irving got to take out all of the vengeance he’s been saving up (probably mostly for the Cavs ownership and front office) in a domination of his former team, while handing the Cavaliers their most lopsided loss of the season. He didn’t really get the satisfaction last season (most likely), as the Cavs won the season series with wins in the opener that featured Gordon Hayward’s gruesome ankle injury, and a blowout on Paul Pierce night. In Boston’s lone regular season victory, Irving got outplayed by his back up, Terry Rozier. Then KI missed the entire post season and another chance to show up his old team in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It all came full circle tonight, though, as Uncle Drew was in full effect… teaching young bloods not to reach, and showing Young Bull how it’s done. Irving played about as perfect a 27 minutes as a scoring point guard can. He torched the twine at an 11 for 15 clip, including 5-7 from deep (some that were way back there) for 29 points, chipping in four rebounds and four assists for good measure. About the only blemish on a night he spent reminding Cavs fans of what once was, were the two uncharacteristic missed free throws out of four.

The Celtics didn’t really need much more than Irving’s offensive onslaught to handle the undermanned and overmatched Cavs, though they got nearly 100 points from the rest of their squad… even without the presence of Al Horford and Jaylen Brown. Six other guys in green reached double digits, while the guys in wine and gold struggled to stop them from doing so. The Cavs also had a second straight miserable shooting night, knocking down just 39% of their attempts.

Though the Cavaliers kept things close and interesting for the better part of the first two quarters (they actually tied the score at 47 with four minutes to go in the first half), the Celtics pulled away with a 15-5 run going into halftime. The bullying continued in the third, with Boston dropping a 39-20 quarter on the young Cavs, and effectively ending the competitive section of the evening. Like the Thunder in the previous game, the Celtics dominated the paint (54-32), won the rebounding battle (55-45), dished out 30 dimes (to 18 for the Cavs), outraced the Cavs on fast breaks (18-7), and shot the lights out from the field (53%) and from beyond the arc (55%).

Aside from delaying the almost inevitable blowout for most of the first half, there weren’t a ton of bright spots for Cleveland. One modest one, though, was the continued tenacity of Sexton. The kid who wears Irving’s old number, and his current signature shoes, did what he could to fight through screens and put a body on his predecessor. Yet, that wasn’t going to be close to enough to slow down Uncle Drew on this night. It also didn’t help his cause that he missed a lot of his own initial shots on the other end. Sexton still finished with 15 points, and matched Irving’s four rebounds and four dimes… yet he was only 6-18 in getting there. Though Kyrie hasn’t had much nice to say about Cleveland since he left, he did reserve some pretty positive comments for the Young Bull…

“I’ve been a fan of his since he was in high school. I watch all these young guys that come into the league, drafted high. Obviously I’ve been doing a little studying as well and just waiting for that moment to play against a young guy like that. He’s very talented.”

It was a fairly brutal night for the rest of the Cavalier shooters, however. Cedi Osman in particular had a very forgettable night with just seven points on 2-8 shooting, 1-6 from downtown. Somehow the Turk swingman wound up with a -39 for the game. Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson weren’t much better, despite both reaching double digits. While Hood made half of his shots… he only took six of them. And, though Clarkson led the team with 16 points, it took him 14 shots to do it (though he did make 3-5 from deep).

Tristan Thompson did notch yet another double double with 13 points and 12 boards, yet he struggled to stop any of the Celtics from scoring in the paint. He was also roundly booed for his “the Eastern Conference goes through Cleveland” troll of Boston in the pre-season. In other positive news, newly acquired guard Alec Burks played his first game in a Cavs uniform, and contributed off the bench with 15 points in 26 minutes of action. Burks was 0-4 from three, but did get to the line to make 7-8, and showed a well-rounded game with six boards, four assists and two steals.

All in all, a pretty forgettable 33 point loss at the TD Garden for the Cavaliers, who now must turn around and face a formidable Toronto Raptors team on the second night of a back-to-back. That’s the new reality for this Cavs team, though. With no King or Uncle to lead them, they’re simply a collection of pawns and nephews… learning lessons and finding their way.

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buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
8 days 1 hour ago

based on a cursory review of burks output over the last year or so.. when he gets to play 20m or more per game, he seems to be averaging about 15pts (possibly a bit more) per game.. last night was right on target.. i like the trade..

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
8 days 1 hour ago

which is about 2x his “average” 8.8 ppg.. play him.. this could be a good fit for all involved

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
8 days 1 hour ago

uncle buck still long the cavs.. as i stated when i took the cav-not short sale off, this will be ugly at times (like last night), and certain of the young bloods will stink it up from time to time, but they still have an internal model of what it takes to win, and what winning feels like, and they know that they are able to win games.. the process is the process.. they have some talent, and if the work ethic is substantial, they will improve.. nwaba can develop an outside shot, i like the addition of burks (and the 2 seconds), maybe LNJ can develop his outside game a bit, TT surprising all of us, clarkson can improve his assist ratio.. so, in summary, even these losses are watchable, unlike before, when the loser’s black hole was sucking them into the event horizon.. if they can land a dukie stud next year.. might be real fun again..

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
8 days 1 hour ago

and perhaps hood can grow some cajones..

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
8 days 1 hour ago

and zizic needs more playing time.. i like this dude

Jason
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Jason
8 days 4 hours ago

2 staight TDs for Texas. Last PAT blocked, however. Tied at 27.

Jason
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Jason
8 days 5 hours ago

OU losing looking increasingly less likely after a good start from Texas.

CLF
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CLF
8 days 6 hours ago

Nice comment from Kyrie about Sexton…. that’s pretty cool. Way to power thru the recap EG…. that 2nd half was awful.

Jason
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Jason
8 days 5 hours ago

Yep. That Lakers, Philly, Houston run was fun. But then Nwaba got hurt & Korver dealt. We fought hard for a half in OKC & Boston but just out of gas & overmatched.

Markannen back tonight for Chicago. Hooefully the Bulls start winning some games soon.

Jason
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Jason
8 days 7 hours ago

A look at the bottom teams we are likely fighting for ping pong balls:
1) Awful & mostly healthy = ATL & PHX
2) Awful with injuries = Cavs, Bulls, NY
3) Poor with key injuries = Brk, Mia
4) Poor and coming undone = Wash

Everyone else is hanging around .500 at least. Miami with Dragic, Nets with LaVert, and Washington if they actually try could all make a legit run at #8 out in the east.

Cavs (Love), Bulls (Markannen, Dunn, Portis), & NY (Zinger) all get better if/when they get healthy. Phx & Atl just suck.

Even with some late season improvement, I think we may be baked in to a bottom 5 record by mid Jan (Love’s return).

Jason
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Jason
8 days 7 hours ago

Schedule gets a tad easier in spots the next month: Raps, at Nets, GSW, Sac, Wash, at Bucks, NY, Bucks, 76ers, at Indy, at Charlotte, at Raps, Bulls, at Grizz, at Heat, at Hawks.

That is thru Dec. We have a 4 game homie vs good teams to start the year & the a real tough couple weeks. After that, aside from a rough week in March, schedule eases up some.

Point is, our toughest schedule (surely) and worst injury luck (hopefully) are on the front end. We should look better & rack up more wins on the back end.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
8 days 9 hours ago

This is directly on coaching. Terrible coaching. Cedi has regressed so much in the last 10 games.

Nate Smith
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8 days 5 hours ago

Go pound salt, Trols.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
8 days 4 hours ago

Nice nickname. Can’t believe no one has come up with that before.

MikeO
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MikeO
8 days 6 hours ago

Lue was pretty terrible out of the gate, I agree.

TV63
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TV63
7 days 8 hours ago

Agree. He never committed to player development on the young guys. It bit him in the arse in the long run.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
8 days 7 hours ago

0-82. Everyone healthy. Everyone still on the team. Completely overwhelmed. Tactically out maneuvered every game. That was what you had with Lue. He didn’t even want to coach this team anymore. That much was clear from him doing nothing, zero, nada, in the offseason. Didn’t even try to install anything new on offense. Kept the switching bs. Idiotic or simply unmotivated.

Jason
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Jason
8 days 7 hours ago

Amen. No Love at the elbow O. Lue deserved to get canned.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
8 days 7 hours ago

Yeah I really don’t think he cared anymore. I think he checked out permanently after the finals.

Jason
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Jason
8 days 8 hours ago

No he hasn’t. You just are not that informed. Let me count the ways.

1) Osman has as many 20 point games in games 11-19 (two) as he had in games 1-10.

2) Further, he has really only olayed in 19 games, and only 5 minutes in one of those due to injury. So really, we are comparing 10 games vs 8.

3) Of those first 10 games, Love played in 4 and Hill played in all of them. Two of Cedi’s best games were the first two with those guys out there (17/10/4 and 22/3/8).

4) Since then, he has really only had 4 good games, or 3.5. And 2.5 have been recent. The early one was the ATL revenge romp (20/5/3). Recently, he was fantastic vs the Lakers (21/7/2, 5-7 3s) and Philly (20/8/2) and was off the charts good for a half vs OKC (finished with 14/10/6).

Continued….

Jason
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Jason
8 days 8 hours ago

5) Which makes total sense. Cedi, like a lot of our guys (Sexton, Hood, Clarkson) is not close to being an offensive cornerstone type of guy. The shooting, confidence, decision-making, and fear they put into the other team just are not at that oevel.

6) With Love out (and to a lesser extent Korver gone), we really do not have anyone who forces a D to get out of sorts. We will struggle vs elite Ds (OKC/BOS).

7) This guy or that guy will get hot now and then. But we have no real fulcrum or bread & butter to generate consistet good looks. We press. Our better guys (Sexton, Clarkson, Hood, Cedi) try to do too much & it can get ugly.

8) They are all being asked to punch above their weight before they are ready. With predictable results.

9) For one, I have seen enough from each of them, and Drew, to be moderately impressed and hopeful. They will all look better with a little more time, time together, and when Love (& Hill) return & everyone is in their proper place, things will look better.

TV63
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TV63
8 days 10 hours ago

Very accurate recap. I have indigestion watching that game. They looked so discombobulated . Too many changes in the team in a quick period of time.

Jason
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Jason
8 days 10 hours ago

Good not cap. Yep, with Love out, they are just a collection of complimentary pieces.

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