Recap: Cleveland 116, Washington 101 (Or, Layups and Three Pointers)

When I put up the Live Thread for this game I was quite optimistic. After all, the Cavs had been less than 24 hours away from trading for one of my all-time favorite Cavaliers in Matthew Dellavedova. By now, this isn’t news. But more than the trade, I just sort of had an optimistic feeling waiting for the  game to begin. And boy was I not disappointed. Not only did Cleveland avenge an ugly early season loss against the Wiz but they did so in spectacular fashion, jumping out to a big lead right away. De facto team leader and rookie Collin Sexton would not relinquish that lead and would end with a 116-101 Cavaliers victory.

The first quarter started off well for Cleveland as they hit their first three shot attempts all around the rim. Cedi made a driving layup, followed up by another from Sexton, and finished off with one of TT’s pet moves as he spun through the lane to flip up a baby hook. For the next six minutes of the game, the lead was back and forth with the Wizards taking, and holding, the lead on several occasions. However, just before the 4:00 minute mark, Jalen Jones, who was just signed to one of Cleveland’s two-way contracts along with Jaron Blossomgame, hit a three to retake the lead at 23-22. Jones immediately followed that up with a second three and the Cavs would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the night.

Jalen Jones would finish the night with 12 points, 3 rebounds, a steal, and a block. He also went 4-4 from beyond the arc. Seriously, where did this guy come from? And it seems that finally, the rest of this Cleveland team embraced the three point shot. The results? After Jones’s two makes, Sexton and Jordan Clarkson put in a couple of their own. Paired with a couple free throws and a couple of other high percentage shots (two layups) and you get a Cavaliers first quarter lead of 38-22, finishing on an 18-3 run. Cedi also had a pretty sweet finish himself in the quarter, throwing down this dunk early.


The second quarter is where things really began to fall off for the Wizards. Washington managed a single, solitary free throw (from former Cavalier Jeff Green) for the first five minutes of the quarter. Tristan Thompson did most of the damage for Cleveland in the meantime. Did I really just say that TT did most of the damage for the Cavs? I did, ya. It’s going to take some time getting used to saying that. T-Top would finish the night with 23 points, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. What a stat line. Thompson’s play of late has been an absolute revelation.

With just under 7:00 to go in the quarter the Wizards called a time out and finally remembered how to score the basketball as Bradley Beal man a three pointer. By that time, the damage was done as Cleveland was up 49-29. The Cavs were just waltzing through the paint getting whatever they want. I don’t defend John Wall as a rule, but clearly he was not right (apparently he’s got a bit of a bone spur). The Cavaliers held Wall to just one point for the night and he was part of the reason why Cleveland was able to form a layup line even after the pregame warm-ups. The first half ended with the Cavaliers up 62-46.

The third quarter started off pretty slowly for the Wizards, again. Luckily, the same cannot be said for Cleveland, and more specifically, Cedi Osman. Midway through the third, Cedi briefly woke up, scoring 6 of his 12 total points. He hit a pair of threes on two straight possessions. Burks added a three of his own and Sexton got a couple from downtown as well. With Cleveland hitting at such a high clip and Washington unable to buy buckets, the lead was extended to 87-66.

Cleveland’s legs started to finally go in the fourth quarter but not before they managed some more bombs from distance. The first three minutes of the quarter featured two three pointers from Larry Nance Jr., in a row, yes even Nance was in on the action in this one. Jones added his final two threes to the tally and that was all Cleveland would need as Washington never made it past the 101 points the Cavs had at the 9:00 minute mark. From there, Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre Jr. would close the gap a bit each hitting some shots and free throws to minimize the damage. The game didn’t end before Sexton and Nance added the highlight of the night with the sweet alley-oop below. Cleveland finished with a 116-101 victory, getting pretty close to my prediction from the Live Thread might I add.

Some Notes:

1) So, remember when the Cavaliers didn’t know what a three pointer looked like? It was very refreshing to see them remember what those shots look like. The Cavs finished the night shooting 48% from distance on 15-31 shots. Granted, the Wizards defense was absolutely pathetic, but let’s not discourage the trend. It was nice to not watch a parade of mid-range shots.

2) I don’t know what to say about Tristan Thompson. His stat line looks like an all-star’s. 23 points, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks is nothing to scoff at, even if the Wizards just didn’t have it tonight. I tend to feel like this is mostly fool’s gold, but TT isn’t facing as many traditional centers anymore and it’s clearly working in his favor. Now that he’s in shape and working hard, he’s back to being a menace on the boards, 7 of those 12 rebounds were of the offensive variety. He’s also combining that with simple rolls to the hoop netting him a team-leading 54.2% field goal percentage. I’m starting to look forward to the lobs from Delly to not only TT but also Nance.

3) I was disappointed Preston didn’t work out for the Cavs. I thought he had potential. But clearly Jones and Blossomgame were at least worth the looks by Cleveland. In addition to Jones’s shooting, Blossomgame got the start and added 6 points and 6 rebounds of his own. Not bad for a spot start and a couple of end-of-the-bench guys. I’ll take it. Check out this sweet put-back by him below:

4) I hardly mentioned Collin Sexton in the recap but he had himself a night as well. Without any resistance from Wall, the rookie guard went off for 29 points, a season high 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. He shot more threes than he usually does and managed to go 3-7 for the night. I’ll take 43% shooting from three any night, Collin, keep it up.

The Cavaliers face off against the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night. Delly should not only be able to return to action but do it against the very team that traded him. I look forward to seeing the Aussie back in wine and gold. As always, Go Cavs!

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John B
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John B
1 month 12 days ago

Sexton with a nice pass, but otherwise struggling against good d, even without Gianni’s. Mid-range isn’t as open and getting swallowed by Lopez. Needs to look for others this game.

Mostly iso this game or pull-up off a single high screen. Going to get blown out without more creativity against this team.

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 12 days ago

Guesses? Who starts tonight?

My guess: Sexton, Burks, Cedi, Nance, TT.
Bench: Delly, Clarkson, Blossomgame, Jones
Deep bench: Frye, Zizic
Out: Hood, Nwaba, Love, Henson, JR

If not LNJ, then Drew goes with Jones or Blossomgame, unless Hood is a go.

JRL
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JRL
1 month 12 days ago

Sounds about right. I hope the team puts up a good fight, although extremely difficult.

Jason
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Jason
1 month 12 days ago

Injury riddled Nuggets (Millsap, Harris, Barton, IT, Porter Jr, and now Murray) sign Swaggy P. Millsa/Harris out a while but Murray is short term. Hope they stabilize soon enough to finish in top 4-5 where they belong.

Relating to us, Swaggy P was for free and rates above JR on the PO team needs wing help fast chart. Ariza is the top of the class but will cost a team (LA, Philly). Philly had open tryouts a bit back (Afflalo). The 15th is days away & moves are gonna be made.

But JR is mot a top rung target, so I’d expect any move for him to be later. Guys like Burks & Hood would be more desireable for PO teams.

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
1 month 12 days ago

i am looking forward to the 1st lob delly feeds to TT.. should be a rockin moment

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 12 days ago

A home & home with the Bucks right after the trade is cool, but is challenging. A winnable game vs the Knicks inbetween.

Cavs have won 2 straight vs sub .500 teams (Brooklyn, Washington). Sorry NOMAD, we may get another win this week.

Wins
Zion Group:
4: PHX; 6: ATL, CHI, Cavs; 8: NY
—————-
Mediocre:
10: BRK; 11: Wash, MIA, HOU
—————-
Playoffs?:
12: ORL (Yes)
13: Utah, SA, Minn, SAC (No)
13: CHA, DET, DAL (Yes)
14: NO (No)

Simmo
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Simmo
1 month 13 days ago

BTW if anyone is a “Counterpart” fan, series 2 just kicked off….

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
1 month 13 days ago

JMay great job, missed the game but now feel like I didn’t. Thanks man.

Nate Smith
Admin
1 month 13 days ago

Nice recap, Justin

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 month 13 days ago

Happy 65th (!) birthday to World B. Free, who with coach George Karl provided a surprise trip to the playoffs in 1985 that started to put the Stepien era in the past.

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Also have fondness for Free as a Dr J/Sixers fan on those late 70’s teams. Still upset about blowing a 2-0 lead to Portland after the Lucas/Dawkins fight in Game 2. That crap would not work now as Lucas would have just gotten suspended & never started it.

TV63
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TV63
1 month 13 days ago

AW Man What Fun that game was!!! I wish I was there in the Q last night!! I will def make it there this year just to see Delly. Thanks for the ‘feel good” recap!

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 month 13 days ago

IS DELLY READY / HEALTHY TO PLAY / READ WHERE HE IS REHABBING ANKLE INJURY / PLAYING TOMORROW NIGHT ?———HOPING SO !!

Scotch
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Scotch
1 month 13 days ago

Man that delly intro is so great. He seems genuinely moved. Really cant wait to see him run point with Clarkson and Nance on the floor to set up. Can you say delly-oop??

JRL
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JRL
1 month 13 days ago

He truly was. I’m glad he’s back.

Simmo
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Simmo
1 month 13 days ago

From everything he has said to media back here in Australia, he was truly blown away how much Cleveland adopted him the first time around. I’m pretty sure he’s very happy to be going back to a place he knows well.

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 month 13 days ago

AGREE ON SEXTON —WHICH AT TIMES DON’T UNDERSTAND THE ” BEAT DOWN —-PESSIMISM ” ABOUT HIM—-HE IS / IN MY OPINION ALREADY A BETTER DEFENDER THAN KYRIE EVER WAS —MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE EFFORT ——————-ON TOTALLY DIFFERENTSUBJECT—WHO WILL / SHOULD TRIBE TRADE —BAUER / KLUBER——I ALWAYS WANTED KLUBER TO RETIRE AS AN INDIAN BUT ALSO BAUER IS WHAT —5 YRS YOUNGER —-KLUBER’S BEST YEARS MIGHT BE BEHIND HIM

Leo
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Leo
1 month 13 days ago

Wizards are more of a dumpster fire than Cavs and the former has better players so there shouldn’t be any semblance of said fire. Its nice the Cavs are beating teams like this and gaining confidence little by little. Don’t think this game will mean much long term, but the shooting of 3s is a start. They need to execute these against better competition and then we will have better gauge of where this team is headed. Good bounce back from Sexton who take advantage of situation. He is still raw and will take entire season or even part of next season to get where he needs to be. GO CAVS!!

John B
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John B
1 month 13 days ago

I think he is another year away. But if he keeps shooting threes like he has on more attempts, that will help make up for his other offensive deficits. His defense will come. That I am fairly convinced of. Not likely for awhile, but I think it is the one weakness of his that can be fixed fairly easily with simple experience and teaching. He tries and has the athletic potential, which is half the battle.

Jason
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Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Shooting splits: FG/3PT/FT/2PT
Sexton: 45.8/43.8/88.6/46.1
Hood: 43.4/37.0/90.5/46.2
Cedi: 37.2/31.6/81.1/41.7
Clarkson: 44.8/32.5/85.5/50.8
Burks: 40.3/32.1/82.6/46.5
Nwaba: 42.4/22.7/67.6/46.2
—————–
Nance: 51.8/42.9/70.0/53.4
TT: 54.2/×/61.2/54.2

Those 8 + Delly & Jones should be our 10 until the next trade or Love returns. Spot minutes for Blossomgame, Frye, Zizic.

Jason
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Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Cavs by games stared: TT (26), Hood (25), Cedi (23), Sexton (16); Hill (13), Nance (8), Dekker (5), Love (4), JR (4), Nwaba (3), Burks (1), Frye (1), Blossomgame (1).

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 13 days ago

The 5th starter is going to be interesting.

It seems that only 3 spots are locked down, perhaps four. And maybe matchup determines one or the other two.

TT has started all 26 games and Sexton will start from here on in. Hood has started 25/25 he has played, and Cedi 23/24. Those 4 + a guard/wing (Delly, Burks, Nwaba, Jones?) seems to bexwhere Drew is at. But it is kind of small.

Against bigger teams LNJ will almost surely have to start. And if he keeps hitting that 3 ball……lookout. But starting Larry poses some questions. With Henson/Love hurt, that means Zizic/Frye are gonna have to play some backup minutes (which I am fine with). If you start both Cedi/Hood, then they are dealing with a guard and we have penetration issues (I see Hood as a 3 and Cedi as a F).

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
1 month 13 days ago

why is there talk about getting rid of burks? the guy is strong, still fairly young and can ball, if given the chance (re my earlier post from several days ago indicating that he is averaging ~15ppg when given the opportunity to play greater than 20 min.. i don’t get it.. trade him for who or what? a few second rounders?

Jason
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Jason
1 month 13 days ago

I am with you. His play has been good.

I think it comes from a couple areas. First, he is on an $11 million expiring deal and that $11 can be used as part of a larger deal before the deadline.

Second, we are open for business & he is our most valuable asset. Can play, only 27, expiring deal. Much more so than JR.

Third, future fit & risk. This draft is super wing heavy. You figure Sexton & Cedi are core pieces moving forward. If we miss on Zion, you figure Barrett/Reddish/Langford or Little starts. Do we want to pay $8-10 mil for a backup combo guard? Maybe. Do we want to risk letting him walk for nothing if we could get a first for him and have that player for 4 years? Maybe not.

Deciding on Burks/Hood/Nwaba is a big part of the next two months.

Joeyb
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Joeyb
1 month 13 days ago

He’s rodney hood. He has an expiring contract. He likely lacks a future on this team since they are not looking to pay long term contracts until they’ve finished the rebuild. Any one who isn’t already on a long term deal will be dealt if the price is right.

Scotch
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Scotch
1 month 13 days ago

He’s not only Hood, he is an injury prone Hood. He will probably find himself somewhere else now that we know Nwaba can play

JoeyB
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JoeyB
1 month 12 days ago

Exactly. If we’re going to pay a wing a long term deal, I take Nwaba 10 out 10 times over Hood or Burks. Both Hood and Burks are on expirings and both are good enough shooters that a contender may want them for 10 minutes a night to fill a hole. Those make both of them likely to be traded. Unless the FO truly believes they are going to develop much more (unlikely given their years in the league) there just isn’t a reason to resign them to this rebuilding team. The same will be true of Clarkson and TT next year, unless someone wants to trade fro them this year (more likely to be Thompson than Clarkson).

Jason
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Jason
1 month 13 days ago

I think Burks >>>> Hood. I would not mind keeping him if it isn’t too expensive. I would be willing to take that chance if all we get back is a second. Now, a first….

Jason
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Jason
1 month 13 days ago

More trends:

2) Shooting more 3s.

I think the Cavs are still dead last in the league in terms of 3PT takes & makes, and 29th in attempt rate. Taking 24.1 per game.

Last 3 games: 11/32 (GSW), 10/26 (Sac), 15/31 (Wash). Take away that BS Reggie Miller call on Burks and we are averaging 30 takes a game over the last 3 (37/90. = 41%).

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 month 13 days ago

AGREE WITH JASON–NOT A BIG FAN OF +/_—-(MAYBE I AM OL SCHOOL )—–JUST THINK ALOT OF VARIABLES INVOLVED CAN MAKE IT MISLEADING –I WILL GO BY THE OL FASHION “EYE TEST ” —CAN YOU PLAY OR NOT ——SOMETHING TO PONDER —-AS RECENT AS 2 WEEKS AGO/ MANY A MEDIA PERSON WERE HYPING –DUKE COULD BEAT THE CAVS ——–I AM A FAN OF ZIONS BUT I AM PUTTING MONEY THAT IF ZION WOULD FACE T.T. TOMORROW —T.T. WOULD ” HAND HIM HIS LUNCH —-EAT HIM UP “—–OPINIONS ARE WELCOMED

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Only idiots think Duke could beat us. Jayson Williams.

Guys like TT, Nance, Clarkson, & Burks all go nuts. Not to mention Korver/Hill were still with us at the time. Frye would look good vs a zone and can easily post anyone they got. Cavs by 25. Easy.

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Some good trends for us:

1) Some good 1st halves lately. Since the back to back eggs vs Wash & Detroit (mid November), the only game that got away from us before halftime was Boston, and that was late 2nd quarter (down 12 at half).

Yes, the second halves have needed work. But we have also been playing severely short-handed due to injuries & trades, have had 3 b2bs in that span, and only played 3 teams below .500 (Houston, Brooklyn, & Washington, winning all 3). Full run of good first halves: LAL, at Phi, Hou, Minny, at OKC, at Boston (almost), Tor, at Brk, GSW, Sac, Wash.

West coast cav
Guest
West coast cav
1 month 13 days ago

Question for CtB’rs , does Delly start with Sexton? Off the bench with Clarkson? Where’s Nwaba fit in once he’s healed? Maybe we need a special Delly podcast?

JRL
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JRL
1 month 13 days ago

Off the bench with Clarkson.

Nwaba with Sexton once he gets back.

John B
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John B
1 month 13 days ago

Agree with JRL

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Yeah, not a big fan of the +/- type stuff. Too reductive. Too simplistic. One stat to rule them all.

John B
Guest
John B
1 month 13 days ago

I think it is useful when adjusted for lineups such as RPM or BPM. However I think it is only really accurate for general trends. As in these 20 guys have a ton of positive imppact versus these 20 guys don’t.

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 month 13 days ago

Great recap!

A tip of the hat to your optimism! While I certainly never underestimate the Wiz’s ability to mail one in, they had won five of seven & three in a row. And were well rested. While we were on a b2b and had only 8 guys who were gonna play, with 2 of those two-way guys signed a week ago.

Treize Khushrenada
Guest
Treize Khushrenada
1 month 13 days ago

Quick question for Nate, following up on his Cavs vs. Sacramento recap:

Should the fact that Cedi Osman’s RPM is 9th worst among all NBA players (#439 of 447), make us like Sexton more (#447 of 447) or Osman less?

Nate Smith
Admin
1 month 13 days ago

I didn’t realize that. Yes. He’s been a big disappointment, especially the shooting, but the Cavs are a bit handicapped by rpm priors with some guys, cedi being one of them. I know that rpm isn’t a be all/end all, but it’s a useful tool. It allows us not just to know what’s obvious (that the Cavs are bad) but also what’s not. In this case figuring out who is playing the worst is helpful. Now they have to use it. That data can help inform decisions about using gus

John B
Guest
John B
1 month 13 days ago

I don’t think RPM is that precise. In my opinion the best you could say is that both guys have not contributed much positive impact overall. Cedi’s offense has been pretty bad. And his individual defense isn’t great. At best he might be an average defender.

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 month 13 days ago

I think Cedi is a much better player than his numbers show. Same list shows Dekker as a better player than Cedi. Anyone with good eyes can easily tell that’s not correct.

John B
Guest
John B
1 month 13 days ago

I don’t think he has been good at all this year on the whole. He has some potential, but his offensive impact is poor. He still makes costly turnovers, is shooting horrifically bad on the season, and isn’t a guy that can consistently break down a d and finish or find guys with a positive assist to turnover ratio. His defense is just not great. It might be average in a team defense sense, but he isn’t a great individual defender yet. I think he is still a below average defender overall.

That said he has shown flashes very sporadically this season. But he isn’t good or even and average nba player by any means. You would have to be a top five perimeter defender to offset his current offense. He isn’t close to being a great defender yet. I like the kid, but realistically he isn’t where most of us would like to think he is. Not even close. Everyone has a few nice games, but I look at the season as a whole, not individual games or even flashes within games.

JRL
Guest
JRL
1 month 13 days ago

Great recap!

I was hosting my son’s first birthday so didn’t get to see the game, bummer.

I said it during the off-season after Cedi and Zz had shown flashes of their game skills – whoever is currently evaluating talent is doing a phenomenal job for the future of this team.

Wonder if it all went through Lue?

I also wonder if LeBron is looking around the Laker’s locker room and questioning his decision?

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