Not A Recap: Grizz 95, Cavs 87 (or, U-G-L-Y… You Ain’t Got No Alibi)

The above video is a compilation of the cheerleader routines from the 1986 film Wildcats, starring Goldie Hawn as a coach of an inner-city high school football team. The movie itself was not pretty, being widely panned by critics and audiences alike. Yet, it was still probably more watchable than last night’s game.

Despite my initial best intentions, I was not able to catch this contest between the Cavs and Grizzlies live. Maybe the universe conspired against me seeing it… knowing it might potentially cause my eyes to bleed. I did try to power through it on my DVR, but after the 12th missed shot in a row and umpteenth turnover in the first quarter… there was a lot of fast forwarding involved.

It’s not impossible for a good team to dig themselves out of a nine point opening quarter… yet, it’s improbable for a not so good team to do so. On the bright side… the Cavs almost did the improbable by the end, trimming a 17 point lead down to just four. Though, that was primarily because the Grizzlies also played into the ugliness.

The first quarter tells the majority of the story…. which was a continuation of the cold shooting from the second half of Sunday’s game against the Bulls. Only, this wasn’t just cold… this was frigid. Zero for their first 12 attempts. Plus, the ball was more stuck than Flick’s tongue to that frozen pole in A Christmas Story. When the ball wasn’t sticking or clanking off the unkind iron, the Cavs were throwing or dribbling it away, turning it over seven times in the quarter… leading to eight points for Memphis.

Channing Frye finally hit a triple with just under four and a half minutes to go to give the Cavs their first made basket, but they weren’t able to break the double digit barrier in the first 12 minutes. Yep, just 3-21 (14%) for nine points… setting the low water mark for a quarter this season. Even though the second quarter produced an uptick in shooting efficiency (10-21), the first half percentage was still a chilly 28.6%. The turnovers also continued to plague the Cavs (they finished with 16 for the game that translated to 24 points for the Grizz).

After scoring just 33 points in the second half on Sunday, the Cavs had just 32 points in the first half against Memphis. I’m no math wizard, but by my calculations, 65 points in four quarters won’t win you many games. Fortunately for the wine & cold gold, the Grizzlies could only muster 45 points of their own, leaving the door of opportunity cracked just enough.

Neither team could get much traction in the third, with each struggling to muster 20 points in the quarter (21-20, Cavs). Cleveland did start to hit some threes, but every time they cut the lead to single digits, Memphis pushed it back out again behind Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson, Jr. By the end of three, the score resembled a high school game with the Grizzlies in front 65-53. It was a fair question if either team would reach 80 at that point.

The fourth is when things got crazy (scoring wise anyway), and both teams started really pouring in the points. Jordan Clarkson caught fire for 15 of his game high 24, and Collin Sexton scored half of his 16, while dishing out half of his six dimes. Two of those assists went to Cedi Osman in transitional run outs, with the second one closing the gap to just four with 1:18 remaining.

Sadly, Mike Conley took advantage of the rookie with a layup and a bad turnover by Sexton, which led to a trip to the line. The lead was back to eight, and the Cavs never got closer. Still, they did outscore the Grizz 34-30 in the final frame to at least make things interesting.

The Good

Regardless of how bad things looked, the Cavs deserve some credit for not just rolling over to die… especially when they easily could have. They showed some resiliency in clawing their way back into the game at the end, and giving themselves a shot at redemption for the nine point opening clankfest.

From the little I saw, Ante Zizic actually looked semi-playable (I guess that’s a step up?)… especially against a bigger front line. Big ZZ didn’t shoot all that well, but he did have 11 rebounds to go with his six points… and was the only Cav in the positive on +/- for the night.

Speaking of rebounds… the Cavs dominated the glass 53-34. Of course, there’s a lot more boards to be had when shots aren’t falling.

Say what you want about Jordan Clarkson’s defensive shortcomings, but he’s about the only Cav who can consistently put the ball in the hoop. JC was a huge part of the comeback with his 15 point fourth quarter, and was 4-7 from three point land. He also had a nice all around stat line with five boards, two assists and three steals.

Collin Sexton essentially played Mike Conley to a draw statistically. Young Bull had 16 points (6-15 shooting) to go with six assists, five boards and a steal, while Conley had 15 points (6-16 shooting) to go with eight assists, two boards and two steals. However, the rookie made a huge mistake down the stretch, and the vet made him pay.

Despite being mostly not great on the night… Matthew Dellavedova had a couple of highlight reel assists in the second quarter, including this no-look beauty…

And this nifty bounce pass…

The Bad

Just about everything else. The shooting (especially in the first half) was fairly horrific, and the turnovers were even worse. Aside from the rebounding advantage, the front line seemed overmatched… particularly with Larry Nance, Jr. in foul trouble. Cedi’s two transition buckets in the fourth saved him from another rough shooting night, and he did snag seven boards.

I can’t stress the turnovers enough… especially that last one by Sexton. Yikes.

The Grindhouse is an often brutal place to play, and the style the Grizzlies employ isn’t typically easy on the eyes. This game was no exception.

The U-G-L-Y

Actually, I guess this depends on your POV (if you are #TankStrongForZion or #BeTheFight), but the Cavaliers are now have the worst record in the NBA at 8-27, with the Phoenix Suns pulling out an OT victory over the Magic. The basement of the league is likely to be a familiar locale for the Cavs, at least until some of their injured return in the new year.

I’m all for collecting ping-pong balls in anticipation of one of the Duke trio winding up in Cleveland next year, but with the new lottery system, the Cavs don’t have to be dead last to win it.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll invest in a blindfold for games like this in the future…

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Nate Smith
Admin
26 days 10 hours ago

Thanks for taking this one EG. I had a raging infection of Smithalus over the last week with a gigantic outbreak of Smiths at my house, but I think they’re all going to be gone by morning. Should be more back in the swing tomorrow.

Jason
Guest
Jason
26 days 11 hours ago

Harden is so good some nights. Gotta make him drive right on nights the 3 is falling. And make him defend constantly to wear him down.

I do not seem to mind Harden when he is killing the Celtics. Or the Dubs. Rivers helps Houston.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
26 days 12 hours ago

Jaylen Brown is the master of stare downs after dunks when he’s down 15+…

Jason
Guest
Jason
26 days 17 hours ago

Wildcats was so bad it was good.

Now that all-star ballots are out, who ya got, CtBers? Butler being a F & DeRozan a G messes my mojo all up. And I reserve the right to change my mind on some guys.

East:
1st: Lowry, Kyrie, Kawhi, Giannis, Embiid.
2nd: Kemba, Dipo, Butler, Griffin, Vucevic
Last 3: Simmons, Beal, Drummond
Just missed: Horford, Middleton, Sabonis

West:
1st: Curry, Harden, KD, Bron, Jokic
2nd: Russ, DeRozan, PG13, Davis, Gobert
Last 3: Lillard, Hield, Harris
Just missed: Conley, Fox, Aldridge, Doncic, KAT, Jrue, M. Gasol.

Nate Smith
Admin
26 days 10 hours ago

Gotta put Marc in over Rudy. Otherwise pretty good list. I’d put in fox over Hield. Siakam over Drummond.

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
26 days 19 hours ago

Thanks EG for putting in the time for this recap. Man, this is rough. Hopefully front office is building towards something.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
26 days 20 hours ago

Without Love and TT, this is he worst roster in the league.

JRL
Guest
JRL
26 days 20 hours ago

Good recap. Sucks you had to put yourself through that.

Not really surprised. This team is lacking talent at the moment.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
26 days 22 hours ago

SPENDING LOT MORE TIME / ENERGY WATCHING COLLEGE HOOPS / PREPARING MY PRE DRAFT SCOUTING REPORT ———EVERYONE HAS FALLEN IM LOVE WITH THE ‘ZION TRAIN ” / ME INCLUDED —-STILL WONDER IF HE IS THE TOP PROSPECT OR EVEN TOP 3 PROSPECT OUT THERE

Jason
Guest
Jason
26 days 17 hours ago

He can’t shoot is the thing. Neither can Giannis, of course. But he does seem to have a pretty good feel. Willing passer & defender. And he does remind me of Barkley/Larry Johnson.

I watched Kansas play and that guard who is supposed to be a top prospect was invisible (Grimes?). That forward on his own team (Lawson?) is 10x the player.

All the other guys are prospects, not so much players. It used to be a guy would dominate college, and that was how you could tell he was NBA ready. Most HOF/all-timers did (Duncan, Shaq, Admiral, Dream, Ewing, Isiah, Bird, Magic, Kareem, Doc, Walton, Hayes, Oscar, Wilt, Russell, etc). Hell, Hersey Hawkins, Xavier McDaniel & Wally Szczerbiak were dominant college players.

Upside is just another word for: “right now, you suck. “

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
26 days 22 hours ago

GREAT RECAP EVIL—-YOU WERE CORRECT –“-WINE AND ‘COLD ” / THEIR ICE COLD SHOOTING KEPT MY “BEVERAGES ‘ AT THE COOL REQUIRED TEMP ——IF SEXTON CAN PLAY EVERY GAME LIKE THIS / OR IMPROVE A LITTLE EACH GAME–I CAN HAVE HOPE ………NEXT “ZION TANK MATCH ” VS ATL—–THAT GAME COIULD TOP LAST NIGHTS FOR “UGLINESS ‘……………IF WE HAD A CHANCE TO DRAFT/ TRADE FOR DONCIC AND DIDN’T WE REALLY F—-D UP !!!—–THAT KID WILL BE AN ALL STAR FOR A LONG TIME / BARRING ANY MAJOR INJURY …………………………WE HAVE TO “BE THE FIGHT ” TOGETHER HERE AND ALSO STOCKING UP ON BEVARGAES WILL BE A SMART THING TO DO——–” ALL IN FOR THE LONG HAUL ” !!!

West coast cav
Guest
West coast cav
26 days 23 hours ago

The difference in play from the marquee Christmas games and last nights grind was stark. Going to be a long winter. If you made it through last nights game count yourself as a true Cavs fan. God it was painful.

NickNevers
Guest
NickNevers
26 days 19 hours ago

Well, we’re gonna take our lumps this year and hopefully rebound and reload for next season. It is what it is, it stinks, but no need to be overly dramatic about it.

Jason
Guest
Jason
27 days 19 minutes ago

Yep. Until Hood/Nwaba & TT/Love/Henson are back, and until/if we get a player for JR, we are gonna be in last place. After the next two (b2b at Miami & Atl) the schedule us brutal until late Jan.

We only have 8 of 15 roster spots/players available to play right now. Brutal.

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